Saturday, May 31, 2008

Weekend Worship - Quiet Time

I know in my head that a true disciple of the Lord will develop and keep a quiet time with Him each day. However, in the craziness of life, so often I fail to include this in my day. Obviously the root of it is plain old selfishness, but it drives me crazy that I can't seem to get it down! I know I use my kids as an excuse, but even they are not a good enough excuse for this one.

I'm open to and looking for suggestions.

What do you do to keep yourself in the Word each day?
How do you prepare your heart for that time?
Do you keep a journal/notebook to record prayer requests and things that you're learning?
What time of day works the best for you?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Foto Friday!

Last weekend I had the privilege of doing a photo shoot with my brand new nephew! He was 5 days old and...well...hungry the whole time. He cried. He pooped. He ate. He pooped again. He ate some more. And he cried.

We pushed him through several photos for about an hour. When we finally decided to call it quits, he lay perfectly still in his mommy's arms and stared at me with his big beautiful eyes. Figures! :)

In the midst of all the chaos, I did manage to get a few good photos. It was the most difficult photo shoot I've done to date, but I think it was also my favorite. Maybe I'm just biased because he's my nephew. Or maybe it's just because I'm such a sucker for babies in general. At any rate, I had a great time and am looking forward to my next "newborn" photo shoot tomorrow. (He's actually 6 weeks old now, but this is the first chance we've had to do any pictures).

As always, it was hard to choose my favorite photo this week, but I'm going to go with this one:

There will likely be at least one of you who thinks that photo is a little creepy and I understand where you're coming from. I used to feel that way too. I mean, where are those hands coming from? Lol. But I've grown to love this pose and it's now one of my favorites for newborns!

By the way, thank you all for your input on the business name. I think I've finally settled on Indy Photography, but I'm very grateful to all of you who left comments, emailed, and otherwise suggested other things for me to consider!

For some reason I am still unable to get the "Foto Friday" logo to properly load. Have any of you tried to post it on your blog and had trouble??

As usual, if you are participating in Foto Friday, leave a comment with a link to your blog so I can come see your favorite photo from this week!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Frugal THIS!

While spending some time with a friend of mine the other day, I observed her change her child's diaper. I almost screamed out loud when she did not tear her baby wipes in half but rather used TWO WHOLE WIPES to clean up a hardly poopy diaper.

I know I'm a complete dork, but I could just see money flying out the window!

What behaviors do you observe, practice, or think about that make you say to yourself, "Okay, I'm way too frugal!"??

Extremely Cheap Makeup!

Nordstrom is buying ELF (Eyes, Lips & Face make-up line). So ELF must sell all of its products with its current logo. Nearly everything in the store is $1 (with the exclusion of cosmetic bags, gift sets, etc).

And here's the real kicker! If you enter ' CAROLINA' as the coupon code, you'll save an additional 50% off your purchase up to $15!

If your make-up supply is running low, now is the time to buy!

Go to the E.L.F. website and stock up before it's all gone!

Thanks to Crystal over at for letting me know that this is not actually true. Nordstrom's is NOT buying E.L.F. and the makeup is always $1. However, according to a friend of mine, the code is actually working. So still a decent deal - just not as great as I thought it was. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wacky Wednesday! Errrrr......

Last week, while sitting in the hospital room, I typed my Wacky Wednesday post. The problem came when I didn't save it as a draft in my blog but rather saved it as a document on the laptop. So what's the big deal, you say? Well, the laptop isn't mine. I was borrowing it while we were at the hospital and I don't have it anymore. So therefore I don't have my Wacky Wednesday post either.

Bummer, I know.

All that to say....I don't have a Wacky Wednesday post for today. :(

Has anything wacky happened to you lately??

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Going Out to Eat

I confess. As much as I love to save money, I’m a total sucker for going out to eat. While intellectually I know that going out to eat is a COMPLETE waste of money, the fact that I don’t have to cook or clean up is oh, so tempting.

When we do go out, we usually go without our kids. It’s not that we don’t love them, but well….if I’m going to fork over the money for someone else to serve me hot food, I want to eat it while it’s hot! And with 2 toddlers and an infant, it’s just not so easy.

We also try to always go out to a place where we have a coupon or a place that has a good special.

We love restaurants that offer double dinner deals. (I.e. Buy 2 meals for $12.99).

On the rare occasions where we take our children with us to a restaurant, we try to pick places that have unlimited supplies of something (usually bread). And of course we like any restaurant that offers free or nearly free kids meals.

What’s your favorite "frugal" restaurant?? How do you save money when you go out to eat??

Monday, May 26, 2008

Money Monday – Do Hospital Bills Stimulate the Economy?

I sure hope hospital bills count toward stimulating the economy, because that’s where half our stimulus check is going. :) Our original plan was to put it all toward our debt snowball and pay off a big chunk of what’s remaining on our auto loan. We were so excited to be paying off more than 1/3 of what was left! But after last week’s hospital experience, I’m glad I didn’t send all our stimulus check money to the bank to pay on our auto loan. I did send in a good portion of it, but we should have enough left to cover our hospital bills.

I know most people plan to do great things with large amounts of money (refund checks, stimulus checks, inheritances, etc.), but sometimes once we get our hands on it, things seem to go a bit differently.

So what about you?? What did you plan to spend your stimulus check on?? And, if you’ve gotten yours back, what did you actually spend it on??

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Foto Friday!

Sorry this is a day late. As I mentioned yesterday, my daughter is in the hospital. We are hoping to be going home today. (That reminds me, I wonder if my Amish Friendship Bread has exploded out of its bag yet...)

I also am unable to get the logo properly loaded today.

Last Friday evening, I had the privilege of doing a photo shoot for our church’s dance team. I did the normal individual and team pictures, but my favorite part was when I did pictures of the company. The sun was setting by the time we got outside and I wasn’t sure if things would work out, but it turned out being the perfect contrast for the pictures! Here is one of my favorites:

Please leave a comment if you participated in Foto Friday so I can check out your photo of the week!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thankful Thursday

(I am writing this blog while at the hospital Thursday afternoon, although I’m not sure when it will be posted since the network here in currently down.)

Early this morning my 8-month old baby girl had surgery on an abscess in her neck. I am very thankful that she is doing well and is resting now.

Since I’m sure that’s not enough information, let me give you the whole story….
Midweek last week we noticed Reagan seemed pretty fussy for no apparent reason and would cry especially when we picked her up. She would also randomly burst out crying while eating or being held, which is exceptionally strange for her. She is a very happy baby.

On Monday morning, I decided to take her to see the doctor. I figured she had an ear infection or something since I had not noticed anything different about her appearance. The doctor checked her mouth, eyes, ears, and then turned her head to the side and asked, “What about this?”

**Bad mom moment!**

There was a very large lump on the side of my daughter’s neck. The doctor said it looked like an infected lymph node and ordered antibiotics to be started. She told me to come back on Wednesday for Reagan to be rechecked and I headed home, medicine in hand.

On Tuesday afternoon I noticed that the lump had dropped a bit lower on her neck and had turned redder. The doctor had not told me to bring her in if it changed in color or location – only if it got bigger. I figured it could wait til the next morning.

When I got the doctor’s office on Wednesday, I was pretty sure I should have brought her in the day before. The lump was still getting redder and had moved even further down her neck.
I waited for the doctor and when he arrived one of the first questions he asked me was, “Have you been out of the country lately?”


That’s never the question you want to hear at the doctor’s office. Since we had not made any elaborate trips to Paris or Cancun, he said he would bring in another doctor to look at her. They both squished the lump on her neck. She was not happy. They decided to call the ENT doctor (ear, nose, and throat), who proceeded to have me come in that afternoon.

He looked at her neck and squished it. By now, Reagan was getting pretty tired of seeing new faces. By the time the next ENT doctor came in (to get a 2nd opinion…or really a 4th opinion), she was crying. She was not interested in seeing any more new people. Nevertheless, he squished her neck too. They agreed that she should have a CAT scan.
“It feels very firm, so it’s pretty unlikely that there is any fluid in there but if there is it will need to be drained as soon as possible,” he told me. I asked him about a million questions before concurring that this was probably a necessary thing.

My husband joined us at the hospital for the CAT scan. Watching my 8-month old baby get an IV put in her arm was not exactly what I had planned for my Wednesday afternoon, but…well, it had to be done. She did well for the CAT scan. Well, okay, she actually screamed the whole time. But she sat still enough that we did not need to repeat the process.

Of course nobody in radiation could tell us anything. They sent us back to the ENT doctor. We waited and waited until everyone else had gone. Finally the nurse brought us back to the exam room. The doctor came in a few minutes later and said nonchalantly, “Yep, there’s a bunch of fluid in there, so she’s going to need to have surgery.”
Well that’s fine, doc….but couldn’t you find a more…I don’t know…roundabout way of saying it instead of just blurting it out?

He sent us to the hospital, where our baby girl was given a new IV, this one in her head. Although she looked terrible, we agreed that it was probably the best place for us since she would be less likely to pull on the cord and the nurse had informed us that there are fewer nerve endings up there anyway. We spent the night and she was whisked off to surgery at exactly 7am.
Less than 45 minutes later, the doctor came to the waiting room to tell us that the surgery was over and that she was doing well. We were able to see her a few minutes later. She was extremely crabby. But having just woken up from anesthesia, I couldn’t really blame her.

The doctors tell us she is doing well and that we should be out of the hospital by Saturday. They do not know yet what caused the infection (or even if it really was an infection), but it’s draining now and that’s the main thing. They are running tests on the fluid to see if they can determine what caused it, but they sound uncertain as to whether or not the tests will yield any true results since Reagan had already been on antibiotics for 2 days prior to the surgery.

At any rate, she seems to be somewhat back to her normal self, and we’re happy about that.
Praise the Lord for His never ending faithfulness!

UPDATE: This morning (Friday) we are awaiting a visit from another ENT doctor. We expect to be here until at least tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wacky Wednesday!

Wacky Wednesday - noun - the funniest day on Today's Daily Dose. See also: My life.

As I stated on Sunday, I have officially declared May 2008 as the busiest month of my life. Nevertheless I am here devoting my life to my blog readers! :)

And while I'm here I would just like to announce that I am a new aunt! (Well, I'm actually the same aunt as I was before, but now I have a new nephew!) Baby Benjamin joined the world yesterday evening! (Congrats, Greg and Katy!)

Okay, but all of that exciting news is not the wackiness for the day. I received the following video yesterday via email and found it pretty hilarious in a...well....kind of creepy sort of way. You'll have to watch it to see what I mean. :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Salad For a Week!

I have posted before about some of the things I send with my hubby for his lunch. Most weeks I do send him a different meal each day, but some weeks I just send him one large meal to eat over several days. This week, I did that for Wednesday through Friday. We had a head of lettuce that needed to get used up, so can you guess what he got? A big bowl of salad, of course!

Since my husband doesn't mind eating just salad for lunch (as long as it's a hearty portion), I try to make sure it's well balanced. This salad has ham, cheese, carrots, tomato, green onion, and green pepper on it! I sent him with a bottle of ranch and a bag of croƻtons, so he would be set through Friday!

I'm always open to new ideas! What kinds of food do you take to work or send with your spouse??

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Monday - CVS Diapers on Clearance!

I typically do a few CVS shopping trips on the weekend since I am out. This weekend I picked up some things from both weeks' sales and then found that there were several packages of diapers on clearance. (Note: "were" - I completely bought them all. Typically I don't do that but seeing as they were all size 2 and that's what size my daughter is in, I did wipe them out this time.)

I don't have time to go into details right now, but here is a combination of two trips. Total OOP: Less than $5. And technically not even OOP since I have a CVS gift card right now.

*Big cheesy grin*

Okay, here it is:

Sorry about the blur. Anyway, exciting huh? :) I did have to wipe out some ECB to get the diapers but it was WELL worth it. I still have $4 left, so it will be a slow work up to where I started (around $30), but isn't that what this CVSing thing is all about? Making money so the stuff you need is free? Yep!

How have your CVS trips been lately??

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I posted last Friday (9 days ago) about my having achieved an "Excellent Blog" award. I mentioned that you could leave your blog address (or favorite blog) in the comments section and that I would give my 10 favorite blogs the "Excellent Blog" award by the following Friday. Well, Friday has now come and gone and I have not chosen any blogs yet. (This means you still have time to fit yours in!) But let me tell you why....

I am hereby declaring this month the busiest month of my life. I mean, sure - I have had other busy months. But I'm pretty sure this one tops them all. Does it sound like I'm making an excuse? Well, I am.

I am also making an excuse for Sunday's blog not being posted. Well....I'm not making a new excuse. I'm just stealing that one up there and using it again. Where is Sunday's blog? It's not here. Why? Because this month has been formally declared as the busiest month of my life. How does that affect my capabilities to blog a few paragraphs each day? It just does.

So, my deepest apologies to all of you who so kindly frequent my blog each day. I do plan to get up some scenarios for some great May CVS deals sometime this week along with all those other normal daily posts. :)

I also want to encourage you to email me or leave a comment if there is something new you'd like to see on this blog or if you want to submit something (like a recipe, funny story, etc.) for posting!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I'll be back tomorrow! :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Foto Friday - It's Official!

I can just imagine how many of you awaken each Friday morning and immediately rush to your computer to see what fun concoction of Friday-ness I have posted for the day! Well, okay...if you're a regular reader, you wouldn't do that because you would know that I rarely post anything before noon. But that would, of course, be the only reason not to rush to your computer to check. :)

I've decided I am going to make it official. Foto Friday! Yes, I do know how to spell the word "photo", but you know me...everything has to start with the same letter as the day. Anyway, here's how it's going to work....

Each Friday, I will post my favorite picture from the past week. I currently foresee myself posting primarily pictures that I have taken, but I will not forbid myself from posting a funny or interesting photo that I might come across here on the world wide web.

If you would like to participate, you are more than welcome to do so on your own blog! You may copy the "Foto Friday" picture at the top of this blog (or any future Foto Friday blog) if you'd like and post it in your blog along with your favorite picture from the past week. If you want to, you're welcome to leave a comment in my Foto Friday blog linking to your Foto Friday blog. Make sense?

Hope so. Alright, I'll get us started. My favorite picture from this week was taken yesterday morning during playgroup. My two year-old daughter insisted that I take her shoes off and let her play barefoot in the wood chips. I told her that she wouldn't like it and that I would show her. So I took her shoes off and put her down. She ran off and played another hour. Somehow, amazingly, she got no slivers.

You're next!

**Regardless of the fact that I have "officialized" Foto Friday, I still reserve the right to change Foto Friday to any other theme at any given time.**

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Another Photography Story

For those of you who have absolutely no interest in photography whatsoever, I'm terribly sorry. I must be boring you to death with these posts.

However, I want to praise the Lord today that I finally got a site up for my photography business! Well, it's just a Myspace page, but it's better than nothing. It's really all I have time for right now anyway.

And on that note, I have another HUGE praise! Yesterday I was contacted about doing 3 upcoming photo shoots (2 weddings and a dance recital) and today I was contacted about doing one more (newborn)! I don't anticipate my business will be continuing to rapidly increase at this pace forever, but for now I will simply consider it a great jumpstart!

I have yet to get a nice camera and will be borrowing cameras for these upcoming events. I think that will be helpful to me though, since I will be able to get a feel for a few different ones and learn how to operate them - at least somewhat.

I am very excited to see where God is taking me in this new adventure! If you'd like to check out the site (which is still under construction), you may do so by clicking here.

I'm undecided on the name. I originally chose Before and After Photography since my main focus is going to be on doing maternity and newborn photos. I also thought that would tie in with engagement and wedding photos. However, I feel that I might limit myself with that name. Also, someone mentioned to me that they thought it sounded like I did makeovers with before and after pictures.

So I did a little research. I discovered that there is no business in town called Indy Photography. And as I keep typing that and talking about it, that name is starting to grow on me. So I'm now considering that instead.

What do you think? Which do you like better? I've put up a new poll on the top right side of the screen asking which name you prefer. Would you please help me out by voting?

Also, I'm completely in the dark about buying a new camera. It's still several months away, since we won't be buying one until we are out of debt but I'd love to hear what all of you use!

Oh, and by the way, I'm so impressed that so many of my readers clean their toilets every week! Great job, everyone! (And to those of you who said you only clean it when it looks dirty, I'm totally with you!) :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wacky Wednesday - Some Mom Fun

In light on this past weekend being Mother's Day, I could not help but ask you to take a look at this video. It's fairly short - just over 3 minutes - but I guarantee it's 3 minutes of laughter!

I don't typically make it a habit of posting videos here, but this one is just too funny. This comedian has taken everything that a mom says in a 24-hour period and condensed it down to 2 minutes and 55 seconds! You may have to watch it multiple times to catch everything!

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - What's YOUR Favorite Meal?

My absolute favorite meal of all time is my mom's roast beef. She's probably reading this and laughing because I KNOW all she does is top it with a package of onion soup, add some water, and throw it in the oven. Nevertheless, my roasts never turn out quite like hers.

I prefer to eat my roast with mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots, and homemade biscuits, but right now I'd be fine with anything. Since beginning our journey to become debt free last April, I have not purchased a roast. And I'll be honest - I miss them dearly. But since $10 is a fifth of our weekly grocery budget, I will put it off for another few months until our debt is gone. But rest assured, a roast beef dinner WILL be my celebratory meal! :)

Aside from that, I am totally in love with chicken noodle soup. Not the Campbells junk, but my chicken noodle soup. Call it arrogant if you want to, but it's the best! Shredded chicken, carrots, celery, onion, penne noodles, salt, and LOTS of pepper all cooked in a savory chicken broth! Mmm, I'm tempted to go get that prepped bag out of the freezer and make it for dinner now. If only it wasn't 70 degrees outside!

your favorite meal?? Do you like different meals in different seasons?? Leave me a comment or a link to a blog post so I can try your favorite meal!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Money Monday - How To Be A SAHM

Perhaps you're wondering how exactly this ties into Money Monday, but let me remind you - the average woman cannot be a stay-at-home-mom without seriously considering the family finances.

As I have said before, there are MANY ways to cut your budget. (I listed several in my budgeting series a few months ago). My personal favorite way to cut a budget is to start with the grocery budget. For our family of 5, I spend $200/month on groceries and toiletries. I do this mainly by clipping coupons and shopping at CVS.

Today I'd like to propose an idea. Here it is: You CAN be a stay-at-home-mom!

In today's culture, it seems shocking to live on just one income but I assure you - we are living proof that it is indeed possible and that, in fact, it works wonderfully for our family!

I do expect to receive some hate mail for this. Nevertheless, for today's Money Monday, I feel the need to refer you to this post (from my other blog) anyway: You CAN Stay Home!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekend Worship - Modesty, Part 4

First of all...Happy Mother's Day to all you moms! I hope you are having a wonderful day! I was very blessed to have my parents visit this weekend so I got to spend part of Mother's Day with my mom.

This week will conclude my 4-week series on modesty. I hope you have gleaned some new information or have refreshed your mind about how to dress modestly and instruct the young ladies around you to dress modestly. As I mentioned last week, I want to post something this week that was written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She has several articles and books about modesty along with a great number of other topics. I recently attended a Bible study where we used her book "Seeking Him". It was the most fantastic study I've ever done! I also just started reading "Lies Women Believe", which is also excellent! I highly recommend her books to anyone who is interested in delving into a deeper relationship with the Lord.

Anyway, this particular article is called "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: The Decision to Live Your Life for God's Glory".

There's no question about it. The decision to live your life for God's glory will require some tough choices. It will probably take more time to shop, and your clothing may actually cost a little more. You may not look as cool or "in" as you would like, and sometimes you just might have to stand out in a crowd as someone who is different. But remember, you are different. You have a different citizenship and you were bought with a costly price!

As you evaluate your wardrobe, you'll need courage to ask specific, practical questions:
  • Is there writing (or picture) on my clothing that emphasizes private parts of my body?
  • If someone were to look at me, where would their eyes naturally go - to my face, eyes, hips, thighs, breasts, etc?
  • Where do I want men looking when I come into view?
  • Is the fabric that I'm wearing too sheer?
  • Could someone see through it to private parts of my body?
  • Am I wearing tight, form-fitting clothes?
  • Do my pants fit correctly?
  • Are my pants too tight? Do they cling to the hips, thighs, etc.?
  • Am I wearing anything provocative?
As you examine individual items in your wardrobe, stand in front of a mirror. Bend forward and ask yourself, "Can I see private parts that a man (other than my husband, if you're married) shouldn't see?" If the answer is "yes," you are dressed immodestly. Look from all angles - front, back, and sides - while walking, sitting, moving, stretching, and bending. Remember, we often bend over to pick up packages or children, or to get into and out of a car. Ask yourself, "What will others notice and see? Where will others' attention be drawn - toward breasts, hips, thighs, etc.? Why do I want to wear this outfit? Why do I like this style?" Your heart attitude is key here. Ask the Lord to help you represent Him well. Ask for a teachable, open, obedient heart. If you're married, ask your husband to help you understand what your clothes and appearance communicate to men. Ask him if your clothing is modest. If you're not married, ask your father or old woman these same questions. Modesty Resolutions Prayerfully consider, "Am I truly modest - according to God's standard?" Then determine to be a woman after God's own heart. Do you desire for your appearance to reveal a modest, godly heart? If so, here are seven choices I'd like to challenge you to make:

"Your clothing should be tight enough to show that you're a woman, but loose enough to show that you're a lady!"

  1. Resolve to live to please God and to bring Him glory.
  2. Yield (dedicate) your body to God. Say, "Lord, this body belongs to You."
  3. Resolve to be modest because that's what pleases God.
  4. Resolve to be pure (inwardly and outwardly).
  5. Resolve never to dress in a way that could tempt men to have lustful thoughts.
  6. Be willing to stand against the culture when it's contrary to God's Word and ways.
  7. Be humble and open to the input of others.
Remember that it's possible to have a modest outward appearance while having the heart of a Pharisee (critical, self-righteous, and judgmental toward those who do not see things the way you do). Modesty doesn't mean that you have the corner on truth. Give God room and time to work in the lives of other people - don't say "Because I see it that way, that's how it should be." Remember, you're not the Holy Spirit.

Ask God to help you communicate modesty to others in a winsome way. Speak truth with a tender heart, compassion, and love. Make the truth as attractive as possible.

The Blessings of Modesty
Modesty is something good, desirable, and precious. There are many blessings you can experience as a result of modesty. They include:
  • Peace: You'll know that you are obedient to God.
  • Power: You'll be free from enslavement to fashion, fads, and others' opinions.
  • Protection: You'll be guarded from the wrong kind of attention from the wrong kind of men. (Dressing modestly doesn't guarantee that "the wrong kind of men" will never give you unwanted attention, but it sure helps!)
  • Purity: You'll attract the right kind of attention from the right kind of guys.
  • Privilege: You'll experience great freedom in marriage as your body is reserved only for your husband.
  • Praise: You'll be valued for spiritual and heart qualities more than physical characteristics.

© Revive Our Hearts. Used with permission.

Last week, I promised a list of resources to be used for researching modesty, so here it is:

Christian Books:

Becoming a Woman of Discretion in a Sensual World
by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

The Look - Does God Really Care What I Wear?
by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

For Women Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Men
by Shaunti Feldhahn

Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture That's Gone Stark Raving Mad
by Rebecca Hagelin

Secular Books:

A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue
by Wendy Shalit

Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It's Not Bad to Be Good

by Wendy Shalit

Christian Websites:

Revive Our Hearts

4 Women Only

Pure Fashion

The Rebelution Blog

Secular Websites:

Girls Gone Mild

Modesty Zone

Resource List compiled by Barbara Hult

Stay tuned for upcoming Weekend Worship topics like "You Don't Have to Sin for God's Plan to Succeed", "The Liberal Christian", and "Where Have All the Bibles Gone?"!

Friday, May 9, 2008

I Won An Award!

Jennifer over at Sisterly Savings has kindly awarded me with the Excellent Blog Award! (Thanks, Jennifer!)

Now here's the catch. I'm supposed to pass on the kindness by awarding 10 more bloggers the Excellent Blog Award. much as I hate to admit it, with three kids 3 and under in this house, I don't get around to actually reading a lot of blogs - only blogging myself. I fear that I don't regularly (or even occasionally) read 10 blogs.

So here's the deal: Leave me a comment with your blog address and I will check it out (in all that spare time I have). :) Then, next Friday, I will award my favorite 10 bloggers with the Excellent Blog Award!



Freebie Friday!!

Yep, that's right. I'm still mixing it up. I settled on Freebie Friday today since I know of several freebies at the moment that I want to share with all of you!

400 Free Digital Photo Prints and a Photo Book
ArtsCow is a new digital photo printing company and is doing an excellent promotion to get things kicked off! Get 200 free 4x6 prints, 200 free 5x7 prints, and a free 8x8 custom cover photo book just for signing up! On top of that, when you refer someone who places an order with ArtsCow, you get another 200 free prints! (And of course your friend gets the same great deal you got!) This is for a limited time, so don't wait long!

Free Ice Cream On Mother's Day (Thanks, Money Saving Mom!)

If you're a mom, you can get a free cup or cone for Mother's Day at TCBY. Details are here. (Be sure to contact your store ahead of time to make sure they are participating.)

There is also a rumor that Cold Stone Creamery stores will offer a free Like-It size with up to 3 mix-ins to mothers on Mother's Day, Sunday May 11, 2008. Apparently this was advertised in some of the coupon circulars last Sunday across the nation, but be sure to call your local store to see if they are participating.

Free Dessert in the Month of May
Sign up for Boston Market's Mom's Party and receive a coupon for a free dessert, good all month long. (Meal purchase required).

Free Chicken Biscuit or Sandwich

Try the new Southern Style Chicken Biscuit (AM hours) or Sandwich (PM hours) free with the purchase of a medium or large drink on Thursday, May 15.

Any other excellent freebies available right now??

Thursday, May 8, 2008

How Often Do You Clean Your Toilet?

I always find it intriguing to learn about other people's cleaning habits and schedules.

I've added a new post on the top right side of the screen. Please vote so I can learn if my toilets are cleaner or dirtier than yours! :)

Also, feel free to leave me a comment sharing how you do your household cleaning. Do you have a schedule? Do you clean when things look dirty? Let me know!

Thankful Thursday - A Successful Shoot!

I don't know if I've talked much about my aspiration to be a photographer, but it is indeed one of my dreams. In addition to the fact that I love photography, it just seems like it would work so perfectly with my schedule. I could set up appointments for the evenings or weekends and it wouldn't interrupt my ability to be a SAHM.

Anyway, yesterday I did my very first photo shoot with some friends who are expecting their first baby in a few weeks. It was so much fun! I completely tore apart our bedroom to set up my makeshift "studio" and then the sun decided to go away. But regardless, the pictures came out pretty well!

I'm so thankful that we were able to find a time to do pictures before the little one arrives! I'm also thankful that all 8 of my batteries did not die on me at the same time (as they oftentimes do)! (Yes, I know...we need new batteries).

Unfortunately, my camera looks NOTHING like that camera up there. In fact, my camera is here. If you just clicked that link, you're probably laughing at the idea that I would even consider doing photography with something like that! Nevertheless, I thought the pictures turned out rather well. And as soon as we are out of debt, I'm definitely going to invest in something a bit nicer. Okay, a lot nicer. :)

And just for fun, here are a few photos from our shoot yesterday....

So today, I'm thankful that my first photo shoot wasn't a complete flop!

What are you thankful for??

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wacky Wednesday - Hair Gone Wild!

I had what you might call a wacky day today. Hence the reason for this blog being posted near midnight. But my crazy day is not what I'm going to post about.

I oftentimes get a kick out of what people decide to do with their hair. So here we have some very wacky hairstyles....

(Oh, and by the way, pay close attention if you're considering changing your hairstyle anytime soon. There are some GREAT ideas here!)

Since this child appears to be under 2 years of age, can we assume that someone intentionally did this to their child?

Same for this guy. Either that, or I'm guessing he's in lots of trouble!

My guess? She fell asleep inside a dryer.

By the looks of this photo, I'm gonna go ahead and say this picture is indeed a fake. However, the point remains - someone actually took the time to design this hairstyle.

This girl looks old enough to do her own hair. But perhaps she should attend beauty school...just in case.

Hey, are those my missing paper towel rolls??

I'm pretty sure they edited out the rake behind his hair.

The guy on the left appears to have missed the memo.

Think you have long hair? Think again!

In case you're wondering what you would do with all that hair, here's a pretty sweet idea! And yes, that is all hair. Gross, I know.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Kids In The Kitchen, Part 4

Today concludes our series on Kids in the Kitchen. Thanks to all of you who have given suggestions for ways kids can help out in the kitchen! I could not have written the series without you! :)

The topic today is supposed to be "How Teens Can Help In The Kitchen" and I'd like to propose what may be a somewhat new idea to some of you.

I have been reading the book Do Hard Things and recently learned that the word "teenager" did not even exist until it was printed in a Reader's Digest article in 1914. The stages of life used to be 1) child and 2) adult. For some reason, we have added this category of "teenager" in the middle. Children used to reach adulthood around age 12-14, at which point they were old enough to (and typically expected to) begin a career, get married, and start a family. While I'm not proposing we lower the legal marriage age to 12, I do think there are some good points to draw from this.

Teens are often looked upon as lazy and rebellious. But why is that? Could it be that we have, in fact, caused them to be so lazy by lowering the standards? Do parents today expect their 15 year olds to help with dinner each night, do their own laundry, and care for their younger siblings while Mom and Dad are busy? Most parents don't. Is that because they don't think their teen is capable of doing those things? Probably not. They just know that, since their 15 year old is a teen, they would whine and complain and very grudgingly do all of those things...if they did them at all.

But what if, while the children were still young, the parents planned to set high expectations for their teens - much higher than those set by the culture around them? What if children knew what was expected of them and were heartily encouraged to do those things? Teens want to be challenged. And, if given the opportunity, most will rise to a challenge set in front of them.

Don't assume that just because you have teenagers in the house, they are going to be lazy. Tell them what you expect of them and don't lower the bar if they don't perform immediately. The "rebellious" part might kick in because of the way our society has handled these teen years for almost a century now. Your teen may say it's unfair or stupid that they are being asked to do such "impossible" tasks. But I will argue that, while saying these things to you outwardly, your teen will likely be inwardly thanking you for giving them a challenge instead of just letting them slide by in their laziness. And if not now, they will certainly thank you later for teaching them to be a responsible, well-balanced adult!

If you've made it this far, you're no doubt wondering where my list of ideas is for ways your teens can help around the kitchen. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but...there is no list. Teens are fully capable of doing everything you do around the kitchen - taking out the trash, making dinner, doing dishes, setting and clearing the table, sweeping and mopping the floor....even buying and putting away the groceries.

So give your teens some responsibility! Break society's mold of the lazy and rebellious teen and teach your teen how to be an adult instead of a video-game-playing, time-wasting, junk-food-eating child!

Other parts of this series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Money Monday - A Grocery Strike

I occasionally go on strike from grocery shopping. Well,'s not exactly a strike per say. But I sometimes skip a week just to use up what we have in the house already. I may stop at the store and grab some milk, but other than that, we just make do with what is in our pantry and freezer and eat any leftovers that may be in the fridge.

This week is looking to be one of those weeks. I typically grocery shop on the weekend when my husband is home, because - well, let's face it - taking 2 toddlers and an infant on a trip to the grocery store is 1) not very enjoyable, 2) filled with whining, and 3) completely impractical - where do you put the groceries if your cart is full of children? I did not make it this weekend and I'm starting to think that's okay. I stocked up on milk last week at CVS, so we're good there. We have lots of chicken and beef from when it was on sale the past few weeks. And we have plenty of frozen veggies, rice, and potatoes. What more could we need?

Have you ever gone on a "grocery strike"? I encourage you to try it! Not only will it save you some money. It will also help you find and prepare some foods that may otherwise go bad if not eaten soon? We have enjoyed (well, eaten) some meals that were made up of some, shall we say, rather unusual combinations during some of these "grocery strikes" at our house (i.e. oatmeal w/ green beans). Nevertheless, we lived to tell about it and our grocery budget benefited from it too!

Tonight we had grilled Italian chicken, mashed potatoes, and mixed veggies (various veggie leftovers).
Tuesday's dinner will be spaghetti w/ meat sauce and garlic toast.
On Wednesday, we will have meatloaf (from the freezer), potatoes, veggies, and homemade biscuits.
Thursday night is breakfast night! Bacon and cheese omelets w/ toast! (I noticed we have a lot of eggs). Yummo!
Friday's dinner is yet to be decided, but as you can see, we will probably not go hungry. I'm thinking chicken sandwiches right now.
Saturday we have a cookout at a friend's home, so no cooking required.

See how easy that was? Now you try it! :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Weekend Worship - Modesty, Part 3

Sorry I am late posting this. My intention was to watch a movie with my hubby last night and then get to work blogging, but things didn't turn out as I had planned when I fell asleep on the couch and didn't wake up until after 1am. Anyway, this week I want to continue my series on modesty. I think I said last week that I was only going to do one more post (making a total of 3), but I do believe there will be yet another one after this week. So please bear with me. There is such a wealth of information on this topic and I don't want to miss anything crucial.

This week, I want to share something written by Trent Griffith. I don't know that I have much to say in addition to this message. When I read it, I though it seemed powerful enough on its own:

If I remember right, the year was 1985. As a pimple-faced high-school senior, I attended a Christian youth convention along with 7,000 other bundles of exploding hormones (otherwise known as teenagers). The keynote speaker was a young and impressive black preacher who held us on the edge of our seats with his high energy, constant motion, and vivid word pictures. His assignment that day was to call us to a life of moral purity. His passion for the subject was evidenced by the fact that with each point, his voice would raise an octave. At the climax of his message, he turned his attention toward the girls among us. Unhindered by what seemed like gravel on his vocal chords and sweat beads on his forehead, his voice crescendoed with a plea I will never forget: "IF YOU DON'T WANT ME TO COME TO YOUR PARTY, THEN DON'T SEND ME AN INVITATION!"

Wow. Chew on that.

Next week, I will share an article written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (one of my FAVORITE Christian authors) which will include, among other things, a checklist of specific, practical questions for evaluating your wardrobe. I will also be posting a list of resources about modesty.

Other parts of this series:

Part 1
Part 2

Who Are You?

In the past few weeks, several people at my church have mentioned to me that they read my blog. I had no idea that so many "real life" people read it and I honestly have no idea how some of them found it. Nevertheless, I am finding an increase in my traffic and I'm beginning to wonder...

Who is reading my blog??

Do you know me?? How did you find my blog??

Leave me a comment and let me know! :)

Friday, May 2, 2008


I feel like I keep changing up my theme days, but I always think of it this way: If I don't like them, does that mean other people find them boring too?

I recently decided not to be so dogmatic about what themes were on what days and just let myself have more freedom (and therefore more FUN) with my blog.

For the first few months, I did Fitness Fridays. Then last week, I did Fun Friday. I know of other blogs that do Frugal Friday, but I hate to be a copycat! :)

Friendly Fridays would make me feel like I should be a co-host of a PBS show.
Furious Fridays seem a little out-rage-ous. (Ok, seriously bad pun - sorry).
Fuzzy Fridays might be appropriate....that is, if I actually liked animals.
Focused Fridays sound like an awful lot of work.
Funky Fridays would require too much tie-dye.
Fabulous Fridays seem...well...I don't know, I guess I kind of like that one.

I mean, I don't mind rotating, but...what do I rotate around??

Anyone have any 'F' ideas for me??

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thankful Thursday - A Moment Of Beauty

Something happened to me today. I listened to the voice of God. I know that makes me sound like I'm usually running from it or something like that, but here's the story....

We didn't leave playgroup until close to 2pm this afternoon. Nap time officially starts at 1pm in our house, so that was an obvious accident. Since I knew my kids would fall asleep in the van, I decided to stop and get some gas and then run through the drive-thru at the bank on the way home.

Our van is never silent. It's not the kids or me. It's music. I love music. If the radio isn't on, there's a cd in the player. And if a cd isn't in the player, I'm singing. Music overcomes my life sometimes and today it was trying to do just that.

As I drove home from the bank, with the kids sleeping in the back, I heard a still small voice (yes, over the music) that said to me, "Be still". I reluctantly turned down the music. " still," I distinctly heard. Okay, okay. I turned the music off. What happened next was a beautiful piece of my life.

In the 5 minutes following, I had one of the most wonderful moments with the Lord that I've ever had. We connected in the stillness and He spoke to me in a way I don't experienced very often. I prayed, I confessed, I cried, and I praised God.

As I turned the corner onto our street, I noticed both of my kids stirring in the backseat. Within seconds, I heard "Mommy...." and at that moment I knew that if I had not been still - if I had not turned the music off - I would have missed a most beautiful time with God.

I am so thankful for what the Lord is teaching me, doing in my life, and doing in the lives of those around me.

What has God been teaching you lately??