Five on Friday

First of all...I can't believe no one got the movie quote...  Guess I'll be needing to have a movie night at my house soon, huh? (complete with web-cam for those of you at a distance)  This movie has a LOT of good lines in it...  And I tend to quote them all the time.

Okay -- on to the 5...in no particular order...

1) Laura, one of the contributors at Tidy Tangle, posted about Toddler Lessons: Faith, HERE.  It's a short post, but the example she used really hit home for me.  "We have such faith in God as our provider and in his sovereignty, but the world makes us question "where is God?" and "is He going to do what he promised?"

2) THIS post, an abbreviation of a Tim Keller sermon entitled, Praying Our Tears, was sent to me by my mom.  Since I didn't get around to looking at it until after 11pm one night, I was struggling to get through the paragraphs, so I decided to try listening to the actual sermon.  It grabbed my attention, and I was alert for the whole thing.  It really is excellent.  I might be becoming a TK groupie...  The point is that if we are to honor God with our tears, grief and suffering, we need to expect, invest, and pray our tears.  The sermon is just over 30 min long, and about 1/3 of the way through it starts over again for some reason, so it appears longer than it actually is.  It really is worth listening to if you can make the time.  HERE is the direct link to the sermon.

3) Passionate Homemaking makes it to the top 5 again this week with a post entitled: Impacting Your Child's Blueprint. (click)  A blueprint?  What's that?  "We all have one -- it's the mindset that shapes our thoughts and actions for all of life.  Blueprints are set at a young age, often by a child's first impressions on an issue."  This is a good reminder to look closely at what we're teaching our children (even unintentionally) about things such as self-worth, body image, technology and God, as well as the book learnin'.

4) Sally Clarkson hits the top 5 again this week with a post entitled: Home is about the life, not about the Perfection. (click)  This is an excellent reminder for those of us who struggle with perfectionism, and also good to remember to "live in the moment" and sometimes it's okay to make messes and let go of the neatness and order...  "A home is a place of life filled by a mother whose life is contagious because of her sparkle in the midst of messes, her laughter in the midst of duty, her song pervading the whole place - the music, feasts, art, joy of life..."

5) And, finally, what Friday 5 post would be complete without a mention of food?!?  THIS sinful recipe comes via Brite via Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman.  I'm thinking I just might have to make these this weekend...when there's other people around to (help me) eat them...'cause I have a thing for maple...anything. :-)

obviously the photo was taken by Ree, and NOT me. :)

Happy Weekend! :-)


Whirl-Wind Wednesday, Thankful Thursday, and Recipe Reveal

"Bit of a busy day today, I'm afraid.  Distressingly little time for sloth or idleness."  Name the movie...  I know that my brother could, as for the rest of you, I'm looking forward to being delightfully surprised at finding out who has seen it...  and NO cheating.

When I shared HERE about our day, it was a quiet and fairly calm day at home.  Today was not that day.  But, I like both for their different reasons and I wouldn't want one or the other ALL the time.  SO, here's a (much more brief!) recap of our day today.
- C up too early (5:30) again...sleeping patterns have been a bit crazy lately
- got her settled with movie, milk, and dry cereal until I was awake enough to function...ended up dozing off and thankful G got up to be with her
- coffee is a matter of priority these days given the sleeping patterns, so took care of that...
- put roast, potatoes, carrots in crock pot for friend's dinner (thankful i took time the night before to peel),

- green beans in second crockpot

- C requested eggs, so scrambled some for her.
- cleaned up kitchen, various odds/ends, quick e-mail check for pertinent info for morning
- gathered library books/movies due back
- showered, prepared for running a few errands (backpack, library bag, grocery list)
- got C dressed and ready to go
- no word from a lady i had discussed meeting, so we had an hour to kill before storyhour...
- C played, I researched some Autumn books for both of us online to get at library, and made a phone call
- headed to Storyhour early to get books first and play with magnet tables.
- following Storyhour, quick stop at Aldi for few items, grabbed lunch at CFA to keep C awake on ride home
- stopped at 2nd library that is closer to home and where i picked-up my "holds" THIS book, and THIS book. 
- home, and C was almost asleep, carried her in and straight to bed for nap
- unloaded car and put away books, movies, groceries, etc.
- straightened house, checked e-mail
- made cinnamon bread (recipe HERE) and ginger crinkles (TOP SECRET recipe HERE)

- cut up fruit (15 min phone call during)
- cleaned up kitchen, packed up food to take to friend
- C up from nap, got snack for her
- bags ready, food ready, head out to deliver dinner
- back home for about 30 minutes, then head to small group (so glad we eat together and i had an easy contribution tonight!)
- there for just over 2 hours, home and fix C a snack since she ate a light dinner, sat with her while she ate
- C ready for bed and to bed
- G was sweet and unloaded d/w, reloaded, and washed a crockpot for me while I was reading stories, etc.
- put away beef broth from roast, and washed 2nd crockpot
- straightened house, did today's reading for the GMG Fall study (click HERE)
- started this blog post, C woke up crying...
- she's settled and here I am trying to finish... 

So...yeah...it was pretty much a non-stop day for me.  But, I'm really thankful to have the energy for it -- when you've recently experienced NOT having the energy for it, you become really thankful for that which you do have! :-)

This is the "catch-all" post because I don't feel like making lots of little posts. The Thankful Thursday theme might stick around though...or it may be more sporadic.  Ever since beginning to read this book...
click HERE to go to amazon.

...I am even more aware of the little things in life for which to be so very thankful.  I need to designate a journal specifically for recording this, because at present they end up on whatever little slip of paper I can find lying around at the time that they pop into my head.  So, it's not a formal list, but it's what was on my mind and heart these last few days.  

- Christmas music...in September
- Candles
- Pumpkin Spice Creamer in the dark of early morning
- snuggling a little girl in fuzzy jammies
- a husband whose thoughtfulness and consideration for me I often take for granted
- watching said little girl dig for raisins in her cereal
- quiet moments in the Word
- piles of laundry to wash, dry, fold, and put away
- friends to talk to on the phone
- the smell of pot roast, cinnamon bread, and ginger crinkles all at the same time
- a small hand in mine
- his strong arms holding me close in the first waking moments
- watching her sleep and wanting to freeze time
- His gift of passages and themes all connected...NOT by coincidence

Thanks for reading a much-longer-than-intended post.  :-)


Tuesday Tips: The Oldest Tips in the Book

These were found in the October 2011 issue of Parents magazine.

1) Use a lingerie bag to keep kids' socks from getting eaten by the washer or dryer.

2) Empty wipe containers make great organizers for arts & craft supplies - and just about anything else. (or any small plastic containers for that matter. look around and use what you have!)

3) Use the zippered plastic bags that blankets and linens are packaged in to store clothes, toys, and more!

4) Turn a pair of old tube socks into knee protectors for crawling babies by cutting off the feet.

5) A piece of nonskid shelf liner makes a kid-friendly place mat that keeps cups and plates from sliding around.

Tuesday Tips won't always be a list or more than one tip, but I read this list last week and decided to share. All pictures were found using pinterest. (of course.)


Monday Musings: God's Love & Goodness

You'll notice on the left side of the page, my reading list -- these are books that I am meandering my way through.  Some slower than others.  I am excited to be participating in a Women's Bible Study at our church where we are studying the following book: 

click HERE to check it out on amazon

As I was preparing for the lesson last week (and catching up since I was a week behind!), there were two quotes that I found particularly insightful, so I decided to share those as part of Monday Musings this week.

Put together all the tenderest love you know of, the deepest you have ever felt, and the strongest that has ever been poured out upon you, and heap upon it all the love of all the loving human hearts in the world, and then multiply it by infinity, and you will begin, perhaps, to have some faint glimpse
 of what the love of God is.
Hannah Whitall Smith

The Truth is, God IS good.  Whether or not His choices seem good to us, He is good.  Whether or not we feel it, He is good.  Whether or not it seems true in my life or yours, He is still good.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss

And, finally, a quote that I saw on....wait for it...pinterest. :)

PS -- I had no idea on Saturday when I posted about The Tone of Home (click), that Courtney over at Women Living Well (click) was bringing back the "Making Home a Haven Fall Challenge."  I read these posts last year and really enjoyed them.  I was excited last night to see that this 31 day challenge will happen again this year for the month of October.  Click HERE to read more.


The Tone of Home...

The ordinary acts we practice everyday at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.  
Thomas Moore

 There are many articles and blog posts out there on "making home a haven."  My intent with this post and most of my others, is to pass along the things that I find helpful or interesting.  I rarely write something that I personally came up with or invented...

As homemakers, we have a huge opportunity to "set the tone" for our home...whether it is peaceful or chaotic, pleasant or tense, and yes, even clean/tidy or dirty/disorganized.  While some may not see these things as affecting the overall atmosphere of our homes, THEY DO.  God created us with senses, and our moods are very much affected by those senses.  So, the challenge is, how do our homes look, smell, taste, sound, feel?

Smell is a huge one for me...especially this time of year when the air is cooling, I equate warm smells (pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla) with coziness.  So, most days this week, if you came by my house, there would be a candle or two keeping things smelling cozy.

As your family members are coming home or guests are arriving or friends stopping by, think of how you can make your home smell inviting to them.  Sometimes it's a home-cooked meal that you've spent a long time preparing, sometimes it's just opening a jar of spaghetti sauce to simmer on the stove, homemade or pre-made cookie dough baking in the oven, a mix of water/citrus peels/spices simmering on the stove, or just candles.  

Sound is another big one for me.  Both my husband and I grew up in homes where music was often present.  For calm, I like instrumental music, especially piano based, such as Jim Brickman, George Winston, or John Tesh.  But, for cleaning, it's good to have something a little more upbeat! :)  Lately, I've been listening to my Autumn music...

check it out on amazon HERE

It's important for our families that our homes be orderly and clean.  Now...if you walked into my house RIGHT NOW, you would find toys scattered around the family room floor/couches, toys scattered over my daughter's bedroom floor, 2 piles on my counter of things I need to go through, dog hair on the floor, fingerprints on the windows, etc.  I'm not talking perfection here...but, having a place for things to belong is helpful for everyone in keeping things orderly.  Keeping up with regular household cleaning/maintenance is good for everyone's health and well-being.  Our God is a god of order and He created us that way too.  Most people (that I know of anyway) will thrive in an atmosphere of cleanliness and order as opposed to filth and chaos.  As mothers and homemakers, it is important that we pass this along to our children.  Cleanliness and order make me very happy...or maybe you picked up on that. :)

Taste & feel are not as high on my list, but I still think they are important.  Although, if taste is being used figuratively and not literally, I understand it a little better.  Recently, I've been pondering over Psalm 34:8: 

Taste and see that the Lord is good...

Specifically, is taste being used there in a figurative or literal sense? Haven't taken the time to research it yet, but I hope to, so I'll get back to you on that one. :)  It IS important that we provide our families with food that tastes good...but typically we do that anyway.  I think it's important to help our children develop a taste for those things that are good for them...children who are full of sugar and carbs are typically NOT pleasant children and NOT pleasant to be around.  I definitely notice increased amounts of sugar in my daughter (even just a sugary breakfast like pancakes/syrup) affecting her mood.  Caffeine has this same effect on adults...so, that one or two cups of coffee in the morning is helpful to get us going and give us some energy for the day, but after that, it might be good to switch to water to avoid becoming hyper or edgy, and thus setting a negative tone for our homes.

Feel definitely makes our houses cozy and comfortable.  Furniture that is comfortable to relax on, blankets, pillows, linens, clean-smelling towels, freshly-washed sheets, etc.  All of this will make our homes enticing places to be and our families will feel loved through these things, even though they may not even realize it.  

Setting the tone for our homes and making them cozy and comfortable places to be for our families, friends, and guests, doesn't require us to spend a lot of money.  Perhaps some for necessities, but the main thing that it requires from us is time.  Time is a huge gift and a way that we can exercise self-discipline and show love to our families.  Creating a peaceful place for our husbands and children to feel welcome has long-lasting benefits that are more important that a lot of other things we could be doing.  You've heard the saying, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy..."  And, it's very true.  Our attitudes really do provide the example for our families, especially children.  If we are grumpy and irritable, our kids probably will be too.  If we are calm and disciplined, our kids probably will be too.  If we are loving/respectful and sacrificial, our husbands probably will be too. It doesn't always work this way, but a lot of times emotions are cyclical and if we start the cycle positively, others will follow.

SO -- light a candle, put some nice music on, tidy up a little, fix a yummy snack, and spend some time with your family this weekend in the pleasant atmosphere of HOME. 


Five on Friday: Season Premiere

Maybe I should change it to Friday Five...I know it's just two letters but it seems SO much shorter.  Eh...I'll keep thinking about it.  Apparently this was the week for all the season premieres...I don't watch or keep up with much TV, and at best there's one show each season that I'm even slightly interested in watching.  TV just doesn't do it for me anymore.  We usually find ourselves watching the oldies station, when it's on at all.  But, in keeping with the recurring theme this week, welcome to the first episode of Five on Friday!  This is where I will post the 5 most interesting things I've discovered online (or elsewhere) this week.

BUT, before I get started on that, let me just post my favorite pin of the week from pinterest...it's my second favorite season, afterall, which in its own way is just wonderful because it is the prelude to my favorite season.

SO, while I sit here and enjoy my coffee with pumpkin spice creamer (not quite the same, but it will suffice), here's the Friday Five... 

1) I discovered this week that Sally Clarkson blogs HERE at I Take Joy.  She posted an excellent article this week, entitled The Kingdom of Home (click to read).  Here's a small excerpt to whet your appetite...
When I began to understand that the best and most lasting "work" I would ever do, was to build little souls, in my own home, for the kingdom of God, it gave me grand scope for my life.  Understanding that I would be responsible for accepting them into my arms and their very health from feeding at my breasts; to emotional well-being by attaching deeply to me as an infant; or stimulating their brains by talking with them, touching them, snuggling them and predisposing them to know the love of God by building pathways in their brain formation of love, acceptance, words of life, affection were the beginnings to my understanding of just how profound God had created the role of a mother to be.

2) My friend, Brite, over at Redefining Normal (click) posted about these super-cute and FREE printable  notecards:
click HERE to go directly to the site to print some 
(and don't be surprised if you get one of these from me soon...I'm desperately overdue in writing some thank you notes right now.)

3) It will be interesting to see if I can EVER get through a Friday Five post without including something having to do with food...  This "Lazy Sunday (roasted) Casserole" looks intriguing so I may be making it sometime this weekend or next...
click HERE to go to the recipe

4) Just this morning, there is a great article over at Passionate Homemaking (click) titled "Simple Toddler Learning Activities."  This is a great compilation of fun things to do with your toddler, requiring basic supplies that you either already have or can get very inexpensively.  Check out the post HERE.

5) click HERE to go to Family Circle magazine's website for a short slideshow of some fun things to do with gourds this Fall season...here's my favorite:

Alrighty -- there ya have it!  Any thoughts?  Should I continue the Five on Friday???  Have a great weekend!


"If ya like it then ya shoulda put a pin on it..."

You sang it didn't you?

And now you're smiling. Right? And now you'll be singing it for the rest of the day. You're welcome. :-)


I've certainly spent enough time talking about it on here, with promises, promises to explain what it is for those of you who may not know. Basically, it is a virtual bulletin board where you can post pictures of things (with links to blog posts, articles, retail sites, etc included) that you find interesting. Then, you can view your friends' boards to see what they find interesting. You can look to see the newest pins that everyone on pinterest has pinned within the last few seconds. You can search for pins by topic. Really, the possibilities are endless. OH...and I almost forgot one of the very important features. You download a small little "button" to your toolbar so that when you are browsing online and see something you like, you just click the little "Pin It" button and it links you directly to your boards (which you will have nicely categorized) so you can save it in an organized fashion, instead of dumping it in some favorites folder never to be looked at again. (just me?) What I have been doing lately is when I look through magazines and see something I want to remember, I go to the magazine website and usually find that article, recipe, etc, and post it to my appropriate board on pinterest. Also, when friends recommend recipes online, I do the same. You can choose whether to have your facebook and pinterest accounts linked so that you can post your pins on facebook also. I have mine set so that I choose which pins go on facebook.

Categories... I have 20 boards (you can name them yourself). I don't know that there's a limit to how many boards you can have. My boards (in case you can't see them) are the following categories:

Organization....How I Love You!
All Things Kiddos
It's Party Time!
Gettin' All Crafty
'Cause I'm a Foodie
The Dream Home
The Most Wonderful Time...
What Makes Me...Me
One Day I Will Travel the World...
So Many Books...
Home Improvement Ideas...
Christmas Ideas (a shared file with my sister in law!!)
Style...The Kind I Wish I Had
Addicted. To. Shoes. (and Purses)
Way Back When
Making My Garden Grow
Homeschooling Resources
All Things Natural

Some of my favorite things to see on pinterest are: recipes, DIY home improvement projects, craft projects, fun ideas to do with kids, fashion ideas, home decorating ideas, quotes.

So...there's a little red link on the left hand side under our picture that will take you to pinterest... Need I say more?!?

But...be warned...it's like a black hole...it will CONSUME your time.

Stay tuned for my upcoming post on managing internet time...


Some New Features...

I decided I wanted to incorporate some regular "themed" posts into my blogging.  Being the over-achiever that I am, I at first tried to have a theme for every day of the week, but then I realized 1) I don't (often can't) post EVERY day of the week, and 2) Sometimes I like to be random and I would be SO limited if I had to keep up with a theme EVERY single day.  SO, I found 3 themes that I like and will probably try to post in accordance with those.  But, since I'm making the rules, I can break them, so don't be surprised...

Monday Musings...  This will be for Scripture that I've found particularly meaningful recently, poems, song lyrics, and quotes.  I love quotes and I have a couple notebooks full of them, as well as several books of them. And then there's the internet which makes finding good quotes much easier these days!  Here's one I saw recently on pinterest that is a new favorite...

Tuesday Tips...  This is where I will attempt to pass on little tidbits to make your life easier.  No real limitations for what the tips pertain to, so....  consider yourselves warned. ;-)

Five on Friday...  This is a pretty popular one (though known by other names).  I will keep account of the most interesting (to me) things I find online during the week and post them all on Friday...well, the best 5 anyway.  No limits here either, so prepare yourselves for the randomosity.  (I think I just created a new word!)

A new feature is that you can now print the recipes that I post on here.  I tried to go back through and add that to previous posts and it will be included in upcoming ones as well.  You can view all of the recipes posted at Eagle's Nest HERE.  Many thanks to Lauren at Only From Scratch for passing along this tutorial to me!

Also...one other thing to note.  I have, up until recently, typed all posts in lowercase.  It was recently brought to my attention that perhaps this is somewhat bothersome to some very faithful readers...  ahem.  SO...back to caps it is...at least, the correct use of caps.  You wouldn't want me typing in all caps all the time, because it would seem like I WAS CONSTANTLY YELLING AT YOU!  see?

I'm always looking for new post material, so if you have any topics you'd like to see covered here, please let me know.  As always, thanks for reading. :)


Just Because...

...because grandparents LOOOOOOVE videos...that's why! :-)

This is what it sounds like when C is playing...she usually talks or sings the entire time.  She didn't catch me videoing her this time so you get a pretty accurate idea.  Sorry for the poor quality of the video and that it's so shaky.  :(

We attempted to play outside for a bit tonight while it wasn't raining, but we ended up being dinner for the mosquitoes and had to return inside.  My little monkey is ALL about climbing these days...


weekends are for singing...

Please pardon our messy hair, and notice our favorite shirt...the one with the fireworks!

C loves the song "Wheels on the Bus", or perhaps you remember that...  Her Grandma brought her a cd and dvd that has this song on it, and on the dvd they sing through the song a second time going FAST...She loves it and she loves to show us how she can keep up with it...

C's version of the Alphabet song is most amusing...listen closely...and it sounds something like: a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k, imma gone to p. t,q,s,t,u,b,double x, y, and z...

This would be the express version of "I'm a little teapot..."

And finally, what video compilation would be complete without "Jesus Loves Me???"



After not cooking dinner in over 3 weeks, I cooked last night. Obviously, I was feeling the withdrawal from one of my favorite activities, so I COOKED. Don't get me wrong, I was exceedingly thankful for all of those who have provided meals so that I have not had to cook... it was one of the richest ways you could minister to me over the last 3 weeks. To know that my family was provided for during a time when I could not provide for them, was humbling and reassuring.

I couldn't decided where to stop last night, so I just kept on cooking...and it was good therapy. My mom brought some fresh produce from a local farmer's market and it needed to be used up, so use it I did.

Shake N Bake Pork Chops (easy!!)

Sauteed Zuchinni, Squash and Onions

Smashed New Potatoes

Green Beans (for those not squash friendly)

Sliced tomatoes

Homemade Applesauce


Peach Crisp

I love reading menus of what people are planning to fix for a week, month, etc, and I love reading what foods they pair together, so if you are like me you will enjoy this post. The peach crisp was a last minute idea so I went searching through some of my best cookbooks for something quick and easy that I had all the ingredients for. Southern Living didn't disappoint, once again!

Usually when I think of a crisp, I think of it including oatmeal or nuts, but this one did not. It did still have some crisp to it, and it was tasty, just more like a crumble crust. I tried to take a picture, but BOTH sets of my camera batteries were out of charge, so the above picture of fresh peaches will have to suffice. Here's the recipe though -- enjoy! Click here for the printable version.

Peach Crisp

4 cups sliced fresh or frozen peaches

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter or margarine

TOSS peaches, 1/3 cup sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl; spoon into a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish or 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, and set aside.

COMBINE flour and remaining sugar; cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle on top of peaches. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.


earning a little extra...

I'm trying this out -- it's new for me, so I can't say a whole lot about it, other than that I earned a whopping $1.06 in about 5 minutes of clicking through ads. I'm still figuring it out, but it looks like it has potential. Here's some info and my referral code if you'd like to join me in this new adventure...

I found something that I think you will like. The company's name is YouData (youdata.com). They are trying to convince consumers like us that we should be the ones controlling our own data and selling our own attention, not third parties like broadcasters, newspapers, and spammers. By creating a MeFile at YouData.com, I now control what ads I see and when I see them. Best part - I am selling my attention directly to interested advertisers, for real money. That's right, I get paid for giving them my attention. I can use the funds to buy music and video online, donate to charities, give to my favorite blogs and websites, or keep the change myself and do whatever I want with it.

It's real. They pay. You should check it out.

Click this link to sign up. My MeFile ID, couponmandi, in the "Referral Code" will tell them I sent you.

I hope to write a post soon on the handful of sites that I use to earn points/money for internet shopping, extra spending money, etc. This is a new site, so I'm hoping it will end up being a profitable one also.


Psalm 71...(Judy-style)

So, um...yes, we are pretty much going from couponing to the Psalms... don't you see the OBVIOUS connection?!? Let me enlighten you...this blog is about REAL life... and REAL life isn't always about couponing, and recipes, and schedules, and sugar & spice and all things nice... Real life is about sinners, saved by God's grace. Real life is about sanctification, and that is a process...that takes time.  Real life is about hurts and healing.  Real life doesn't always look like a picture out of a magazine. Sometimes it is tear-stained and not-so-pretty. But, real life is not without hope and not without a coming happy ending (read more about that HERE). So...in the real life and times of me...this is what my heart says tonight...

You have been my hope, Oh Sovereign Lord
all my confidence since I was young
From birth I have relied on you
Who brought me from my mother's womb
I will ever praise You with my song.

All day long, Your mighty acts I will proclaim!
All day long, declare the splendor of Your name!
Lord, do not forsake me when I am old and gray
Till I declare Your power to the next generation in their day
To the next generation in their day.

You have been my hope, Oh Sovereign Lord
Though You have made me see distress and pain
From the depths You lift me up, set me on the solid Rock
I know You'll restore my life again.

All day long, Your might acts I will proclaim!
All day long, declare the splendor of Your name!
Lord, do not forsake me when I am old and gray
Till I declare Your power to the next generation in their day.
To the next generation in their day.

You have been my hope, oh Sovereign Lord
all my confidence since I was young
You destroy my enemies, Your salvation sets me free
I will ever praise You with my song.

All day long
All day long
All day long

Copyright 1988 Judy Rogers

This is from Judy Rogers' cd, Pilgrim's Praise, which is quite possibly my favorite of all of her cd's.  If you've never heard her music, it's worth checking out...especially if you have young children and would like them to learn the catechism (or if you'd like to learn it).  I grew up listening to these cd's, and I can testify that the messages stick with you -- and others have testified to this also....it's kind of like brain-washing...only in a good way. :-)


couponing videos...for newbies

Most of you know that I am a couponer...not an extreme couponer...just a couponer. Some of you have asked me questions about this, and I try to share what I've learned, but it's hard to do that briefly. I haven't posted much about couponing lately because there are so many sites out there that do a great job. A few of my favorites are listed in THIS POST.

Colin over at Hip2Save has some fantastic videos on couponing...everything from explaining how to organize a coupon binder to shopping at specific stores. For awhile, she had a series where she posted a video every Monday morning called, "Coffee with Colin", and my husband will tell you that I looked forward to watching those videos every Monday night. :) I encourage newbie and seasoned couponers (or those just curious about this whole coupon game) to check out her youtube channel.

Recently Colin posted a 3-part series on "Couponing for Newbies" and I thought it was excellent! I decided to share those videos with you in hopes that it will be helpful.

I love couponing and and I love to talk all things coupons, so if you have any questions before or after watching the videos (or just questions about couponing), please leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer.


smoothies in a jar

once again...i'm talking about pinterest.  eventually, i'll get around to posting about pinterest itself, but for now a neat idea i found there.  it's originally from realsimple.com, and you can read about HERE.

most blenders are the same width as a mason jar, so put smoothie ingredients in a jar...
( this is a quart size jar, containing: milk, chocolate protein powder, frozen strawberries)

attach blade, etc to the mouth of the jar...

place onto the blender...

and...tada!  smoothie in a jar...and no blender pitcher to clean!!!  i love drinking out of a mason jar, and you could always put a lid on it and put it in the freezer/fridge.
one thing the article mentions is not to fill the jar more than 1/2 full, and not to use hot liquids.


a book recommendation...

here i am, trying to get back into the swing of things and figuring out the "new normal."  right now, normal is focusing on resting and eating and trying to return to a healthy me.  i'm very thankful to have help from so many, and this week we are enjoying my mom being here...C is especially enjoying that. :)  i have some pretty strict limitations on what i may/may not do, so i've been spending a lot of time on the couch.  boo. hiss.  i am a B.A.D. patient when it comes to resting.  in order to pass the time and try to be productive (i thrive on productivity), i've been spending lots of time reading, and too much time on pinterest...anyone who's been in my house for any length of time lately will tell you i've been on pinterest...and i have found some cool stuff that i've shared with...well, anyone who will listen. :)

more on that later.  for now, here's a book suggestion for you.  i discovered this book on Kristin's blog, and the title caught my interest.  i do not find myself to be reluctant when it comes to entertaining or showing hospitality, but the book sounded interesting anyway.  i'm really glad i read it, because it has some great tips/ideas for entertaining, as well as some yummy recipes!  i was able to get a copy (quickly) from my local library system, but here's a link so you can check it out on amazon...
this book is written particularly to those who find themselves intimidated by having folks into their homes.  her point is that your home does not have to be perfect, the meal does not have to be perfect or gourmet, and usually, your guests will enjoy themselves more if you are relaxed and not stressed about those things.  and, you will enjoy them more too. :)

we recently had opportunity to show hospitality in a last minute situation and we opted to have my husband pick up take-out (fried chicken).  i was really bothered by it at first, but it made for a much more relaxing afternoon/evening, so i was really glad we made that decision.  

i think in the back of our minds (or sometimes the front!), we all tend to think that the house has to look like a magazine picture, and the meal has to be perfect, the kids have to be perfectly well-behaved, and the conversation has to be interesting, inspiring, and always flowing.  this book really helps you to look past that and see what true hospitality really is.

i read it in an afternoon while my husband was working and my daughter was sleeping...about 2-3 hours.  recipes and pictures are mingled throughout and it's an easy and delightful read.  hope you enjoy!



it's a word we've used a lot in the last 5 days.  even though i think i was trying not to face it, the closure i was seeking is only just the beginning.  this act that i thought would bring closure is simply the first step.  true closure is most likely never going to happen...and the reality is, it doesn't have to.  by God's mercy, it doesn't have to.  He gave His only Son...and because of that, we will get to see our son again one day.  so in a sense, we are closing a chapter, but we will continue to look forward to the end of the story.

this act?  what is she talking about?

last night, as the sun was beginning to set, we buried our son's body.  our son, Tobiah Charles.

there's a reason you are given 9 months to decide on a name for your children.  it is not an easy task, especially when you are trying to do it quickly.  but, we both decided (almost immediately) as soon as we saw the meaning of the name Tobiah.  YAHWEH is good.  yes...He is.  even when we don't understand how, we KNOW He is.  even when we are tempted to doubt, we KNOW He is.  this name is fitting as a constant reminder for us.  in our sinful state, we desperately need this constant reminder.  YAHWEH is good.

we have been incredibly blessed through this whole process.  we initially found ourselves very overwhelmed and spinning with trying to find a place to start.  many people donated their time to make this happen for us and we are exceedingly grateful.  words simply cannot express it.

this is probably the last post on this subject, but i needed to put it here.  thank you all for your prayers.  we have truly felt them as we have a peace in knowing that YAHWEH is indeed good, even when we don't understand His providences.  i am thankful to be one of His children, as i cannot imagine this situation without that hope.  as i have tried to understand and figure Him out i keep coming back to C.S. Lewis's description of Aslan...

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver... "Who said anything about safe?" "Course He isn't safe.  but He's good.  He's the King, I tell you."
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