Monday, February 26, 2007


I am moved. I came across this video on a blog I frequent:

Crystal was discussing the movie Amazing Grace. Have any of you seen it? I think it just came out last Friday. I honestly rarely go to the movie theatre ($$$$), but if it's for something really awesome then I would go. I so enjoyed this video too of the story of Amazing Grace. I think it is miraculous how God stirred the heart of one man, John Newton, and the legacy he left with ONE song. Have you ever felt like you couldn't do anything great for God? I mean, maybe something small, but nothing magnanimous because you are just one woman, or one set of hands, or you would just be helping one person. I can't imagine that when Mr. Newton penned that hymn that he could've ever fathomed the impact that his simple heartfelt words would have. I am inspired one man and one song.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Frugal Clothing Ideas

Whenever I get a really great deal on something, I always feel a little...sneaky. Like I bucked the system somehow. Like I got something I wasn't supposed to. Either way, it makes me feel good.
Here are some frugal clothing ideas I thought you may enjoy.

1. Thrift Stores/Garage Sales: I went to Village Discount over the weekend and bought Tatiana 6 summer shirts and 2 pairs of jeans for $14. I still can't believe it. These are all name brand items like Gymboree, Justice, Children's Place & Old Navy. They have seen some wear, but still have plenty of life left. I will be sure to be checking back there every so often to see what is new, especially once summertime nears. Another local thrift store which I have enjoyed in the past is Once Upon A Child. All kids' stuff! I also *love* garage sales. A lot of times you can purchase nearly new things for just a song. Whenever I am looking at garage sale ads, I specifically go to the ones that mention "kids clothes" or whatever it is I'm looking for. I also love neighborhood sales = less driving around.

2. Ebay: I am a big ebayer. I almost always check ebay before making a big purchase. A lot of times you can get something new or almost new for a fraction of the price. My favorite auctions are "LOTS" where you are buying a whole bunch of clothes, instead of just one item.

3. Hand Me Downs: Probably the most frugal clothing idea there is. It's free! Maybe you know someone who's child is bigger than yours to borrow clothes from. I know some people are protective of their clothes. The way I look at it is, it's all God's stuff anyways. If someone can use my clothes instead of just letting them sit unused in my basement, I rather bless another person in that way.

4. Sew: *gasp* If you are even a little bit handy, you could manage sewing simple items. My mom has made outfits for the girls without even using a zipper or button. There are so many simple easy-to-sew patterns out there. Especially as your kids grow out of the toddler sizes, it seems like the clothing gets *so* much more expensive. Fabric only costs about 1/3 to 1/2 the price of the finished item. Tatiana is really into skirts right now {and I have a feeling this will continue as she is very GIRLIE} so I plan on making her some skirts for the summer. Maybe a couple of dresses too. Another mom friend plans to do the same for her daughter, so hopefully we will be taking a road trip to JoAnn's shortly!

Feel free to chime in with your frugal clothing ideas. I'd love to hear 'em!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Frugal Grocery Ideas #1

PACKAGING. It’s what adds extra cost to your grocery bill. I know it’s sometimes hard to resist the cute little packages things come in or the idea that everything is all ready to eat in its convenient container. There are ways to use your own packages that are much more, shall I say, frugal. Some examples:

We eat a lot of sugar-free pudding {well, mostly hubby does}, which I used to buy in the refrigerated section. I think it’s about $2.50 for 6-4 oz. containers. Finally a money saving idea dawned on me one grocery trip while passing the Gladware. I purchased a set of small 6 oz. containers with lids {around $2.50} and some boxes of the dry pudding mix for $.50. Now I just wash the containers out & make more pudding. I am literally saving a couple of dollars every week just with this one change.

Another item people frequently purchase in convenient packages is yogurt. Our favorite light yogurt is Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla. I think the regular price for 6 oz. container is around $.60 {it has been a really long time since I’ve bought one though}. I buy the big 32 oz. carton instead for $1.99. To get the same amount, you’d have to spend about $3.25. Another dollar saved! I can also use my little gladware containers if I want to have a nice little portable yogurt.

Yet another case in point. My kids are not big milk drinkers. Not sure why. They rather have juice or water. For a recent trip I purchased a package of the mini Dean’s chugs Light Chocolate Milk. The kids love ‘em! Now they ASK for milk. I am saving the little chugs containers & will probably just make more {either with Hershey’s or NesQuick}, that way I can make it little less chocolatey, therefore less sugar. Hey, if it gets ‘em to drink more milk, I’m all for it.

An idea I ran across awhile back was how to make your own lunchables. Ya know, those cute little packages of crackers & cheese & meat. Purchase a small tackle box or craft box with individual compartments {you could even decorate the outside of the box}. Fill the little compartments with generic store bought crackers, little cheese slices, meat cubes, grapes, maybe even a chocolate treat and~Voila! Homemade lunchables!

Ok. So one of the few things I buy which is individually packaged is 100 calorie snack packs of Oreo, Fudge Stripe Cookies, etc. Whoever came up with this idea is pure genius! Now whenever I have a chocolate craving, I can indulge without feeling guilty.

Share your favorite packaging tips here! And stay tuned for more “frugal” posts throughout the week…..

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Our Story

I wish we had some amazing, breath-taking love story. I wish it were love at first sight {well, I guess I don't believe in that though} or that at some magical instant I just knew that Rick would be my husband. I was sitting in the commons area of our local community college just minding my own business. A mutual friend came over and brought Rick with him, introducing him as the captain of the soccer team. I remember him being really friendly & genuinely interested in what I had to say. I ran into him a day or two later when he was on his way to class & we stopped to talk. We must've stood there for about an hour {he missed his class} and it seemed like after that conversation, I knew things would never be the same. One day after class, he let me borrow his leather jacket and in the pocket was a little slip of paper with his phone number on it, followed by a question mark. I remember that little piece of paper was green. I called. I went to lots of soccer games. We would talk on the phone until the wee hours of the morning. He was just returning from a spiritual wilderness & I invited him to church. The reason that we stayed together has boiled down to one thing: choices. It wasn't a whirlwind romance. We weren't riding high on the waves of puppy love. He just never gave me any reason not to want to be with him. I liked that he was smart & could have intelligent conversation. I liked that he was always willing to change or work on something to make our relationship better. I liked that he was able to joke around and have fun or be serious & get down to work, whatever the situation required. And it is still those same things that I love about him today. That fuzzy warm lovey feeling isn't always present, but I choose to love him. I choose to want to be together. I choose to do the hard work necessary to keep making things better. I love him more & more everyday. I am constantly seeing God's divine plan in having the two of us become one. If I would've known back then what I know now, I would've chosen him 10 times over. Happy 10th Valentine's Day together, Honey! And many more.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Scrapbook Share

Per my sweet cousin Ky-Ky's request, here are some scrapbook layouts that I recently completed. Tatiana's 5th birthday page seemed to take me forever. I swear I started it last fall & finished everything except the journaling. Don't know why that part took me so long. Our anniversary pictures have been languishing in my to-do pile for some time as well. Seems like since knitting entered the picture, scrapbooking has fallen by the wayside. Here goes anyways:
Road Trip
{Journaling} I gave up on the notion of a perfect anniversary weekend. Our cottage wasn't what I expected. The weather was dismal. In the end, those details didn't matter. We had a cozy fireplace, a splendid day in Holland, & plenty of unique coffee shops to visit. Most importantly, we had each other. Perfect after all.

*There is kind of a doodled line border that got cut off around the edge with little hand drawn stars here and there. I am a poor scanner/stitcher I guess.*

Fabulous @ 5
{Journaling} 12: number of kids at Tatiana's birthday party 11: months spent planning CareBears theme, Approximate days since emergency appendectomy: 65, 4: weeks left til beginning homeschooling kindergarten, Tatiana owns about 13 CareBears and nearly the same # of pajamas, 1826: days we've been blessed to have her in our lives

*It's kind of a play on numbers which I think is so fun!*

Hope your weekend was lovely!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Yup. I'm 29 now. It's my last year of being in my twenties. Scary thought. Hubby & I celebrated over the weekend. Saturday we dropped the kiddos off at my mom's house for the night. We stopped at Panera on our way and I tried the Chicken Bacon Dijon Panini. YUMM-O! Then we headed off to the Gifted Purl. I picked up some yarn because I want to make this hat. Here is the yarn I picked out:
{I already have 5 of the 7 hexagons made. I am so excited. My knitting is getting faster and faster all the time.} Then Rick and I went to Barnes & Noble where I had a Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte. It was good, but I think I'll stick to Chai. I read some Knitting books & mags {shocker, I know} and Rick read some Computing magazines. Then we headed home, stopping at Blockbuster on the way. We didn't really see any movies of interest so we picked up two DVDs of House, season two. After relaxing for a bit, I made a nice celebratory dinner, Barefoot Contessa-style.

For starters we had a warm goat cheese salad served on spring greens with a homemade basil vinaigrette. {The recipe didn't call for the basil, but I felt it needed something.} Rick's not even a huge goat cheese fan & this recipe made me realize that I actually like the texture a lot more when it is warm and slightly melty. Then we had this:

Two huge {1# each} ribeye steaks and homemade onion rings. This was the first time that I've ever made onion rings at home & I wouldn't hesitate to do it again, probably only for special occasions though. This meal rocked {if I can say so myself}. Uber yummy!!! {If only I would've made creme brulee for dessert. That woulda put it over the top. Maybe next time.} Then we spent the rest of the night watching House & knitting. The best part was trying to teach Rick how to knit. It was so funny. I wish I would've taken a picture. He caught on pretty fast and even woke up the next morning thinking about knitting {even if was only for like 15 seconds as he claims}.

So that is the highlight of my birthday festivities. Tonight I'm making stuffed shells {for the first time} & Tatiana has put on a fancy dress on my behalf. I kinda wonder where/how I'll be for the big 3-0. If things go according to plan, I might be..........pregnant ;>)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

New Blog

I've influenced another person to enter the dark side, er, blogosphere. Enjoy!

The Pedaling Theologian