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