Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tips On Planning a Vacation & Being Frugal

My guest blogger today is Bethany. I have been following her blog for quiet sometime now. She is such a sweet woman of God. I know you will enjoy her today.

We still have a few weeks left of the vacation season for 2013, but now is the time to be thinking about a 2014 vacation.  Lately I’ve seen pictures on Facebook from all sorts of family vacations.  Several have gone to Disney Land or a cruise for a week while others have stayed closer to home for a couple of days away.  

 Most families I know enjoy going on some type of vacation.   Being someplace different from your regular home is a nice way to relax and make happy memories together, doing things you normally don’t get to do.   I still remember vacations we took when I was a child. I remember that some of the best memories were the vacations closest to home out at a State Park not far from our house.  We went to a different place each year while my husband’s family always went to the same beach for their vacations.  There are many ways to enjoy a vacation but one big consideration is your spending.   

Being wise about spending is something that is extremely important to me.   It is NOT wise to put your vacation expenses on a credit card.  How can you use wisdom when it comes to planning a vacation?  

 The most important thing I think is to plan ahead.  Start thinking now about where you want to go next summer and what is realistic for your family budget. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page about your expenses going into the planning too.  

 We have gone through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and since then have used an envelope cash system for part of our expenses.  Each time my husband gets paid I divide cash into various envelopes (that could be a whole different post).  “Vacation” is one of those envelopes. Every pay period I’m putting back a little money for the vacation.  It isn’t a lot but it does add up over the year.  I have found this works well for us.  The money in that envelope is only used for vacation.  I don’t go into that envelope to buy other stuff for the house or family.  Decide what will work for your budget.  

 Let me give you an example.  You may choose that you could set aside $40 per pay period, which would be $480 in a year.  This may be too much for you right now with your other expenses. Realize that it may take longer than a year to save enough money for a vacation and that is okay.  Set a goal though and be dedicated to working towards that goal.  Something else to remember is that if you get the entire family on board you can find ways to raise money together for the trip.   For example, you could have a garage sale or take some clothes to a consignment sale.  It is a great thing to work together as a family towards a goal of a vacation together.

 Second, I’d urge you not to compare your vacation to the vacations of others.  You must make the decision to do what is right for you and your family without trying to go to the spot it seems that everyone else is going if you can’t afford that. Be content and God will honor your wise spending.    
There is much more I could write about vacation and vacation planning.  I just really wanted to encourage you with this bit today to be planning now for the future.  A vacation is a great way to make memories as a family that will last a lifetime.  But also remember it is no fun if you put it on a credit card and do things you can’t really afford.  Start planning now so you can enjoy your time away next summer without worrying about the expenses when you get home.

I want to thank Bethany for guest posting on my blog. She had some great tips! We have been saving up for our upcoming vacation next month. I love the envelope idea! Don't forget to hop over to her blog and check her out. She is such a sweetheart.

Bethany has been married for 12 amazing years to her college sweetheart that is her best friend.  They have been blessed with one son,Caleb,who is 8 years old. They've had two miscarriages, one in January 2003 and one in April 2013. She loves reading, singing, writing,volunteering, blogging, being a stay at home Mom, and spending time with her boys. One of her favorite verses is Matthew 5:16--"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven." Bethany blogs over at Raindrops & Rainbows.

Monday, July 29, 2013

From Missions to Motherhood

When we let God change our hearts and desires it really is amazing. Sometimes He does it without us even knowing it, I think. Sometimes He does it and we resist and rebel.

I really didn't know He was changing mine. Looking back on the pas 6 years I can see that He did. He did not necessarily take my former desires away,but He put other ones in me that take priority over the former ones.

I longed to be in foreign missions after I went on a mission trip in 2003 to Honduras. It was my first time out of country and I was excited. I had no clue what it would be like. It was heartbreaking. It was inspiring. It was hard. Seeing people so in need of things that I had taken fore-granted every. single. day. Seeing children with no one to care for them and no where to sleep. Seeing very young men in prison or detention centers that were so hardened towards anyone. It was an eye opener for me, a young high school graduate, that came from a land of plenty. I had family who loved me. I had food galore. I had clothes,a bed,a home,and I had Jesus. It shook me to the core. It radically changed how I looked at things once I came back to America. Like a believer set on fire for the first time I wanted to run,to go,to help. I wanted to go live there and be the hands and feet of Jesus. I prayed and prayed for that country. I had a heart for the people.

I never got to go do what I wanted. I never had an open door to go back there. I ended up going to Bible college,a small Baptist college in North Mississippi. I married the love of my life and we moved to the big city. I haven't forgotten about Honduras or missions. Life just took me a different course. I thought is this really what I should be doing? What about the children,the women,the people? Where are they? God heard my prayers those days in my dorm at college when I asked Him to mold me and shape me into the image of Jesus. Oh boy did He. He gave me 3 precious boys,who have done so much for me.

I fought it at first. I didn't want to be just a Mother. I mean, I sit at home all day taking care of children who have no clue how hard it is. I wanted to do something big for God. Something important. Changing diapers? Fixing 3 meals a day,not to mention snacks? Important? Yes,very. Jesus washed the nasty,dirty feet of his disciples. He got down on their level,He served them. I am being the hands and feet of Jesus when I care for my children and husband. God began to speak to me about my children being those in need of Jesus. Just because they are born here in America doesn't mean they know Jesus. No one does until they are told what He has done for them. It was my job to rear these precious children and guide them to the Lord in all that I do. It struck me. It was a glorious eye opener. It was like I had my own mission field in my home. I could literally pour so much of the Word into these boys that they could be so full of God like I wanted the people in Honduras to be. It was amazing.

I can look back and say I still long to do mission work overseas,but for now I am so passionate about my boys. I love them with a fierce love and it's not me at all,t's all the Lord. I want them to know more about Jesus,God, and the Word that they will impact their generation at an early age. God put His heart in me for my children. It isn't easy and it's a lot of blood,sweat,and tears. It's a lot of praying and crying too. But these are my little lost souls that I am I responsible for. I have to plant seeds so the Holy Spirit can move upon them and draw them to the Living God. I pray daily that when the Spirit draws them they will come and they will surrender. I want them to be radical for Jesus. I want them to love Him so much and live for Him in every detail of their lives. What we do with our children is so important. It's so vital. They will have to make decisions we are making today and that is important work.

Mothers we have a mission field in our own home!! Don't forsake it. Embrace it and draw your strength from the Lord. He will uphold you with His mighty right hand.

The work of the Holy Spirit is so amazing. It's so sacred. God loves us so much and wants to use us,if we will just open our hearts to Him.What desire does God want to put in you?

Linking up with Darlene @ Time-Warp Wife for Titus 2sdays.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cleaning, how do you do it?

As I was cleaning this morning, I thought why not write a cleaning post? I usually don't brainstorm my posts in the form of writing it down. I am usually doing something around the house and a light bulb turns on in my head. I then think about it most of the day until I can sit down to write on the computer. I think of what to say and when I finally get a chance to sit,I start writing and it just flows.

I never grew up cleaning the house. I never grew up washing dishes. The extent of cleaning I did was cleaning my bedroom,which didn't get that messy. Mama just did everything herself as far as I can remember. When I got married I did clean what was necessary,but no deep cleaning. I was clueless really. We have been married for 7 years almost and in the past year and a half I just started a cleaning schedule. Yes. I know. It's crazy. I came across a post, Daily Housekeeping Schedule, from Darlene at Time-Warp Wife about a cleaning schedule. Here is another post that goes along with the above one, House Cleaning Schedule. Something sparked in me and I said this is something I need to do. I printed out the post and adjusted it to what worked well for me. Over the last year I have changed it some and it has worked great for me.

Now that I clean like this, I love it. I love to clean. Did I just say that? I did. I think I get it from my Mother,who also loves to clean still. I can't imagine not cleaning like this now. I wanted to share my cleaning schedule and tips that I have with you ladies.

  • clean toilet- I try to do this in the mornings after I get my shower. If I don't clean it then, I do it after our quiet time in the afternoon. I like to use Comet and PineSol on a magic eraser. It works well. I even used a little washing detergent today. I have a toilet brush I use for inside the bowl. I try to switch it out every month.
  • sweep & mop bathroom/vanity area- I don't do this every week,but I probably need too. It's not a big space at all and doesn't get as dirty. I use Comet and PineSol for mopping too. What can I say? I love the smell of clean.
  • clean the tub- I do this every week. I took tips from Darlene and I use a little bit of washing detergent along with a magic eraser. It smells so good and looks so clean.
  • vacuum floors- I usually do this in the afternoon/evening time. My oldest has even started helping me out. I got a new vacuum last week (old one died) and I was SO excited to try it out. 
  • clean mirrors & sinks in bathroom/vanity area- I have started doing this when my boys take a bath. It is convenient and easy to do while I watch them too. I like to use rubbing alcohol with a washcloth for the mirrors and sinks. It has no smell once it is dried and it makes the faucets just shine. 
  • clean windows- I don't do this every week. I do it every other week. I just use Windex with a microfiber cloth. It works well and no smell.
  •  clean kitchen sink- I use PineSol to clean the faucet. It makes it shine and smells good. I use a magic eraser with Pinesol for the sink also. The magic eraser is so great! A friend told me about them. I love the sink to shine and smells like lemons. I usually do this in the evening after I wash dishes for the last time.
  • clean microwave- I use a washcloth to clean the microwave and that's it. I wet the washcloth and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes and 50 seconds. It is steamy and food comes off so easy. I got this cleaning tip from Darlene. It is the easiest way I have found to clean it.
  • clean refrigerator- I don't do this every week,more like every 2-3 weeks. I use Redi Wipes to wipe down the drawers and the doors. 
  • sweep & mop kitchen- I don't do this every week. We live in apartments and there isn't much dirt. I can live with a dirty floor,but not dirty sinks. Go figure. I just sweep when needed and rarely mop. We have a small kitchen too. 
  • vacuum floors- I do this twice a week. I love clean carpet. I hate feeling stuff under my feet.
  • finalize menu and grocery list- I do this during quiet time or when the kids are in bed at night. 
  • dust- I dust the shelves,pictures,and trinkets. I do this every 2 weeks. 

Friday,Saturday,and Sunday are sort of just the usual cleaning days where I do what I do all the other days- wash dishes,and wipe down counter tops. Making a schedule has really helped me. If I am going to be gone one of the 4 days I do specific cleaning, I try to do it the day before. If it is a spur of the moment trip, I just do it the day after, or wait till the next week. I have learned we aren't going to die if the sink isn't cleaned every week or the tub isn't spotless every week. I sort of went overboard when I first started this schedule. I have learned that these things need to be done,but I don't have to be so strict that I stress over it. It's supposed to be serving my family and guests,not a chore.

Here are things I do randomly when they need to be done:
  • switch the garbage cans out when they need it
  • keep extra bags in the main garbage can and clean it monthly
  • usually clean left overs out of the fridge on Friday's when I am putting groceries up
  • work on my menu for the week and grocery list Monday-Thursday. I go grocery shopping on Friday mornings and shop weekly.
  • switch bedsheets out every 3-4 weeks. It depends with the boys that are still night potty training.

Linking up with The Better Mom today. Come join us!

Weekend Links

Here are my links for the week. These are some really great ones!! Enjoy!


Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday's Fave Five

  1. Quiet times... We have started back to our quiet times. It's so nice. The boys watch something on t.v. or draw while I blog or read. It's nice to get refreshed.
  2. Routine... I just started a new night time routine and it's going great. My boys get wound up about an hour before bed. So I started a quiet time before bed. At 7:30 they get in their beds and draw/color while I do last minute night time things. I has been so great and a lot less chaotic. I'm a sucker for routine.
  3. Reading... I finished 2 books on my Kindle this week. I love to read,but don't get to do it as much as I once did. It felt great to finish these 2 that I have loved reading. Pain Redeemed by Natasha Metzler and Blog Mom by Christin Slade.
  4. Family time... My mom and sis came down yesterday to go out to lunch. It was so nice. We went to our favorite place, Olive Garden. I miss seeing them everyday.
  5. Game night... We are going to game night at our church tonight. It'll be our first to go too. We go to a small church and love fellowshipping with our church family. I'm sure it will be fun!
What are somethings you loved about your week? Share with Susanne @ Living to Tell the Story and link up!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Join Laurie @ Women Taking A Stand and the rest of us for thankful Thursday. We have so much to be thankful to be for every day.

I'm thankful for siblings. I have two of them,a brother and a sister. I'm the middle child (yes the deprived one ha!) of the three of us. We were close growing up. We played outside together,played video games,fought a lot,and took up for each other. My sister and I were only 2 years apart,so we became closer as time went on and we grew older. My brother was the typical older brother. He loved to aggravate us,but he would whip some tail if someone messed with us. We loved going to watch him play football at high school games and loved tagging along with his girlfriend (wife now) a lot. My sister and I were at the high school together for one year. We had a blast. A lot of her friends were my friends so we always hung out. We shared crushes,secrets,and plenty of clothes. We fought a lot too. I guess that is just how siblings are most of the time. I have no clue why,but my boys fight a lot or fuss. I'm thankful I can call them brother and sister. We live away from them now and it is nice when we see each other with our families at my parents. We always have a good time together. We're all "grown" up now,but we still like to have fun. My life wouldn't be the same without them for sure. I love them dearly.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Need A Dose of Hope?

I am happy to welcome Laura from Outnumbered Mom to my blog today. She has such a sweet spirit. I know you will love what she has to share with us today.

I remember looking around the family room littered with trucks and balls and blocks and thinking, “What in the world do I think I’m doing here?”

A tribe of four boys can easily take over a house, and at times, I wondered if the Lord had made a mistake. I had one sister…NO experience with little boys, let alone a pack of four.

And there were days it seemed like I’d never dig out—from under piles of dirty socks, Legos, little cars, and lots of dirt and sand. And it seemed like I was doing the same thing every day, day after day. Just getting through, making sure 911 wasn’t necessary and there was food in tummies.

I needed a dose of hope. Don’t all moms, once in a while?

So, where did I look? Psalms is such an encouraging place to dwell.

“I lift my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

And there’s more! It’s not a long chapter, but it’s filled with reassurance.

Then there were those days when I set out to do everything “right.” I was going to turn every angry word away with a soft answer, I was going to love the unlovely…only to lose it thirty minutes in when I found the boys trying to slice a banana with the ceiling fan.

Armed with a mental list of “I wills” and “I will nots,” I approached too many days with faith in what I could do—not in what God would do.

You know what I’ve realized? He’s the God who makes the impossible possible.

He brings life from death.
He brought light from darkness.

He turned the world upside down, fulfilling the Law that appeared on stone tablets. And the more I read the Bible, the more convinced I am that He’s the God of the unexpected.

He’s called the King of Kings and the Prince of Peace. Would you not expect him to come from a pristine line? But look the genealogy in Matthew.  It includes not only a king who sinned, but a Gentile woman and a harlot.

Tucked inside those names are stories of hope.

From David to Ruth to Rahab, we see the hope of the Gospel. This is a kingdom turned upside down. Matthew, who had lived the life of an outcast as a despised tax collector, doesn’t cover up those who fell or led less than pristine lives. He includes them, reminding us that our inclusion in this family is dependent on God—not on our birth, our status, or our performance.

No matter where we begin, He finds us and grafts us in. We are adopted into the royal bloodline, related forever to the King of Kings.

What greater picture of the hope of the Gospel? Foreigners, outcasts, aliens, He welcomes home.

How can we do less?

And on a personal note, in that spirit, I celebrate with open arms. Our family is beginning a journey that will take my son and daughter-in-love from Kentucky to India and back again. And they’ll return with a child in their arms. To read their story click this link.

Yes, there’s hope—and it’s found in the Gospel. In One who opened His arms wide to make us—the undeserving—His own. And He doesn’t stop there. If anyone needs power and strength, it’s a mom, and at His feet, there’s plenty to spare.

That’s not to say the road won’t be rocky at times, but there will always be One who loves us—and our children—by our sides.

So when I look around and “What in the world am I doing here” flashes through my mind, I remember.

I’m leaning on the God of the unexpected, and that seems to work pretty well for a mom of four boys.

He’s always there—the One who makes possible the impossible.
That’s hope.

I want to thank Laura for sharing with us today. It's something we cannot hear enough,that He is our hope. Be sure to hop over to her blog and check it out. You will be inspired for sure.

Laura Lee Groves, author of I’m Outnumbered! One Mom’s Lessons in the Lively Art of Raising Boys, is a writer, speaker, and high school English and creative writing teacher. She inspires and encourages moms on her blog, Outnumbered Mom.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cultivating Your Marriage

My husband and I went out last week on a date. It was so nice leaving the house without having to sneak out or make sure the baby is napping before we had to go out. Our babies are growing up and it's bittersweet. We're able to do more things with less hassle. That's the sweet part. The bitter part is my babies are getting big.

How many of you know that's it is hard to balance children,life,and marriage? *raises hand* I do! I dated my husband for a year and two months before we got married. Seven of those months he was in patrol school for the Alabama Highway Patrol (State Troopers). It was sort of a long distance relationship,though we had been friends for almost 5 years. Four months after we got married we found out we were expecting our first child. We had no clue what the future held. We were just love birds. We had no idea that our relationship would become something to fight for and I don't mean that in a bad way. So fast forward 5 1/2 years and we have fought hard. Not so much because of issues we had,but Satan hates anything God honoring. We have become a family of five since 2006 on the day we married in December.

We learned we had to be intentional about our time together as a couple. For awhile we were just trying to survive a needy infant (our first son) who wanted our attention constantly. We lived away from family and that can make it even harder. We are picky about who we leave our children with and that has made it not so easy either. We had to be creative about spending time at home when you are a one income family too. The enemy wants nothing more than for us to drift apart from one another. He loves destroying marriages and families. I've seen it in the lives of friends and family, sadly. So fighting for our marriage is something we believe in and something we put on the top of our list. We realized and were give some good advice: The kids will leave one day,but the spouse will always be there. With that, we knew we could not get so consumed with our kids or work that we did not continue to romance and communicate. We are very connected with our boys,more so than most families I know,but we know that one day it will just be the two of us. We have to make time for one another now,so we don't become disconnected. If we never spend time with our husband our love may seem like it's faded. We have to cultivate the relationship just like we do with the Lord. We have to work at it and grow in it.

Here are a few things we do to stay connected:

  • Pray- We pray together and for each other. That is so important. When a husband and wife become closer to God,then they will become closer to each other.
  • Talk- We talk each night when the kids are in bed. We talk throughout the day,but we like to talk without interruptions. 
  • Intimacy- This is something that is important. It's more than just sex,it's love. Holding hands,hugs,sweet kisses,and ect. 
  • Home dates- We try every Friday night (when we aren't gone,which isn't much) to watch a movie. Even on nights that he works we watch a movie. He gets off at 9 p.m. The boys are in bed and we curl up on the couch,pick out a movie,and enjoy. That to me is so important,making time at home.
  • Going out- We try to at least once a month to go out of the house alone. My Mother graciously comes to watch the boys. It's nice to get all dolled up and go out like we used too when we dated.
  • Cards- I love giving my husband cards randomly or write him notes. He's not big on doing the same,but he does remember occasions. Instead he gives me flowers randomly,which I love!
  • Friends- We have at least 2 other couples from church that we stay connected with outside of church. It helps to see other couples interacting and just being around them. 

We aren't a perfect couple,but we are a praying couple. I love my husband more than I did the first time I told him so. Watching him work hard everyday,play with our boys,discipline our boys,guide our family,and interact with other people just deepens that love. He is a wonderful man,just right for me. We know God has great plans for our family and marriage. We just want to glorify Him through it all.

I encourage you ladies to pray for your husband. That is the most important thing we can do. Tell him how much you appreciate him and adore him. Let him know he is respected and loved. Our children have to see us loving each other as God intended. They are depending on us to show them a God centered marriage,so let's not fall short.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Home Schooling In Our Home

We have been enjoying a good summer break. We finished up the last of May with our first year of home schooling. My boys really did enjoy it,for the most part. They are kids and some days it was like pulling teeth. Some days I just wanted to cry or throw in the towel. I never envisioned myself as a teacher. I've never been fond of children and I surely didn't think I would be teaching my boys at home. Funny how God changes our hearts isn't it? He threw me for a loop with all the changes He has made in my heart and mind over the last 5 years. It's definitely Christ working through me because I could not be a Mother or teacher without Him.

What Curriculum We Chose

I love that we can go at our own pace with home schooling and we can choose what works best for us. We are using Heart of Dakota curriculum and I love it. It is very flexible and hands on. The best thing about it is the whole curriculum is Bible based. I love that! We started out with Little Hands to Heaven and I will use it again for my 4 year old. My 5 year old will move up too Little Hearts For His Glory. I already have the curriculum for next year. I have looked through it and I am very pleased. My 5 year old will start some history and science next year. Once again it all goes back to the Bible and that is what we want our boys to know more than anything.

Why We Home School

Everyone has a reason why they home school or why they don't. My husband and I decided when we were pregnant with our first son (only 4 months after we married) that we would teach our children at home. Why you may ask? We wanted our children to be taught the morals and values we had. It's not a hidden secret that our society and nation has strayed away from God very much. Children are so impressionable and we wanted to be the ones impressing upon our children the things of God. God is not the center of the public school system now days and that isn't something we agree with. God is the very fabric of our being. Without Him, we perish on earth and spiritually. We want our boys to know the Word of God and know He is our source of life. I am learning that not all families school for this reason,shocking I know. I was naive and believed all did. We are to protect and shelter our children. We want to be the ones answering their questions and telling them certain things when we feel it's time. It's sad what children are put through today in public schools. So it's our conviction,not preference, to home school our 3 boys.

I love being with my boys. I love teaching them how to write and stories of the Bible. My oldest can write his name so well and can copy anything you show him. It's amazing really. My second oldest can recognize his ABC's without hesitation. It is very trying,but it is so worth it. To know my boys are being taught the ways of the Lord even while doing "school" is something we are proud of. Why do you home school? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Linking up with Ruth@The Better Mom.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Weekend Links

Here are some favorite links from the week. There are 7,but they are worth your time! The last is long,but so,so good! Enjoy!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday's Fave Five

It's that time again! Time to look back over our week and see the positive things from it. I love doing this. For those wanting the Corn Casserole recipe,I will share it soon!

  1. Exercise... I slacked off for awhile,but now that I have found something to help with my hormones,so I don't feel crazy, I have been exercising again. I hate and love it. I hate to sweat,but love the results of exercising. Anyone with me?
  2. Family trips... We loaded up Tuesday evening and took our boys across the bay (Mobile Bay that takes us over to Baldwin County) and went to Bass Pro Shop. Our boys love going there just to look! We enjoyed it too. We then stopped at Chic-Fil-A for supper and headed back home. My hubby suggested going to a nearby elementary school to play on the playground. We did that too. It was a fun evening out!
  3. Dates... My Mama came down Wednesday around noon to watch our boys for us. I took my husband out for his birthday (it's the 28th of this month). We did some shopping and then went to eat at his favorite place, Texas Roadhouse. We enjoyed each others company and just being together. I love that man.
  4. Good deals... We found some great deals at Academy Sports and Outdoors yesterday. We found nice t-shirts for $2.98!!! We racked up needless to say!
  5. Family... My Daddy had a Doctor's appointment this morning so my brother brought him down. They stopped by and we had a good visit. I miss living near my family at times.
Join Susanne @ Living to Tell the Story for the link up today!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I want to say a few words about my Mother.

I am so thankful for her. She has done so much for me all my life and continues to do so. She stayed home with us kids and took care of us everyday. She never had breaks or spent much money on herself. I was a very stubborn child so I am told. ;-) She stuck it out with me. She whipped me when I needed it and always loved me. If not for her prayers, I don't know where I would be really.

She also has helped so much since we have had children. She came down each time I had a baby and stayed with us to help out. She even comes to watch the boys now so we can go on a date at times. She still sacrifices for me and I hope I will become to my family,what she has/is to her family. She is now being rewarded because the 3 of her children are able to buy things for her and do things for her she never did for herself. It's really a great feeling too! She loves my boys so much and prays for them I know. She is definitely a Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 woman that I love very much. I will be sad the day she goes,if she goes before me. Besides my husband,she is my best friend.

My Mama and me Thanksgiving of 2012.

Linking up with Laurie @ Women Taking A Stand today,want you join us?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yummy Snacks

I have been trying some new foods lately. They have mostly been snacks for the boys and I. It is so easy to just grab something not healthy,but these snacks are good and easy to make. I wanted to share 4 of them with you all. 

Chocolate Pumpkin muffins.

I saw these on Facebook when a friend posted them. They looked and sounded good. They literally have 2 ingredients in them. They weren't sweet,but they did not taste horrible. They were pretty good. I wanted to add some sugar ha! I didn't though.

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

Devil's Food cake mix
canned pumpkin

Combine the cake mix and the pumpkin and mix up really well. Do not add anything else. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Graham Cracker snack

 This is a snack my sister told me about. I thought I would give it a try to see how we liked it. It was really yummy! This is my boys favorite. They eat the crackers without the grapes mostly.

Graham cracker snack

graham crackers (honey or cinnamon)
cream cheese (I used cinnamon)

Spread the cream cheese over the crackers and then put the split grapes on top. Enjoy!

Pudding Delight

We went to have supper with our missionary friends about a month ago. This was the dessert we had. It was so good and so simple! They didn't have a name for it,so I call it pudding delight. ;)

Pudding Delight

1 tub of whip cream
1 box of vanilla pudding
13 snicker bars (snack size)
3 red apples

  • Mix the vanilla pudding in one bowl and let set for the amount box says. 
  • Once pudding is set,then combine the cool whip with it and mix well. 
  • Cut up the red apples into chunks and add them to the mix. 
  • Cut 12 of the 13 snickers into quarter pieces (cut each one into 4 pieces) and add to the mix. 
  • Stir the mixture really well and then take the last snicker bar and shave pieces off onto the top of the mixture (I used a potato peeler). 
  • Let chill for at least 30 minutes.

Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries

My sister told me about this recipe too. She eats more healthy things than I do,sadly. I am not much on snacks,but my boys are snackers. I know they need good,healthy snacks. These are yummy! Not the boys favorite,but I love them.

Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries

Cream cheese
Greek yogurt
graham crackers

I found a mixture of cream cheese and Greek yogurt at the store.
 Cut the tops off the strawberries and cut out the middle. Be careful not to cut the inside too thin. I also cut a little of the bottom off so they would stand up.

I used a small measuring spoon to put in the cream cheese.

Spoon the cream cheese mixture into the strawberries.

Crush the graham crackers up in a bowl,then sprinkle them onto the strawberries. You can even dip the bottom in the mix if you want.

Ice Box Pie

I have shared this one before on the blog. It's originally a Lemon Ice Box Pie,but this one is strawberry. Our Pastor's wife made the Lemon Ice Box Pie once and it was so good. So I got the easy recipe from her. This is my husband's favorite!

Lemon Ice Box Pie

1 tub of whip cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pack of kool-aide (your choice)
1 graham cracker crust

  • Mix the cool whip,kool-aide, and sweetened condensed milk in a bowl really well
  • Spoon out mixture into graham cracker crust and let sit in freezer overnight.

I hope you enjoy some of these. We're simple people in our household. These are simple recipes to enjoy anytime of the year. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Feeling Second Best

Our church had Vacation Bible School this past week and it was my boys first time to go to any VBS. I wasn't sure if we would go every night since it's a 45 minute drive there and a 45 minute drive back. At the last minute I decided we would try to go each night. The hubby had off Wednesday and Thursday and was able to go with us. It was truly a great time!

I wasn't sure what I would do while I was there. My oldest 2 were going to a class,but my youngest was not old enough (He just turned 2 last month). I took him to the nursery and we had several other babies in there. Everyone of those babies wanted their Mother. Mine would have been the same way if I would not have been in there. So I decided to help out Ms. Tena with them since everyone had something to do. At first I will admit, I was a little down about it. I wanted to do something more or something that seemed to be more. I kept thinking I am just helping with the babies. After Monday night it was clear she needed my help,so I went back in there each night. Looking back I cannot believe I thought that. Just taking care of babies?

Sometimes I feel the need to show the world I can do more than take care of babies,since that is what I have done for the past 5 years. Change diapers,fix bottles,rock to sleep,get up in the middle of the night,and the list goes on. Anyone else with me? It is isn't something that is looked at very highly anymore. It's actually looked down on in America. So there is a little part of me still has to fight that battle in my head at times. By Tuesday night I told my husband how I was feeling. He told me that is what I was good at,taking care of babies and there is nothing wrong with that. He told me what a good Mother I am and that he is proud I am good at raising children. What? Me? Good at that? I feel like I fail SO much every day. I know I do.

So Wednesday night I had a different mindset. I was there to hold those babies and play with them ( I was doing that anyways) without feeling like I had to prove myself. I am a Mother. That is who I am. Yes, I am a wife too,but I feel that I am a good wife (there is always room for improvement though). I don't struggle to give my husband time or to make him happy. I guess because it isn't as hard for me to do that. With children you are constantly giving of yourself. Changing them,picking out clothes,cooking,cleaning,and teaching. I am literally raising human beings who will have to function in society. That is not easy my friends. Most of you know that already.

I just want to encourage you not to feel second best. What we do as Mothers is so vitally important. What God wants from us is that we give Him glory in all we do. When I am taking care of my boys, I am to remember I can glorify God while doing so. I am being His hands and feet to them. Someone has to teach our children about God and His ways. Someone has to teach them what it is to live their life for Him and to be in love with Jesus. They need us. As hard as it can be most days, our children need us teaching them,holding them,playing with them,and loving them. I was so glad my Mom was able to stay at home with us while we were growing up. It didn't seem like much then,but now I see how important it was to us.

Love those babies.
Kiss those babies.
Hug those babies.
Most importantly pray for those babies.
They will soon be men and women raising another generation.

Linking up with Darlene @ Time-Warp Wife today.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekend Links

I wanted to share some links I have read this week. I hope you enjoy them!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday's Fave Five

`Share your favorites from the week with us and Susanne @ Living to Tell the Story. I love doing this each week,when I get too do so.

  1. Vacation Bible School... We decorated Sunday after church for VBS. It was my first to decorate for it. The former church I went too did not have VBS. It was so much fun!! This is my boys first one to attend also. They are loving it!! It's great to see my kids thriving,but it's sad too. They are getting bigger.
  2. Pizza... We ordered pizza after church so we could stay there and get right on decorating. I looove pizza!! It is one of my all time favorite foods.
  3. Sun... I do love a good summer rain shower,but it has been raining for the last week and a half. Today we had a break in it! We had a lot of sunshine and NO rain! I still long for cooler/cold weather though.
  4. New recipes... I tried out a corn casserole recipe from our Pastor's wife. Oh it was so good! It's so simple too!!
  5. French toast... We had French Toast one night this week for supper. My boys wanted breakfast for supper. I have found a yummy recipe a year ago and it's simple too! 
I must admit I love food. I have learned to watch my portions though. :) I love trying new things! I hope you all have a great weekend!

Here are my 3 boys at Vacation Bible School this past week.

Aaron at our Sonwest Roundup VBS.

Daniel at VBS this week.

Johnathan at VBS this week.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I have so much to be thankful for today and always. The Lord has blessed me in so many ways that I do not deserve.

  • my 3 handsome boys that I get to Mother each day
  • my loving,caring,and wonderful husband that I get to love each day
  • fresh brewed coffee each morning with favorite creamers
  • a church family to worship each week with
  • loving friends who I can confide in
  • a home to keep warm and cool during the days and night
Those are only a few. They speak volumes though to how much God has blessed me in this life. Hop on over to Laurie @ Women Taking a Stand and link up with us today.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

We Interrupt This Story...

 I have another guest blogger today. I'm so excited! I loved having Hollie write last week about loving our husbands truly as the Word of God commands us to do. Don't forget to check out her blog Dermer Family

Today we have Chelsey Hall joining us from Life Unabridged. I started following her blog several years back and was instantly connected with her. Though we've never met in real life,she's been a blessing to me in my spiritual walk. Let's listen to what she has to say to us today.

As much as I would like to say that I am kind and gracious when it comes to handling interruptions, I'd probably be lying through my teeth.

I am a perfectionist and a planner... and a first born. Most firstborns will tell you... this is just the way we are wired. I like to have a plan and schedule for everything. Oh, and WATCH out if you get in MY way and mess up my plans.

Oh. No. You. Didn't.

Oh yes. Sigh. I am that person. 

I don't always handle interruptions well. BUT, suffice it say, the Lord has been GRACIOUSLY working on this with me. He IS showing me just how much I miss out bringing glory to HIM, when I let the interruptions get the best of me. And, I truly am getting better. Actually, I have no choice BUT to get better... I am blessed with many children, and many children mean tons of opportunities to practice dealing with interruptions. 

I'll give you an example of one area, that up until recently was a HIGH frustration on my list:

When I was a teenager, God impressed it upon my heart that I needed to give him the first part of my mornings. I would wake up early, before school, and have some alone time with God... read my Bible, pray and write in my journal. It has been a part of who I am for a long time. As I came a mother it became more and more difficult to keep up with my morning times. As such, began stressing about my quiet times. I tried waking up early only to have a little one wake up even earlier, and it always resulted in frustration toward said child for infringing on “my time”. It would put me in a "mood" and I'd be irritable towards the children. 

And then I read a profound yet simple statement by Stacy McDonald:

When reading your Bible, don't get frustrated when you're interrupted right at the "good parts."

Learn to view those inevitable moments of interruption as teaching opportunities planned by God.

All the sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn't have to have secluded alone time to be in HIS presence. 

Throughout our life we go through different seasons. As a mother, you go through a season of raising little ones. And as any mom of littles knows, your time is NOT your own. Rarely do you get moments all to yourself (and if you do most of the time you chose to use them to sleep!!). 
Having little ones means you are in a season of interruptions. 

Every time I change a diaper, kiss a boo-boo, make a meal, teach a child their ABC's, or an older one how to divide with fractions, I can be in God's presence. It is a constant battle in my daily life to remember this and to not be so focused that I only see the interruptions, delays and inconveniences as frustrations instead of the opportunities that lie in them for God to reveal Himself. 

I still do try and get up early in the morning before the children arise to spend some quiet moments with Him. But now, if I get interrupted, rather than get frustrated, I stop and thank the Father for the interruption and the opportunity for the teachable moment to minister to my children's' heart.

Chelsey is the mama of eight blessings (seven here on earth and one playing at the feet of Jesus), and has been married to her sweet man for almost 20 years. She shares her every day real-life, uncut adventures at Life Unabridged and would be tickled pink if you'd stop by and say hi. 

I want to thank Chelsey so much for guest posting today. She has such a sweet spirit. I love what she said to us. Be sure to check out her blog and tell her how much you appreciated her willingness today.

Linking up with Darlene at Time-Warp Wife for Titus 2sdays.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Weekend Links

Here are some of the blog posts that I have read this past week. I wanted to share them with you guys and hope you are encouraged as I was encouraged.

Hope you enjoy these! I will be having another guest blogger on Tuesday. Be sure to tune in!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday's Fave Five

1. Sunrises... I go grocery shop at the crack of dawn on Friday mornings. This is my view most of the time. I love it!

2. Flowers... I love flowers! I have been buying some each week when I shop to put on the table. Pink is my favorite color!

3. Jewelry... I make jewelry and love wearing it. My sweet friend Hollie made this birds nest necklace for me.

4. Bible studies... Another sweet friend gave me a book from Doorposts at the Mom's Night Out lat Friday. It's the Put On Study. I started it this week with my boys. We traced their hands and they colored them like they were gloves.

5. Birthdays... My "baby" turned 2 last Saturday. I can't believe it! We celebrated Monday night with a confetti cake with blue vanilla icing and sprinkles. He loved it,so did the rest of the family.

Join us for Friday's Fave Five. Susanne @ Living to Tell the Story is the host and you can link up with her today.