Monday, November 30, 2009

GratiTuesday: Christmas Tree Traditions

The first weekend, beginning with the Friday after Thanksgiving, we begin our weekend of Christmas Tree Traditions.

This is one of my favorite times of the year.

My Great-Grandfather started the tradition of everyone in the family having their own Christmas tree. It was always something special we did together every year. My Great-Grandparents would come over and we would decorate it together and share that special time together.

Even though they are gone, it is still a tradition I do with my own children. Christmas trees just have a special meaning for me. There are many trees that hold a wonderful place in my heart...

Today I am thankful for those traditions and I would like to share them with you... Hope you enjoy them!

This is our family tree. We put it out together. It has homemade ornaments and family ornaments on it. We always put up this tree the Friday after Thanksgiving.

This is a tree at our church that my mother is in charge of. This is my favorite tree. It is the Giving Tree. Every year my mom finds families in need and we take an ornament off of the tree that has a special gift on it to purchase. The whole church takes part. This year, there are 8 families and over 125 ornaments for children's gifts. It is an incredible tradition to start when trying to teach your children about giving to others...

The first Sunday after Thanksgiving, our church holds a "Hanging of the Greens" service. We all come together in the evening and begin by singing Christmas carols together. Here is (from front to back) Lincoln, my Dad, Dylan and Andy holding up the ladder. Andy was lucky to be volunteered by the Pastor from the pulpit to hold the ladder. :)

Sorry about the "red eye" but here is a sweet picture of my Dad and Lincoln singing.

Here is the picture of the church Christmas tree before the ornaments were hung...

Andy is doing a wonderful job with the ladder!

Dylan and Lincoln hanging their decorations...

Here are the ornaments for the boys tree sitting out and waiting to be hung...

The tree waiting to be decorated...

I decided to help a little...

I will be posting the boys Christmas tree picture at a later date! I love to keep y'all waiting in anticipation... :)

This post is like to Gratituesdays.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Menu Plan and Making Your Home Sing

I have got to be completely honest with y'all... I have been slacking horribly in the homemaking department!

I get completely overwhelmed when the Holidays begin and I just stop functioning... This week I am making a menu plan and I am sticking to it!

My home is going to be singing praises of home-cooked, healthy, around the table meals. It's amazing to me how excited I am getting about cooking! Just thinking about this menu plan is making me giddy!

So here is a quick run down of what we will be eating and what fun Christmas and daily activities are going on around our home!

Monday (Lincoln is getting his 18 mo shots and I have a dentist appointment!):
Almond Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Tacos, Chips, Salsa

Tuesday (Church Women's Party... Need finger food!)
Oatmeal Bars
Leftover Tacos
Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Fries

Wednesday (Andy's birthday!):
Pumpkin Bread
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
Meatloaf, Baked Potatoes and leftover Mac and Cheese

Oatmeal Bars
Leftover Chicken Salad
Three Cheese Garlic Chicken Pasta

Pumpkin Bread
Chicken Tenders and Chips
Hamburgers and Baked Beans

Oatmeal Bars/Pumpkin Bread/Cereal
Breakfast for Lunch- Eggs, Sausage, Waffles
Hotdogs for the boys and Date Night for Mama and Daddy! :)

Leftover Breakfast Items
Church Christmas Dinner!

I just love the Holiday season but this week, I am working on getting my home in top cleaning and running order! I want to be able to enjoy the Holidays without worrying about my home. I am getting back to my morning quiet time, as well as eating at home!

Blessings to you as you Make Your Home Sing with Holiday and Homemaking love!

This post is linked to Make Your Home Sing and Menu Plan Monday!

Friday, November 27, 2009

a quick drop in post...

I hope y'all had a blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

I wanted to check in and tell you that I am still alive. I am busy, had dental surgery, and sick (as well as Andy and the boys) but I am still here.

I apologize for my lack of communication... I am trying to get back on the blogging bull but tomorrow we have two more Thanksgiving get-togethers and Sunday is our church's Hanging of the Greens...

Therefore communication might be scarce for a few more days... Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Is There Anything Too Hard For Me?

I wrote this post last April but how important is it to remember today also?
Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
Jeremiah 32:27

In a world where everything seems up in the air, times are concerning. I know in my own life, I worry about the things that I have just no control over.

What are we going to do if my husband loses his job? What am I going to do if one of my children get sick? What am I going to do if I cannot have anymore children? I can't do this diet the doctors say I need to do- I just can't. I can't give over control of my worry about having more children. I can't homeschool. I can't stay home and be a good mother and wife. I can't find time to add one more thing to me day. I just cannot eat at home one more night even if we are trying to pay off debt. I just can't... I just can't...

Have you ever had those thoughts? I have them all the time. I am still having them as I sit here. I was just having them as I cried out to a friend- How am I going to do that?

First, I know that I fail to go to the Lord. Too often I want to vent to my husband or a friend. I want them to reassure me. I want them to give me their opinion. How often to a run first to my Heavenly Father and ask for his opinion or reassurance?

Secondly, we forget that we are just human! We are going to sin. We are going to fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If that is the case, why am I so hard on myself? Why do I always try to put on the super-mom look? All those questions I have above, I might not be able to do by myself. BUT with the help of my Sweet Jesus, those things and much more are attainable.

So next time you or I think how am I going to do this remember that we don't have to do it alone and with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Love Story- God's Will

This is from last Valentine's Day but I thought with the Holidays coming, it would nice to just sit back and remember... I hope y'all enjoy it and I pray this Holiday season you learn about the birth of the Ultimate Love Story...

I have the best husband in the world and after I found this I just had to take part.

My husband and I have known of each other all of our lives. We grew up in the same church and saw each other occasionally. He is a few years older (won't say how much ;) ) than I so we were never in the same crowd.

My husband had gone to college and gotten a job in a town about an hour away and I had just started college. I went on with my life as I wanted it-turning away from the Lord, I made some bad decisions and became pregnant.

I held in a lot of feelings about the pregnancy and one day just went to church, picked out another young mother, and told her I needed a friend and I was picking her. We went to lunch that day. Over an Applebees appetizer, I shared my anquish and lonliness and fear to her. We became instant friends.

About a week later, my son and I went to her house. Her father and brother were working on a project. I felt someone watching me but quickly brushed it off. At that time I dealt with a lot of insecruity about how people judged me as a young, unwed mother.

I was telling Jenny, my friend and husband's sister, that I always wanted to learn to play guitar. She suggested that I ask her brother to take me shopping to look at guitars.

We went to look at guitars and quickly became friends.

We talked every night and I spilled everthing. We became "JUST friends".

A few weeks later it was Christmas and he took the whole week between Christmas and New Years off of work. We spent every day together.

When things started becoming more than just friends, my husband started pushing away. I did not know what was happening. One minute he'd be telling me I wasn't what he had invisioned of a wife and he just wanted to be friends and the next he would be kissing me. It was hard for me to take.

We didn't talk to for a week. That was a long time when we went from spending every day together to nothing for a week. He then called me and told me that he was sure that he wanted to be with me. He said he went to the Lord and asked him if I was the one for him that God take away all his fears and doubts and give him a peace. The Lord did.

We dated about a month longer and knew we were made by God to be together. We got engaged on January 17, 2006. We were married on May 13, 2006. Andy, my husband, adopted our son in August of 2007 and we had our second son on April 5, 2008.

We have been through a lot- death of my grandmother (Julia Caldwell), death of a woman who helped raise me (Colleen McCormick), and the loss of now 5 babies but we have always came together. He is my rock and without him I would not be as strong.

As I end this I want to share a story that shows the kind of Godly man that I married and am blessed to be selected as his helper.

When I was about to have our second son I kept telling him that the birth of a child was something that made all kinds of emotions come up. The love you feel when you see that child born is more than you expect. I kept telling him that I knew he loved our first son but it would be different. When I had our second son, he looked at me and said, "This is the second most happiest day of my life. The first being the day that I adopted Dylan."

This man has taken me and my firstborn as his own and has never looked back. That to me is true love and God's will.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

bloggy break...

Tonight, scratch that I mean tomorrow EARLY in the morning (12 AM) I am going to be taking part in the craze of New Moon!

I am ecstatic of the chance for girl time with my sister in law and good friend, Jenni. We will be hopefully meeting up with more people.

Don't worry, oh dear friends, I will be taking my camera! So don't dismay!! :)

This weekend will also just be jammed pack with things to do and the beginning of Holiday events. Therefore, I am taking a bloggy break and I going to be doing "reruns!" also known as some of my favorite. If I can, I am going to slip in some pictures from tonight's exciting event (by the way... I am a wolf-pack, Jacob, fan if anyone cares! Oh, and I also LOVE Alice!).

Happy Weekend Friends!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

my thoughts on Marley & Me

I recently rented Marley & Me from the library. I really enjoyed this movie and I wanted to share a few of my thoughts with y'all (especially since I am not a pet person, sorry dear friends).

Marley & Me spoke volumes to me. One of the main reasons was the movie did not portray the perfect marriage. In movies sometime, I feel like an untrue, perfect picture is being painted of married life, especially after having children. Not only did this movie not portray that, it showed how a commited relationship is supposed to be.

When the single, had it all best friend, questioned whether John and Jen would be staying together, the husband stated that it was just a fight and of course they would work it out.

The whole movie, being the single, eligible bachelor was shown in the positive light, but in the end, it was the married with children man that appeared to have the life they both wanted.

I also enjoyed that the wife/mother, made the choice to stay home and take care of the house and family. Once again, they did not portray a rosey life, but one that many families go through. She made the sacrifies of a mother and stood by her husband and his dreams continually.

A lot of movies show the beautiful romance but stop after they are together. It doesn't make for a good romantic comedy when the marriage is crumbling under pressure, money is tight, and where making love used to be, there are children with grubby hands.

However, there was one tiny (okay maybe not so tiny) little detail that I would like to disagree with. It is most certainly due to my faith, but I still believe it should be thrown out there. The main idea of the book/movie was that when everything else was falling down and apart, the dog was there. He was the constant in their lives.

I just think it should be said (and I'm sure it wouldn't make a great Hollywood movie) that the only stability and constant we have in our life is Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 11:8), not a family pet.

With all that being said, the movie was one that I loved. It was an easy watch and even though I would not allow my children to watch it, I wasn't nervous if they walked into the room.

So take some time out of your busy day and rent Marley & Me. I'm sure you will enjoy it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


My mom just adores my sons. They are so special to her. I chose this for Wordless Wednesdays because these pictures just show you how much my mom loves them without words. The look on her face and her eyes show everything. Happy Wordless Wednesday!
This post is linked to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, November 16, 2009

our husband's jobs and our jobs...

This post serves two purposes, to inform you all of Andy's job situation (and how grateful we are!) and how I feel it is best to help our husbands.

This past week Andy called and I could tell by his voice that something was amiss. "Things are bad here today," was all he said. The kids were screaming and the first time I didn't hear him. The poor guy had to repeat it again.

Last year, to the day were the first layoffs at Evenflo. They let forty people go. This week when they let people go, there were only nine, but they were all in Andy's division. People that he worked close with and had formed friendship were there one second and they no longer had employment the next.

I (along with Andy) am extremely grateful that Andy still has employment. It is being said that Andy's division will no longer have layoffs but there will be more in other areas.

The job field and work force are extremely difficult right now. The area we live in is said to only get worse before it gets better. There is a lot of unemployment. Many of our friends and family members have been jobless for six months or more, some even longer than a year.

We feel very blessed to still have income and are doing our best to help those around us. This week as I prayed for my husband's job, I felt God speaking to me. There are many things I can be doing to help my husband and the Lord put those on my heart.

Bathe your husband in prayer.
When we wake in the morning, when we go to bed at night, while our husbands are at work, we should be bathing them in prayer. As I said above, the workplace is a very stressful enviroment. With all the layoffs, there is a lot of work being put on the people that still have jobs. They have to do their job as well as others. In my husband's company, they have made it abundantly clear that if you complain, have a bad attitude or do not earn your keep, you are in danger of losing your job. There can be no mistakes, no bad days, nothing. You have to be on your toes. When this is your job environment, you have to count your blessings and do the best you can. Keep a smile on your face, not complain and perservere. Therefore, as wives, we should be praying continually over our husbands mind and emotions while he is at his workplace.

Be good stewards.
I know that my husband is working hard for the money that is brought home. Therefore, I should be doing my best to spread a dollar as far as I can. I should be spending less and saving more. I should be paying off debt instead of going on shopping sprees. We should be eating at home more and spending more time doing activities that do not cost as much. And, in my opinion the most important (I have stated how I stand on being God's messenger) is tithing. When we tithe, we give God what is rightfully His and He knows our heart and blesses us. When we give our tithe first, God is faithful and our needs are met. Therefore, tithe should be one of the first steps toward being good stewards with our husband's income.

Keep everyone healthy.
When we keep our families healthy, our husband does not have to worry about what is going on at home and it also keeps him in top physical condition. When our husbands are sick, it is harder for them to work their best and have a good frame of mind and spirit. When everyone is healthy, it also saves money but not having to seek medical intervention or help. We also do not have to buy products that aid in making us well. As mothers, we can keep our family healthy by teaching proper handwashing to our children (and enforce it!), take vitamins, and eat healthy food. When our bodies are in top running condition, we are more likely to fight off illness.

Take care of our home.
My husband does not mind if he comes home to a dirty house (or so he says!) but I can tell it is taxing on him to try and relax in a cluttered and uninviting environment. Therefore, I try and always have our home at least picked up when I know he is almost home. It doesn't mean that I thoroughly clean my home everyday, but it does mean that there are not dirty clothes on the couch where he comes to sit.

Take care of the children.
Our kids are very important to my husband and me. I know when I used to work and Andy had Dylan at home, it would have been very upsetting if I had to worry about whether Dylan was properly take care of. I never had to. If there is an obedience problem at home or there is sickness, I try not to call and vent to Andy. He has his own problems to deal with at work, he should have not have to hear about what is going on at home. He is at work, there is nothing he can do but worry and be anxious. Therefore, I try and keep my job at home MY job.

I also never threaten the boys with "just wait until your dad gets home!". That does two things, one it makes a hostile environment for Andy to come home to and second, it underminds my authority. The boys do not take my seriously. So when there is a problem at home I do not call Andy and I handle it myself.

Be dressed.
When Andy gets home, I always have all of us dressed. How disheartening would it be to get up early, work hard all day and then come home and see the rest of your family still in their PJ's? I, for one, would not be happy!

Love them when they return home.
Now I am going to admit, I am not a touchy feely, lovey type person. However, I always try to greet my husband with a kiss and a hug when he gets home. I want him to know that I missed him and I am grateful for him. I also try and show my love by having dinner on the table or almost there. He is hungry for food, love and appreciation and time to relax. I try to help with all those.

Thank him.
Thank him for being the provider and leader of the home. Let him know you appreciate him and do not take him for granted. This makes him feel good about spending time and energy. It gives him a sense of purpose and it tells him that he is loved and admired.

This post is like to Gratituesdays.

Cheesy Potato Soup

This is the best carnival EVER! What could possibly be better than food (real yummy food!) and a crockpot!?!? Ummm....N.O.T.H.I.N.G (okay... well maybe my own chef and clean up crew!)!!

Today, I wanted to share a very easy, healthy, yummy recipe with you that does not take a lot of effort. I pull this recipe out when I want something that has minimal steps and I can count on turning out and being ready to eat when we are! I look forward to this during the Christmas season when everything seems to be hectic.

Yummy Crock Pot Cheesy Potato Soup
8-10 white potatoes
3 cups chicken stock
1 onion, minced
1 c. half and half
6 c. of cheddar cheese

In the morning, cube all potatoes. Add stock and onion. Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours (I have cooked it on high for 1/2 the time, but it didn't turn out as well, but it was still tasty.).

An hour before serving, add half and half and cheese. Continue cooking on low until time to serve. Serve hot.

*You can add more cheese on top, bacon, scallions, chives or even sour cream.*

This is an extremely yummy dish. Give it a try... There's nothing to lose except for hours wasted in the kitchen! :)

You ahead, run and check out Nourishing Crockpot at Passionate Homemaking... You won't be sorry!

This post is linked to Nourishing Crockpot, Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, and Tuesdays at the Table.

not me! monday

I get really confused when I start adding the "not me's" in the story, so I'm just going to tell you about what happened!

This was a couple of weeks ago but the embarrassment is still fresh in my mind.
I am very purposeful about not listening to music other than Christian or kids music when the boys are in the car with me. BUT this particular day I had dropped the boys off at Grandma's and I was headed to the dentist.

I was sitting at a red light in my town, listening to the oldies stations and all of the sudden a favorite song from my teen years came on (UgH! When did my teen year songs go to the oldie stations?!?:)). I cranked it up and started dancing and singing like I'd never sang or danced before (I felt like Julia Stiles on Save the Last Dance.).

All of the sudden, it hit me that I was in a mini-van with baby seats lining the rows and I probably looked like a goober. I very nonchalantly looked to my side and saw this poor teenage boy's mouth wide open and he was staring. All I could do was turn down the music, wave and smile.

Then yesterday at church, one of the members walked up and said, "You know Jodi, I think I saw you on such and such day and.... Were you dancing like a lunatic?" I just looked at him and replied... "You must have seen someone else, you know I am more reserved than that..." With that I smiled and he winked. It was our little secret, but that was okay because for a few minutes one afternoon I was Julie Stiles breakin' it down and groovin' my thing to Dancing Queen! :)

Here's a youtube link if you want to groove your thing!! :) Click here!
ETA: I guess it really is an oldie song! :) I guess I now have a whole different NOT ME! post lined up! :)

Share Your Faith with Your Children

There is nothing in this world more important to me than my relationship with Jesus Christ. Second to that is my husband and my children.

Therefore, telling my children about Jesus and my faith are of the most importance to me.

Dylan is getting to age where he is beginning to ask questions about my relationship with Jesus. I have no quams about telling him everything in my heart.

Jesus is my provider, he is my strength, he is my refuge from the storms of life. There is so much more than that. He is my best friend.

This week, I am focusing on sharing my faith with my children. I am going to be turning up K-love and singing Him praises. We do not have to be at church to worship Him. More and more I am realizing that God made us to worship Him all the time.

I believe that having your children in church is very important. However, I feel that many times, we leave our children's faith in the hands of the church. WE are called to raise them up and teach them the way of the Lord.

We need to take what they learn in Sunday School and help them learn to apply it in their young lives. Bible stories are great but our children need to know how to use those Bible stories in their lives, as well as the lessons those stories hold.

Therefore, this week, I am going to make my home sing with praises and worship to the Lord and teach my children about his Divine Love.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Menu Plan: November 16

We had a really relxing weekend. With all the issues at Andy's work (I will be posting about that later this week), I wanted to have a weekend that was stress and carefree. We spent time together as a family as well as time with other family and friends.
Here is what we'll be having for dinner this week!
Small group- Chili Spaghetti, Garlic Bread
Chicken Noodles, Mashed Potatoes
Meatloaf, Green Beans, Baked Potatoes
Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Fruit Salad
Salmon Patties, Mac and Cheese
*A quick yummy snack recipe for you!*
Mama's Yummy Trail Mix
3/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c. sliced almonds
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. cranraisins
1/8 c. pitted pruns
1/8 c. pitted plums
1/3 c. coconut
Combine all ingredients and shake. Serve.

Friday, November 13, 2009

a discussion

I feel kind of like I have let you all down with No Spend November. I have not been spending money and I am still pretty much on track. BUT, to be honest with you, I have been kind of shifting money around. Not as much grocery money was needed, therefore I went to lunch play dates more. I am still spending cash and I am still under the amount I had declared my "when cash is done, so is my spending" plan.

However, there are a lot more pressing issues going on around me. The first issue around me (I will share more in depth in another post) is more job loss in our area. They are still laying off people right and left and it looks like it's only going to get worse not better any time soon. Please be in prayer.

The next and the whole point of this post is the world ending in the year 2012 idea.

I have been helping my parents deep clean their home for the holidays since they both work and they host the events. Therefore, my kids and I have been listening to K-love day in and out for two days.

I LOVE that station. However, they have been discussing the 2012 issue a lot and when a four year old, who is starting to hear and process everything, is listening it makes it difficult.

So as you can imagine, there have been quite a few questions from his little mind and mouth. A lot of people I know, Jesus followers or not, are starting to question the time of the world's end.

Here is my take on the whole issue. As I have said before, these are just my opinions in which I have sought after the Lord's will and prayed over for a while. They are not those of a woman who knows or pretends to know everything...

First of all, we don't know when the world is going to end. Therefore, why waste time worrying about it. In this post, I wrote about how I feel the Devil uses our worry and insecurities. I believe whole-hearted that the Devil is having a field day with this movie coming out. I bet he is mustering up a big ol' scheme to go along with it.

The Bible tells us that we do not know when the end of days are coming. "But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and everything in them will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be exposed to judgment." 2 Peter 3:10

However, I did not go into this with my young son. His mind would have been going every which way and he would have one confused little spirit. Instead, I took him on my lap and explained to him, just the way I am going to explain my second point to you... This, to me, is the most important point about the whole end of the world discussion....


If we are living our lives as the Lord has called us, if we believe in the Cross and all it stands for, if we believe that Jesus, our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, died for our sins and rose again and is among us today in our hearts, if we are telling everyone we know about his AWESOME Message...WHY DOES IT MATTER?!?

I love my life here on Earth and I am in no way trying to get out of it early, but Sisters and Brothers, let you tell you a little something, my Jesus is waiting on me and if today is the day or tomorrow is the day or 2012 or if I am one hundred years old, I know where I am headed and I am ready!

Now as I told Dylan, it's okay to be afraid of what might happen with our lives or the Earth, but it is NOT okay to let if become an idol that the Devil can use. Our Sweet Heavenly Father has told us that he will never leave us nor forsake us. He is right there with us. We should have no fear, but if we do, take it to Him and let Him sooth your mind and give you peace.

Matthew 24:42 tells us to be alert and be ready for Jesus return. "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come."

So I ask you... Does it really matter when Jesus comes back? Do you know Him? Do you know that He wants to calm all your fears and fill you with peace? Do you know He wants that not only when it comes to the rapture but in every part of your life? Do you know Him? If not, can I tell you about my best friend and my refuge and strength?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


We are blessed to have an awesome photographer in our family, my Dad. He captures the greatest photos and really enjoys it.

So we save money by not having to pay a photographer and we save on decorating. I am always on the look out for clearance or garage sale frames. Then I find some of my favorite photos and decorate with them. Here are a few pictures of how we use them in our home.

This post is linked to Life As Mom.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This is day two of decorating on a budget and today I want to share a unique decorating tip and site with you.

Now I am a strong believer that sometimes time costs just as much as money. I am a fan of a lot of color and wall decor. Therefore, I wanted shapes and images on the walls. I am not a good painter nor do I know anyone that could have the patience or strong hand to do what I wanted done. So my husband and I looked into a site called Blik (for website click here).

I love this website and I love the product I received from them. People always comment on how great the wall images look. So I wanted to share this awesome product with you! Blik graphics is truly a thing I love!

Here are a few pictures of the Blik graphics on our home walls.

This post is linked to Things I Love Thursday.

Home Furnishings

This week I am sharing tips to decorate your home on a budget. Now I have to have an honesty moment with you. I am totally grossed out by the thought of second hand furnishings. I know that sounds so spoiled of me but I just got all funny feeling when I have no idea where the couch I am sitting has come from.

Therefore, a lot of our furnishings are new when we get them. When we moved from our rental home to our new, we over doubled our living space. So we needed to get some furnishings. I had never heard of this store, but Andy had gotten all his previous furnishings from there and the name is IKEA. Now here is the thing... When we wanted to get some furniture from IKEA, there is was not one around here and shipping was horrendous. Therefore we saved and scrimped our money and one afternoon we went on a road trip to IKEA up in Michigan. It was about a 6 hour drive, but well worth it.

When I go around our home, we furnished our whole house (1 queen size bed, huge closet dresser, 4 dressers, 4 end tables, 2 night stands, a bunk bed, kitchen table (seats 10), 10 chairs, breakdown table, book shelf, and couch) on less than what a lot of people spend on a frumpy living room set.

Now once again, there will come a day (hopefully) when we have the money and the kids aren't drawing on everything with crayons that I will be able to spend a lot of money on a living room set but now is not the time, nor do we have the money.

Therefore shopping at IKEA, worked for me, worked for my home and worked for my budget. Here are a few pictures of our IKEA furniture.

our bed

couch and end tables

kitchen table, chairs, and shelving unit
This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

birth story of dylan james: part 2

If you missed the part one of Dylan's birth story click here.

To say my journey into becoming the woman my baby needed was easy, would be a huge disservice. There were joys, pains, and heartaches.

I did not get away from the one key person in my life which I should have stayed away from... The guy I was "seeing" for the best few years before the pregnancy. I stayed with him and through it all, we brought out the worst in each other. Continual abuse and altercations were the norm. The things he said, I will never forget. I started to think so lowly of myself and actually believed it. I thought the things he said were the truth... I deserved this....

Through this damaging relationship, I did my best to shelter myself and my baby from the hurtful words and insults from those I loved and at one time had been so close to. I still had not told anyone about what had happened to me. In my mind, whatever the circumstances, Jesus loved me and died on the cross for me sins. He did not care about the sin, only how I grew closer to Him and handled my situation.

I dove into my relationship with the Lord. He was all I had. I had no friends and my family was very hurt and confused, not knowing all the details.

It's amazing to me the people in my life who called themselves friends and fellow Christians and hurdled the most hurtful words at me. Every time something was said, I hung to my Lord and Savior with all I had. Only through God's strength did I learn to love and forgive those people. Still to this day, I continue to go to church and be part of small groups with those who thought so little of me. I allow them to love my son and spend time with him.

When I look back, I am in awe and wonder of God's miraculous power. Without him, I do not know how I would have ever given up the habits I had so ridiculously found myself partaking in. I just remember thinking that it was time to change and with God's help, I would. I never looked back...

With time and finding out that this beautiful child I was carrying was indeed a boy, my mom and I started mending our relationship. Looking back, she did the best she could and was truly a rock for me during that time in my life.

I was about six months pregnant and we were going for a walk. I remember it like no other event in my life. We were walking and she stopped dead in the middle of the sidewalk. "Jodi, I had a dream and I need to ask you about it." And that was the first day that the truth began to unfold...

Stay tuned for the next installment of Dylan's birth story.
O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me. Psalm 7:1

troubles of blogosphere, net, hormones, and hard days...

Once again, I am going to put my business on the web for all to read... Goodness, gracious...

First let me say, the Internet and blogosphere have done wonders for my communication. There are things (such as this post) that I have put in type but the vocal words to others have yet to come. But with every good thing there comes a little bad....

Sometimes people have bad days filled with hormones and they try to get online and talk to others or blog. Now don't get me wrong, if handled properly by both parties, this can be extremely positive. However, there are times when we don't know what's going on in others lives. We jump on this thing and have conflicting opinions and before you know it, there are hormones and opinions and hurtful words flying all over the email.

First, we do not know how others tone/attitude is when they type these things. The emotion and facial expressions just aren't there. You almost have to "read into" what you're reading. Not a good thing, especially when there is differing opinions and bad days with hormones going every which way.

We cannot properly have a "discussion" on the Internet. There is just no good way to do it. I am guilty today of jumping into a "discussion" with a dear friend and it going South quickly. I should have just gotten on the phone, but I'm a big chicken. Hurtful things were said, on both ends, and there was hurt feelings.

Thankfully, after semi talking it out, things are on an upward swing. However, we have to be open to the possibility that (just like life) there are painful situations going on in the other person's life. We also have to be open to the fact that maybe people's "tone" isn't what we are reading it to be.

Now let me tell you a little something more... No one should ever dismiss the friendships that develop over the Internet. They are just as special and as real as if you had met the friend at the supermarket or at church.

I found that out today after the disagreement with a friend. We were both sitting at our computers at totally different computers, states away, crying over the possibility of losing a friendship. I have no question now how much these friendships mean to me. I will never take them for granted or think lesser of them than "real" friends.

So dear friend, if you read this, I'm sorry and this is for you... I hope that we can not only stay bloggy friends but one day be real friends that take family vacations together! You are one of the best and I will never take you for granted again.

this is the life....

This picture was taken when Linc was nine months old. We were on a cruise for my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary. Lincoln could not sleep on the ship, every time it moved he screamed. Therefore, whenever we got off the ship, he crashed (and I wished I could). He was so unhappy the morning this picture was taken. My mom had given up trying to console him and put him in the hammock and swung him. This is about 2 minutes into it. Isn't this the life?!?

Monday, November 9, 2009

the birth story of dylan james: part 1

I have tried time and time again to put Dylan's birth story into printed words. Time and time again, the words just were not there.

I started this blog as a journal of sorts that hopefully one day my children, their spouses, and their children can read and learn from. My heart yearns that one day when my children jump on my blog to see what good ol' mom had to say, they will see just how much their birth and their lives changed me and made me the best God intended...

For a long time, I struggled with what I would tell Dylan when he asked me about his coming into the world. I had a picture perfect scenario of how babies were made, with love of course and when this was not the case with Dylan's conception, I had a hard time.

Let me go back into the story... It was a year after I graduated high school. I was committing sins that I had never dreamed that I could commit... I would "never be one of those..." and there I was one of those. I had put the God I had grown up hearing about on the back burner and as he wait there patiently, I was experimenting and soul searching. Hanging out with people that my mother begged me to stay away from, people I know that I should not be allowing into my life.

I was hanging out with some friends and wanted to go home. No one else was willing to leave. It was not long until I found out why I should never leave a place such as this alone at night.

A few weeks later, I was craving KFC and after sucking down my food and throwing it up everywhere, I knew there was nothing left to do but go and buy a pregnancy test and wade into the unknown. And as you all know the answer the test showed two little blue lines...

I didn't know what to do. I ran... I hid... I acted like nothing had changed... For two days. After those two days, I knew there was nothing else to do. I told my uncle and he came over while I told my parents. It was the the second hardest thing I ever had to do. And then came the first... The decision to become the person I knew this little blessing in me deserved...

Stay tuned for the next installment of dylan james' birth story.

Most Important...

This week as I look at my plans for our home, I have decided to focus not on homemaking, but on enjoying my children.

I have been so wrapped up in trying to "get ahead", which is really so silly because we never seem to get ahead, that I have been snappy and neglecting of my children.

So this week, my home with be singing along with beautiful little voices and laughing great big laughs with them also.

Taking care of the home is really important, but it is also extremely important to sit back and relish in the blessings which God has so graciously given you. There will always be something else to do, but there won't always be two little boys wanting to spend time with their mama.

A couple times this weekend, I paused and looked at just how fast my kids are growing. Pretty soon they won't want to be around their mom or need their mom. In some ways this breaks my heart (actually in a lot of ways), but in some ways (not as many! :)) it excites me. I cannot wait to see the fruits of my labor developing. The hard work I have put into their character and behavior. I know that the "independent" and teen years are coming but as I look towards the Lord, an excitement is turning inside of me because He knows what will come.

However, I am constantly telling Dylan "don't grow up too fast. Stay your age while you can." and I have to constantly remind myself not to wish these days away. To be content with the banana handprints on the couch, I can't always get off, or the juice stains in the carpet. Don't yearn for the day that they can make their own beds because when that day comes, a lot of other thing will be lost also. So don't wish away today waiting for tomorrow. Train them today in the ways of the Lord and delight in every moment.

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Menu Plan: November 9

I hope y'all had a blessed weekend. We had a relaxing weekend and got some much needed work done around the house. This week appears to be a relatively calm week (Scary... When it starts to look like that something always happens!).

A side note: I went to our local Natural food store this week and requested information on kefir grains and vegetable rennet... I was blown away. I thought a lot of women were becoming informed and interested in nutrition and whole foods, but apparently around where I live, that is NOT the case. I quote the lady at the store "Honey, you're the only one that comes in here looking for all this stuff. I think you might be the only one into all this health nonsense." Oh my is all I could think. Therefore I am making it a mission of mine to share more of my whole foods experience, hoping those around my home read my blog and will want to join me.

Also, I am preceeding with No Spend November. There will not be as many posts this week due to the fact that last week exhausted me. If you are looking for a No Spend Post everyday this week, it won't be there. However, I will be discussing in a few posts this week about how I save money decorating my home.

Here's our menu plan for the week:

Applesauce bread, oatmeal
Potato Soup, Sandwiches (Potato soup recipe later this week)
Chili Bar, Hotdogs (for Small group)

Sweet potato Muffins, grapes
Sandwiches, Mac and Cheese
Cubed Steak, mashed potatoes, peas

Banana Bread, grapes
leftover Chili
Garlic Chicken Pasta


Johnny Cakes
Meatloaf, baked potatoes, peas

Biscuits with jelly
Baked Split Chicken breasts, corn, green beans

Sausage gravy, biscuits
Chicken Salad, grapes, bananas

Does anyone know whatever happened to Saturday Stirrings? I really miss that.

For more great ideas head over to Organized Junkie.


It has been brought to my attention that many people in my area are not educated in nutrition and a lot of people are just plain not interested. Therefore, I am embracing the journey into whole foods and nutrition in hopes that those around me read my blog and also become interested and embrace it also.

I have been reading a lot about kefir and I have found more information than I ever hoped and dreamed or even wanted to know. But here are my findings.

Kefir is a much needed, very healthy product that should be introduced into your diet. Kefir is a cultured, enzyme rich food that is filled with much needed micro-organisms that help balance your body. It is more nutritious and helpful than yogurt. It's packed with complete proteins, essential minerals, and jammed full Vitamin B. Which interestingly is very important for women to balance hormones and help with the reproductive system. Kefir contains beneficial yeast as well as probiotics. If consumed regularly, Kefir can get your body in optimum health.

Kefir is made from yellowish or white "grains". This makes kefir unique, as no other milk culture forms grains. These grains contain the bacteria/yeast mixture clumped together with casein (milk proteins) and complex sugars. Kefir is often said to look like a head of cauliflower. The milking is fermented when the Kefir adds its organisms to the culture. The grains are strained before consuming and then added to another batch of milk continuing the process.

Kefir has a tart taste. Some people can just drink kefir straight, though many people add other ingredients. These other ingredients consist of honey, syrup, nuts, fruits, and perhaps vanilla. Adding these ingredients give it almost a "smoothie" effect.

There are many health benefits of Kefir. There are many different health benefits to kefir a few include tumor growth reduction, immune system enhancement, and pleasing benefits of the digestive tract. There was also a study done by Ohio State University stating that consuming kefir on a regular basis can aid in lactose intolerance in lactose intolerant people. (Click here for study.)

As you can see there are many positives for adding kefir into your daily eating. As I look further into kefir, more information and more resources will be coming your way!

Friday, November 6, 2009

When God Closes A Door, The Devil Opens a Window

While watching CSI this week, I heard it said when God closes a door, the Devil opens a window.

That really got my wheels upstairs turning. How many times has God closed a door in my life and then I took another route to get there using the Devil's window? How many times have a let the Devil talk me into taking another road to get to the outcome I wanted?

The Devil is one sly creature. He uses what we believe God is telling us and twists it into the plan the evil one has altered. He uses experiences we have gone through to cause us guilt and pain. There is a lot of my past that I feel still haunt me. The Devil often speaks to me in subtle ways. Often, I am in my quiet time and he interrupts. When I have no outside noise going on around me, he uses the voices in my head to stir and make guilt appear. The closer I am with the Lord, the more the Devil works on me. The more battles I seem to face. The more I feel like I don't deserve the forgiveness which came from Jesus dying on the Cross.

Everyday is a struggle, a spiritual battle. I find every morning I have to continually recite Ephesians 6:12-18:

12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

My husband is a very wise man. A couple of weeks ago he came in from a run. I could tell there was something on his mind so I sat waiting. A few minutes later, he began spilling his heart about how he feels that everything in life is a spiritual decision. There is spiritual warfare wrapped around and through everything. Something as simple as worrying about a situation in life is spiritual warfare. The Bible states:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Therefore, when we worry about anything, we are giving the Devil a door into our lives. Worrying will not do anything positive. It will not add a single hour to our lives (Matt. 6:27). We should place our trust in the Lord and allow Him to be our refuge (Psalm 62:8). God will take care of us. If we believe and are faithful, he will not allow us to fall (Psalm 55:22). God not only will take care of us but he will be our strength and help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). We should not worry about tomorrow because today has enough to deal with (Matthew 6:34). And finally the Lord is our comfort (Psalm 23:4) and even when we do not understand His plan, He is still in control (Proverbs 3:5-6).

When dealing with temptation, I often find strength knowing that Jesus was also tested. The Devil tried his mind tricks on Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11). Through prayer and scripture, Jesus fought evil. Therefore, we must arm ourselves with scripture. We must be ready to fight. Evil is everywhere. We must daily wake praying for evil to be gone and not to enter our home. We must pray a special prayer over our husbands and children daily. It is not out of the ordinary to hear my say In the name of Jesus. Devil you have no room here in my heart, home or life. Be gone!

This week, as you encounter hard decisions, enter the work force or stay at home, pray a prayer over your family and your life that evil have no hold over you.

A Letter...

Dear Mr. Sitemeter,

Mr. Sitemeter, I regret to inform you that I believe it best if we part ways. You were a good friend for a long time but the time has come.

See, with you, Mr. Sitememeter, comes an addiction to checking and seeing how many people have visited my website and from what location. That addiction is costing me my contentment. My contentment leaves when I get on and check you, when I see that the numbers aren't quite what I want them to be. I would really like my blog to be growing more than it is, but it only will be God's hand.

Therefore Mr. Sitemeter, I believe the devil is using you. I started this blog to share my journey, have a few laughs, but most of all glorify the Lord. Mr. Sitemeter, when your numbers don't show just the number I'd like and my contentment leaves, so does my yearning to glorify and the devil wins. That just isn't going to work!

I am going to be getting rid of you because you just are not worth losing heart over. I am going to pray that God uses my blog and that people get out of it what He wants. You are not going to win Mr. Sitemeter and Devil. Sweet Jesus and I will prevail!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

No Spend November: Do I Use Coupons?

This was one of the questions I received when sharing my budget:

Do you use a lot of coupons?
No, I do not use coupons.
I used to, a lot! I was a quantity NOT quality type of girl.
Since being diagnosed with PCOS and reading a lot about proper nutrition and learning that our body needs specific nourishment, I have turned the other way. I am now a quality not quantity type of girl.
With eating whole foods, I have found that I really need to buy and make much less. Whole foods just seem to fill my family's tummies.
Also, a lot of my food comes from local sources (I am a HUGE proponent of giving my money to local sources than to Walmart). Our vegetables and fruit comes from our garden, the family farm, or farmer's markets. Almost all over things except for occasional meat, milk (which soon will be coming from a farm), and cheese is bought at the Local Whole Foods Store. All our home care products with the exclusion of toilet paper are bought through Shaklee.
But when I do need to buy some things from the grocery, I find when I use coupons or look for sales, I buy more than I really needed and thus did not end up saving any money. Therefore, using coupons just isn't for me.
However, I do know lots of people who love their coupons, so I clip out the coupons and hand them off.
I feel like a lone duck on a pond when it comes to whole foods around these parts.
"Did someone say whole foods as in a little fat too?!? No WAY!"
UGH! I get so frustrated!
This post is also linked to Frugal Fridays at Life As Mom.