Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Phase 1: Discipline

So I've been mulling over my life lately and how totally unfocused I have been. I'm literally living each day at a time, and in some cases that can be a good thing. But at some point, I need some sort of routine in my life. I don't want to be totally rigid, unable to be flexible or change my plans but my kids (and I) need a schedule of some sort! Well I've been praying a lot about it trying to figure out how to take on this massive work load that I have been ignoring, avoiding, and just plan not dealing with. And in my defense, I am slowing tackling all the things on my list. Having a meal plan and groceries to match is definitely a step in the right direction. But now that I have that covered, whats next?

Well the thing that's got my mind all tied up right now is not being happy with my weight. Now I'm not obese but I am not where I need to be either! Its very frustrating because I'm not big enough for Plus sizes but I'm not small enough for normal stores. And my last baby is 1 year old and I'm still wearing maternity clothes because I'm too self-conscious about my saggy belly to wear anything else. So a little while ago, my mom gave me a book, Never Say Diet by Chantel Hobbs. This woman is quite an inspiration! I heard her talk a few times on Focus on the Family radio show. At 29 years old, she had a husband who loved her, a couple of kids, weighed 350lbs, and loved baking and eating. She tried every "lose weight quick" diet and realized that if you don't keep buying their foods, taking their pills, and paying them money those diets just didn't work (another conspiracy I'm convinced of). She finally hit her breaking point and made the decision that she wasn't going to live like that anymore. She then took the next step towards making herself better. First by establishing an exercise routine, then by changing her approach to food. It didn't happen overnight but eventually she lost 200lbs and is now a personal trainer, spin instructor and motivational speaker/writer. Its an excellent read! I recommend it to anyone who is having my same motivational issues.

Well last night, I was sitting in my bed feeling sorry for myself and that book was sitting on my bedside table. So I decided to open it back up to the page I had bookmarked several months ago. It was "Phase 1: Get a move on!" DING! DING! DING! ah now I see why I stopped reading. Oh man, the excuses I can make-up for reasons not to get off my behind and workout! Earlier in the book she says "We gain weight through a series of poor choices made on a regular basis over a long period of time." But in this chapter she says "I succeeded because I finally committed to doing things that made me uncomfortable, and I did them long enough that I became comfortable doing them."

The thing that got she got me with was DISCIPLINE! Whenever I hear that word I cringe, I always saw it as a spanking, yelling, or a reprimand of some sort. While that can be a form of discipline, its by definition: training. She says, "Discipline is a learned behavior pattern", something I struggle with on a daily basis. I mean even down to washing my face consistently, I'm just not a consistent person. Always flying by the seat of my pants! And that is NO WAY TO LIVE! Especially when you have kids needing you to discipline and teach them. How can I set a good example if I can't even discipline myself?! So my first step in disciplining myself is to set my priorities and make some goals (that just sounds like torture to me... why is that?). One of those goals is going to be to follow her plan to get myself in a exercise routine; 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity, 5 days a week for 4 weeks. Now, here's my problem... in high school I was always working out and not just simple run or play a sport; NO! rigorous, grueling, painful workouts that would last for hours a day. I despised it, I grew to HATE sports! And when I was free of my commitments, I stopped working out and never looked back. But now I have to retrain the way I look at fitness because it doesn't HAVE to be that! It can be enjoyable I just have to find my balance.

I can't afford a gym membership right now and I don't have a double stroller, so today I put my Zumba game into my Wii while the kids were napping and I danced for 30 minutes straight. I always loved dancing (I use to dance 5 hours a day in college, but actually enjoyed it)! And while it did hurt a bit because to be honest I haven't been moving very much lately (other than household cleaning, I suppose and even that's debatable), I feel accomplished! Now for the hard part, keeping myself accountable to GET UP AND MOVE every other day this week!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Caaast your cares on the Looord!

Our preschool ministry performed for our church service today! My little baby is the one in the striped shirt and blue vest on the front row! They are performing a song by Seeds Family Worship, "Psalm 55:22" And then Jackson came home and sang the whole song by himself! I was soooo excited, especially since a few months ago he wasn't even speaking clear sentences!!

Couponing.... continued

So I made my grocery menu and list for the month, matched what I needed to what was on sale and where. Then I matched what coupons I had to what was on sale and what I needed! I personally was very proud of this receipt!!! Between the stacking of coupons and store coupons, and in store Buy 1, Get 1s and other sales. I did pretty good for my second couponing shopping trip. I'm still not perfect and I've got more practicing and planning to do but I feel like this was a step in the right direction. I also saved $50 at Bi-Lo and $25 at Piggly Wiggly and my house is stocked for 30 dinners, lunches and breakfasts! How exciting is that?? And I was within my budget! Its been amazing what God is teaching me, not that I am willing to listen.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cinnamon Buns

Made these amazing rolls the other day... (finally got around to uploading the pictures) And while the rolls turned out perfect, I ended up not being a huge fan of the cream cheese icing (but that's just a taste preference) my husband loves the stuff! I'm trying to find a new cinnamon icing recipe so I'll update that later! (I would love to give the person who created this recipe credit but I printed it forever ago and there is no website on my piece of paper... sorry)

For Dough:
Hint: dough and filling must be prepped the night before!!!
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 2oz (approx 1/4 cup) Sugar
  • 3oz (approx 6 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  • 6oz buttermilk, room temperature
  • 20oz (approx 4 cups) all-purpose flour (plus a little extra for dusting)
  • 1 pkg (approx 2 1/4 tsp) instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Cooking Spray or Vegetable Oil
  1. In a large bowl (preferably stand mixer), whisk egg yolks, whole egg, sugar,butter and buttermilk together.
  2. Add approx 2 cups of flour along with yeast and salt, and whisk until moistened and combined.
  3. IF YOU HAVE A STAND MIXER: replace whisk attachment with dough hook IF NO MIXER: use dough spatula and floured hands. Add all but 3/4 cup of remaining flour. Knead on low for 5 minutes. The dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky (if isn't add more flour, until it is)
  4. IN YOUR STAND MIXER: knead on low for 5 more minutes, NO STAND MIXER: Clear dough from sides and knead by hand
  5. Knead by hand for about a minute
  6. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer dough to bowl, then lightly oil top of dough.
  7. Cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

For Filling:

  • 8oz (approx 1 cup) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4oz (approx 1 1/2 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  1. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl, until well incorporated
  2. Butter a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.
  4. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 x 12-inch rectangle
  5. Brush the dough with the 3/4oz of melted butter, leaving an 1/2-inch border along the top edge.
  6. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough (Leave a 1-inch border along the top edge - because it WILL spill out otherwise) and gently press the filling into the dough
  7. Beginning with the longest edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder to create even thickness.
  8. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls (yields 12 rolls)
  9. Arrange rolls, cut side down, in the baking dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  10. Store in refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours


  1. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off.
  2. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on rack below the rolls
  3. Close oven door and let the rolls rise until the look slightly puffy (approx 30 min)
  4. Remove rolls and water then Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  5. When oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown

For Icing:

  • 2 1/2oz (approx 1/4 cup) cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 5 1/2 oz (approx 1 1/2 cup) powdered sugar
  1. While the rolls are cooling slightly, start making your icing
  2. Whisk the cream cheese until creamy
  3. Add the milk and whisk until combined
  4. Sift in the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth
  5. Spread over rolls and serve immediately

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Always Check Your Unit Prices!

So as I was grocery shopping, I was reminded that sales tags lie! And just because they put a big sign on it that says SALE doesn't mean its the cheapest item.

When you look under the item at the price always check your "unit price"!! (this is just a sample tag I googled to show you want I'm talking about it.)

I was looking for pasta and the "sale" pasta looked like a good actual price but I looked above it and the box (same brand) that was twice its size had a better unit price, so I got the bigger box because it was more for the money! BUT some sale prices ARE better! For example, the smaller bags of rice were "on sale" so I matched the unit price to the larger rice bag's tag and the smaller bag was a better price. So instead of getting a big bag I got the same amount in smaller bags because it was cheaper.

It may make your shopping trip a little longer but I like to think of it as "working for my savings".

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Delicious Waffles

This simple waffle recipe makes a delicious addition to any breakfast (or breakfast for dinner)... I cook them in an Oster Flip Waffle maker (The flip waffle makers just cook so much more evenly).
Hint: don't over fill it because it will pop and possibly break due to pressure - I learned that one the hard way!

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs


  1. Preheat your waffle iron (according to manual).
  2. Melt butter in a microwave bowl (20-30 seconds)
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar
  4. In a separate bowl, beat together milk and eggs
  5. Whisk liquid mixture into dry ingredients until combined
  6. Stir in the melted butter
  7. Brush hot iron with butter or Spray with Pam
  8. Spoon a little over a 1/2 cup batter on iron (make sure the batter in a thin layer covering the iron)
  9. Close to cook.
  10. Now if you have the newer waffle makers it has a timer on it (mine does) which makes it a bit easier. But if you don't make the first waffle a tester.

I can generally get about 4-5 large waffles out of this recipe!

Freezing Waffles:

Last time I made waffles, I made a double batch and froze the leftover cooked waffles. I need to figure out a better method of freezing because stacking them and putting in a freezer bag worked but peeling them apart was a pain. I toasted them in the toaster oven, fully frozen, for about 10 min and they were very tasty!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My latest thoughts on Budgeting

I have recently fallen in love with the Proverbs 31 woman! I have been reading it, studying it, and reading different bible studies on it and I have come to the conclusion that this is a woman I want to strive to be like. She just has her act in order. But what I am coming to realize that she didn't get it in order overnight!

"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27 This passage has prompted me to stop waiting for things to get better and make them better. I have spent a lot of time saying.. "I need to do this.... I will do it tomorrow." And then tomorrow something would come up and I would put it off again, until I forget it completely. A lot of things I need to be handling, such as budgeting, have been swept under the rug and forgotten about. And then I sit down at the beginning of the month dreading my scattered version of budgeting and bill paying.

I have known about Crown Financial Ministries but I never got around to looking at the website because I was "too busy". But now its time to tend to the affairs of my household and learn how to do things I don't know how to do! They are a christian based approach to finances and budgeting, with encouragement and resources to help you succeed. They have free publications to help create a proper budget and financial road map.

In fact, I read an article on the website about a Financial Road Map. I loved the idea that we need to look at our budget plan as a road map. We need to know where we are, plan where we want to be, and how exactly we are going to be there! "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty." Proverbs 21:5

One thing I know that already works is the concept of "snowballing" in regards to debt. We did this when my husband and I first got married. I had an embarrasing amount of debt, that my husband helped me get rid of. But we were able to do it because we made a list of all of our debt (I wasn't the only culprit) and figured out what needed to be paid first. We planned to pay off that one first as soon as possible, and pay minimual on the others. Once that was one was paid we moved the amount we were paying to the next credit card/loan until it was paid off and so on until all our debt was gone. "The borrower is servant to the lender" Proverbs 22:7b. I personally am tired of being a slave to the credit card companies and their tricks, lies, and astronomical interest rates! To be clear, I'm not against borrowing for important purchases and if the interest rate is reasonable but I see credit cards as nothing but trouble and I'm tired of having them in my life.

So all of this to conclude, I have made the decision to take control of my spending, finances, and budgeting. This is going to be hard, uncomfortable, and down right painful at times but in the end it will all be worth it. But most importantly I have to make sure I keep God at the head of it all or it will all be worthless!

"For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philipians 4:11-13

Friday, March 18, 2011

Beauty Tip #3: Picking The Right Foundation

When the right shade is applied properly, a foundation is a great start to your makeup routine.

First thing is to pick the right formula!

Do you like the new Mineral powder? (This is my personal favorite) Its lightweight, but covers completely with a buildable coverage. The Mary Kay one is designed to absorb excess oil, which I find a great feature!

Liquid Foundation? The old favorite... there are two formulas, one for normal to dry skin and one for combination to oily. Both provide even coverage. The normal to dry is designed to help with hydration, while the combination to oily is designed control excess oil.

Creme-to-Powder? This one goes on as a cream and then dries to a powder and has a lightweight feel.

Tinted Moisturizer with Sunscreen? This is more of an on-the-go, sheer coverage. It is perfect for an active lifestyle with the added bonus of moisture and sunscreen.

Second thing is to Pick the right shade!

In addition to evening out skin tone and protecting your skin from environmental damage, the right foundation can make the skin look smooth and flawless. So here are some helpful hints for picking your shade...

  • Yellow-based foundations work well on almost everyone. Foundations with a little yellow will even out almost every complexion. Yellow minimizes red, which may be a result of tanning, aging, or broken capillaries.
  • Test a shade on your jawline or cheek. The correct shade should literally disappear into the skin and blend with the skin tone of the neck rather than the face.
  • When testing your new shade, its best to test in natural light. Also, give it a few minutes to adapt to your skin before making a final decision.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gardening and Life

So for the first time in my life as a stay-at-home mother, I have my very own yard to maintain. Well I had a yard at my last house but it was barely a yard with nothing but grass to cut. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I made the choice to take on the yard I have now.

When it's in full bloom its GORGEOUS! The soil is rich (in fact the cucumber I planted in my yard were by far the biggest cucumbers I have ever seen), the flowers are brilliantly colored, and its so green and pleasant. (Below are just a few of my many backyard pictures)

Well I had my first big season of my yard in full bloom. What an AMAZING thing it was to witness such beauty and life in one little (relatively little) backyard. But then as Summer ended and the majesty of the green and life were beginning to wear off and Fall was approaching. I went outside to survey the yard and I realized there was sooooo much work to be done. Now mind you by this time baby #2 had just arrived and I was not prepared for the undertaking I was about to embark on. I had never truly maintained a yard as complex as this one before! I had no idea about the vines and the pruning and the maintenance that I should have been maintaining during the summer. I was so afraid of killing the beauty that I didn't touch ANYTHING... well except cutting the grass and trimming the hedges because that was what I knew how to do. I quickly learned that those 2 things were not nearly enough to properly maintain a yard! There was weeding and pruning and trimming and so much more than I even imagined! Needless to say, I have failed in the past with my yard work.

Well this year, I have vowed to be better! Because God gave us this house, he gave me this yard and I need to glorify Him through it. Now I have been preparing for the summer by cutting back the vines, laying mulch and pine straw, and I'm one step away from taking out stock in Round Up because let me tell you the cheap weedkillers DON'T WORK! (I'm convinced its a conspiracy... but that's a topic for another day). I have my gas hedge trimmer/weed whacker ready for action, I got my gardening gloves and trimming scissors, my last step is to either get a new lawn mower or fix the one I got because I have been very disappointed recently. (I promise I'm not crazy... yard work soothes me... there is just something about holding powerful machinery and taking on some bushes, no therapy session in the world compares!)

Well I was outside today putting some finishing touches on some nasty George of the Jungle vines that are trying to destroy the fence from the other side and it dawned on me! It was one of those "AHA" moment! Gardening is a smaller picture of life! We are constantly planning, preparing, fighting weeds, and getting ourselves ready for that season of growth... the season of beauty! And if we don't prepare, those weeds and vines will kill that beauty, it will stunt your growth. Just like the evil vines on the other side of the fence are trying to keep the Mulberry tree from producing fruit, sin is trying to keep us from the same thing! But the best part of the Mulberry tree is not only does it produce fruit and shade but it attracts all kinds of birds and other life, to feed off of it and sustain themselves by it. As when we are able to flourish the way God intended; others can gain shade, shelter, and fruit from us. What an amazing picture it was as I was fighting to get the stupid vine from destroying that tree. I want to be like a Mulberry Tree! I want to be a beautiful flourishing, life sustaining place of rest for others in need, but to become that I must first work to prepare so that those weeds and vines don't destroy me first!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

God, Marriage, and Children

I haven't been as actively posting on my blog because I have been diving into a bible study that has been most intriguing to me on the Song of Songs, called The Peasant Princess done by Pastor Mark Driscoll out in Seattle, WA. It's basically walking through what a Godly marriage should look like.

Having only been married 4 years on March 25, I am realizing that marriage is a lot more than it seems! God has an intricate plan for marriage, that is far beyond anything we can imagine. And I am learning to be not only a godly mother but also a godly wife and while that doesn't seem like it is two different people, it very much is!!

What I am learning about now is Priorities! What are your priorities? Can you put your husband before your children? Can you put God before your children? Can you put God before your husband? And finally Can you put all three of those things before everything else?

On Sunday, a lady I very much admire said to our Sunday school class "if someone put a gun to my head and told me to deny Christ, I would say 'shoot me because I can't' but if we turn that around and someone put a gun to my child's head and said 'deny Christ' could you do it as easily?" (not exactly what she said but close enough - remembering details isn't my gift). That has been weighing heavy on my heart!! Could I?? If someone threaten to kill my baby, could I put my God before him?? I don't know.... I would love to sit here and tell you that I would deny everything for Christ and follow Him. But can I?

So that took me to the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18), when not only was Abraham forced to choose between God and his son, but He had to kill him by his own hand! Abraham did not question, did not complain but instead packed up his stuff and took his ONLY son to the top of that hill to sacrifice him. God stopped him and gave him a sacrifice just in time! He was happy with Abraham for not withholding anything, for denying himself his one and only son for God! WOW! I don't know if I could do that! But not only was God happy with him but he blessed his WHOLE family, not just immediate! But every child in his blood line that would follow him would be BLESSED!

Well with that on my heart it was no surprise that when sat down last night with Jackson to read his bible that was our story! Now before I quote this I need to tell you the children's bible Jackson and I are reading far surpasses any children's bible I have ever read (and I have ready many)! Its called The Jesus Storybook Bible. Well at the end of the story of Abraham and Isaac, this book says, "Many years later, another Son would climb another hill, carrying wood on his back. Like Isaac, he would trust his Father and do what his Father asked. He wouldn't struggle or run away. Who was he? God's Son, his only Son - the Son he loved. The lamb of God." That was so powerful to me!!! God sacrificed and killed and punished HIS only son! Not Abraham's, not mine, not yours, HIS!!! For what? Because He loves us!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies Continued...

So I pulled the frozen cookie dough out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. I didn't cook it that day because I forgot but I did the next day. The way I stored it worked out perfect because I was just able to cut it into squares and put it directly on the pan!

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. The first time I made these it only took 10 minutes to cook. This time it took 15 minutes. Let them cool for at least 5 minutes.

I can't taste a difference! There are perfect! very exciting...

Free Baby Sling Offer!!!

If you are having a baby, already had a baby, or need a good baby gift for a shower coming up! I got sent a promo code for a FREE baby sling, all you have to do is pay the shipping. I already have an awesome sling and have no extra moolah for shipping right now but I know some of you other mothers may need one!

Go to the Seven Everyday Slings website and enter promo code "Family2011"

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Grocery List Prep

So the 8th is my grocery day and I have been preparing for it!

I picked out the recipes for my meals this month, moved the ingredients to a list and then I found a template for a grocery list at momready.com which breaks my grocery list into categories!
I found a lot of my recipes for great healthy, quick and easy meals on the Betty Crocker website!

Now I am going to go to my household helper, Southern Savers, and compare my coupons to the sales and what I need, to find out the best place to buy my ingredients.

I want to do better each month on my prep and planning. Last month, I only prepared for half the month and didn't finish the other half. So here I am with nothing planned for the next couple days. This month I planned for the WHOLE month, so I don't have to think about it again until the next shopping trip!

I like to think that all this money saving is like income for all the work I've done in planning. It gives us just a little bit extra in our pockets and takes away the stress of trying to figure out what to eat each night.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dinner Last Night: My Best Spaghetti Sauce Yet

I have been working very hard to find my favorite spaghetti sauce. And last night was by far my favorite of my sauces.

1 lb Ground beef
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 can of Hunts Spaghetti Sauce
1 can of Hunts Diced tomatoes
1/2 tbsp of parsley
1/2 tbsp of oregano
1/8 cup of sugar

1. Heat oil in a skillet, add garlic and onions then ground beef (season as desired - i just used salt and pepper) and brown. (If you use a leaner meat you wont need to drain, which will actually make the sauce better because all that oil soaked up the garlic and onions and will add flavor to the sauce)
2. Put spaghetti sauce, tomatoes and meat in the pot.
3. Add parsley, oregano, and sugar.
4. Stir and let simmer for at least an hour.
5. Boil pasta and serve!

I made some garlic bread to go with! I just sliced some french bread, buttered them and sprinkle them with Lawry's garlic salt. Bake them at 450 degrees for 5 minutes. AMAZING!!