Monday, April 28, 2008

ten smile tuesday (a wee bit early!)

okay...i know its a bit early, but i'm sure you'll excuse that. i figure i'll take advantage of the chance to sit down and blog while i can. we are, of course, thoroughly enjoying our special time with grandmommy and poppy. so here's the smiles...

1. listening to elizabeth leave a voicemail for daddy...he was at a meeting, but she wanted to tell him about her day and what a great job she did eating ALL of her dinner. so precious to hear the "i love you daddy....night night!" at the end...and to think of the smile that will be spread across mike's face as soon as he hears it.

2. our swingset. mike and my dad spent saturday afternoon and sunday sawing, drilling, measuring, and constructing. elizabeth and kate woke up from sunday afternoon naps and were greeted by their brand new swingset. needless to say, they both love it...and i am thrilled about all the hours of swinging and sliding fun ahead of us this summer!

3. all of my wonderful friends who helped me to win the $25 kroger gift card in the contest at mommin' it up. you guys are the best! now if only i could win the $500 grand prize from kroger....

4. not only did i win the kroger contest, it was my week for winning...i mentioned winning the skeeda bag from pediascribe in the bloggy giveaway...well, in the comments of that post i was informed that i also won over at belle's world...a target giftcard and beaded bracelets.

5. an incredibly motivating and challenging sermon on sunday morning...the first sermon from our new pastor...he is starting a series in colossians, titled "The Core"....all about Jesus being the center of our lives. could this be any more approprite--considering leslie's challenge and the ensuing thoughts about "passion" that i shared. i am definitely looking forward to this series...

6. kate's dedication...sunday evening we took part in the parent dedication service at church...standing before God and our church family to verbalize our desire and commitment to raise kate in a biblical train and shepherd her as God has called us to. how special that the pastor who is over parent dedication at our church is the same pastor who dedicated elizabeth AND who married mike and i...

7. the fun of showing my mom the "ropes" of cvs-ing...and my other couponing really is so fun!

8. a delightful playdate in the park with my MOPS group....and then filling my house with the moms and kiddos for lunch afterwards. so much fun!

9. our kater gator is getting more and more mobile...she's doing the whole scooching backwards when she tries to move forward cute! and though she has her share of fussiness with teething, she is so full of massive smiles the rest of the time...babbling, blowing raspberries, chewing on anything and precious!

10. grace, grace...God's hasn't been one particular thing, but this week i have been reminded afresh of God's grace...His grace that covers my iniequities, my insecurities, my flat out failures....His grace that calls me to strive for sanctification and obedience.
11. and who can resist this sweet libbers with her poppy...watching the "choo-choo" from the yard...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

another lovely "free-vs" trip!

ugh...just typed half of my entry...and then it disappeared!

anyway...lots to share...about our new swingset (thanks grandmommy and poppy!)....our expeditions to share our money saving "secrets" (aka couponing! and cvs!) with grandmommy....a lovely parent dedication service at church this evening....all capped off with a 2 1/2 hour car ride to the lake (where i am now!). did i mention that i had the privilege of being "squwunched" in the back seat with the two car-seats since we hitched a ride with grandmommy and poppy--daddy had to stay home to work! :(--but really, i'm not complaining about the ride...espeically since it means bonus time with my parents, the chance to visit friends and family up this way, and saving the gas money it would have taken to drive the van up! anyway...i promise to post pics of the swingset and dedication tomorrow...but for now, i thought i would quickly share my cvs deals from today's trip...since i know some of you have jumped on the "free"vs train!

transaction #1
8 post-it flags
1 bic soleil cartridge refill
use 4 $3 off 2 post-it flag coupon
use $2 off cartridge refill coupon (from a recent insert)
use $4 off $20 purchase coupon
spend $3.99--earn $8 ECBs!!! (profit $4.01)

transaction #2
1 neosporin (i bought the original ointment--my box had a bonus band-aid travel "case")
1 cort-aid
1 touch of grey men's hair color (which i will be "gifting" to a jokester friend!)
used $1 off neosporin coupon (from calling johnson & johnson to ask for coupons!)
used $2 off touch of grey (internet printable)
used $3 off $15 cvs coupon
total around $8...somehow this came out around $8...but i'm now realizing that there must have been a mistake...i think it should have been more.
earned $12.99 in ECBs

transaction #3
1 24.7 lip plumper (19.99--absurdly more expensive than i would EVER pay for something like this)
1 tic-tac for a "filler" (.89)
used $5 crt (printed from the in store coupon printer last week)
used $4 off $20 beauty coupon (received in e-mail)
used $4 off $20 purchase
spent $8ish and earned $10 ECBs!

total today i spent less than $1.25 out of pocket. i walked in the door with $21 ECBs and "rolled" them so i walked out the door with $28 ECBs....can't beat that! in essence, cvs "paid" me to take that merchandise off their shelves! have i mentioned there are GREAT free after ECB deals in may...that i happen to have LOTS of coupons stashed away in preparation for....

note...for some reason i am having trouble posting the coupon keeps deleting my post when i try, so i would recommend visiting moneysavingmom to see those links! (you can click on the link or the big green "button" on my sidebar!)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

vote for me!

okay...bloggy friends (lurkers, family, if you are reading this, i'm talking to you!)...if i've ever needed you, now is the time! there's a lot at be precise a $25 kroger gift-card. click here and vote for my design! (how will you know its mine...well, its a good thing you asked! to help you out i've posted a picture below...besides when you vote just click by "Amanda"! the voting is so easy...and painless...takes just 2 seconds, maybe less...and you don't have to log-in or fill in any other info! go now! hurry....the polls close when the weekend ends! you know you want to just go ahead and do it now! :) (my birthday is next just consider it your early birthday present....because let me tell, with my new coupon-a-holic personality i can stretch that $25 kroger card quite far!)
UPDATE: as of 2:00 saturday i'm in 2nd by only 9 measly votes...keep voting! :)

****oh and for my dear bloggy friends who would like to shamelessly promote my bag on their site...i'm not below perhaps you would find some tantalizing goodie from me in your mailbox if i win....go know you want to tell the blog-universe about my oh-so-wonderful bag design.

as a sidenote to the "fun" nature of a contest and such...i am so excited to see so many stores coming out with re-usable bags (and even giving them away for free)--wal-mart, target, kroger (you can design a bag and as a thank you they will load a coupon for a free re-usable bag onto your kroger card--go here), and so many other stores (even home-depot i think!). i am the first to admit that i haven't done the best job of being "green" in the past, but i am trying, and i am realizing that even little steps like carrying your own re-usable bags to the store help in a big way! and really...wouldn't it be so fun if my design won the big kroger contest, not just the contest at "mommin' it up"...then we could all sport bags with my design!

Friday, April 25, 2008

i won!

i mentioned in my ten smile tuesday that i was entering some of the bloggy giveaways. well, i just checked my e-mail, and can you believe it...i already won something. the giveaway isn't even technically over, and i'm a winner! even better, i won one of the things i really and truly liked...not just a gift card but a skeeda bag (pictured below..minus the groceries!)....something i can use in every day life! how lucky is that...well let me tell you just how lucky...there were 377 entries...yes, three hundred and seventy seven....and little ol' me won! so, here's my big thank you to pediascribe!

in other news....we did the play-date thing yesterday. a morning in the park...and then the whole gang headed back to my house for lunch. have i mentioned how much i love having a houseful of people. we're talking about making the playdate an ongoing thing this summer, and i am so excited to offer my house and backyard for just that purpose. anyway...that was a lovely time. kate had her first chance to check out the big swings at the park...which she loved. (i'll try to post pictures later). elizabeth got to slide and climb and run and ride and on and on....a wonderful time!

today...well, i've been doing a bit of cleaning here and there...vacuuming, starting some laundry since i'll apparently be leaving town sunday evening rather than tuesday evening (more on that later), even some sweeping and scraping in the garage. hubby, if you read this before you get home you'll be pleasantly surprised...i finally did it...i scraped up that sticky icky mess on the garage floor that the coffee creamer made by leaking out of the trash bag...sorry it took me SO long. we've played with lib's zoo, chalked up the back porch, and tried to entice the kater gator to crawl (she's tryin'...she has the inching and rolling mastered...and the whole turning 360 degrees). of course, i can already see it coming...she's going to start crawling while mike and i are out of town...she'll show her skills off for grandmommy and poppy first...i can already see it coming!

anyway...i've mentioned it twice, but yes, we are heading out. my parents are coming here tomorrow or sunday to build a swingset for the girls. then they'll be in town for kate's dedication at church sunday evening...and then off we go. well, not all of us...mike has to stick around work till thursday, but the girls and i are hitching a ride with grandmommy and poppy and heading up to their place for a bit. hopefully we'll have the chance to see some family and friends (some who have yet to meet kate...apparently i need to take the trip north a bit more often!). then mike will head up that way thursday evening, and friday morning bright and early the two of us will take up to drive up to michigan for his sister's wedding. notice i said "the two of us"...yep, my parents have graciously (and eagerly...come on, this isn't really a sacrifice for them...i know they are excited about the chance to spend some quality time with the girls) offered to watch the girls so mike and i can enjoy the wedding and a weekend alone (well, alone except the 100 extended family members that will be staying at the same i suppose its a relative term!).

and, okay, i'll admit it...this will be the longest we've left the girls....and the first time we've left them and headed out of town....and yes, while i'm looking forward to the time with just my hubby, i'm also feeling a little lump in my throat as i think about leaving them behind. i know, its a mom thing...and really, they will be having a BLAST with grandmommy and poppy...and i know it will be so good for mike and i to get away...(not to mention we'll actually be able to stay at the reception for more than 15 minutes!)...but i also know that come sunday i'll be so excited to pull into my parents driveway and have my sweet girls back in my arms. incidentally, sunday is my i get the best of it all...wonderful time with my parents before the trip, a most expenses paid weekend away with my hubby, and the chance to enjoy my birthday with a dinner and cake from my mom...what more could a girl ask for!?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

100% whole wheat bread recipe

This bread is SOOOO good! I think we'll be trying french toast with it Saturday morning. It is the first 100% whole wheat recipe I've found that is not overly coarse and dense....great for toasting, sandwiches, etc...even Elizabeth and Kate approve!

To give credit where credit is hubbie found the original recipe here. (I tweaked measurements, etc. to make it more appropriate for the amount of bread we might actually consume in a week!)

To start...
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water--typically I let my tap get quite hot and use that...I haven't had success with "warm" water
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Mix these ingredients together and let sit until double. (Usually 15-30 minutes.) This step is called a sponge and is very important to allow the yeast to get a head start.

1/3+a smidge more cup vegetable
4/10 (basically fill your measuring cup to directly in the middle of 1/3 and 1/2 cup) cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten (find this in the flour/baking section at the grocery)--it will turn out without it, but this helps add elasticity
4 cups whole wheat flour (or a mixture of whole wheat and bread flour....since we started milling our own wheat i find it works better with 1-2 cups of bread flour for a better can experiment)

Mix this in a large stand mixer with a dough hook (or you can mix it and then knead by hand) until smooth and elastic. (I used my kitchen aid and then did a bit of kneeding at the end!) Place in oiled bowl, cover and let rise again until double (I let it rise in my oven with the light on and bowl of steaming water below it!). (About 30 minutes) Punch down and shape in pans. Cover and let rise again until double (again, I do this in my oven with the light on and a steaming bowl of water). (20-30 minutes).

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (mine takes exactly 27 minutes for a perfect loaf). Oil top of bread for a nice shiney (and softer) crust.

where have we been?

that's easy...outside! i feel like this is all i've been posting lately...but really, we just can't pull ourselves away from the beautiful weather to come inside and blog. well, i suppose i've also been bread-making...i've made 3 different recipes in the past 2 days...and found a 100% whole wheat one yesterday that is FABULOUS...we'll be using that from now on. i love knowing that my bread won't have any high fructose corn syrup or other preservative ingredients whose names i can't pronounce! i will post the recipe if anyone is interested...we found it online. make up for the lack of pictures in my ten smiles, here are some shots of our past few days!

i think these might be three of the cutest girls EVER!

mugho--the bubble chaser...he goes NUTS for bubbles!
chalking, smiling, swinging!

this was dinner...if you click here you should find the recipe very soon...
i plan to post it right after this!
proof that i have LOST my mind. yes...there are 22 johnson buddie soaps in this picture...22! (i have gotten every last one of them for F-R-E-E with coupons!--actually i've "made" money with overage on almost all of them!) what makes me completely crazy...moments after this picture was taken i was at kroger and picked up 3 more....did you hear me say they've all been free! i promise i am starting to give them away...but i really can't resist them for free...especially since they are awesome! anyway...i think i have enough soap to wash a whole lotta kiddos!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

ten smile tuesday....

i'm finally getting around to posting my smiles now that the girls are in bed....since we spent the vast majority of the day outside soaking in the sunshine and warmth! (NOTE: i do have pictures to go with many of these smiles...but it isn't allowing me to add images at the moment...i'll come back later to try to add them...until then you'll just have to use your imagination!)

1. a date with my husband...yep, the kind where you actually get a baby-sitter, leave the kiddos and go. i feel like this was a milestone. we've been blessed with incredible friends and family who've been so kind to volunteer to baby-sit our girls for free, so actually "hiring" a sitter was a huge hurdle that we have now conquered. (and yes, we would hire her again...she was great!). mike and i just went for pizza at a new place in town (a quite unique and tasty experience...we had a carribean jerk pizza with a honey mustard base--yumm-o!) and then ran some errands (i know...i know...but really it was my hubby's idea to go to kohl's to find him a shirt and tie to match the dress i bought for his sister's wedding. but we actually ended up walking out with a different dress for me as well! (i returned the other one....) hubby might never agree to go on a date with me again after the expense of this one, because we also found smile number 2....

2. a kitchen aid mixer on clearance (and then we were able to talk them down another $20!). mind you, this is something i've been looking for/wanting for quite awhile...and we really did get a great deal...over $100 off regular price! and i did promise my hubby i would start making homemade bread again, which brings me to smile 3!

3. homemade 100% whole wheat bread...we found a recipe that wasn't too dense or bitter tasty that used 100% whole wheat flour (as opposed to half white flour)...and i whipped up a couple loaves today. i'm going to keep experimenting with different recipes to find our favorite...and then i should be able to make two loaves a week and stop buying bread at the grocery!

4. the oh-so-many hours we've spent outside this week...libs riding her bike, kate in the swing, bubble blowing, grilling, taking walks...splendid!

5. celebrating the installation of our new pastor Sunday truly wonderful it is to look forward to this new season in our church's life...and also the wonderful prayer service Sunday evening. it was a wonderful time of family and community for our church family.

6. a lovely dinner and some catching up with our dear friends jill and nathan...who we haven't connected with in far too long. jill made some tasty soup and biscuits and mike made monster chocolate chip & m&m cookies ( hubby did most all of the cookie-ing...i think it was mostly due to the excitement of the kitchen aid!)...seriously, these cookies were something to smile about...massive!

7. my monday shopping extravaganza...i hit walgreens, target, and meijer...spent right around $100...and saved (drumroll please.....) over $80 in coupons, store deals, etc! that include two of the huge boxes of diapers, ground beef, chicken, strip steak, yeast, whole wheat flour and TONS of other stuff...but just those few things would have almost come to $100! i'll try to come back and post my picture you can be "wowed" with me....for some reason it isn't letting me add images right now?!

8. dinner with "the girls"...these are my four girlfriends i've been meeting with every wednesday evening for quite some time...they are wonderful! we had one last wednesday evening together, and now the season of meeting weekly is over...with three (soon to be four) babies in the group, husbands, etc. it is starting to take away from our family for this next season we are going our separate ways when it comes to Bible study...but NOT when it comes to our friendships. anyway...wednesday was a fun time of food and always!

9. MOPS...always a smile. i am so thankful for this group of moms to connect with, learn from, encourage, and simply "do mothering" with...such encouragements...

10. the possibility of some "prize winning" in the bloggy giveaways (you really should check it out!)

Friday, April 18, 2008


aside from being awaken by the midwest earthquake this morning, the most exciting thing for us the past few days has been savoring the gorgeous weather! ( seriously i woke up to our bedroom shaking at 5:40 this morning...a bit freaky since i could not for the life of me figure out what was going on!). oh, and i did have the chance to go to the aveda institute and get my hair cut and styled (and the lovely massage and mini-facial that goes with the service!)....all for the delightful price of $17...can't beat that! i even had my eyebrows waxed free of charge...which is wonderful since i hate plucking them. are some shots of the past couple days. i will try to get myself on the other side of the camera to show you my new "do" later this evening.
friends...miranda, kate, and libs
"i like being outside!"
kate's first wagon ride...okay so for the actual "ride" part i had to kind of "stuff" her down in the seat so she wouldn't slide around--but this made for a better photo!
our future softball champ (this one's for you, poppy!)--have i mentioned that i am loving putting elizabeth's hair in pigtails--she isn't as excited about it, but i think she'll come around! :)
she has officially figured out the tricycle (well, except that whole steering part!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


leslie over at "my happily ever after" posed a tremendous question today...what are you passionate about? it was an audience participation type question...and i've decided to participate. actually, it is interesting that she would choose to post that question at this particular time. she made mention of how our blogs somehow tend to cut to the nitty-gritty--the moment by moment trials, joys, struggles, questions...the trivial and the significant. i guess i hadn't thought about it all that much, but quite frankly those who read my blog may know me better than some of the friends i have known for years outside of blog world. you blog readers know my weekly see the day in and day out pictures of my get my random tidbits and thoughts...and i get to savor the same glimpses from your life. but i digress a bit....

perhaps i should finish my first thought...that it is rather interesting leslie should pose that particular question at this particular time. though i hadn't necessarily been using the word "passion", this is something that has been rolling around in my mind quite a bit as of late. perhaps because i have been a bit off kilter...feeling caught up in the day by day....the cooking, cleaning, diaper-changing, story reading...i think you know what i mean. it isn't that those are bad fact, i think they are wonderful things, things that are supposed to be a part of who God has created me to be...but i think i have been missing the big picture...the piece of the puzzle that fits them all together.

what am i passionate about? what should i be passionate about first and foremost? God. plain and simple. God. my Lord. my Savior. Jesus.

lately...and when i say lately i don't mean just this past, it definitely goes back further than that. lately, i see how my focus has slipped. i have been spending my energy on the people and stuff in my life....on the tasks at hand....on my involvement in groups...and on and on. while i recognize that is a huge part of how i am to live out my is not the core. i cannot be a great wife without a passionate focus on the God who create me, who called me to Himself, who set the example of how to live and love and serve and sacrifice. a clean house and warm dinner is in vain if i come to the table with a weary, joyless heart. i have nothing to give to my daughters, nothing of worth to teach them if i do not first sit at the feet of my Lord...being refreshed, challenged, encouraged, and instructed. my service in ministries or groups is in vain if it is not motivated by my love for Christ. if i do not keep my passions focused on Christ, then all else fails....i grow weak and weary. and friends, that is where my heart is right now...weak and weary, tired...not necessarily because of any particular thing...simply because i have allowed my passion to become dry. and yet even in the mundane, the day to day, the struggles, God calls us to take pleasure it be filled with a passion for Him as we go through those moments. ecclesiastes 3 talks about the many "seasons" there is a time for...some joyful, some sorrowful, some easy, some hard...and yet, regardless of the season, it says this, "I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat, drink, and take pleasure in all his toil--this is God's gift to man" (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).

so, what am i passionate about? right now, not much. what do i want to strive with all of my heart to make my one and only consuming passion? worshipping, loving, serving, following my King. it is one of those prayers you cringe before praying...because who knows what God might choose to bring into your life to accomplish His purpose, but truly this is my prayer....that God would strip me down that i might find my everything in Him once more...that He might do to me as He did to the house of Israel in Ezekiel 36:22-38--"I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." (v. 26) oh how i long for parts of my heart that have been cluttered and hardened to be crumbled...that my love and passion for Christ would be made new.

amazingly enough, right now the song "i need thee every hour" is playing on my CD player in the background. appropriate i suppose...perhaps the passionate prayer my heart needs to lift up to God right now.

I Need Three Every Hour

I need thee ev’ry hour, most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine can peace afford.
I need thee, O I need thee, ev’ry hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee.

I need thee ev’ry hour;
stay thou nearby;
temptations lose their pow’r when thou art nigh.
I need thee, O I need thee, ev’ry hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

I need thee ev’ry hour, in joy or pain;
come quickly and abide, or life is vain.
I need thee, O I need thee, ev’ry hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

I need thee ev’ry hour;
teach me thy will,and thy rich promises in me fulfill.
I need thee, O I need thee, ev’ry hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

I need thee ev’ry hour, Most Holy One;
O make me thine indeed, thou blessed Son.
I need thee, O I need thee, ev’ry hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

ten smile tuesday

the sun is shining....the girls are sleeping....and i'm sitting here with a ice cold diet coke...with oh so many things to smile about...
1. ordering my 15 free prints from walgreens. you too can take part in this smile...just go to the linked site, upload your photos, enter the promo code TAXDAY at checkout...and voila...15 free prints! if you are anything like me, this is a great incentive to actually get around to printing some of those photos i've been meaning to print for the past 4 or 5 months. once the girls wake up we'll be taking a stroll down to walgreens and picking up our photos (and a few other good deals perhaps!). tonight mike has a meeting, so once the girls are in bed i am actually going to start cropping pictures for kate's first year scrapbook!
2. finishing up these little shoes for match the outfits i finished thursday--thus making them count as a "this week smile" as well. (sarah...the shoes should give you a closer look at the fabric) i think kate is going to wear this little outfit for her dedication next sunday (and, of course, big sister will have to wear hers as well!)

3. freshly scrubbed bathrooms...and can i just note that it really is more fun to clean when you get the cleaners for free! i know, that sounds pathetic, but as i was scrubbing my shower yesterday i was smiling about the free cleaner that was working wonders on the soap scum.
4. a special shopping outing with elizabeth...not so much the shopping part, but the spending some time alone with elizabeth. we did, however, find a pair of pink croc-like shoes that were a great deal after our jo-ann's 50% off coupon. one of my favorite parts of the outing was watching my little cowgirl clomp around in the boots we'd found on clearance at kohl's the day before. she LOVES them and asked to wear them for our special trip. she looked so cute in her denim jumper and boot...i just wish i would've taken a picture.
5. checking the mailbox...a whole new adventure these days as my mailbox is frequently stuffed with free samples or coupons i've called to request. (a tip for those who have jumped on the cvs-train...i've been calling companies listed in the may extra care flyer and requesting coupons!)
6. another "at home date" with my hubby...the past two friday nights we've put the girls in bed a bit early and then enjoyed a late dinner just the two of us and a movie. (a FREE movie...from redbox--if you have no clue what redbox is, you really should check it out...$1 a night for new release movies...or most often for free with promo codes you can find all around internet world!). how thoughtful was my hubby to pick a "chick flick" and to stop at trader joe's to grab some dessert...coconut sorbet...YUM!
7. the greening of the grass...including the grass growing on the head of elizabeth's green guy (aka...our poor man chia pet!) we made at our MOPS mommy and me the other week. this picture was taken friday and i promise his hair has grown another 2 inches since then (and is twice as thick and sprouting out like eyebrows and a mustache!).

8. the incredibly encouraging time i spent last night when i couldn't sleep...reading ecclesiastes 3 and reflecting on the many seasons i am in the midst of right now...some full of joy, some strugglesome, some exhausting. God quieted my spirit and reminded me that He is sovereign over all of the seasons....and whats more...i am to enjoy each and every season, not just the easy and happy ones. i am so glad i got out of bed rather than laying there wishing i could just fall asleep...
9. making it three weeks before filling the van up with gas. this might seem trivial, but with the price of gas this is huge! i often struggle with staying at home, being content to simply "entertain" myself and the girls at home rather than running random errands, etc...and this was definitely taking its toll on our gas consumption. for the past three weeks i've made it a point to park the van...consolidating errands, etc...mind you, we have still enjoyed lots of fun outings..the children's museum, MOPS, the bounce place. honestly, i am amazed at how long we were able to go on one tank...and excited at the huge savings this is since it costs well over $50 to fill the tank!
10. grilling...yep...we busted out the grill for the first time this season. elizabeth chalked on the driveway and kate sat in the stroller while i fired up the grill. my favorite part of this "routine" is when daddy's car comes around the corner and turns into the driveway...just in time to join elizabeth for a little outside play while the grilling finishes up. how wonderful to think that we have a whole grilling season ahead of us!

Monday, April 14, 2008

i've been....

"free"-vs-ing (and apparently getting quite a few of you "hooked" as well!). i won't go into my trip in detail...but i think i did fairly well....some free diapers...air freshening products (which i love but wouldn't pay close to regular price for...and lots of the "glow/tanning" lotions (note: i have never actually tried these things...BUT i found a lovely new dress saturday to wear to my sister-in-law's wedding...and i must admit, some color on this pale winter skin would definitely look a bit nicer against the pinks and browns of the dress!)....and also, some dark chocolate m&m's...(dark because that makes the "good" for you...right!?). i also had a few fillers that produced extra care bucks and some benefiber (why...well, simply this...i made money on it!). i will admit that i started with $27 ECBs and ended with only $25...and i spent $8.00 out of pocket this week...but mostly it was because of the "glow" lotions...then again, $8.00 is less than i would have paid for one package of diapers!
don't you love my "model"...yes, she is wearing a dress, sweater and pj pants...gotta love it!
this is technically from a mid-week trip...but i LOVE that i bought diapers, 4 cover girl foundations...and other goodies and still made money! free great is that!

other than "free"-vs...we also had a couple kohl's shopping trips...and i found the dress i mentioned before...and another fun spring-y skirt and shirt outfit...and some clearanced boots for elizabeth (which she LOVES and insisted on wearing yesterday when we went to jo-anns...nevermind that i bought them for next they about fall off her feet--oh well!). we really didn't spend the entire weekend shopping, but it was nice to get out and find a few bargains, as well as take care of some much needed shopping. how lovely was it that i got to shop by myself (yep...just me! no kiddos, no stroller...just time to browse and try on!) for the dress...and perhaps that is the reason i actually found one! hooray! it was so nice to bring home some feminine outfits...the dress, the skirt, the shirt...i have been feeling so "frumpy" all winter...partly from the cold and partly my own need to get rid of some weight from pregnancy (well...and then some!) i was excited to walk out of the store with things i liked...that fit well...and that didn't cost me and arm and a leg!
elizabeth models her boots (though they are hard to see) and a new outfit from her "special package"...some clothes i ordered online from children's the way, they have some awesome deals right now for those with little ones! (i have a promo code i'm not using for 15% off your purchase if anyone wants it...just let me know!)

oh...and because i, here's the pic of elizabeth chatting with you on the phone...she says, "LOVE YOU POPPY!" (thats the phone she is holding to her ear)

Friday, April 11, 2008

time for sewing!

Yesterday was 2nd Thursday craft day at one of our MOPS mentors houses...the same lovely place I've learned to do so many fun sewing projects. This week, however, I decided I didn't need yet another big bag--the project the group was doing. But I had bought some fabric and patterns back in February with the intention of making cute springy outfits for the girls...but alas, it is April, and I hadn't yet found the time (or courage...I have only sewed from a pattern or made clothing one other time...and that was with LOTS of assistance from my mom!) to bust out the fabric and pattern and get going. (As a sidenote, I also had decided to forgo crafty projects that took much more than one nap-time to many other things were being neglected while I holed up in my "craft-coma".) Anyway...I figured there was no better time than 2nd Thursday craft day to tackle my kiddos under foot (one of Kathy's (the craft day hostess) friends babysits for all of our kids at no charge!), some sewing expertise from Kathy to help answer my questions, and time...sweet blessed time.

I was able to finish all of Elizabeth's outfit except the elastic in the waist and the buttons and button-holes on the top of the arms. When we got home I did go ahead and make Kate's (which took significantly less time since I knew exactly what I was doing) while the girls napped. I was able to do buttonholes and finishing touches once they were in bed. I used a pattern but tweaked it and added some "flair" (the extra fabric at the bottom of the pants that compliments the shirt)....and they ended up being just what I had envisioned when I first discovered the fabric! Now I think I'm going to make some shoes for Kate with the leftover scraps and perhaps a hairbow for Elizabeth.

What do you think?!
{lovin' on sissy so hard that they fell over!}

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

my most recent "find"

i don't make a habit of looking to see what garbage people sit out on the curb...really...i promise! but i must admit that last night as i was driving home from a meeting i noticed a perfectly good lego table sitting by the curb....when i got home i asked mike if it would be horrible to go check it out. he gave me the go-ahead, so i stealthily crept down the street...not wanting anyone to see me "dumpster diving". sure enough...a lego table...the only thing wrong with it is a missing "net" in the middle to hold the blocks (and, of course, i did give it a good sterilizing clean this morning before libs woke up and discovered it!). as you can see, elizabeth is enjoying my find...and i am enjoying the fact that i didn't spend have to spend the $100+ that most places want to charge for a wooden lego table.

so, i'm curious...have any of you scored a great "find" from someone else's trash? don't be ashamed...i have a friend who found a little tykes picnic table and a turtle really amazes me what people just throw away. i mean, come on, even if you don't want to take the time to have a garage sale or go to a consignment shop (or have any friends who could use it for free!), at least it could go to the goodwill or salvation army...there are so many places! i suppose one man's trash really is another man's treasure!

by the is a picture of our little dinosaur mid-ROAR! if you could see her hands, you would see her flashing her "claws"...the rest of the pictures of the dinosaur impersonation are too blurry from her massive "stomping"!