Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!


May your day be filled with more treats than tricks! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My way vs Their way---whole wheat spaghetti

Yesterday I wrote about my big revelation that I don't have to do things the way that other bloggers and families do them as some things just don't work for my family.

Last night at dinner was the PERFECT example of how this has been playing out in our household.

I made spaghetti. One of my husband's all time favorite meals that I make (and one of the first meals I made for him when we were dating).

After sitting down to eat, he took a couple bites.

Then the conversation went like this:

Him: "Is this wheat spaghetti?"
Me: "Why?"
Him: "It tastes funny and not like your spaghetti."
Me: "Yes, it is wheat spaghetti. I bought it because it was cheaper with coupons than the regular spaghetti and it is supposed to be healthier for you. And just so you know over the last year I have been making the spaghetti with half regular and half wheat. I just ran out of regular spaghetti."
Him: "I noticed that something was different, but I figured that you bought a different brand. AND Honey, next time please spend the extra $0.50 and get the regular spaghetti. I like it much better. And we eat pretty healthy when you cook. You don't have to follow every health trend."

So there is goes. I know that many bloggers are touting the benefits of eating whole wheat pasta which makes eating pasta more healthy. But in this instance, whole wheat spaghetti is NOT working for our family. So I will be going back to making regular spaghetti per my husband's request. And I am okay with that.

This is just one way we are going to go back to doing it MY way versus their way!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Doing it MY way....

Last week something hit me upside the head....


This is a HUGE revelation for me! I have been feeling guilty because I can't get our grocery budget down to $50 a week like it seems all the grocery bloggers that I read can do. I don't have a great organizational or religious convictions to share like so many bloggers that I follow seem to have. I don't prepare extreme healthy, organic meal plans that seem to take forever to prepare. I have been feeling really guilty because I am trying to keep up with the blogging Jones'.

Well it hit me that the deals and things that most bloggers blog about are great, but in reality they are not good for MY family. I DON'T have to prepare organic, complicated recipes to feed my family well. That is  not who we are. I SHOULDN'T feel bad that my family is not doing what other families are doing. I should look at what works for US and focus on that.

So that is what I began to do...and you know what? It is liberating. Over the next week, I will share some of the things that I have changed, more in attitude than anything else. These include: my new view on grocery shopping and meal planning, how we are doing our budget, and what is really important to our family.

I will continue to read the blogs that I follow. But I WON'T feel bad if I don't take advantage of every deal, every menu plan, or every frugal suggestion. I have to do what is right for OUR family and make the choices that WE can live with.

Just something that I have concluded.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I did much better last week sticking to our menu plan! YAY ME! I hope to continue this trend. I have also decided to change the way that I go grocery shopping to see if it will help our budget. Instead of buying ahead and trying to stockpile, I am just going to buy what we need for that week. (Now if I find an amazing buy on something I know we use all the time, ie. canned green beans, etc. then I will break my rule). I am finding that I am buying things because it is a good price and only to have it sit in our pantry until I throw it out a year later. That is NO way of saving money and sticking to a budget so we shall see how this goes.

Does anyone else shop this way? Any tips for getting our grocery budget under control?

Now on to this week's menu (which I hope to stick to....)

Sunday: baked marinated chicken, corn, mixed veggies, pasta roni

Monday: Spaghetti with meat sauce

Tuesday: Pot Roast, mashed potatoes, carrots, onions, green beans, rolls

Wednesday: Grilled cheese and soup

Thursday: hot dogs and baked beans

Friday: leftovers/ chicken nuggets

Saturday: tex mex chicken in the crockpot over rice.

For more great menu ideas please visit:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today is a very sad memorial day for me and for millions of other women and men around the United States and Canada. Today, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance movement began in 1988 when then president Ronald Reagan designated October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. The movement has gained momentum in the 2000's as more and more women and men realize that this is not an isolated group of women. The awareness campaign, originated in the USA, has spread through Canada as well. Unfortunately it is not a world-wide remembrance campaign. In the future I personally hope that that changes.

I have a personal reason for hoping that this changes. I am the mother of a child lost to miscarriage in September 2005.  I am also the mother of a son who was born still into Heaven. Travis Omar was born silently into Heaven on September 21, 2008. That night my heart was shattered, and although time has passed and wounds have healed, there is a still a piece that will always be missing.

After having my own stillbirth, I was astonished to find out how common it was in my circle of friends and family. I have had several family members who suffered stillbirths and who had been silent up until that point. I feel that it is because the subject of miscarriage and stillbirth and infant loss are taboo subjects that most feel are better ignored. That is not the case. You do not ignore when a 90 year old passes away, you should not ignore when a baby, no matter the age, whether still in the womb or not passes away. That baby is still a human being and does not deserve to be forgotten.

Although there is no international guidelines on the day of remembrances, there IS an  international movement called the International Wave of Light that asks for everyones participation that speaks to remembering the babies that have been lost. The International Wave of Light invites participants from around the world to light a candle in remembrance of all babies who have been lost in miscarriage, stillbirth, or in infancy, in their respective time zones starting at 7pm on October 15, and to leave the candle burning for at least an hour. This will ensure a continuous wave of light for 24 hours in remembrance. Will you be lighting a candle? I know that I will.

Even if you cannot light a candle, please say a short prayer or think of someone you know who has suffered a loss of a child. Maybe give them a call to let them know that you are thinking of them today. And if you are fortunate to never have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, and/or infant loss, say a prayer of thanks and give your children an extra hug to day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: A Whisper of Peace

A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer, invites readers to visit a time in 1898 in the Alaska wilderness. In a time that evokes images of Indian tribes living among the forest regions and sustaining themselves off the land. A time when white missionaries, trappers and gold miners are coming into their regions to earn fortunes or souls for God.

In A Whisper of Peacewe are brought into the story of Lizzie Dawson, an Athabascan Indian, who has been exiled from her tribe because her father was a white man. Lizzie lives not far from the tribe in a remote part of the Alaska forests and has learned to live alone, taking care of her own needs throughout the years. She does have one regret and that is that she wants to make amends with her Indian grandparents, which was her mother's dying wish. However, she does not know how to make amends.

One day she encounters 2 white people walking through the forest on their way to the Athabascan village. Clay Selby and his stepsister, Vivian, are looking to begin a missionary school in the village to teach the Indians about God and his love. What follows is a story of friendships, going against the wishes of the tribe as a whole for the greater good, following God's rule of love and understanding rather than humans rules, and finding peace and forgiveness in God's time.

A Whisper of Peace  is a gentle, engaging and overall wonderful read. I could not put it down. The characters were developed well and the mini story lines evolved pleasantly around the bigger story. Miss Sawyer allowed me to feel a part of the story line, and not an outsider looking in. I found that I grew attached the characters and really felt the anguish and the love that is wound throughout the book. I would encourage everyone to read this novel, not only as a way to get a glimpse into what life may have been like pre-1900's but also to gain a better understanding of our own relationships with God and with others.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book for free from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Letters of Intent



Dear Jacob,

I am not sure what your fascination is with hitting your sister and pulling her hair. But it is not nice. And I hate having to put you in time out several times a day for doing it. It would make Mommy and Daddy's life so much easier if you just stop hitting and pulling hair. Please?

Love you,


Dear Rebecca,

I am so glad that you are having fun in school and that you are learning so much. Now could you please learn not to tattle all the time at home? Daddy and I are watching Jacob and we know that he is hitting, throwing food, etc. You do not need to tell us or yell at Jacob. That is not your job as big sister!

Love you,


Dear Bill,

I am sorry that I don't have more energy. This pregnancy is kicking my behind. I am really trying. But I feel like I am in over my head, between work, taking care of the kids, helping you, cleaning house, etc. And I am worried that something will go wrong. Not being able to sleep isn't helping either. I will try to do better and be in better spirits for you and for our family in general. I love you!


For more letters of Intent be sure to visit....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Jacob's Birthday Party

We held Jacob's 2nd birthday party last Saturday and I wanted to share some pictures of the festivities!

His party was a great success! He received a TON of fall/winter clothes for which I am VERY GRATEFUL! He also received some fun toys like his drum set. It was a great day for a special 2 year old little boy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Jacob!

2 years ago today I had my first major surgery. Unlike most surgeries though, I came out of this one with a gift far greater than anything I could have imagined. As my husband likes to say "I had a growth removed. A growth which 2 years later is running around yelling for Mama and Dada and beating up his big sister."

2 years ago I gave birth to my son Jacob. The first few months of his life were rough. He had days and nights mixed up. He was whiny and just had a bad disposition with life. When he was 6 months old he had surgery to fix a hernia and that made all the difference in the world. He was a different child.

Fast forward 2 years, he is now  lively, happy go lucky little boy who loves to play with his sister, is a Mama's boy to the tee, and is crazy funny. His favorite sayings are his own "knock, knock" jokes and he loves to tickle. He also loves to chew on his clothes and to take one arm out of his sleeve most days. He loves Bubble Guppies, Dora and Boots and Team Umizoomi.

He is my son! And I love him so dearly. So on this October 11, 2011 I would like to wish him a Happy Birthday from the bottom of my heart!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Menu Plan

After getting a reality check about our finances (and the fact that our dryer died last night) and needing to do better, I have decided that this week we are doing a pantry challenge. I am going to use what we have here to make food and not go to the store to get anything. We shall see how this goes....

That being said here is what we are eating this week:

Monday: leftover pizza from Jacob's 2nd birthday party

Tuesday: chicken, cheese and stuffing casserole, chicken patties, broccoli

Wednesday: pot roast, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans

Thursday: ham and cheese subs, tator tots

Friday: macaroni and cheese, veggies

Saturday: pork chops, julienne potatoes, corn

Sunday: baked chicken, rice, green beans

For more great menu ideas, please

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Keeping your opinion to yourself when you are in someone else's home....

On Saturday we held Jacob's 2nd birthday party here at OUR house. (He won't be 2 until Tuesday, but we had his party early). Well we had a nice turnout.

There was just one downside.

During the party, my in-laws (mother-in-law and father-in-law) basically were bombarding my hubby with questions about whether this baby will be our last baby. They basically are all under the belief that 3 is actually too many children. That we are being irresponsible by having another. That we don't have room or the finances to take care of 3 children, etc. My hubby mentioned that there may be a possibility of me having my tubes tied or of him having a vasectomy because we are on the fence about whether we want any more children or not. He said that he may have the vasectomy since they are easier to reverse if we decide to try for more in a few years. Well that was NOT acceptable to my Mother-in-law. She would not drop the subject. She basically INSISTED that this be our last child and that was the law.

The more I think about it the more I am infuriated by her comments. How dare she come into OUR house and act like she is boss? It is not any of her business how many children Bill and I have. It is not her decision to make. It is ours. I wouldn't be as angry if we were at her house and she had said these things. But she was in OUR house at her 2 year old grandson's birthday party non-the-less. Her 2 year old grandson whom she pretty much ignored the entire time that she was here. (But that is another issue for another time...).

Hubby would like to write them a letter telling them that they had no right to tell us what to do. That we are adults capable of making our own decisions for OUR family and to basically butt out. I am not sure what to do?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I guess I just don't understand....

On Sunday morning, my sister-in-law gave birth to my new nephew at a hospital about 5 minutes from my house. (actually she gave birth in the van on the way to the hospital, but that is a different story). My mom was taking care of my brother and sister-in-laws other 2 children at their trailer about 20 minutes away. That night Bill, the kids and I went up to see my brother, sis-in-law and new nephew--who is adorable by the way!. I didn't think anything about my parents not visiting them or anything. I just assumed that they had.

Well yesterday my mom stopped by my house and she went to pick up Jacob and commented on how heavy he was getting. I said that he is definitely a lot heavier than her new grandson. She said that she wouldn't know because she hadn't seen or held the baby yet! She had been too busy. WHAT??!!!?????

I don't understand. No matter what you think about the decisions your son and daughter in law have made you still need to show your love and support. So you don't agree with their decision to have a 3rd child when they can't afford to take care of their other 2. Does that mean you punish your grandchild by not visiting or even seeing him? I know there are some issues going on between my brother and my dad, but that should not stop someone from seeing their new grandchild.  And as for being too busy, my brother, sister-in-law and nephew are back at home. They live less than 1 mile up the road from my parent's house.

I guess I just don't understand.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Book Review: Sweet Sanctuary

Sweet Sanctuary by Sheila Walsh and Cindy Martinusen Coloma is a wonderful gem of a story that offers intrigue, lessons in healing from your past, embracing your future and learning to trust in the Lord.

~From the back cover:

      In tiny Cottage Cove, on the coast of Maine, Wren Evans is raising her gifted son, Charlie. A single mom, she's fought hard to give Charlie a stable, secure home life. When a prestigious music academy in Boston expresses interest in Charlie's talent, Wren is willing to move them again to make his dreams come true.
      But Wren doesn't know that Charlie has been praying for her. And the answer to her son's prayers will change both of their lives. As Wren plans their move to Boston, life in Maine begins to fall apart. Her job is threatened with budget cuts, and Wren's grandmother, Ruth, arrives unannounced, with an outlandish request.
     Ruth wants the family gathered together one last time, at the summer home, where, years before, an accident shattered Wren's peaceful childhood. In the tumult, Wren finds a friend in handsome, kind-hearted local, Paul Callahan.
    When the family gathers in Cottage Cove, old wounds will be healed, new love will blossom, and the innocent prayers of a child will be answered in a most unexpected way. ~

This book was a WONDERFUL read. I fell in love with the characters and couldn't wait to find out what the next twist and turn was going to bring. Although I am not a single mother, I could relate to Wren's agonizing decisions over what was best for her son and how to help her son grow in his own relationships while struggling with her own. The plot twists and character developments made me laugh, and cry, and reflect on my own relationships with my husband, kids, parents and with my siblings as well as with God. It is not often that you find a book that will do that. In this book, you will start to find the answers to the questions about where your own sanctuary should be.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book to moms, dads, sisters, brothers, and basically everyone!

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Menu Plan Monday: Hoping this week goes better than last.

Last week was a huge BUST when it comes to menu planning. I was tired a lot. Rebecca was sick for a couple days. I just didn't feel like eating what we had planned. I kept forgetting to thaw out the whole chicken....etc.  Needless to say we didn't go out to eat, but we just ate quick and easy stuff at home. I am hoping that this week goes more to the plan.

Monday: italian sausage and pasta skillet, macaroni and cheese

Tuesday: Buffalo chicken stromboli, chicken patties and waffle fries

Wednesday: hot dogs, baked beans, veggies

Thursday: Pork chops, julienne potatoes, corn

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: Jacob's 2nd birthday party! (Pizza, salad, fruit salad, cake, etc. )

Sunday: Pot roast, potatoes, carrots, onions

For more great menu ideas please visit:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Falls Like Lightning Review

Falls Like Lightning by Shawn Grady is the story of smokejumper Silas Kent and pilot Elle Westmore. Silas is a man who doesn't like to stay put in one place very long. He loves to move around and often this causes strains in his relationships. Years ago, he had dated Elle, only to leave her to move yet again.
Fast forward a few years, Elle is a single mom determined to keep her daughter safe and healthy, and keep her career moving forward. Silas and Elle meet up again, when they are both assigned to combat a massive wildfire in the Sierra Nevadas. The two reconnect, only to be separated by a suspicious plane engine explosion. This sends them both on a dangerous, life threatening journey, complete with wildfires, bad guys, thieves, murder, etc. The question is will they both survive, and will they reconnect this time for good?

Falls Like Lightning has potential, but..... there are several things that I found distracting and detracted from the quality of the story. The story line between Silas and Elle has potential. However, when you add in the story lines of the other characters the story itself becomes jumbled and unfocused. The story line itself, as written while fast paced, is very distracting as it seems to jump around a lot and you are left wondering what just happened in the story. I had a very hard time finishing this book (however, I did). If it was cleaned up a bit, it would be a much better read. Because of this, I would only give it a 2.5 out of 5 stars. The potential is there, but it just isn't my cup of tea.

DISCLOSURE: I was sent a free copy of this book for the purpose of review, by Bethany House Publishers. I am under no obligation to offer a positive review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

There is a reason I have been MIA....

Over the last several weeks, I have abandoned this blog, except for the occasional menu plan posting. This is not being done on purpose. I have a reason for being Missing in action here on the blog....

As some of you who are friends of mine on facebook know, I am pregnant! This pregnancy has been a MAJOR unplanned surprise!

It has also been a major headache when it comes to my health.I have been EXHAUSTED, nauseous all day and all night long, and just tired. I have had several doctors appointments due to bleeding. I was in the ER one night and put on 3 days bed rest because of a "threatened miscarriage." which is basically all the symptoms of a miscarriage but baby is fine. In fact during the ultrasound that night, the baby was dancing!

I am at the 12 week mark today! And honestly the last 2 days I have felt better than I have in the last 2 months. I have only been nauseous in the morning and I haven't been as tired. So hopefully this means that the first trimester sickness is lessening.

However, we are still not completely in the clear. While they were doing the u/s at the ER, they discovered a large fibroid that needs to be monitoring and may be the cause of the bleeding. (In 2008, I had a stillbirth at 20 weeks that may have been caused by the placenta attaching to a fibroid).  I still need to take it easy and monitor the bleeding. I notice if I do a ton, or if I am on my feet for a long time, that I start bleeding a little. So I have to take it easy, which for me is hard, especially with my work schedule (if any one has any ideas how to take it easy while watching 30-40 school age kids in an after school care program, please give me some suggestions!), with Rebecca and Jacob, keeping up the house, etc. I am trying though!

So that is the reason that I have been MIA! I hope that I can get back into blogging regularly, especially if I have some energy now. :)