The ads beckon from nearly every direction, "Buy now, pay later." My husband and I cannot stand the bondage of debt, so we try to pay for everything in cash. (We are trying to pay off our mortgage, our last debt, as fast as we can.) There are many things that God has blessed us with, that we did not have the money for. For a few years, our dining room was completely empty, because we could not afford to furnish it. Then, one day, my husband's co-worker asked Stephen if we could use a table he was going to get rid of, for our kitchen. We placed the new (to us) table and two chairs in the kitchen, and moved our kitchen table into the dining room. We are grateful that God provided us with a table and more chairs. God also provided for us a used changing table, my dresser, a ton of hand me downs for our babies, and so much other stuff. We are extremely blessed. I often consider that if we had run out to a store and furnished our whole house with borrowed money, we would have missed many blessings from the Lord. When we want a new piece of furniture, we investigate the best prices, sometimes even getting two furniture stores to compete in pricing. Praying before making a large purchase is always a wise idea. Waiting to save up for a particular item truly gives one the time to discern if a particular item is worth that much money. I have been wanting a headboard/footboard for my bed, for a few years now. I am planning on researching and comparing prices, and rolling my coins, from the coin jar. (Hmm...maybe I won't have to wait too long with all of the change that is waiting in there. Hubby always replenishes quickly, too!) Even if I put aside $10-20 a month, my goal is pretty feasible. Working towards a goal is so gratifying, and when you make that purchase, it truly is more delightful. It feels great to know that you truly own something, outright. When we paid off our vehicles, I truly felt like they belonged to me. The "having to have it now" mentality can be truly detrimental, especially to one's budget and credit. For more Frugal Fridays, visit Crystal's site.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Posted by Christine at 1:44 PM
Thursday, March 27, 2008
The Hidden Place of Hospitality
I came across this amazing quote, from Nancy Campbell's book, The Power of Motherhood. As Christian mothers, our wombs are actually hospitality rooms, always ready to receive any visitor whom the Lord might send. What an amazing thought!
"The womb is actually a room. We are walking around with a special guestroom in our body, which is a temple. Just as the temple of King David's time had a Holy of Holies, so our womb is a sanctified place for God to bring forth life. I was challenged to realize that just as I prepare a guest room and have it ready for when my guests come to stay, so I should prepare my womb and dedicate it for whomever God sends my way. 'Yes, Lord, I will take in whoever you choose to send, and I will nurture them with food, love, and safety for the amount of time they are here. Sometimes, it might be three months, or six, but hopefully nine months. After the door to that room is opened, they will be with us for a short time or a long time. That is up to You, Lord. My part is to welcome them with a hospitable spirit any child You choose to send to my womb home.'"
Posted by Christine at 1:45 PM
The Bible clearly exhorts us to be hospitable one to another, as in 1 Peter 4:9, "Use hospitality one to another without grudging." Jamie's recent thoughts on hospitality have gotten me to reflect quite a bit, on the topic of hospitality, especially regarding larger families. My husband and I try to offer hospitality to friends and family, quite often. But inviting a larger family over (7 or more people), outside of our extended family, can be quite a challenge to us. The main reason is because we like inviting others for dinner, and we would feel bad if a larger family could not sit down at our dining room table together. (It normally seats 4 people, 6 if we squeeze in.) Maybe it would be a good investment for us to purchase (in God's time) more outside furniture for a larger family to have more room on? Perhaps just inviting a large family over for coffee/tea and desserts, or brunch finger foods might be just as nice? My husband's family is large, but we still invite them all at once, sometimes. (There were about 18 people here for Easter. Though it was a bit tight, we were all cozy here. They were content sitting on the floor, on chairs, etc.. They are so easy to please!) For those of you who have larger families, I would love your input. Do you cherish the invitation and the pleasant times, even with those who have a smaller house? What could those of us with a smaller home do to make you more accommodated during a visit? How have you shown hospitality towards others, even when your house might not appear to amply accommodate everyone? This is a challenge, and a blessing. May we use our homes for His Glory!
Image Courtesy of Art.com.
Posted by Christine at 12:58 PM
- I am extremely happy that I have two fully potty trained children. No pull ups, etc. at night for Stevie. He is doing great. What an amazing blessing!
- For the healing of my very clogged duct/mastitis on Monday. I am also thankful for dear Hubby going out to get some cabbage leaves as a comfort measure for me. It is amazing how much they helped.
- For the blessing of being able to host Easter dinner at our house. Opening our doors to others is always such a blessing to us.
- For the blessing of my sweet Lily, who stopped watching her Leap Frog video, so that she could help me stuff Anastasia's diapers, with the liners. She is such a doll, often asking how she can help me, without being asked.
- For the joy and blessing of being able to snuggle with my sweet baby at night, and to wear her close to my heart in the baby carrier, often, throughout the day. This little sweetie brings so much joy and happiness to her mama's heart.
- I am thankful for the laughter and smile that my precious son always brings to my face! My blonde boy is pure sunshine to me.
- For the gorgeous butterflies, fragrant flowers, and warm sunshine that the Lord pours out on these spring days.
For more thankful Thursdays, visit Iris.
Posted by Christine at 11:31 AM
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
End the Mother's Act
Ellajac recently alerted me regarding The Mother's Act, which seeks the screening of pregnant mothers for warning signs of post partum depression. Many doctors place pregnant women on anti-depressants, which often cause birth defects, greater depression, and suicidal tendencies.Manie is an example of a child born with extensive birth defects, since his mother was on Paxil during pregnancy.Here is a petition you can sign, and here is the website with more information about this terrible bill. We can do something; we don't have to stand idly by. This is an election year, so please inundate your local senators with pleas against this bill via e-mail, telephone calls, etc.. (The bill has already passed at the House of Representatives, and is now in the Senate.) It would be a tragedy to let stories like this continue.Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 4:22 PM
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A Woman's Glory
I Corinthians 11:15 states that, "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering." Long hair is beautiful, yet can be a challenge to arrange attractively, as a busy mother. I cherish the website In Timely Fashion, for the lovely and graceful pictures of various hair styles. Learning new hair styles, which help keep my hair in place as I go throughout my day, definitely works for me.
Graphic Courtesy of All Posters.
Posted by Christine at 12:12 PM
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The Effectiveness of Massage During Labor
One of the greatest reliefs for me during labor, was when my doula or my husband rubbed the lumbar region of my back. It took so much pressure off of that area, and really was comforting. It really helps when being on all fours, or leaning on a counter, or against a fireplace mantel. I was pleased to read in Reader's Digest , the following quote, "Massage can be as powerful as morphine for those in pain." (-Dr. Daniel Hinshaw) There are so many incredible comfort measures that one can utilize when one does not have to wear the uncomfortable, constant, fetal monitor, or any iv's. Massages and heat packs are such a gift from God during labor.Birthing Naturally has a great article on massage techniques for labor. After two very painful, medicated births, I was a complete skeptic as to how anyone could birth naturally. But now I know that natural birth is possible, if one has a supportive birth team, conducive birth environment, and comfort measures. What comfort measures have you used during labor and delivery? Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 7:15 PM
Sunday, March 16, 2008
A Lovely Birthday Weekend
As a special birthday present, dear Hubby took me to a local Bed and Breakfast on Friday night. (I am turning 27, tomorrow, March 17!) It was a lovely Inn, which used to be a courthouse for that town. Our breakfast was delicious; it was so nice to get a break from washing dishes! lol
My dear youngest sister-in-law watched our eldest children; she is a sweetie! Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 6:39 PM
My CVS deals for March 16-22
This week does have a few promising CVS deals. Sunday and Monday only of this week, when you buy Hershey's Pot of Gold, you get $4.99 ECB back. (limit 2) These can be great gifts, and they paid for themselves. Another great find was the clearance Snicker's Marathon Energy Bars. Normally, they are pretty expensive, but at my CVS, but they were marked down to .37 cents each. You get 1 Extra Care Buck when you buy two, so I virtually made .26 cents for every two I purchased. I also got the Soleil razor, a Scott's toilet paper pack, 2 Colgate Total Advanced, and 2 Oral B toothbrushes, and the Maybelline Superstay Lipgloss. I spent close to $5 oop, I walked in the store with $13.00 Extra Care Bucks, and I walked out with $25 ECB. Pretty sweet! This week might be worth checking out. Last week, I skipped it, as I was visiting with relatives.
I had to show you the destruction derby, which happens when Anastasia knocks over the CVS goods. I held her when I was taking the first picture, then I let her "have at it". She is so funny!
Posted by Christine at 5:00 PM
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Frugal Stir Fry
When I make stir fry, I usually get into "auto pilot" mode , and I grab a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. We had some raw carrots and broccoli on hand from our party, so I cut that up more coarsely, to use in stir fry. I had purchased some cabbage, yesterday, on sale for 29 cents a pound. I have found that stir fry can be made very affordably from fresh vegetables. Instead of letting the rest of the head of cabbage go bad in the refrigerator (like I normally do), I chopped it up and put it into freezer bags for future evenings. This way, I can have the convenience of frozen stir fry veggies, at a fraction of the price. I used a straw to suck the air out of the freezer bag, and it is just like using a seal a meal. (Which I own, but I find the bags for it to be too expensive for us.) Stir fry can be so economical, because you can choose from a large variety of vegetables to use in it. Using store ads to select vegetables that are on sale, or using leftover vegetables, you can make a very tasty meal for a very low price. What shortcuts have you found for using your vegetables up, before they go bad? For more Frugal Fridays, visit Crystal.
Posted by Christine at 5:10 PM
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Wonderful Articles and Printables for Mamas
Kimberly Eddy has done a superlative job on the free printable planners and articles found here. Here is her article about the Family Meal Table. I cannot wait to read it! I am praying that God will give us a greater vision for our meal table. Kimberly has such a plethora of handy tools on her site, including Greek flashcards, Bible memory verses, and mother's planner. Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 8:53 PM
Wonderful Memories from this Weekend
Stephen, Stevie and Grandpa were so precious playing "war". Stevie was the general, and tended to have his troops go in a circle. What special moments!
My Mom snuggling Anastasia
Lily, my sweet sister, Stephanie, Anastasia and I enjoying the beautiful day, and time with each other.
Posted by Christine at 7:52 PM
To the Inventor of Mr.Clean Magic Eraser
I want to thank you for making my life so much easier. Before I had children, in my naivete, I believed that I would never have a child who would write on the walls. Not that my children would be perfect, mind you, but I would never leave a writing instrument within their reach. Little did I know, that one day, little children grow up, and they are able to sneak markers, pens, etc. out of kitchen drawers. If you had never created your marvelous invention, I would either have to live with quite a bit of writing on the wall, or I would have to paint, literally, every day. I relish that my home reflects the fact that children dwell therein, but I do not delight in having graffiti on the walls. This very morning, when nothing else would remove marker stains on the bathroom door, your product worked like a charm! I am heartily thankful to you!
Posted by Christine at 7:29 PM
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Please Pray for a Grieving Mother, Amy!
As I snuggle my precious Anastasia Rose, who is happily nursing, my heart grieves and aches for another mother, Amy, whose little girl, Emily, went to be with the Lord, last month. The reason why this story resonates so close to my heart is that precious little Emily was born merely six days before my baby girl was born. This story has reminded me of the brevity of life, and that God is Sovereign, and His ways are not always our ways. It is critical that I faithfully raise these blessings for Him. I could not imagine being in Amy's shoes. I only recently happened upon her blog, after the loss of her sweet Emily. Please pray that God will comfort Amy's mourning heart. She is a woman of great faith, and I have learned so much from reading just a few of her blog posts. She truly understands her mission as a mother, and who these precious arrows truly belong to.
From Amy's Heart:
"I wanted to keep her, but she was not mine. She was never mine. She has always been the Lord's, just as they all are. I don't own any of them...they are all on loan. But that does not stop the hurt. And even knowing what I know now, I would do it all over again...I would hold her and love her for those same 7 months over and over and over again."
Posted by Christine at 7:11 PM
This past weekend, we had a birthday party for Lily and Stevie. Stevie turned 3 in February, and Lily turned 5, this past Sunday. It is hard for me to believe that my baby is already 5! We had a delightful weekend, celebrating with both sets of grandparents! For more Wordless Wednesdays, visit Tiany.
Posted by Christine at 2:51 PM
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Organic Make Up at CVS
CVS is having a deal this week on Physician's Formula Make up. One of their brands of make-up is organic, and it is called Organic Wear. The deal this week is buy one, get one half off. With some of the great coupon deals, this might not be too hard to work a deal on. I don't wear make up every day, but I would love to have organic makeup for the occasions I do wear make up. I worry about the chemicals, parabens, and harsh preservatives in typical make up and skin products. According to this article, wearing regular makeup, daily, can result in 5 pounds of chemicals being absorbed in the skin, per year. Yikes! I shared with someone my concerns about skin care products and make up, and she said that it was no problem, because it is not being eaten. According to Dr.Mercola, it is far worse to apply harsh chemicals to your skin, than to eat them, because it goes straight to the blood stream, when rubbed into your skin. 900 chemicals used in creating make up have been declared toxic by the National Institute of Safety and Health. A really helpful website is Cosmetic Database, where you can check out if a make up product has any toxins, or not. Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 2:38 PM
Lily and Stevie love it when I make them strawberry smoothies for breakfast. I start with 1/4 cup of organic milk, a bit of sugar, pure vanilla extract, frozen strawberries, bananas (if I have any), some ground flaxseed, and ice cubes. These are such a treat!
Posted by Christine at 2:16 PM
Anastasia tried a Johnny Jump up, at my sister-in-law's, and she loved it. So, Monday morning, dh surprised us by getting Anastasia her very own! She loves bouncing in it. We were so fortunate that Walmart had one in stock. And yes, she is wearing two different colored socks. We are a growing family, and we are happy to even find the right size socks for everybody, around here. If the feet are covered, all is well. Blessings! :)
Posted by Christine at 2:02 PM
Free Childbirth E-book
A dear friend of mine sent me a copy of a free e-book, which I wanted to share with you. It is called Emergency Childbirth A Manual. You can read it here. Regardless of where you are planning to give birth, knowing the stages of birth is always a tremendous help. Also, I know quite a few people who have given birth in their vehicles, on the way to the hospital. So it is best for husbands and wives to educate themselves regarding birth, just in case. This book is written by a doctor, and I agree with a lot of it, except for just a few things. He warns against eating or drinking during labor. (This is antiquated advice, because it was a warning for those who might have c-sections with general anesthesia. C-section recipients used to be given general anesthesia, but now with the epidural, most women are just fine eating during labor. ) Midwives would heartily encourage their clients to eat during labor, so they can keep their strength up. I hope this book is a blessing to you!
Posted by Christine at 11:38 AM
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Natural Living Part 1 - Avoiding BPAs
With all of the harsh chemicals and fumes we are literally inundated with, it can be quite a challenge to live as naturally as possible. As we raise our children for His Glory, it is so critical that we do the best we can, to keep our families healthy. So many dangerous toxins are rampant in personal care needs, household cleansers, and even kitchen plastics. While I may not be able to afford to replace all of the more dangerous items in my home, my dh and I are making baby steps to replace our unsafe items with more natural and healthier solutions.
It has been a bit unsettling to read what the Green Guide has to say about the dangers of BPA leaching plastics. BPA is a synthetic chemical which mimics estrogen. BPA containers can leach into your foods or water. Cancers, infertility, and a plethora of other problems may be attributed to BPA. To find out if your plastics contain BPA or not, check the recyclable code at the bottom of your item. Avoid plastics made of #3, #6, and #7. #1 are good only for a one time usage. Plastics with the recycling codes #2, #4, #5 are considered safe.They have not leached carcinogens or endocrine disrupters. Print out this helpful handout when shopping for safe plastics. There are some great ideas for avoiding BPA here. Make sure to check your water bottle to make sure it is made of a safe plastic. Stainless steel water bottles are a wonderful idea, and I was delighted to find some at Walgreens. Normally, nice ones, such as Klean Kanteen are rather pricey, and are usually close to $20. The Walgreens Stainless steel bottle was only $4 or 3 for $10. I also have a "safe" plastic sports water bottle, that I also use. I am also searching out a better bottle/sippy cup, for when I give Anastasia some water.Tiffany did a really great report on safer sippy cups, which you might enjoy. If you use a plastic bottle/ sippy cup, just make sure it is a #2, #4, or #5. Nubys are fine except for the ones with the handles coming from the bottom, according to this. Regarding food, avoid heating up foods in plastic containers. I used to do this, but now I defrost my cooked meat in the fridge, or put it in a glass bowl, and then microwave it. Here is some helpful information about which plastic wraps, containers, and bags are BPA free.
For you mamas out there, I must encourage you to always take a natural vitamin, and to always stay current on folic acid. BPAs can be very toxic to babies. But some studies have shown that even if a mother has BPA exposure, her unborn baby can be protected, if the mother is taking folic acid. Many causes of birth defects are unknown, and folic acid is a wonderful aid in preventing birth defects.
Due to the recent warnings about BPA, I would love to hear what you have changed in your home. Are you using a new water bottle? Perhaps you were overjoyed to see that your containers were safe? May we live healthy lives, so we may have the strength to do all He asks us to. Have a blessed day, in Him!
Posted by Christine at 12:00 PM