Monday, February 28, 2011

Haven: Day Two

How was your day? I love doing posts like this where I just share from the daily part of life. These are a treasure to me later to go back and revisit and just be encouraged!

I started my day in the Peace Retreat with Jesus Calling and my Bible. The verse I appreciated the most and have been thinking about through the day is Isaiah 61:10:

"I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."

I love to start my day by reading/praying through Ann's 10 Point Manifesto to Joyful Mothering. Good, good, good reminders.

After this, it was time for breakfast! I had a pan full of leftover cinnamon rolls from a brunch on Saturday - that seemed perfect for today! It was a lovely spring morning and the birds were chirping and we enjoyed a nice breakfast on our screened in porch!

We read some new books and I had to walk over to the fence and take some pictures of this gorgeous tree in our neighbors yard!

Next it was time for chores and school! After all of that, we did our errands.

I had a Crystal day in shopping today - I was just saying yesterday to my Mom that I can't seem to get my things to work out as low as she does - but today I take it all back!

First, I went to Walgreens - I stopped at the checkout first because I noticed in the ad that if you bought $15 in Coke products you got $15 in coupons. But, I wondered what kind of coupons? After checking with two managers, they agreed that I would qualify for $15 in Register Rewards. Um, that is $15 in free Coke - I'll take it! The RR did not print, but they gave me the $15 on a gift card that I can use next time. If you go, I can't promise your store will give the same deal - but it would sure be worth checking out!

Transaction one:
3 - 12 pack Coca Cola 3/$13
3 - 2 Liters Coca Cola 4/$5 ($3.75)
Total: $16.92 - $15 back on gift card = $1.92

Transaction two:
Huggies Diapers - $8.99 sale price; $2.00 mfr. coupon and $2 back in RR = $4.99
Baby Magic Body Wash - $3 sale price; $3 back in RR = free
Aquaphor Lip Care - $4.99 sale price; $1.00 mfr. coupon and $4 back in RR = free
Colgate toothpaste - $2.99 sale price; $0.75 mfr. coupon and $3 back in RR = made 0.75
Storage Bags - 99 cents sale this week
TUF Trash Bags - $2.99 sale this week
Kleenex four pack - $4; $2.00 Walgreens coupon = $2
Total out of pocket: $10.22

Transaction three:
Huggies Diapers - $8.99 sale price; $2.00 mfr. coupon and $2 back in RR = $4.99

Then, to Publix - I wanted to get the Green Giant Veggies while they were on sale with coupons and as if that Coke deal wasn't good enough - this turned out even better! I had some Publix store coupons that were for $1 off of four cans of Green Giant veggies and I wasn't sure if they would allow me to use five of those - so I just asked before she rang up my order and she said I could use all of them!

Green Giant Veggies: on sale B1G1 (.66 or .67 each sale price) - buy 20 and use $5/20 coupon from the Italian Days booklet; also use 5 $1/4 GG veggie coupons from the Italian Days coupon
I also bought the Brownies for Ellie's birthday party and used a $4 RR from Walgreens (our Publix allows shoppers to use one RR on their purchase)
Total out of pocket: $1

Lunch and then Quiet Time! Last night Rachel informed me that today was Ellie's birthday. Ellie is her pink elephant that she sleeps with and loves to pieces. So, after QT - they began setting up Ellie's party. Balloons from the grocery store, lego letters spelling her name and a box of brownies with sprinkles made it all special! And, a new puzzle was fun too - though a bit challenging for our little girls!

When we had that all cleaned up - it was time to leave for dance classes which got us home at dinner time. I had gotten a free rotisserie chicken which I saved for tonight and we had corn and fresh strawberries too!

Things are ready to go for our day at CC tomorrow and I'm tired! I really enjoyed reading your posts this evening, and pray that God will bless each of our homes as we create them into havens for our families!

Challenge for tomorrow:

We'll be away from home for a lot of the day - so I'm going to have to get more creative with my Haven challenges! But, here are a few thoughts:

* Write a note to someone - handwritten! Pray and ask God who would be blessed by a note of encouragement and then follow through!

* Pick one space to tidy up in my home - for me, this will be my kitchen counters.

* Pray for my home to be a haven.

* Take a few pictures of things that catch your eye - His beauty around you!

One last thing - as if this post isn't already enormous enough! If you'd like to win a set of the books I showed above - please leave a comment sharing something about how you made your home a haven and I'll draw a winner on Wednesday night!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Haven: Day One

It's Sunday evening and the week ahead seems to be looming - I feel behind before I've even begun. Are you with me?

In a very spur of the moment decision - it seems that a Haven week may be just the thing! My house has been and continues to be in need of attention and I can feel my stress level rising. I know that I need God's help and to be focused on His plans for my home this week and I hope some of you will join me!

My focus for this week will be focusing on Quiet Time, tidying and catching up in my home and creating some fun. What will your challenges be?

For tomorrow (Monday):
* Start your day with God, share what you learned in your Quiet Time and focus on these thoughts throughout the day.
* Create a fun breakfast! Take whatever you were already going to have and think of a way to make it special. Eat in a special place. Light a candle. Use special dishes.
* Do something to bless your nest: tidy, clean up a problem area, complete a project you've been putting off - choose what works best for your home.

I also have a few errands to run and we have ballet/tap dance.

Hope you will join me! Take pictures and tell us about your day - link up below:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Random Update

Where to begin? Things have been a little crazy around here - let's see if I can explain:

* We had a fun Valentine's Day

* I woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat

* My friend Grace came the next day for a visit

* While I laid on the couch shivering with fever - she fixed dinner for my family (that is true friendship!)

* We had a great time together even if I was feeling puny

* My house is a wreck

* I went to the dr.

* Strep test: negative

* Flu test: negative

* Rx: Penicillin

* Grace's last afternoon - we made these! Why yes, we do have matching sewing machines!

* My house is a wreck

* There was a mountain of laundry

* I started feeling better and tackled some of the aforementioned challenges

* We had Family Night!

* Cars for the AWANA Grand Prix were decorated (a Christmas Tree and a Snowman - their ideas!)

* The next day we went to a birthday party and the grocery store

* David took me to a lovely cozy restaurant for a delicious dinner celebrating our 7th Anniversary!

* This is what he gave me:

* I've secretly always wanted one of these - I will feel so Ma Ingalls when using it. Speaking of using it - please enlighten me. I need a wick and fuel, where do I begin?

* David is shocked that I actually want to use something for the purpose it is intended for :)

* Sunday I spent the day in bed with a splitting headache

* I discovered this delightful movie

* My house is still a wreck

* My bed is not made

* I was pulled over for the first time

* I got my first speeding ticket

* I came home in tears

* Today I finally felt myself again!

* We had a great day at CC

* I finally cleaned my toilet

* Still working on the house, but thankful to be feeling better!

* The seeds I ordered for my garden came today and now I have Spring Fever!

That's it for now - I probably won't post for the rest of the week to catch up!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spring Notecard or Invite Idea

I saw a cute bouquet of these fabric flowers made up for a Valentine party and thought they would make cute note cards too! Isn't that cute for Spring?! Just cut various fabric circles and glue on top of each other - top with a button or two! Simple!

HT: Amy's Notebook

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

To See Like My Savior: A Process

Yesterday morning (written last week), I found myself living out all of these words I've already shared. Literally. And, I realize this process of making an appointment, keeping it, having the exam and hearing the diagnosis will be a cycle that will last my whole life. I'll always need visits with my Heavenly Optometrist.

We had made an eye appointment for Samuel with a local ophthalmologist. (I know that looks mis-spelled, but trust me it is right. I've spelled it so many times the last few days that I learned how to spell it to quit seeing the red line under it!)

I was right in the middle of the vulnerability of the exam. The dr. was looking closely at his eyes, observing and asking questions but never giving one hint of anything. For an hour, I watched him try different scenarios, dilate Samuel's eyes, etc... and the whole time I am wondering if he is going to tell me I am crazy that nothing was there.

We took Samuel in because we noticed his right eye tended to wander towards the bridge of his nose. With family history of a lazy eye, glasses, contacts, laser surgery, etc... we felt that this was worth checking into.

After the hour, the dr. said he agreed with us that he saw something there. And, it was not the more common (code for easier to fix) situation but possibly more complex. So, we got a referral to a Pediatric Ophthalmologist in a bigger city where we will take him next month.

All of this hit me hard initially. Eyes are not something I want to mess with. And, I had no idea when God gave this word see, that it would come to mean something so literal to me.

As we left and I squeezed this little guy a little tighter for how good he'd been through all of the exam process, I was feeling vulnerable and scared. I got everyone in the car to head home and as I turned on the car - we heard the Go Fish music we'd had on. (I could not find a video of the song - but you can hear part of it here.)

Driving out of the parking lot and turning back onto the road - I heard a phrase,

"I need Your help to make my vision 20/20"

As preoccupied as I was, only God could've allowed me to hear just that phrase at that moment. So, I instantly became more in tune to the rest of the song, especially the chorus:

I wanna be the way that You want me to be
I wanna hear You say that You’re so proud of me
I wanna do the things that You want me to do
Oh Lord, I wanna be just like You

That puts it into a bit more perspective, doesn't it! No matter what, I want to be who He wants me to be and I want that for Samuel too. Even if his vision is not 20/20 - I do want him to be one who pleases God. And, I started to just feel thankful that Samuel can see. And, thankful that I can see him and enjoy having him as part of our family.

And, the journey of seeing continues...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tea Parties

When you're having a rough patch through your days - do you ever just throw out the chores and have a tea party? We do - and it is always so wonderful! We enjoy it, we relax and create special memories together!

I've been wanting to try these tea biscuits - and last week when we just needed something fun and colorful - I pulled the recipe out! I'm not a big fan of raisins - so I switched things up and made two different variations of this recipe. Basically I made one complete recipe in two bowls and made half garlic and cheese (1/2 c. shredded cheese and a sprinkling of garlic powder) and the other half with mini chocolate chips (1/2 c.). They were both delish!

For lunch, we had the savory batch with bacon and lettuce:

And, for dessert we had the sweet ones - I was really wishing for some whipped or devonshire cream - but melted ice cream or plain works too!

I made hot tea and we spread out a blanket, ate and read books!

Have you had a tea party "just because" recently? I highly recommend it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mama & Me Cookie Treat

For review in our CC class, I recently wanted to do a moms vs. students game. And, I needed to come up with a prize that would be suitable for whichever group won and that could really be enjoyed by both!

I had gotten some Valentine M&M's on sale at Walgreens and remembered this recipe. Instead of jars, I just used ziploc bags and since I was out of chocolate chips, I chopped up Hershey's Kisses that have been languishing in my cabinet and substituted those.

We ended up missing that day because Emily was sick - so we'll look forward to trying again on this game and prize in another week! I thought these turned out so cute!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I was looking through some pictures from our trip to France the other day to gather some pictures to share with my CC class of Monet's home and garden.

And, I came across pictures of our time here:

My very first, nearly subconscious thought was that I would love to crawl inside these pictures and be in this place. Not as a tourist though.

There is something so peaceful that calls to me about these pictures. The scenery, the quiet colors, the gray, the architecture, knowing it is a place devoted to living a solitary life focused on Him.

I've mentioned before how much I love gray weather and even the lack of color doesn't seem to matter as the quietness beckons.

And, even now, I realize that all of this really describes where I've been lately. The "reflect" category has seen its fair share of deposits here of late. Because that is largely where I've been - reflecting, studying, learning, seeking.

I can think of a number of pictures or paintings I would love to jump in! There is a stillness in pictures and paintings that calls to me out of the chaos of my own life! While I realize that life is not completely still once you get there - it is refreshing sometimes just to look and imagine myself there.

What am I doing there?

Who is there with me?

And, yes - I can think of a few places closer to home than this that would be a good place to reflect! But, I just really enjoyed re-visiting this place through looking through these photos.

Do you ever wish you could jump in a picture or painting? As I've been hanging out in the land of reflecting - where have you been camped lately?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

To See Like My Savior: Fixing My Eyes Part Two

A couple of days later - I was struggling again. Fearing again. Not feeling good. I ate a pitifully small dinner and snuggled on the couch with little Samuel while the others were out for the evening. I read my Bible - studying all those times He taught about blindness. I watched Thomas the Train and exclaimed over Percy being frozen by Jack Frost and Thomas being buried in the snow.

It was one of those places where I couldn't decide if I really didn't feel good or if I just needed a fresh perspective. You know those times? When you're just really down and a friend calls and you feel so much better after talking for just a few minutes? Yes, that is where I was.

Everyone got home and I pretty much went straight to bed ~ praising God for the gift of rest and the restoration of sleep. After a good sleep and a good breakfast, I was feeling some better - but then our morning happened. Just the usual craziness going on in a home with three young children.

I called my mother-in-law and asked if I could bring my children over to play for a little while so I could run some errands and catch my breath. She graciously agreed. We made it through the morning somehow and I dropped them off. She said she was going to take them out to lunch and to play so I would have several hours and she'd just bring them home later. We switched cars and I was flooded with thankfulness - just for the provision that God made.

Sometimes we need help on this journey. And, I'm usually slow at asking for help - but look at the response I received.

I did my errands with a slower pace than I usually have the freedom to take. And, it was like the time alone and the quiet were restoring me. Sometimes we really do need time to refresh.

Grocery shopping. Check.
Pick up pictures. Check.
Lunch. Check.
Craft Supplies. Check.

I headed home with a lighter heart and got things settled in quickly. I gathered my crafting things and a movie from the library. Peaceful lights, sitting on my bed, looking out my window, being restored in all these things.

I cut circles for over and hour just relishing the quiet, the peace, the calm, the healing of creating. One thing I've learned about myself is that I have a need to create. When I am off center, worn out, struggling - it is one of the things that brings me back and helps me re-focus and feel refreshed.

So, for the rest of the afternoon - I worked and I could hardly stop. It was so therapeutic.

my eyes on Him.

Ask for help.


Step out of my tunnel vision and get a fresh perspective. All of these things help me in seeing more clearly.

What clears your vision when things are getting muddy?

* * *

Felt heart tutorial here. HT: Amy
Tree is just a stick from my yard with tiny hearts glued on.
Strung doilies on baker's twine make a charming garland!