So glad you came to visit today! Here at my little corner of bloggy world I share a little bit about everything--family, parenting, goals, struggles, photography, recipes, n more! So curl up with a cup of hot tea {or not} and feel free to peruse around my site! Check out my sidebar for links. And come back again!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Giveaway-- Free Vacuum!

Susan and Janice are giving away a FREE Dyson Slim vacuum over at 5 Minutes for Mom, so GO enter the contest! And thanks to Dyson for sponsoring this great contest!

(ah, the things we get excited about as we get older, huh?)

Friday Five: Planning Meals

Five Benefits of Weekly Meal Planning:
  1. More organization = less stress. I love only having to plan meals once a week, instead of every other day thinking "what are we going to have for dinner tonight?? ...what are we going to have? ...what are we going to have???" That's just plain frustrating and annoying.
  2. Less trips to the store = less gas. Not only am I making less trips to the store which is also a pain, especially when errands like that have to be carefully arranged around a certain one's nap schedule, and it certainly isn't MINE! Less errands also means using less gas!
  3. More flexibility. For example, two days ago I realized I had run out of an ingredient I needed for that night's crockpot meal. Since I had several other meals lined up, I could easily just swop the dinner plans and run to the store the next day.
  4. Less temptation to eat out because meals are already planned = money saved.
  5. Less money on grocery bills. I can more easily plan out how to use the most of my ingredients. Say I need green onions for Meal #1. I can then find meals for later in the week to use up my remaining green onions. And since I'm only going to the store once a week, there are less impulse buys.
Happy Friday, everyone! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for my husband finishing our taxes last night. (I do not know what I would do without him!!)
I am still thankful that last week when we were traveling, it was my suitcase that got "lost" instead of Baby's car seat.
I am thankful for the beautiful sunshine and warmer weather the last few days and great things that come along with good weather--playing outside, good mood, motivation, fresh air in house, grilling
I am thankful for blogging and all the encouraging comments I've received this week.
I am thankful for getting to talk to two friends yesterday.
I am thankful that my sneezy/runny nose cold only last a day or two.
I am thankful for Baby's good health report earlier this week.
I am thankful for the activities we've just signed up for and the hope of meeting some new people.
I am thankful for the opportunity to go out with some friends this Friday.
I am thankful for Baby's new bathtub, making bathtime a lot easier and more pleasant.

Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Psalm 105:1

To read what other people are thankful for go to Sting My Heart.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

WFMW: Quick Kitchen Cleanup

This is a simple idea, but I thought I'd pass it on anyway... instead of peeling things (potatoes, carrots, apples, egg shell, etc) onto a cutting board and then when done having to take the lid off the trash can so I can carefully scrape it into the trash, then put the trash can lid back on. OR directly peeling over the trash can and accidentally dropping your produce in it... I peel veggies or whatever onto a piece of paper towel, so when I'm done I just fold up the paper towel, toss it in the trash, and move on! It's as quick as the time it took you to read those words! And it certainly works for me!

For more great tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday: The Closet

Hubby and I have been running out of hangers in our closet lately. Fortunately (I guess), there's always something that's in the laundry so we've been able to get by. But running out of hangers means... new stuff has been coming in, but old stuff hasn't been going out. We certainly don't need MORE clothes and thus we certainly don't need more hangers! So today's tackle is... (drum roll, please)..to sift out some of the clothes we no longer wear AND in the same day bag them up and take them to Goodwill. Already by 7:00 this morning I had finished sorting through our closet and created a large "to-go" pile. I also remembered I have a whole bin of pre-pregnancy clothes that no longer fit. I mostly (but not quite) have my weight back to where it should be, but my figure has changed quite a bit (my boobs are even bigger, making shirts now way too short, revealing those oh-so-lovely stretch marks) and I guess my style has changed having matured with being a new mommy. Soo... as much as I would like to think that I could one day fit into those clothes, today is the day... I must let go. Even if I were to be that size again, I'm not sure that's my style anyway. So right alongside Hubby's high school jerseys will be my tiny college-day tees.

And just to prove that I really am busy at work, here are the pictures...

The Closet, Before

The "To-Go-" Pile, still more to add
(notice all the free hangers!)

The Closet, After
(yeah, I know, it's hard to tell the difference)

The pile is growing!
All done and bagged up ready to go!

And I'm proud to say the clothes are dropped off and the tackle is...well, tackled!

To see more Tackles visit 5 Minutes for Mom. Happy Tuesday, everyone!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Monday-- Thai Shrimp and Noodles, Mandarin Oranges
Tuesday-- Pork Chops for Slow Cooker, corn
Wednesday-- Grilled Dinner Packets on grill (precooked chicken pieces + california mix veggies, cover in Ranch dressing, fold up in foil, put on grill to heat through)
Thursday-- Appetizer Nite-- Grilled Taco Nachos
Friday-- Mom out with the friends, Swanson's Chicken Pot Pie for Hubby
Saturday-- Penne Rigate w. Chicken, lettuce salad
Sunday-- Ground Beef gravy over mashed potatoes (need to get recipe from my mum)

For more great menus, head on over to Organizing Junkie!


Well, I've been trying hard to lose about 5 lbs before summer. But despite my efforts (workouts 5 times a week, plus walking and daily 64 oz of water) I still have not noticed any change. Grrr... I was on vacation last week though followed by birthday celebration, so it's been a good week/ week and a half since I've really done anything plus a lot of eating. Sooo... this week I'm getting back to it but this time I'm going to RECORD what I do every day, so at the end of the week I can see just how well I did-- how many workouts, how many days I got enough water, etc. I was also looking through the community parks and recreation book and saw that there is going to be a Stroller Stride group starting soon--moms who meet to walk (well, stroll) and exercise every Tuesday. So I think I'm going to join that. It'd be good for me to get involved in something, get out and walk, and have something I can take Baby with me! He just loves being outside and it's a good time of day for him, so I'm looking forward to it!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday Psalm


Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
c ome before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people,
the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good
and his love endures forever.;
his faithfulness continues
through all generations.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Recipe: Strawberry Whip Cake

As promised, here is the recipe that I used for my delicious birthday cake yesterday. It's a very light cake as it has a whipped cream frosting instead of your usual too-sweet frosting most cakes have. For those of you going healthy, there's no sugar added besides what's already in the cake mix, so that's a plus. Oh, and a disclaimer: I can't promise it will the prettiest cake you could make. At least for me anyway, it was quite hard to spread sliced strawberries, especially on the sides of cake. And as I was spreading, I sort of ran out of the "frosting" and had to just fill in spots with regular whipped cream. But this really is a fantastic cake, one that you could definitely enjoy for breakfast! So here you go, and let me know if you try it!

Strawberry Whip Cake

1 pkg white cake mix
2 10-oz cans frozen sliced strawberries
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 Tbl lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream, whipped

1. Make cake according to package directions, baking in two 8-inch layers. Cool; split layers in half to make 4 layers. [I use floss to cut through cake and it seems to work pretty well.]
2. Meanwhile, defrost strawberries according to directions on container; drain, reserving syrup. Cover strawberries and refrigerate.
3. Soften gelatin in strawberry syrup; heat to full boil; remove from heat. Cool. Add strawberries and lemon juice and chill until mixture is slightly thickened.
4. Fold whipped cream into gelatin mixture. Spread strawberry mixture between layers and frost sides and top of cake. Chill thoroughly before slicing.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, today is my birthday and it has been a wonderful day. Hubby is working nights this week so he was home all day with Baby and me. It was great! We had a nice breakfast (cheesy scrambled eggs, biscuits, and bacon...as if you cared what I had for breakfast though). Then later in the morning we went to a craft store so I could pick out part of my birthday present. I just love it! So I'm going to share it with you... I don't sew too often but enough that I have a stash of scrap fabrics that I want to keep, and it's starting to get bigger and bigger. And I'm also outgrowing my little Tuperware container that holds my sewing stuff like threads, scissors, patterns, etc.

So here's what I picked out for myself...

Then to top off the day we went to Olive Garden for dinner (yay for not having to cook!!) and back home for delicious strawberry cake that I made. I'll post the recipe another day. What a great day!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thankful Thursday

"Every good and perfect gift is from above." James 1:17

After just spending 5 wonderful days with family, this week I am especially thankful for my family. Not just my husband and son, but my parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. For the blessing of growing up surrounded by believers. For being a part of a family that actually gets along very well. For the joy of being gathered together. For the support and encouragement we each provide. For fun and laughter. And even though I didn't get to see them this past weekend, I am thankful for my in-laws. For having not just one loving family but two. For having in-laws that I love being around. I truly am blessed.

Friday, March 16, 2007

100 Things About Me

1. My favorite color seems to change every year. Last year it was teal. This year it is pink.
2. I hate working out.
3. I love just-for-fun sports, like sand volleyball, badmitten, H-O-R-S-E, softball, tennis, anything really. I play hard, but I’m not competitive.
4. I enjoy scrapbooking but it takes a lot to get me motivated.
5. My dad is a pastor.
6. I talk to my mom either on the phone or via email almost every day.
7. I love taking pictures and if I’m not careful, I could live my whole life looking through a viewfinder.
8. I got a BA in music ministry but it’s been 2 years and I haven’t used my degree yet and I don’t really intend to.
9. I think pears and cottage cheese together make a yummy snack.
10. I can’t ice skate or roller blade AT ALL but I really wish I could.
11. In high school I used to stop at the side of the road and pick wild flowers on my way to work.
12. I put 2 creamers and 4 packs of sugar in my coffee.
13. I graduated college a semester early so I could get married.
14. To my high school sweetheart.
15. I hated my wedding dress.
16. It snowed 14 inches the week of our wedding.
17. We went to a bed and breakfast in Florida for our honeymoon.
18. And spent a morning kayaking.
19. In January.
20. I got my first pair of high tops when I learned to tie my shoes.
21. When I was young we called our dog “Fred Dog”.
22. I like things to be symmetrical.
23. I love decorating a house.
24. And rearranging furniture.
25. I like to cook and try new recipes.
26. I can play piano, French horn, guitar, and trumpet. And I taught myself how to play the saxaphone, flute, and a little trombone just for fun.
27. I love IQ tests.
28. I’ve flown on an airplane a zillion times.
29. I don’t have a clue how to do hair.
30. I love camping and sitting under the stars by a warm fire.
31. I bite my nails.
32. And wish I didn’t.
33. I love surprises.
34. I’m a romantic.
35. I love organizing.
36. Spring is my FAVORITE season.
37. And going for early morning walks.
38. Only special boutiques carry my bra size.
39. And I hate it.
40. I don’t handle stress very well.
41. I attempt artsy photography.
42. I give good hugs, real hugs.
43. Plain cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts.
44. My dad makes the best spaghetti and garlic bread.
45. My brother is the smartest person I know.
46. Saturday is my favorite day of the week.
47. Because my husband usually makes pancakes.
48. He’s my best friend.
49. For breakfast I eat oatmeal with blueberries and French vanilla creamer.
50. I’m not a morning person.
51. But wish I was.
52. I love flowers, but if you’re going to get them for me, I only want them as a surprise, not for an occasion.
53. I hate roller coasters.
54. I even get nauseous swinging in the park.
55. My favorite author is Francine Rivers.
56. But I don’t read as much as I’d like to.
57. I have a son.
58. And I love being a mommy more than anything in the world.
59. There’s nothing else I’ve ever wanted to be.
60. I sang tenor in my high school choir.
61. With three other girls.
62. Because hardly any guys wanted to be in choir.
63. I drive a van.
64. And I’m only 23.
65. For only one more week because my birthday is coming up.
66. And I’ll be 24, not because I’m getting a new car.
67. I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl.
68. I have way too many grey T-shirts.
69. I would LOVE a makeover.
70. Cooked cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables.
71. And corned beef is my favorite meat.
72. I don’t like touching animals.
73. My hands are always insanely dry and cracked during the winter.
74. And one time, a long time ago, I super-glued a crack together.
75. It worked.
76. I think.
77. I spent a month traveling Europe with my college band.
78. And if I were to go back, I’d go to Austria.
79. Because I love the mountains.
80. I love rainbows, when sun rays break through the clouds, and when the moon is huge and golden.
81. I like afternoon thunderstorms.
82. And if I had a porch I’d go outside and sit by the rain.
83. I love sleeping with the windows open in the summer and waking up to birds chirping and the sun shining.
84. My mood is almost always exactly what the weather is.
85. Grammar errors bother me.
86. I hate cities.
87. Crowds make me feel claustrophobic.
88. I’d rather live in a quiet town where you know your mailman.
89. I hate spending more than $20 on a shirt.
90. And I can NEVER seem to find the right pair of jeans.
91. I can’t wait to move back closer to family and friends.
92. Right now I’m a military wife.
93. But glad that Hubby is not out to sea anymore.
94. I want more kids someday.
95. And to maybe homeschool them.
96. I love old hymns.
97. And singing them to my baby.
98. I love Jesus
99. And I’m going to heaven when I die.
100. Because He saved me.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thankful Thursday

"So then, just as you receieved Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7

This week I'm especially thankful for one of my closest friends. It was her birthday two days ago, so I'm reflecting on how she is such a blessing in my life. We met in college, became fast friends as we shared the great passion for being mommies someday, graduated, got married, and we've both in the last year had babies of our own! Though we're a thousand miles apart, we've been able to talk on the phone quite frequently, sharing stories and experiences, laughter, and just plain happy moments. Talking to her truly makes my day. Our dreams of mommyhood have finally come true. We joke about someday being neighbors, sharing sugar, and letting our kids play together, and if it's at all possible I sure would like that. My dearest friend, I love you! **Thank you, Father, for introducing me to such a wonderful sister in Christ! Even though I'm a stay at home mommy and may never use my degree, I don't for a second doubt the purpose of going to college, even if it's just to have met such amazing people! Those people will truly stay in my heart forever! Thank you!

Tackle It Tuesday: The Basement, Part 2

Last week I made good progress with the basement but didn't quite get finished. I got stuck on office-type stuff that required hubby's assistance (because I would otherwise just throw everything out and I know he wouldn't have liked that!). So this week's tackle is a continuation of last week, which really worked out great since we had to go out of town today and really didn't have much time for a new project anyway. After dinner when Baby went down for short catnap, we just took 30 minutes and look what a difference 30 minutes makes! (I didn't get a "Before" shot last week, so this is just today's work.)


And remember, this is just our storage area. It may still look pretty crazy, but it really does have order to it: scrapbook and sewing stuff on table, kitchen and office stuff in left corner, then old clothes, baby items, Christmas stuff, and along right wall is camping stuff, sports equiment, beach chairs, etc. Mission completed!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Welcome to my blog!

I had just set up a blog at Wordpress when I discovered the blogging community! I had NO IDEA there were a thousand moms, Christian moms, out there with their own blogs! My Wordpress page didn't really reflect my personality much so before I got too much on it, I decided to just start over here. In my one week of discovering bloggerworld, I saw how great it is for women all over to be able to support and encourage one another like this. So here I am...I am diving in!

I'm in my twenties. A wife. A mom. A Christian really trying to improve my walk. Grow closer to God. Keep a better home. Have a better attitude. Bring peace to the family. I'm currently reading the book A Wife After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George and I'll write more on this later, but I've been really encouraged. There's so much I want to change about myself, implement into my daily routine. It's a lot of work and a lot to tackle, but with God's help I can do it! So join with me in my journey!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

I'm heading out town next weekend, so this week is a short week for me, easy for meal planning! And it's going to be nice out so we can grill, which makes it even easier!

Monday-- Beef Kabobs, pineapple
Tuesday-- BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, corn
Wednesday-- pork chops, Stove Top Stuffing (request of hubby), baked apples
Thursday-- Chicken Piccata, mixed veggies, oranges
Friday-- out of town until Wednesday!

For more menus visit Organizing Junkie

Friday, March 9, 2007

Friday Five: Little Things That Make a Big Difference

5 little things that would make our house a whole lot less cluttered:

1. Shoes in the closet (except for maybe the one pair being worn for the day).

2. Coats hung up in coat closet instead of the backs of our dining room chairs or draped over the couch, EVEN if we know we're going out later.

3. After laundry is done, fold it, put it away, and take basket back to basement. Just having a laundry basket left in the room makes it untidy, whether there are clothes in it or not. Instead of putting things away at the end of the day (either in the hamper or hung back up), it tends to just get dumped in the laundry basket. So if it's not even there... you get the idea.

4. Empty the dishwasher in the A.M. Then it is free to load back up as we go through the day, and dirty dishes and bottles don't get stacked up. When it's time to prepare a meal, the kitchen is ready for me. There's nothing worse than going to the kitchen to start dinner only to find that the counters covered in dishes and you have to clean it first just so you can have a place to cook! So easy, and it makes a big difference.

5. Mail in basket, bills in office organizer, and junk in trash NOT on dining room table! It's so easy for mail to be the main source of clutter. We have a fairly small house with three main "hot spots"--the dining room table, the coffee table, and the top of the piano. I set up decorations on the top of the piano to keep it from looking like a place to set "stuff" and that seems to help. And awhile ago I got a small basket for the top of the piano to put mail in since it never ever gets taken straight to the file cabinet. Periodically I sort through it, throwing out old stuff and filing away important stuff. Even still, mail doesn't get put away all the time. And we really need to work on keeping the other two "hot spots" clutter- free. Clutter really gets to me, whether I recognize it or not, but when it's clean, I truly can breathe easier and I just FEEL BETTER!

I know these ideas are basic and most people already do them, and I also know they're specific to what works for our house. But perhaps sharing these 5 "rules" will help me actually follow them! Happy Friday!!

I'm a homebody and proud of it!

All my life I've always said, "I just want to be a mom". Yet after high school I went on to college and got a degree and throughout those 4 years where everyone is focused on starting careers I felt bad for wanting to "just stay home". But as I was reading A Wife After God's Own Heart, I was given a whole new perspective as author Elizbeth George writes:

"I have to say that I am a homebody. Why? Because that's where my husband is, where my children were in days gone by, where my home is, and where the preparations required to teach God's Word to the women in my church (a part of my service to God's people) took place for so many years. Because that's where my heart is, was, and ever will be."

Home is where my family is! And keeping the home, taking care of children, and serving my husband are my God-given priorities! There's no shame in that at all! So today I'm proud to say I'm a homebody!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

WFMW: Baby Food

I'm a new mom and still figuring out my own tricks for keeping a home, so I'm not sure how many WFMWs (Works For Me Wednesday) I'll be able to do, but today I can share how I plan my baby's meals. (He's 7 1/2 months) In order to make sure he gets his rainbow of nutrition throughout each day AND has a good variety throughout the week, I started making a weekly meal chart. It helps me know exactly what and how much I need to buy at the store so I can get through the whole week. It's pretty obvious, the text is colored according to the color of the food. The yellow shaded box means it's a new food he's trying and I'll have to watch for allergies.

Once I buy the food, then I put it all out on the counter and arrange it into rows --breakfast, lunch, and dinner (2 rows for dinner b/c he gets 2 jars at dinner). While doing this, I break apart the Gerber 2-packs of Stage 2 Foods since the individual containers are still marked. Once I have all my rows ready and the foods are layed out for the week, I put them in the cupboard, starting with the end of the week and moving up. When it's all done, the foods for the beginning of the week should be at the front, and at mealtime I just grab what's in front, double-checking with the chart that I post on the inside of the cupboard door. I know, sounds elaborate for a 7 month old who doesn't care much about having variety and balanced diet, but nutrition is important and so is organization an de-stressing your life in ways that you can. So when it comes to baby food, this is what works for me!

For more great tips visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

This week's challenge

Alright, my goal is to lose these last 5-10 pounds of baby fat before summer when Baby turns 1 year. I've been working at this since the start of the new year, and my efforts have been at about 70%. I've been doing workout videos during Baby's morning nap several times a week. And I've also been making a conscious effort to drink 64 oz of water every day by filling a 64 oz Rubbermaid and making sure it's empty before the day's end. Sometimes I do well, sometimes I don't. And despite my efforts, I haven't lost ANY pounds!

Last week I was feeling discouraged and didn't work out much at all. But this week I am going to kick it back in gear and give it 100% for 2 weeks, and then evaluate. My goal is to do 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week, drink 64 oz water every day, watch my portion sizes, and go for walks on the days I can. So I pray for encouragment, discipline, and motivation. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, March 5, 2007

I try to look at the weekly circular online to see what's on sale before planning my meals. This week the meals I already had in mind lined right up with the sales!

Monday-- Penne Rigate with Chicken
Tuesday-- Family Casserole
Wednesday-- Tacos
Thursday-- Curly Noodle Pork Supper, Apple Crisp for dessert
Friday--Ham and Cheese Quiche, Peaches
Saturday-- Dad's Spaghetti, lettuce salad
Sunday-- Ham and White Sauce over rice, oranges