Three Precious Years Ago......
my darling son was born. Stephen III has brought so much joy to my life. I must admit, when I first was handed my little bundle on February 3, 2005, I did not realize what a fun adventure having a son would be! So many times when he gives me his toothy grin and snuggles, I ask him if he will always be my little man. He sweetly kisses me and says that he always will be my little guy, forever. He is so precious; Stevie is the perfect blend of rough and tough boy, with a tender heart.
February 3, 2005- a few hours after birth
Summer 2005- A few months old
Two years old- Stevie always enjoys bringing us humor
Almost Two Years- Christmas 2006
Almost three years- Christmas 2007
We love you, Stevie! You are such a blessing!
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Three Precious Years Ago......
Posted by Christine at 7:24 PM
Posted by Christine at 7:02 PM
I am grateful for all the ways my Heavenly Father provides for my family and I. Listing recent blessings helps me to have a grateful heart.
*Last week, before a neighbor moved, he brought us all the items from his refrigerator, that he thought we could use. He gave us milk, butter, eggs, ketchup and many other useful foods. I marvel at the way that God provides for His children.
*For the kindness of a man who helped me, yesterday, when I took my children out to eat, for lunch. I had my hands full with the baby, and I was gathering all the trash on my tray, trying to juggle it all. A man just came up, took my tray from me, dumped it in the trash, and left. It was inspiring to see that there is still some chivalry left in this world!
* I am grateful for my husband, who works, often through many adversities. He works so hard with his full time job, side job, taking college classes, and being a great Daddy! I am so blessed to be married to Stephen!
For more thankful Thursdays, visit Iris.
Posted by Christine at 10:22 AM
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I must confess that I am a rookie regarding being a frugal home economist, but through God's grace, I am learning. I have recently started couponing, and in doing so, I glean store ads, trying to find the best deals. One vital item that can make this process so much easier is having a price book. That way, I can compare prices and see if a name brand (with a coupon) is cheaper than a generic brand. I plan on making a price book for items that I purchase frequently, such as spaghetti sauce. For a tutorial on making a price book and spreadsheet forms, visit here. For more Works for me Wednesday ideas, visit Shannon.
Posted by Christine at 8:00 AM
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Lately, my dear little Lily has been struggling with fears about going to bed. This has been quite a lesson to me about trusting in God and conquering my own fears, as well. Children are such a blessing and I have learned so much in my spiritual path (quite often by my shortcomings) from my precious little ones. One verse which helps me with my fears is Joshua 1:9: "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." I cannot merely advise my daughter to trust in the Lord, while she is afraid; I have to walk the walk as well. This is where parenting is very convicting. God has led me to trust in Him, and to not be afraid, in several ways. After I had my daughter, Lily, I was terrified of giving birth again. I had labored for 33 hours, and was in extreme agony in the hospital. My labor had taken so long, that they cut off the epidural, and refused to give me any other pain medications. Nonetheless, I had every monitor known to man, strapped on me, and I was forced to lay down. It was a terrifying time. Pushing, while on my back, was ineffective and downright painful. I started having breathing problems, in all of my pain. Once my baby was born, I lay in utter shock at what had just occurred. I remember being so afraid afterwards. I remained convicted to have the children God sent, but I was definitely in fear. When I found out I was expecting my son, I made sure that I could have a good doctor who would give me access to plenty of pain medications, in labor. Once again, I tried mightily to avoid drugs in my only 5 hour labor, yet since I was forced in the bed and could not naturally deal with the pain with comfort measures, I succumbed to getting an epidural during the last hour. When I found out that I was expecting Anastasia, I again went through the typical pre-natal care, planning on using drugs if the pain was too overwhelming, yet hoping for a natural birth. God led me to face the fear of childbirth pain. A few months into the pregnancy, a dear Christian woman said, "You would be a perfect homebirth candidate." I said, "I would love to, and my husband is very supportive of it, but I am afraid. I can never birth without medication. It is just too painful." She reminded me of I John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." Let me just say that this was very difficult for me to swallow, at the time, but it was definitely what I needed to hear. I truly believe that God was asking me to put down my fears and to grow in Him. I am very grateful that He led me down the path of facing my fear of childbirth.
Last month, after our vehicle got hit, I had a lot of fear to face. Afterwards, I did not want to ride in a vehicle, much less, to drive one. But just a few days later, my dear husband made me face my fear of driving, and he had me drive. It is a very good thing, too, because I doubt I would have again, of my own accord. There is something almost paralyzing, especially when I drive through the intersection where I got hit. (Which is about 4 miles from my house) I do not like driving there, and I almost prefer driving 20 miles out of the way, just to avoid it. This weekend, I will have to drive right through that intersection, to attend a church tea. I need to cling to my Savior, and to face my fears. He is faithful to carry us through all of our trials and fears. I am so thankful for a Savior who helps me to grow, despite my greatest fears. Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 6:37 PM
Saturday, January 26, 2008
CVS Deals (Trip 2)
Thanks to a trip deal recommended by Crystal, I got 10 bags of M and M's and deodorant for just about free. The total out of pocket that I spent on this trip was $1.50. My CVS was incredible about stacking coupons. My first transaction was the Fusion razor and Sambucol. Unfortunately, the Sambucol did not give me $9.99 worth of ECBs. I guess that was a weekly deal. But I do have a rebate form to get the $12.99 that I spent on it (with ECBs) back. At least it pays for itself! So, for only spending $1.50 in cash, I got 10 bags of M and M's, one Speed Stick Deodorant, Sambucol, and a Fusion Razor. I have $19.00 in ECBs back and I will receive money back for the Sambucol, with my rebate. This trip was a lot of fun! Two of my children's birthdays are coming up, so I am hoping to make cute little treat bags with the M and M's. Getting things for free is so much fun! For more Super Savings Saturday, visit Crystal. Make sure that you listen to Crystal's second podcast on saving money at CVS here.I love her idea about blessing others with the stuff that you get for free/almost free. Even if our budget is kind of tight, we can find ample ways to bless others with all of our CVS deals! Crystal is also having a blowout sale on her e-books, including Supermarket Savings. For $10, during January, you can get 15 of Crystal's e-books here. Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 3:53 PM
Friday, January 25, 2008
Frugal Friday Birthday Freebies
Last night, my husband and I went out to celebrate his birthday, which is on Monday. We joined the Red Robin e-club, so my husband received a coupon for a free burger. (A $9.00 value) I also signed him up for a free birthday dessert from Baskin Robbins. There are so many restaurants that offer free meals and/or desserts for children and adults. You can definitely get away with paying very little for a birthday dinner. I found this list of restaurants, which shows all of the birthday freebies you can obtain, mainly by signing up online. For more frugal ideas, visit Crystal's site.
Posted by Christine at 10:00 AM
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Posted by Christine at 3:27 PM
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Biblical Womanhood E-book Sale!
Biblical Womanhood is hosting a sale on their entire e-book series, as seen here.
E-Books Included in Deal:
Secrets to Supermarket Savings, A Proper Tea, Make your Own, Simply Centisible Breakfasts, How to start your own Business, The Merchant Maiden, Menu Planning Made Easy, Homegrown Business, In Good Season: Autumn, The Bread by Hand e-book, Momma's Guide to Growing your own Groceries, The Best of Crystal's blog, Simply Centsible Suppers, Spring has Sprung, and Thriving on one income.
Individual e-books are $3.00 each, and the entire e-book package is only $10.00. The e-books in the package normally cost $95.00, but this is a wonderful sale. The package consists of several spectacular e-books, including the new Supermarket Savings e-book. It contains several shopping tips from Crystal Paine, who is a savvy supermarket shopper. This really is a great deal and it will last through the month of January. I just purchased this set for myself, and it is simply amazing! You get so much helpful information for only $10! If you are interested in this great opportunity, please Click Here!
Posted by Christine at 10:40 PM
Favorite Frugal Websites
In my quest to save money for my family, I have come across some wonderful websites, which share tips on how to be thrifty! I am including a few links, for your enjoyment. Blessings!
Coupon Mom *Sign up and receive her free e-book on saving with coupons.*
Hillbilly Housewife I have always loved the frugal ideas on this website and have been very inspired by the $40 menu.
Money Saving Mom Crystal's website contains a plethora of frugal information. I love her CVS deal ideas; it is quite helpful for a CVS rookie like me.By the way, if you want a sneak peak on tomorrow's CVS ad, check out this link.One of my favorite shopping tips, that Crystal has shared on her blog, is to always pray before shopping. She is quite an encouragement to me!
By the way, I am certain that this would never be in my budget, but what a great idea for stocking up on your deals!
Posted by Christine at 8:14 PM
Friday, January 18, 2008
My husband and I tend to be very conservative when it comes to investing our money, so our main form of investing has been a savings account. A few months ago, we took most of our money out of our savings account at our bank, and switched it over to a money market with a credit union. This is a very safe form of investment, and our money is not locked in for any period of time. We were always frustrated by the little bit of interest we would earn a year, with our savings account. With our money market, we earn in a month , close to what we earned in a year, with our saving account. I encourage you to check around and find the highest money market percentages that you can find. This is a very good "baby step" to easily increase the percentage you can make off of your money. For more frugal ideas, visit Crystal.
Posted by Christine at 9:17 AM
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I recently made homemade playdoh for Lily and Stevie. They enjoy playing with it so much; even without adding color to it, they prefer it to the storebought variety. I found the recipe for it in Super Baby Food, although I am sure that there are several online recipes for making homemade playdoh. Now, if I were a truly brave mother, I would make some homemade slime. One day, perhaps, I shall be that ambitious! Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 12:49 PM
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Inspiration from the Duggar Family
I was so blessed by listening to this, today. If you get a chance to hear it, I am sure that it will be a blessing to you. The Duggars truly desire to serve Him wholeheartedly. Their joy is truly contagious! I love how the Duggars have such a vision for their children. I am truly inspired to (with God's grace) raise up my children more deliberately for the Lord, rather than just hoping that they will behave and not make messes. There is so much more to raising godly seed than just hoping they turn out "halfway decent". What a blessed calling we have as Christian mothers! Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 4:48 PM
Monday, January 14, 2008
Menu Plan Monday
***The weather is cooling off again, so I can start making some more soup and chili.***
Monday- Spinach Quiche (The crust recipe can be found here and the filling can be found here.)
Wednesday- off- sister-in-law cooking- Family Night
Thursday- Baked Potato Soup with bacon, sour cream, and cheddar cheese garnishes
Friday- Homemade Pizza (I make my dough in the bread machine, then bake it in a cast iron skillet, in the oven- delish!)
Saturday- Mexican Rice Casserole (A casserole combining: rice, green pepper, beef, tomato sauce, and ketchup- true comfort food!)
Sunday- (Fellowship Meal) Lasagna
For more menu plans, visit Laura. I would love to hear what yummy foods are cooking up in your kitchen!
Posted by Christine at 8:59 AM
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I love these. I really need this one. I am always told that I have my "hands full". Last week, I was taking a walk with my children, when some teens got off the school bus. (I was holding onto Lily and Stevie's hands, and carrying Anastasia in my Ergo. One guy said, "Gee, you have your hands full." I said, "Yes I do, but it is a good thing."
Posted by Christine at 1:50 PM
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Adventures of a CVS Newbie
I must admit, I have been wanting to try all the CVS deals for a while, now. But honestly, I was afraid that I might mess up. But thanks to many helpful online sites, such as Money Saving Mom, it was a rather easy process. My cashier was incredible. She was extremely accommodating and understanding when I told her that I had a couple of transactions in my cart. She said that she enjoys watching the deals her customers get, and then she tries to duplicate their deals. She professed that she is a "Coupon Queen", and she told me that she loves the Money Saving Mom website. Boy, I have gotta tell you that it was a thrill to get $75.00 worth of merchandise (including two mega packs of diapers) for less than $25.00 , out of pocket. I love shopping, but getting a lot of stuff for very little money, is incredible. I still have $6.00 in Extra Care Bucks leftover, and because of the Hershey deal, I should receive a $5 gift card to CVS in the mail.
Buy 20 bars- earn $20 ECB
I used 4 $1.00 off coupons found here.
I also used this coupon for $4.00 off a $20.00 CVS purchase.
$12.00 plus tax= out of pocket
Extra Care Bucks Earned= $20.00
If you buy $10 worth of Hershey's products, you will receive (on select items) ECB's and a CVS gift card for $5.00.
2 bags of Hershey's kisses/miniatures 2/$5.00
ECB earned= $2.00
4 regular sized Hershey's bars 4/$2.00
ECB earned= $1.00
2 extra large Hershey's candy bars 2/$3.00
ECB earned= $1.00
Total $10.00 worth of Hershey's products.
I earned $4.00 worth of ECB's and a $5.00 gift card. So it is like I paid $1.00 for all of that Hershey's loot!
Poland Spring Water/Aquapods 2 packs of 6 sports bottles. 2/$5.00
I wanted to use this coupon, but alas, my CVS only had one pack of Aquapods.
ECBs earned $2.00
(Buy one pack of diapers or wipes, and get other one half off)
1 mega pack $13.99
1 mega pack $6.99
Total cost= $10.00 Hershey products
$5.00 Ozarka water products
+ $21.00 Diapers
- 2.00 coupon ($2.00 off $10.00 CVS purchase)
3.00 coupon ($3.00 off $15.00 CVS purchase)
20.00 Extra Care Bucks
$11.00 out of pocket and I received $6.00 worth of ECB and a $5.00 gift card!
By the way, you can find these coupons here. I now know that I could have stacked more coupons, so next time I will print more and plan accordingly. Overall, for it being my first time "CVSing", I am very excited and pleased with the deals I got. This definitely is a lot of fun!
Posted by Christine at 8:29 AM
We Got a New Temporary Tag!
Last night, my husband drove an hour and fifteen minutes to meet our dealer (who lives three hours away), to get a new temporary tag! Thank you, honey! He told us to tape it inside our van window. If anyone tries stealing this tag, hopefully, it will cause a bit more of a scene.
Posted by Christine at 7:27 AM
Friday, January 11, 2008
Frugal Baby Food
A few weeks ago, we were traveling, so we grabbed a jar of organic baby food, to try out on Anastasia. The smallest jar cost $.89 at the particular store we were at. We rarely buy commercial baby food for a variety of reasons. Homemade baby food can sound like an arduous task, but it can be really simple. I have used the ice cube method, since I first read about it, a few years ago, in Super Baby Food. This book is such a lifesaver because it tells what age your child must be, in order to eat certain foods. (I used to just borrow a copy of the book from the library. A few weeks ago, I purchased a used copy from Amazon.) It has a really thorough list of fruits and vegetables, with details such as regarding how to select them and how to prepare them. My dear hubby purchased 4 sweet potatoes for me and they cost about $1.60. I only used two of them to make Anastasia's baby food. First, I baked the sweet potatoes. Then, I cut them up so they would fit in my blender. I pureed them and added water that had been boiled. The two , pureed sweet potatoes filled an entire ice cube tray, creating 12 servings. Since my baby isn't eating too many solids, yet, this will last about two weeks. The total cost was about .80 cents, which is still less than the organic baby food jar, which I purchased! I just pop a "sweet potato ice cube" into a little container to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. After it is thawed, it is ready for my baby to enjoy. Also, the easiest and most portable baby food is a banana. You can tote it in a diaper bag, and mash it right before serving. I heartily recommend making your own baby food; it is simple, and preparing batches in advance makes it convenient. I find ice cube trays very easy to use, but they even make these baby cubes for those who want added convenience when moving food from the freezer to the refrigerator. Saving money on baby food certainly is much more frugal, and often, healthier, than buying only commercialized baby food. For more frugal ideas, visit Crystal.
Posted by Christine at 8:16 AM
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Anastasia is 6 months old!
I cannot believe that my little Anastasia is 6 months old, today! 6 months is such a fun age; she is always learning so much and has so many smiles to give. I love how she can turn her neck around like a little owl, to see where I am, if someone else is holding her. She is just the cutest little thing. I am so proud of how good her brother and sister are, around her.
I treasure every moment I am blessed to have her snuggled close; she is a doll.
Lily is a sweetheart.
Lily and Stevie crack me up; they are precious.
What could be better than spending every day with your sweeties?
Posted by Christine at 3:39 PM
Monday, January 07, 2008
What Stevie wants for his Birthday.....
Last night, Stevie announced to me that he wants two gifts for his birthday, February 3rd. Unfortunately, he is going to have to wait a bit..... I can provide neither a brother nor a bunkbed, in less than one month. Sorry little guy...will a hot wheels car suffice, this year?
Posted by Christine at 7:25 PM
Life Gives You Lemons Lemonade
Lately, life has been bringing me a lot of lemons, so I truly made lemonade. I made the lemonade as a tangible way to remind me that no matter what life brings my way, I need to make the best of it. I can always choose joy, even if I don't feel like it. Lately, I have shed quite a few tears and had many moments of frustration about all that has been occurring in my life. I wish I have handled it with perfect calmness, and grace, but in all honesty, I have not. It is in those times that I realize how much I need God to work on my sinful heart, to change it into something beautiful. Despite the fact that I won't be able to leave my house for , perhaps, several days/weeks (because of the stolen temp. tags) and despite the sleeplessness from Anastasia's sickness, amongst other things, I choose joy. I am grateful that no matter what happens in my life, God is still sovereign and He is my Savior. As His child, I am promised that no matter what sufferings and trials afflict me in this life, He will always work all things out for my good. Perhaps He is letting "patience have her perfect work". Patience is one thing, of which I could never have enough. No matter what lemons come my way, I hope to always choose joy, through God's holy grace.
Life Gives You Lemons Lemonade
Mix 6 cups of water with 1/2 cup sugar. Juice 3 lemons and mix with the water and sugar. Chill and serve. Enjoy!
Posted by Christine at 6:41 PM
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Anastasia has had a pretty high fever all week, and it finally broke, yesterday. She was extremely irritable when she had the fever, bless her heart. All she wanted me to do was walk her, all day on Thursday and Friday. Even then, she would just scream. Now, she has broken out into a rash all over her abdomen and legs , and I am pretty sure that it is Roseola. Evidently, there is nothing that can be done for it, and it is one of those things to wait out. The good news is that she will (more than likely) be immune to it, for life. We would appreciate your prayers that she heals well.
Posted by Christine at 6:55 PM
The winner will receive a brand new
Hamilton Beach 4.5-qt. Eclectrics Stand Mixer, Pineapple Yellow!!
About the mixer:
From Hamilton Beach’s “Eclectrics” line, this all-metal stand mixer comes with a host of accessories - a Flat Beater for cakes and cookies, a Dough Hook for bread and a Wire Whisk for whipped cream or pudding. The 4.5-qt. stainless steel bowl comes with a Pouring Shield that helps prevent splattering while in operation. The pouring shield has a built-in chute for adding ingredients. Powered by 400 watts, the stand mixer has a two-way mixing action to ensure all ingredients are incorporated into the mix. The quick-release, tilt-up head assists when removing the bowl. 9 x 14 x 14-in. When you’re ready for a kitchen re-do, don’t call in the carpenters! Instead, “counterscape” your kitchen with Hamilton Beach’s retro-designed, affordably priced electrics in happy, sun-saturated colors. Their “Eclectrics” line includes updates to those classic appliances from the 1950s. All of their “Eclectrics” are available in six colors: Apple Green, Moroccan Red, Pineapple Yellow, Intrigue Blue, Sugar White and Licorice Black.This contest begins on January 1, 2008 and will end on January 31, 2008 at 6:00pm CST. Winner will be announced on February 1, 2008! This contest is open to ALL and to anywhere UPS or the USPS will go!
Posted by Christine at 5:25 PM
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Last night, we had supper with my husband's family, and we noticed that Annie felt really warm. Stephen ran to Walmart to buy a few comfort measures for Annie. He was in Walmart for about 15 minutes. While he was there, someone stole the temporary tags on our vehicle. Stephen did not realize this until later, last night. I called the sheriff's office, today, and I was told that we will be heavily penalized if we drive without tags. We are still awaiting the permanent license plate, which our dealer still has not applied for, yet. So, until we get a tag, the children and I cannot go anywhere. This is so upsetting because what if I need to take my baby to the doctor? I am a law abiding citizen, and I cannot drive my vehicle. Meanwhile, a criminal is gallivanting around town, using my tags on his/her vehicle. Why does it seem that the victim is more penalized than the perpetrator?
Posted by Christine at 3:46 PM
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Hopes for this Year
I hope that you had a delightful New Years, and that were blessed to be able to celebrate with your precious families. We had a lovely evening at home, last night. We watched two movies, and ate some delicious snacks, including crackers with Cheesy Salsa Dip and Spinach and Artichoke dip. We sipped Vernors Ginger Ale as we rang in the New Year. Being together as a family is always such a joy.
I really appreciate the way Doug Phillips encourages fellow Christians to Chronicle the Providences of God in one's life, lest we forget them. This is a wonderful time for looking at one's life and setting goals and making proper changes. There are several things that, with God's Grace, I hope to accomplish this year.
- To be a better wife to my dear husband; to pray to God that I may hold my tongue, more often, and show him the kindness that he truly deserves. My husband is a sweetheart; he does so much for others, seeking so little in return.
- To spend more time playing with my children and to truly savor every moment with them. I am hoping to be more committed to teaching them at all times, in the spirit of Deuteronomy 6.
- I am hoping to learn to sew this year. I have taken a class before, but it was with about 30 students, at the community college. I was expecting Lily, and only made it to 4 out of the 6 classes. There were far too many students and I feel like I need individual attention. I have a lovely sewing machine, which my dear husband gave me for Christmas in 2006. Every time I take it out, I get frustrated with it, because the thread gets all messed up and the bobbin is going haywire. Last time I brought it out, I had pregnancy hormones which made me extremely flustered and I was simply a bucket of tears. I hope I can master the basics of using a sewing machine; there is so much I would love to do! I may hire a young lady from church to come to my house and give me a few pointers with my sewing machine.
- I want to be very faithful in spending more time with the Lord, daily. I want to continue reading through the Bible and to truly soak it up, and live it. I want to diligently seek Him in everything.
- I want to be more courageous in my witness to others. Mention of my Savior and His loving kindness and mercies should be ever on my lips.
- To continue learning domestic pursuits, particularly in the cooking/baking arena. In 2007, I learned how to make biscuits, a pie crust, and a pumpkin roll, as well as a few other new foods. These definitely took me out of my comfort level, as I tend to be a perfectionist and have such high expectations, of myself. I have not quite mastered these things, but I am thankful that God is helping me to "jump out there" and get out of my comfort zones.
- To spend about 20 minutes every day, writing. I feel that God has given me this gift, and I should not be afraid to use it. So often, I am afraid that my writing won't be perfect, so I just refrain from doing it. It is far better for me to do something, than to give up before trying.
- To be more diligent in chronicling events and precious memories from my children's lives, in their journals.
- To be faithful in exercising a few times a week and to take a walk nearly every day. (weather permitting) Lose the baby belly when there isn't a baby in there! lol
- To do all that I can to raise my iron levels, so that should God bless us with another precious baby, I won't have so many struggles with this. Invest in getting a natural, high iron supplement. This helped to raise my iron levels some, at the end of my pregnancy with Anastasia.
- To alkalize my body more by eating healthier foods and drinking plenty of water, throughout the day.
- To be more honed to the needs of others, both in the Body of Christ, and amongst the unsaved. To help all those whom the Lord lays upon my heart.
What are your hopes and dreams for this year?
Posted by Christine at 12:47 PM