Day 361- Home

So good to go "home" to see my family for Christmas.
So good to be "home" in Kansas for 24 hours.
Excited to head "home" to Colorado tomorrow.


Day 359- Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! Spending the weekend with my side of the family. More pics to come after we get in home and I can take them off my camera. Caleb loved Christmas this year- lights, ornaments, some presents, some grandparents and an aunt, and especially my parents dogs :). He's chilling here and eating some Christmas cheerios.

Thankful today that Christ became man in order to save us from wrong. Thankful that God set his plan in motion so long ago and that one day he will return and bring peace, joy, laughter, light, and love eternally to our saddened, selfish, desperate world. Thankful for the many, many gifts I have in family, health, friends, employment, provision, and so many other things.
Wesley's original hymn...
Hark, how all the welkin rings, “Glory to the King of kings; Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise, Join the triumph of the skies; Universal nature say, “Christ the Lord is born to-day!”
Christ, by highest Heaven ador’d, Christ, the everlasting Lord: Late in time behold him come, Offspring of a Virgin’s womb!
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate deity! Pleased as man with men to appear, Jesus! Our Immanuel here!
Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace! Hail, the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all he brings, Risen with healing in his wings.
Mild He lays his glory by, Born that man no more may die; Born to raise the sons of earth; Born to give them second birth.
Come, Desire of nations, come, Fix in us thy humble home; Rise, the woman’s conquering seed, Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display thy saving power, Ruined nature now restore; Now in mystic union join Thine to ours, and ours to thine.
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface; Stamp Thy image in its place. Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain, Thee, the life, the inner Man: O! to all thyself impart, Form’d in each believing heart.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Day 353- Whole Food Challenge in January

Our family is in the process of preparing for eating only whole foods in the month of January. We don't know what our diets will look like after that, but for 31 days, we're gonna stick with it.
We're using the rules from 100daysofrealfood.com. (only slightly altered)
They include:
What you CAN eat:
*Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry
*Lots of fruits and vegetables
*Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese
*100% whole-wheat and whole-grain
*Meats such as pork, beef, and chicken
*Beverages limited to water, milk, all natural juices, naturally sweetened coffee & tea, and, to help the adults keep their sanity, wine and beer!
*Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and popcorn
*All natural sweeteners including honey, 100% maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrates are acceptable in moderation

What you CANNOT eat:
*No refined grains such as white flour or white rice (items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat…not just “wheat"
*No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda
*Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label
*No deep fried foods
*No “fast food"

Is it bad that in "preparation" I'm trying to eat all the processed stuff?

What we are hoping to accomplish:
1. Seeing if we can actually go without some of our favorite processed stuff
2. Gaining more energy
3. Eating more fruits and veggies
4. Better complexion/breaking sugar addiction (for susan)
5. Gaining insight into how we want to raise Caleb as far as food choices go
6. Unexpected benefits?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Day 347- Caleb's First Christmas Program

Caleb was the *STAR* performer in his daycare's annual Christmas play tonight.  Haha, well, he was the star in my eyes :).  He had fun as you can see...
Nothing but cute, redvested, gray turtlenecked love right there!
The younger kids sang two songs... Away in a Manger and Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. (sorry about the quality of the pics.  I can't figure out how to get my camera to take long distanced photos indoors)

The big kids performed the Nativity Story.
All in 20 minutes!!!! Here's to many more years of Christmas plays.
Reminds me of the book, "The Best Christmas Pagent Ever."  I need to read that one again soon.  Good memories.


Day 346- Another couponing attempt

So... I tried again...


Okay, I said it.  I've got so much to learn.  I think I need to take another class.  I only saved a grand total of... **** $6.70 ****.  I guess that is better than nothing.  YES, it's definitely better than saving nothing. 

Here's a breakdown of what coupons I used this trip:
$.50/1 Bundle of 6 Kleenex tissues 100ct- $5.24 -> $4.74 or .87 ea -> .79 ea
(2) .45/1 Angel Soft 4 pk- 2.44 ea -> 2.00 ea
(2) $1/1 Kikkoman product- soy sauce $1.77, Panko- 1.86 -> 0.77 soy sauce, .86 panko
0.35/1 egg nog- 2.28 -> 1.93
0.50/2 Dole canned products- canned pineapple small- .78*2- 1.56 -> 1.06 or .53 ea
0.45/1 Cuties- 4.78 -> 4.33
(2) 0.50/1 Frigo cheese- 0.33 ea individual string cheese -> FREE + 0.27 overage each !!!!!!!!
1.00/1 Las Palmas enchilada sauce (large can)- 1.98 -> .98

Coupons that didn't show up on my receipt - (2) 0.55- Horizon milk products :( Bought two expecting to have that discount.  Hmmm.

Things learned on this trip:
1) Check the closing time before going to the store at night.  I assumed that Walmart would be open at least til 10, but our Neighborhood Market closes at 9:00.  I ran out of time and missed a couple of money makers because I had to hurry.  I'll get them next time (hopefully). 
2) Always check the off-brand price.  One reason I'm glad I went to Walmart is that I knew I would be able to tell if the coupon was actually getting me a deal.  I almost bought $8 cold medicine with a 1.25 off coupon, then saw that the generic was only $2.25.  I also almost bought wheat thins, then realized the Walmart brand was 0.50 cheaper, even considering the coupon.
3) Go to the store without your child.  Yes, we love them, but they are very distracting when trying to concentrate on getting deals :).  I went without Caleb this time and felt like I was able to concentrate much more (and felt like I wasn't neglecting my child while I shopped).
4) Watch the register while they are scanning your coupons.  I didn't even realize that my Horizon coupons didn't scan until I got home.  I guess I need to pay better attention.
5) Be friendly and nice to your cashier.  I chatted and sympathized with my cashier and she was willing to just type in several of my coupons that had difficulty scanning.  Not sure if she would have been as nice if I wouldn't have shown her courtesy first.


Day 342- The Advent Conspiracy

Just changed my Christmas list!

[AC] Promo 2011 from Advent Conspiracy on Vimeo.


Day 341- Caleb spinning

Caleb just learned how to spin!  We played "hokey pokey" several times earlier in the day and he just stared, but later that evening, he just started spinning on his own!  He is also attempting to jump up from the ground and recently started walking backwards!  On a language note- he started saying "uh-oh."  So, we've now got "dada," "uh-oh," and "dog."


Day 340- The results...

Okay... Here's the good and the bad from my trip to Target this afternoon.  Please do not make fun of how much I spent.  I'm trying to be real here :).  So, here are the highlights... I'll break everything down at the bottom. 
The Good: I saved around $42 strictly from coupons and $55 if you count the discounts that were already in place at the store.  I had NO problems at the register.  All my coupons went through just fine.  It was fun to watch the register slowly cut down my costs. 
The Bad: I went to the Target Greatlands by my house, and it has a crappy grocery section, since it's not a real grocery store.  I was unable to use 3-4 of my coupons due to not having the items available.  Next time I'll make the trip to the Super Target south of my house.  I spent $4 for newspapers (and have 2 other weeks) to get coupons.  I spent $6 on a binder to hold my coupons :).  Tax is KILLER here.

So here's the breakdown:
Up and up diapers- $1/1 target printable coupon- 19.99 -> $18.99= $.14/diaper to $.13/diaper
Up and up disinfecting wipes- $0.50/1= $2.19-> $1.69
Merona pants for Al- on sale from $24.99->$20- 20% off coupon-> 16.00
Pepperidge farm bread- $3.69 (thought it was $3.05)- $0.50/1-> $3.19
2 Triamenic infant fever reducer- (2) $3/1- > $9.98-> $3.98 total OR $4.99-> $1.99  each
Lunch meat + shredded cheese- $1 off when you buy 1 of each- $2.84 + $2.59 -1.00= 4.43 OR ~ 2.21 each
2 ReVitalens 2 pack travel size- (2) 3.00/1-> 3.49 each -> 0.49 each
ProNutrients vitamins- 2.00/1 Target, 5.00/1 Man-> 11.99-> 4.99
Ziploc- $1/2 -> 2.89+2.89= 5.78-1.00= 4.78 OR 2.39 each
Starbucks- store deal $5 gift card when you buy 3, $1/1, $3/2- > 7.99 each-> 3.65 each after you add in the mail in rebate you can get on the Starbucks website for buying 3 bags of coffee

So, obviously I bought other stuff at Target, which was probably my biggest mistake.  Salad dressing, salmon, buttery spread, socks... all probably more expensive at Target than my friendly neighborhood Aldi or Walmart.  Also, I noticed that 8 o'clock coffee (which I like perfectly fine) was only $4.05 a few rows above the Starbucks.  Kinda takes the life out of the $5 gift card/mail-in-rebate hassel for a mere $0.40 savings.  I think my best deals were the contact solution and the infant tylenol.  I couldn't find the Curel lotion coupon that was going to make me $.42 per transaction.  Oh well. 

I'm going to keep trying this for a few more months and see if anything pans out.  I know part of couponing is developing a stock pile.  So far in my stockpile I have: some juice from a while back, contact solution, tylenol, coffee, and disinfecting wipes.  I guess it's nice not to have to buy any of those items for a while.  Anyone with pointers or tips... I'm all ears!


Getting ready for my first "big" couponing attempt

So, I'm about to go to Target on my first "big" couponing attempt.  If I've calculated correctly, I should save over $50 and only buy things I currently need or things that are free and will use.  I will share later on what I got and how much I actually saved.  I spent 2 hours this afternoon getting ready and researching everything.  I hope I get faster as I get used to this!  Wish me luck!

Day 339- Monday Meditation

O Holy Night
Matthew Gerrard

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!


Day 338- Christmastime is here...

I can't believe it! Christmastime is here!
It snuck up on me this year, but I'm trying to get in the mood by listening to Christmas music around the clock :) We also got all our decorations up during the weekend after Thanksgiving. (this picture was taken before the ornaments went up on the tree)
It's funny for me to think that this is Caleb's 2nd Christmas. He has changed so incredibly much, yet in many ways, he's still his old self.

Our lives have changed dramatically this year. We moved to a new state, Alan started school, we left dear old Nigel in Colorado, I went back to work, Caleb turned 1, friends have moved, siblings have moved, we sold our house, I turned 27 and Alan turned 28, and many more things. Somehow, out of this year of transition, I'm ending 2011 with a sense of contentment and peace. I feel hope for the future and joy with the day to day. This has been a struggle for me, and still is many days. But, I'm learning to "not be anxious and anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to present my requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding is guarding my heart and mind in Christ Jesus."


Day 337- Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy Birthday, Dad!
All your girls (plus the boys who have been more recently added to the family) love and respect you so much!  You've taught us what it is to hear God through study and prayer and to obey him with your life choices.  You've supported us, challenged us, and provided for us.  I have such fond "Dad" memories while growing up, and a deeper appreciation for you as I get older.  Thanks for being a loving Dad, a wonderful father-in-law, and a fabulous Papa!  Can't wait to see you again at Christmas!  Wish we were there to celebrate with you!
Susan (, Alan, and Caleb)


Day 336- World AIDS Day

Yesterday, December 1st was World AIDS Day. There are currently over 34 million people living with HIV and approximately 16.6 million AIDS orphans. Although much progress has been made in treating AIDS, there still millions of people that lack access to meds and knowledge. Below are 5 ways you can pray for the AIDS crisis.

1. Pray that people living with HIV and AIDS would be strengthened and comforted, that they would live a full life and be embraced and cared for by their families.

2. Ask God to give children orphaned by AIDS families and caregivers who will provide for them both physically and emotionally. Pray that they are able to attend school so that cycles of poverty are not prolonged. Also, pray for strength, protection, and provision for child-headed households.

3. Praise God that the biggest epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa have either stabilized or are showing signs of decline, and pray that this trend continues.

4. Ask God to slow and stop the spread of HIV in areas of the world where it is still increasing. Pray especially for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where the number of people living with HIV has increased 250% from 2001 to 2010.

5. Praise God for doctors and AIDS caregivers who are providing life-saving care and support. Ask Him to give them wisdom and compassion as they work through difficult cases in difficult conditions and for the supplies they need to be able to care safely and effectively.

For more information and ways to help visit A:CTS


Great Magazine Deal


If you are interested, Discount Magazines has a Cyber Monday special today for magazine packages.  You get a year long subscription to 2 different magazines for $6 total if you type in the coupon code CYBERMONDAY.  They offer combos like Natural Health and Whole Living, Taste of Home and Rachel Ray, or Men's Health and Men's Fitness.  It's a great deal!  You can gift the magazines and seperate the addresses (ex. you want to keep Taste of Home, but gift Rachel Ray to your friend...)

Day 332- Cinnamon roll waffles

I found this "recipe" on pinterest a week or two ago.  It looked fun, so Alan, Caleb, and I had Cinnamon Roll Waffles last Saturday morning.  It was super-easy (although not super healthy).  I guess you could make your own cinnamon roll dough for this as well.  We just used dough from the pop can, put it on the waffle iron for about 2 minutes, and voila!  Squirt icing on as desired, then enjoy!


Day 331- Thanksgiving recap

We spent Thanksgiving with Alan's family this year, specifically, the Hunt side.  I love getting together with his family!  So many cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  The whole family actually gathers in a suburb of Kansas City at Al's aunt and uncle's house for Thanksgiving every year.  So, it was quite convenient for us this year.  We just drove across town for festivities on Wednesday night and all day Thursday.  Alan's mom and dad came over to our house on Friday to hang out until their flight left in the evening.  We just had a nice (not relaxing chasing a 1 year old around!!!!), sweet time of visiting.  It took Caleb about 10 minutes on Wednesday to warm up, then was the center of attention for the rest of the weekend.  I mean, what's not to love!  He was friendly and played with everyone.  Here are the only 3 pictures I have from the weekend!
Here's a pic with Great Grandpa and Grandma Hunt
One with the Great Grandparents, Alan, and Caleb
One with the Hunt girls (we've got to stick together!)


Day 330- 14 months!

Caleb turned 14 months today!

Dear Caleb,
You just turned 14 months!  I can't believe how big you are getting!  New developments this month include: walking backwards, climbing up onto the couch, 2 molars, starting to use a fork/spoon on your own, putting all the puzzle pieces into your shapes puzzle, and your second Halloween/Thanksgiving!  Can't believe you're now moving to your "2nd" holidays.  You wear 12-24 month clothing and size 3 diapers.  You have 10 teeth with 2 on the way.  You love applesauce, yogurt, and string cheese, but will eat or try most food.  You drink 3 sippies of whole milk and sometimes one of juice or water each day.  We still have to supplement some with "baby" and "toddler" foods.  You ADORE your "buddy" and will start laughing and walk towards your room if I ask you if you want it.  You sleep pretty well (minus a few nights when you were teething) from around 8pm to 7:30 am, with a 2-3 hour nap around noon.  You love books, your popping ball toy, your puzzle, big legos, toy cars, electronics, and anything that we use (i.e. cell phone, pots/pans, wallet, pen, IPad, keys).  You also love to go to the park, look out our storm door and watch the street, and play "i'm gonna getcha".  You babble more and more, sometimes making the same sound of the object we are talking about.  You understand most simple 1 step commands and a ton of nouns.  You know several body parts (head, hair, ears, nose, eyes, feet, hands) and a couple articles of clothing (shoes and shirt).  I love that you giggle in excitement in anticipation for things you want (most of the time), rather than screaming or crying in impatience.  I have a lot to learn from you!  I pray with you every night before bed and am glad that you go to a daycare where you can learn about Jesus as well.  God created you with a special purpose in mind.  Thank you for all the JOY you bring to me and Daddy!


Day 326- Yoga Today

I just revisited a site that I LOVE!  I had totally forgotten about yogatoday.com, until Monday, when I did their free session of the week.  Although I don't necessarily go for every yoga workout they give, I LOVED this week's.  It's called An Attitude of Gratitude, by my favorite teacher, Adi.  It's a really nice Vinyasa flow workout.  My should was killing me before I did the workout and it feels COMPLETELY better now.  I really need to re-start my yoga practice.  I always feel so much more peaceful, energized, and whole after completing yoga workouts.  I also use the time to focus on God and opening my heart to him. 

*You do have to sign up for a free account to have access to the workout of the week


Day 325- My first couponing attempt

Okay, so I thought I would document my first, small, feeble attempt at couponing.

I found a link on one of the websites I look at (can't remember which one or I would credit them, sorry!) for a money-maker on this Cranberry Naturals Juice at Hy-Vee.  The coupon is still available at facebook on the Hy-Vee page.  You just have to "like" Hy-Vee, then you can print 2 per account by hitting the back button.  The coupon is for $2 off 1 bottle of Cranberry Naturals, which are on sale at Hy-Vee for $1.77.  Theoretically, you should make $0.23 off each bottle.  However, when I actually got to the store, the register would only ring up the coupon for $1.77.  I'm not sure if that's because it was kind of like a store coupon, since it was a deal between Hy-Vee and Old Orchard, or because the lady doing the register didn't really understand the way it was supposed to work.  Oh well.  I guess I need to read the coupon policy at Hy-Vee before I go again for a money-maker.  I won't complain, however, because I got 4 bottles of this juice for free!

Day 325- Monday Meditation

Isaiah 55

Invitation to the Thirsty
1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”

Thankful for the Lord's provision both materially and spiritually.  His burden is easy and his yoke is light.


Day 323- Low Maintenance Couponing

So, have you ever watched the show, Extreme Couponing? You know, the one where these women spend 30+ hours each week, but then only spend $2 on a $885 transaction. Then you feel guilty because you just spent $95 at the grocery store! Alas, you too could have purchased 300 disposable razors, 700 free bottles of Gatorade, 450 packages of spaghetti noodles, 250 bottles of ketchup, and 40 crest whitening strips. Haha. I know, I'm just jealous.

But, really, that's just NOT what I'm looking to accomplish. I just want to save some dough on my family's grocery bill. I'm just not up for clipping thousands of coupons, then matching them to store sales each week. This coupon binder is the opposite of what I have time and energy for...

But, apparently, there is a way to do this more simply!!!! *insert hallelujah chorus here* The simplest way to coupon is to file your coupons (mainly the big coupon packs that come in the sunday paper) based on the week they came in the paper (still not sure what to do with non-newspaper coupons- I'll get back to you). Then you just peruse some couponing website for the deals each week. There are women out there with websites that have already done all the work, people! The bottom half of my "resource blogs" are all couponing websites. I really like Kansascitymamas.com for this area because she has all the local deals broken up by store. She highlights the best deals, then gives links for all the other deals.


Day 321- Couponing baby steps

So, I went to a couponing talk at Bethany's church last Saturday.  I came away encouraged, but still slightly skeptical I can pull this off.  Here are some baby steps that the speaker recommended...

1. Start a shopping fast and eat only items in your pantry (to see what you really need/use).
2. Spend time looking at some couponing blogs (moneysavingmom.com, kansascitymamas.com, pennypinchinmom.com, etc), I've added more of these to my blog resource list.
3. Get a spam email address.
4. Start signing up for free samples.
5. Choose 1 store to start at.
6. Get to know the coupon policy at that store.
7. Start buying 2 or 4 Sunday papers (because deals are better in 2's).
8. Make a list of your top 25 items and how much you normally pay or get them on sale for.

So, I guess I have a start.  I won free shampoo, razors, vitamins, and toothpaste at the workshop, so I'm at least ahead there!  I'm planning to keep you all updated as I start this journey. *hopefully it will go somewhere and be productive*


Day 320- Bronco's Game!

We went to the Bronco's/Chief's game this past Sunday!  I have a growing love of football, since marrying my husband 5 years ago.  I now can name all the pro teams (or I think I could come close) and quite a few players.  I still get confused frequently and forget things, but I sometimes even turn a game on at home when Alan isn't there.  Needless to say, I was so excited to have this outing with friends.  Many thanks to Bethany, her mom, and her sister for babysitting Caleb!  Plus, the Broncos won!!!!
The crew
Me and my football connoisseur
Our view for half the game.  Gotta love completely drunk Chief's fans.
Love the view of the stadium!  Just isn't the same at home!
346. enjoying a BEAUTIFUL fall Sunday at the Bronco's game
347. the things God is teaching me about contentment and peace
348. the joy of watching my son grow
349. Thanksgiving is next week!
350. watching the sunset out the window at the pool on workdays


Day 315- Fav of the Week

Trader Joe's Pizza Dough

Bethany and I ventured out to Trader Joe's a few days ago.  We'd both been meaning to go, since the grand-opening crowds have died down a bit.  While I'm still not totally sold on Trader Joe's being the "best store ever," there were several things that would bring me back. 

#1- Their commitment to using good, natural ingredients
#2- Fav of the Week- their refridgerated pizza dough.  Comes ready to roll out and bake.  All for $1, which is more than Add Water mixes, but they come in flavors like Garlic and Herb or Honey Whole Wheat.  Yum!
#3- $1 Greek Yogurt (same as Yoplait or Dannon at regular grocery stores, but it's all natural)
#4- Two Buck Chuck- Al and I have been enjoying a glass of wine with our meals lately
#5- Organic milk- $6 for a gallon of Organic milk- yes, expensive, but slightly cheaper than the price at Sam's

I'm still not totally sold on Trader Joe's.  I need to stop by Whole Foods/Walmart/Aldi and do some price comparison.  Anyone who shops regularly at Trader Joe's, what do you buy?  I need your food secrets!


Photo Book

I love Shutterfly baby photo books.   I use Shutterfly now instead of printing out a ton of pictures for albums.  I guess I've joined the digital age!

Day 314- Coloring

Caleb is growing up!  We had "art time" today and colored on some paper.  I know he gets art time at school because he comes home with a ton of crafts every week, but we haven't done much at home so far.  I need to run to the Dollar Tree and pick up some coloring books, construction paper, and crayons/markers.  He loved it, though most of the scribbles are mine :).  His hands aren't quite strong enough to make very dark marks.  I'm LOVING my days off lately.  Caleb is just getting too cute for words.  He did have one of his first acts of defiance today though.  He stuck a pen in his ear and I scolded him.  He looked straight at me, walked into the kitchen (so he thought I couldn't see him), and stuck it in his ear again.  Bye, bye pen!  Oh man, I have so much to learn in the way of discipline and teaching right from wrong!   Here are some pics from this morning!
My baby is growing up!
He's so excited to show his "colors"
Beautiful baby smile :)
Love this kid!


Day 310- City Market

Bethany and i ventured out to City Market on Saturday morning. I can't believe I've waited this long to go to the downtown city market in KC! There are tons of fruit/veggie vendors, spice stores, fresh mediterranean shops, and any other type of vendor you would expect at a farmer's market. I bought 6 bell peppers to slice and freeze for fajitas (for $1!), 2 lbs of strawberries ($2), and a 1/2 cup curry powder ($1). I'm trying to increase my fruit/veggies intake, after a slump of poor eating choices. Cheap, fresh produce certainly helps with motivation!


Day 309- XOXOXO

My dear husband brought these home on Thursday, in addition to new hubcaps (which I'd been asking for since 2 of mine fell off/were stolen in ghetto Aurora) and peanut butter Oreos. Alan knows me too well. I love him so much, and not just because he knows I love flowers, chocolate, and hubcaps. He is a stable, loving, light-hearted, and hard-working pillar in my life. I'm so thankful for him!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Day 308- Fav of the week...

Yes. I'm addicted. I have a love/hate relationship with social media.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Day 307- Caleb's favorite game

Sorry it's sideways. It's still cute! (if anyone has advice for how to flip videos or good, free video editing programs, I'd love to hear about it).


Day 306- a lot about attitude

I've been trying to focus on my attitude a lot lately. I mean, regardless of my circumstances (which are really pretty good, by the way), I have a choice to make about how I respond. I can either choose to trust God with my day to day or believe that the weight rests on me (or the chaotic world).

Our church is doing a series on Job. Not a super-popular book. It's all about how the wise person responds to suffering. It's kick-butt hard, but Job responds to tremendous suffering by worshipping God and blessing Him.

I want to have a faith so deep that I can truly say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

Not quite there yet. Thankful for grace and so many other blessings.


Day 305- The park

Caleb and I LOVE going to South Lake Park. This chilly morning a few days ago, we just so happened to be the only people at the park.I love fall.


Day 304- Monday Meditation

Meeting with the President every morning

"Come to Me and listen! Attune yourself to My voice, and receive my richest blessing. Marvel at the wonder of communing with the Creator of the universe while sitting in the comfort of your home. Kings who reign on earth tend to make themselves inaccessible; ordinary people almost never gain an audience with them. Even dignitaries must plow through red tape and protocol in order to speak with royalty.
Though I am King of the universe, I am totally accessible to you. I am with you wherever you are. Nothing can separate you from My Presence! When I cried out from the cross, "It is finished!" the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This opened the way for you to meet Me face to Face with no need of protocol or priests. I, the King of kings, am your constant Companion."
Sarah Young

Though I may never meet the President of the United States or the Prime Minister of Great Britain or any other major world leader, I do get to speak with the King of kings every day. It may sound "corny" to say this, but only because it has been said so many times. Christianity speaks the amazing truth that although we don't deserve it, by grace, GOD comes to dwell with us and within us if we invite him into our lives.


Day 303- 13 months

My dear Caleb is now 13 months old! (pictured holding his dear "buddies")Dear Caleb,
You are getting SO big. You are becoming more of a boy and less of a baby everyday. You love exploring your environment and are becoming more opinionated about how you want your life run. You walk everywhere now, but still need us to hold your hand on uneven surfaces, stairs, or to go a long way. Your favorite toys are your ball, your popping ball game, your car track, books, legos, and shapes puzzle. You also like refridgerator magnets and anything we don't want you to get into. Your bond to your "buddies" (cloth diapers used as a comfort item) has increased even more. You will walk to your room, simply to grab a few from the basket I put them in. You bring them back to the living room and sigh in delight as you rest for a few minutes hugging them on the floor with your thumb in your mouth. You then go about your playing with a trip back to hug your buddies every once in a while. It's really cute now, but let's just hope you don't love them this much at 10 years old :).
You are eating lots of table foods now and about 3/4 of your diet is table food. You especially like banana, grapes, peaches, bread, yogurt, cheese, steak, black beans, green beans, and crackers. We supplement your diet with some stage 3 and toddler foods to make sure you are getting enough veggies and protein. You are starting to use a spoon and fork with help and you've been independent with your sippy for a while now. Eating all this food is certainly helped out by the fact you now have 8 1/2 teeth (1/2 a molar!)
You wear size 3 diapers and size 12 month-18 month clothes. You say "da" for dog and say "dada" with meaning now. You are babbling a lot more, so I think you're really getting ready to start talking. You follow simple commands and mostly respond to "stop." I realized that I use the sign and word for stop a little too much when you throw food off of your highchair because you started throwing food, then signing "stop." haha.
I am loving this stage. I love going to the park with you or seeing you interact with other toddlers at library time. I love hearing your laugh many times a day. My love for you is teaching me a lot about God's love for his children. I hope that I can be part of teaching you about the grace, forgiveness, joy, and love that is found in Jesus.


Day 302- Baked Tortellini

I made Baked Tortellini for dinner a few nights ago. It was SO yummy. I forgot to take a pic of it and before I knew it, we had eaten all the leftovers. Here's a pic of a little different version.

This is the recipe that I used:
1/2 c. Chopped onion (didn't use because Al is allergic)
1 t. Olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 9 oz packages of refrigerated tortellini (I used spinach tortellini)
1 jar Alfredo sauce (I used sun-dried tomato Alfredo)
1 c. Cubed cooked chicken (I used 1 shredded rotisserie chicken breast)
1 c. Milk
1 c. Water
1 c. Frozen peas
1/4 t. Black pepper
2 T. Fresh basil or 1 t. Dried basil (I also added 2T. Pesto)
1/4 c. Grated fresh parmesan cheese
2 T. Butter, melted
1. C. Bread crumbs (I used panko)

Preheat oven to 400. Heat oil and add onion/garlic in large skillet. Cook until tender. Stir in pasta sauce, tortellini, chicken, milk, water, peas, and pepper. Heat until mixture comes to a boil; remove from heat and add basil.
Meanwhile, for crumb topping, mix melted butter, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese together.
Spoon pasta mixture into 9x13 baking dish. Add crumb topping evenly over surface. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until edges are bubbly and top is golden brown.

The great thing about this recipe is that I think it could be adapted to use red sauce or ground beef or any vegetables you have laying around.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Day 290- my anxious heart

Sometimes I am an anxiety glutton. I pull worry into me so it even becomes infused in my personality. I dwell in the possibilities of the future. I live as a practical deist, forgetting that God is present with me now and will be just as near each future hour. Lord, help me to consider YOU as the greatest part of my present and future, with all situations and decisions as secondary.

"Anxiety is the result of envisioning the future without Me. So the best defense against worry is staying in communication with Me. When you turn your thoughts toward Me, you can think much more positively. Remember to listen, as well as to speak, making your thoughts a dialogue with Me.
If you must consider upcoming events, follow these rules: 1) do not linger in the future, because anxieties sprout up like mushrooms when you wander there. 2) remember the promise of My continued Presence; include Me in any imagery that comes to mind. This mental discipline does not come easily, because you are accustomed to being god of your fantasies. However, the reality of My Presence with you, now and forevermore, outshines any fantasy you could ever imagine."
Sarah Young

Luke 12:22-26
"Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single day to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"

Ephesians 3:20-21
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."


Day 287- Favs of the Week

Favs of the week include:
Sleepytime Vanilla
Love this tea! It's a yummy spin on the "classic" sleepy-time tea. I don't know what it is about fall, but a cup of tea before bed does a body good.

Neti Pot
I used to be a skeptic because I couldn't get the water to run through my nose. Come to find out it's because my sinuses were so clogged it couldn't get through! tmi? Since I was sick last week and have been fighting drainage and sinus-yuck since, I have been trying to neti-pot 1-2 times each day. I feel SO much better afterwards. Yes, it's a weird sensation, but I totally recommend it. I even watched a video on WedMD called, "The Truth about Neti-Pots." I was sure they would bash neti-pots and say they only had a placebo-effect. But no, they basically said neti-pots are amazing and have even been shown to be as effective as antibiotics in some studies! Thankfuls...
336. having lattes with mamas and babies yesterday morning
337. a MOPS mom playdate
338. Caleb can down sign "all done"
339. finally having groceries again
340. finally mopping the kitchen and foyer
341. finally having clean laundry again (sensing a theme?!)
342. Grandma Hunt is coming today
343. it's almost the weekend
344. a groupon for My Big Fat Greek Restaurant
345. my fall wreath