Monday, February 25, 2013

Your Greatest Comforts - 52 Lists Week 2

Last week, I started a new series called 52 Lists. I found the idea on a blog called Moorea Seal, which I discovered through Pinterest. If you didn't see last weeks list, called Words That Touch Your Soul, you can check it out HERE. Each Monday, I'll be writing a new list and this weeks challenge is to list your greatest comforts so here are mine!

My Greatest Comforts

1. When Nate holds me and tells me we'll be together forever, no matter what.
2. When my kids give me great big hugs and tell me they love me the mostest of all.
3. Putting on music and singing my heart out.
4. Game night with my best friends.
5. A really cozy blanket on a chilly day.
6. Hot chocolate.
7. Cold chocolate.
8. A beautiful landscape.
9. Watching TV with Nate.
10. Walking around with my camera taking random pictures.
11. Laying in bed listening to an audio book.
12. Downton Abbey.
13. Also, Grey's Anatomy.
14. Chicken and mashed potatoes.
15. When my sister comes to town and I get to spend time with her and her family.
16. When my sister isn't in town, but I still get to talk to her on Facebook.
17. When an old hymn comes on Pandora and I get all nostalgic and teary.
18. When Nate and I get a rare night alone and we just get to hang out and talk.
19. Contact lenses.
20. The angel picture my mom cross stitched for me.

Friday, February 22, 2013


I don't know why, but this week has felt sooooo long. But it's Friday! Do you have any great plans for the weekend? I do! Once a month or so, we get together with friends and play games. Ah, but not just any ol' games. THE game. The Game of Thrones. It's a board game based on the book series by George R. R. Martin and it. is. amazing. It's kind of like Risk, only so much more complicated. There's lots of battles, scheming and betrayal. There's only 10 rounds in the game, so you'd think it would be a short game, but it's not. It generally takes about 4-6 hours to play through. 6 glorious hours. To top it all off, we got a new expansion for the game that changes it somewhat, so tonight we're heading over to my mother in law's house to try it out. I can't wait!

On Saturday, we're heading to the bowling alley for another birthday party. Nate's little sister, Mikallie, is turning 9 and what better place to have a party? Since we just had Damien's birthday party there, we know how fun it is! The kids get to bowl, eat pizza and cake and play in the arcade and the parents get to relax and let someone else plan the party. Oh wait, did I say relax? Ha! The place is a zoo! When we were there, they had about a dozen other parties going on. It's fun though. Loud, crowded fun.

What about you? What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Never Alone

Do you ever feel alone, even when you're not? I do. I could be at home surrounded by my family and feel lonely. Sometimes I feel like no one understands me and no one wants to. I feel as though it's me against the world. Do you ever get in a funk like that?

I was listening to Pandora last night and an old hymn came on, one of my favorites.

        What a friend we have in Jesus, 
	all our sins and griefs to bear! 
	What a privilege to carry 
	everything to God in prayer! 
	O what peace we often forfeit,
	O what needless pain we bear, 
	all because we do not carry 
	everything to God in prayer.
I'm a worrier. If you know me, you probably know this about me. I think it's because I've never had much stability in my life and so I'm always trying to imagine the worst and trying to figure out what I'll do if it happens. I like to have a plan. It makes me feel secure if I know how I'll deal with something should it happen. Unfortunately, it means I'm constantly thinking of negative things and worrying. Sometimes I get anxious and afraid. The worst part? Most times there's nothing to be anxious or afraid of!

But oh, how much easier it would be if I simply remembered these words. "What a friend we have in Jesus." I have amazing friends and a great husband. But at some point, every single person in my life will let me down, just as I'll let others down. But Jesus will never let me down. Jesus will never scoff at my fears or get angry at my worries. Jesus will never think I'm ridiculous. In fact, not only will He listen, not only will He help carry the load, He'll take the burden from us entirely! 1 Peter 5: 6-7 says "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you."

Isn't that a relief? We can cast ALL our cares up on Him. Everything. Every worry, every fret, every annoyance. We can give them all to Him. I think it's one of those things that comes with practice, or "fake it till you make it." It should be second nature to turn to God, but it's not. Not yet, anyway, I often lay in bed worrying when I should be praying. How many sleepless nights have there been, when I could have handed it over to God and slept in peace?

What a privilege we have. Prayer is a privilege. Talking to God is a privilege. It's not a duty that we as a Christians have, it's not something we do for God because He asks us to, it's not a tradition or sacrament. It's a privilege, a blessing, a gift. I don't know about you, but I don't pray nearly enough. I think if I did, I wouldn't feel so alone or worried sometimes.

My challenge is to get out of my own head and lean on Jesus more. Maybe you've already learned how to trust and depend on Him. Maybe you're still struggling, like I am. Do you have words of encouragement? Do you want prayer? I'd love it if you left a note below.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Where I grew up, we didn't even start thinking about spring until late April, early May. No one planted their gardens until May because there was still the chance of frost. Winters lasted 7-8 months of the year.

Yeah, I don't miss that very much. Wenatchee is amazing. The snow falls in December and it's gone by February. The sun shines and it feels like spring at Valentine's Day, not Mother's Day. A "cold" snap in Wenatchee is 25 degrees (that's -4 for my fellow Canadians.)

Don't get me wrong here. I don't love winter. I can't wait till it's gone, but I can live with a few short months of cold. Wenatchee has another downside, those dreaded months I like to call summer. Here is where Edmonton has a leg up. While Edmonton had gorgeous, mild summers with the occasional wild summer thunderstorm, Wenatchee has a dry, insanely hot summer. I'm talking 113 degrees hot (again, for my fellow Canadians, that's FORTY FIVE DEGREES. I couldn't even type the numbers. It wasn't enough emphasis for the insanity of the heat.) Luckily this only lasts for about two months. So if you do the math, that's about 5 months of annoying weather, which also means 7 months of glorious weather!

Spring and fall are the best seasons in Wenatchee. Things are getting green, or red and yellow, the breeze is fresh and comfortable, the sun shines brightly. Yeah, I could live like that forever. Those days are coming, my friends! It's just around the corner! SPRING IS ALMOST HERE!!

There's still some snow up on the mountain tops, but there's none down here in town. It's all gone. It hasn't dipped below freezing in a while and I keep having to force my kids to wear coats because they're convinced that it's warm enough to go out in shorts and t-shirt. And guess what else? Easter is NEXT month.  Yup. March. Easter. Spring. It's coming. Get ready for it. We're about to enter heaven on earth.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Words That Touch Your Soul - 52 Lists Week 1

I recently came across a blog that shared a wonderful idea: 52 weeks of lists. I'll be participating in this endeavor every Monday. I'm excited to see what comes of this! I'm starting late, so I'm just going with Week 1, rather than the actual list for this week, so here we go!

Words That Touch My Soul:

1. Grace
2. Mercy
3. Compassion
4. Hope
5. Forward
6. Joy
7. Integrity
8. Music
9. Faith
10. Forever
11. Breathe
12. Together
13. Home
14. Friendship
15. Family
16. Inspire
17. Peace
18. Forgive
19. Remember
20. Teach

What words touch your soul?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ten Things I Love About You

1. Your eyes.

The shape of them. The color. The way they look when they're filled with love for me. The way they shine when you laugh. The way they see the world for what it really is, good and bad. The way they see me for what I truly am, good and bad.

2. Your smile.

The way it's so elusive. It's like the sun on a cloudy day. Sometimes it's hard to see, but when it finally comes out, the world just seems that much brighter and alive.

3. Your heart.

The way your tough exterior hides a heart of compassion. The way you always give to those in need when you see it. The way you believe in protecting the innocent, whether it be a child or an animal or an icky spider.

4. Your integrity.

The way you keep your word. Your work ethic. Your sense of justice and morality. Your loyalty. You are the man I would want to be if I were a man.

5. Your dedication to relationships.

The effort you put into maintaining relationships with the people you love. The work you've put into our marriage, the constant dedication to the relationships with your best friends. It speaks so well of you that your best friends are also strong men of integrity.

6. Your dedication as a father.

You have worked endlessly and tirelessly to provide for your family, doing things many would not in order to make sure your family has what they need. You are constantly striving to be a better man, a better role model for our children. Beyond that, you hold them with such tenderness and love. You joke and play with them and it makes me so proud that you are the father of my children. We are so blessed.

7. Your sense of humor.

You sometimes say I don't get it. And sometimes I don't, but I do get you. You are funny and charismatic. People enjoy being around you. You make people laugh and you make people think. Even when I don't get the joke or think it's funny, I do get that you are an amazingly witty person and I love that about you.

8. Your intelligence.

There's no question about how smart you are. What I love most about you is your dedication to lifelong learning. You constantly seek out information. If you don't know something about a subject, you make sure to educate yourself on it. You want to know what's going on in the world. You want to be able to speak intelligibly on any subject. This goes beyond school and I believe that it will continue to be a strong part of your life long after you've graduated.

9. Your self-discipline.

I often envy how easy it seems for you to stick to something, though I know it's not truly easy. Not many could have gone to the gym for 100 days in a row and I admire you for that and much more. I know that you can do anything you set your mind to. No, not just can. You will do anything you set your mind to. You have incredible potential and the self-discipline to back it up. I'm extremely proud of you.

10. The way you love me.

No one in my life has loved me as unconditionally as you. Through the worst times in our relationship and the best. Through pain and suffering and joy and happiness, you have been there for me. What's more, even in our darkest days, I've never truly felt like I would lose you. This speaks to your commitment to me and our marriage, that we'll always find a way to work it out. The security this gives me means more to me that I can ever express to you. Because of this, I also believe that we'll always find a way. You give me strength and hope. You make me want to be a better person. You make me want to be like you. Most of all, you make me want to spend the rest of my life with you.

I love you.

Monday, February 11, 2013


I have a pretty decent camera. It's not one of those fancy ones where you can swap out the lens or anything, but it's pretty good for a point and click camera. I really like taking pictures and then editing them. When I compare my pictures to someone who's really good at photography, I can see I'm lacking, but when I'm just looking at my own pictures, I feel pretty proud of them. There's something beautiful about an image I've captured and made my own. I hope to someday have a better camera and the skills to actually use it.

Here are some pictures I took last week.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I have it. Much more of it that I'd like. When I think about my life, I wonder how I could possibly feel as stressed as I do. I mean, I'm a stay-at-home mom with a husband who works very hard for us and helps as much as he can. I have two kids who are actually pretty good kids and even though we have financial stress, we're really not in much danger of losing anything.

So why do I feel like I'm going to lose my mind sometimes? Why is it so hard to keep it all in perspective?

You know the saying "You're making a mountain out of a molehill?" Yeah. I'm convinced it's the molehills that kill us. The mountains are times of high stress: a death or illness, losing your house or job, etc. You know it's stressful, you know it's going to be hard, there's usually a lot of support from friends and family and you kind of have a general idea of how to survive these low points. But the molehills? They are tiny, insignificant stresses that we should really be able to shrug off. The kids are hyper and aren't listening, the dishes are getting stacked up, someone should really get around to the laundry...

The problem is that there are significantly more molehills than mountains. It can seem like every time you turn around, you're stepping in another one. And since they're so "insignificant", it's hard to get a little support, or even feel entitled to a little support. But it piles up, doesn't it? Each little stress adds to the pressure until you feel buried under a mountain of molehills. Well, at least I do.

So how do we release the pressure of these little stresses? How do we ask for support for something that we really "shouldn't" need support for?

Yeah, I'm really asking. That's not a segue into some enlightened paragraph about how to live in harmony with the crazy tiny people ransacking your house every day. I really don't know. I've been accused of being too emotional and because of that, it's very difficult to ask for help or support when things are getting bad. The house is a mess and the kids are hyper? Well duh, you haven't cleaned the house yet and they're KIDS. What do you expect?

I don't know. What do I expect? Why is it so HARD?

I know there's advice out there about taking time for yourself, finding a hobby, doing something that you enjoy. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. At the end of the day, I honestly think it boils down to REST. Not just physical rest, but spiritual. I think when we start to feel buried and overwhelmed by everyday stresses, that's a sure sign that our spiritual tank is empty. We're trying to carry it all on our own, be everything to everyone. It's time to turn our burdens over to Jesus. No matter how amazing our support network is, it will let you down sometimes. But Jesus never will.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Grocery Shopping Method

A couple years ago, I discovered couponing. I became obsessed, went overboard and burnt out quickly. However, I never lost the understanding that with coupons, I could make my dollar stretch much further. Lately, I've jumped back on the couponing bandwagon, but in a much more manageable system.

I've been able to save up to 64% of my total bill with coupons and shopping the sales. Even better, for the first time in years, the end of the month came and I still had a fully stocked fridge and pantry without going over my budget. Here's how I do it.

The very first thing I do is check the sales on Sunday. It's really helpful to have a go-to website to consult when trying to figure out the weekly sales. I personally find Fabulessly Frugal  to be one of the best and they're based right here in the Northwest. Right at the very top of the site is a link for "Store Deals" and you can choose which stores you shop at. You'll find the weekly sales plus any matching coupons. If you're in a hurry, you can quickly see which deals are the best because there are stars next to them.

My regular routine is to go to Albertsons, Safeway and Food Pavilion on Monday-Tuesday and then Fred Meyer, Walgreens and Target on Wednesday-Thursday. If I'm not picking up very much, I might do them all in one trip or finish up by Tuesday. That's a really good week for me!  Albertsons, Safeway and Food Pavilion sales run from Wed-Tuesday, while most other stores run Sun-Sat. The downside to my system is that occasionally when I get to the store on Monday, the good sales items are out of stock, but I've decided that I'm willing to risk that simply to keep to my schedule. Otherwise I'd have to do my list and organize everything mid-week or twice a week and I simply like it better this way.

Another great thing about Fabulessly Frugal is that you can check the box next to the items you want and it will generate a shopping list for you to print, complete with coupons and prices. I usually do this when I'm being lazy because it does take up unnecessary paper and ink and I usually prefer to simply write it in a notebook, but it does come in handy sometimes.

I print off internet coupons as I'm making my list and I have a little book filled with pocket dividers for my other coupons, so I pull my coupons that I'll need for that week and set them aside. I also purge expired coupons at this time, which I set aside to be mailed to military families overseas. Military bases overseas have a 6-month expired coupon policy, so even though I can't use the coupon anymore, an American family overseas can use it for 6 more months.

Once I have my lists and my coupons are pulled or printed, everything goes in my purse so I'm ready to shop at a moment's notice! The next step is to pick up a Sunday paper and retrieve the coupon insert from it. I then spend about an hour clipping and filing the coupons away.

In total, not including actually shopping time, I spend about 3-4 hours a week preparing for my shopping trip.  I consider this time well spent when I get back receipts that say 50% savings on the bottom of them!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Recipe - Beefy One-Pot Dinner

I collect a LOT of recipes. I get them in my email daily, I find them on Pinterest and I think that someday, I'll actually try them all. And perhaps I will, but it hasn't happened so far!

Well, last week, I gave this recipe I got from Kraft a try. It turned out better than I thought it would, though I think I would have chopped the onions a little smaller. If you like BBQ, give this a try.

Beefy One-Pot Dinner


1 lb lean ground beef
*2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 potato, finely chopped
1 cup water
1 can (14 oz) baked beans
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

*I only had baby carrots so I used about a dozen baby carrots.


Start off by browning your beef. While it's browning, chop up the vegetables. Drain the beef and then add the vegetables to the beef.

Let it cook for about 5 minutes, then add the water and stir. Cover, and let simmer for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. 

Add the beans and the barbecue sauce.

Mix it all together really well, then cook for another 5 minutes or so, until it's heated all the way through. Top with cheese and serve. This makes about 4 servings, though I think next time I'm going to double it and see how well it freezes.

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