Friday, April 29, 2011

Family Time Friday- Budgeting Help

I want to share with you a tool that I found!  I want to preface this post by saying that I have not been given anything to tell you about this tool, I simply found it and want to share it with you ;)

My husband recently took a MAJOR pay cut, and we are so close to the finalization of the adoptions that we are also no longer receiving foster money, so our budget has taken a HUGE hit.  In an attempt to figure out a way through these waters I found a tool that I have found to be very helpful.  If you have read any of Dave Ramsey's stuff or been through Financial Peace University, you're familiar with the idea of budgeting through envelopes.  If you've read Larry Burkett, he talks also about an envelope syle budgeting, but rather than the actual cash in envelopes he has a check register style paper envelope.  This concept has worked very well for me in the past with one drawback:  I didn't have the whole notebook with me everywhere I went.  So, things fell through the cracks and I eventually abandoned the concept.

Well, with the cut in our budget I knew I had to go back to this style of budgeting for us to survive.  I honestly don't know why I don't continue to do it when we have plenty of money.  That is a change that I will make when my husband's paycheck is restored- I will continue to use this budgeting system.  It is called Easy Envelope Budgeting Aid.  This program has an app for your Android phone that keeps track of your envelopes, and you can utilitze it online.  It really makes communication between my husband and I easier too, because he can easily pull the information up on his phone and know if there is money in that envelope or not as well.  You can create as many at 10 envelopes on the free plan, and sinc it on your phones and the web.  If you do not have an android phone use of just the web application would be very helpful for couples as well.  If you opt for the paid plan you can also track your bank information.  I am personally using only the free version at this time and it is really helping us stay on top of our money.

Dave Ramsey says we need to "Tell our money where to go"...  This Aid helps you to do just that, and helps you to keep a little money set aside each month categorized for unexpected or irregular expenses.  I hope you will take a look at this, because I really think this is a great tool, especially for those of us who don't like carrying around a lot of cash.  It is true for most people that you spend less with cash, but I personally do not.  I spend every last cent if it's in my wallet.

Hope that helps your family a little bit today!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday-Joy in the Morning

Thoughtful Thursday is back!!!!  Since we completed 16 weeks of Making our Homes Like Heaven in 2011, it is now time to return to our usual slot on Thursdays :)

Last week on GratiTuesday I posted to Frosting for the Cause that I was preparing to say good-bye to yet another person in my life because of Cancer.  And, on that same day she did go to be with the Lord.  Last night we had her memorial service at out church.  It was such a beautiful service, and I mean that.  There were tears, yes, because Bev will be dearly missed, but there was more joy than anything.  We know where she is and we rejoice for her.  She taught us all a little about how to love people.  The songs were all joyous and glorifying to God, and we could all hear her voice in our minds saying, "I'm fine, REALLY, I'm fine."  And we know she is.  The whole evening was such a tribute to her.  I was so blessed to be able to be there.

That got me thinking about my own death.  We ARE all dying, you know.  It's something we don't really talk about very often because most of us do not feel ready to leave our loved ones behind.  I'm certainly not, but I have to think about it, and especially lately it seems like there has been so much death in my circle. 

If I were to die tomorrow, there are somethings I would want my friends and family to know.  First, I would want my husband and my children to know that I do not want them to grieve.  They have so much ahead of them, and if they can do anything to honor me, it would be to keep their smiles.  My joy in life comes from those smiles.  I would never want them to lose them.  Second, I would want my husband to know that he saved me.  I really do not know where I would have been in life if it were not for him.  He has been my anchor and I have always known that he married down.  I could not have asked for a better husband.  I mean really.  There is nothing at all I would change.  My children are gifts.  They are so kind, and loving, and I honestly can not put into words how proud I am of them.

Writing all of this makes me think I should write letters to each of them so they have them if something were to ever happen to me......

My close friends also have kept me accountable and been there to love me unconditionally.  This is such a gift.  I have friends whom I know pray for me frequently and there truly, truly is no greater gift a friend can be. 

My church family is just that.  They are extended family.  I can't emulate enough that they are so important to me.  I literally feel like I am home when I walk in the doors of my church.  I know I could walk in that church as broken as they come and I would be loved.  I wish every church were like that.  They aren't, but mine is.

My extended family, my sisters, parents, etc have made me who I am.  You all have had an incredible impact on me, and I am so grateful.  My husband's family has accepted me truly as one of their own and I don't feel like an in-law at all.  My sister in law is more like my sister, mother in law more like my mother.  Thank you.

To my Daddy, Ray.  I would have one final wish for you.  I wish that you would have the joy of the Lord.  I know your heart is broken, and you have so much pain.  I know your unbelief and bitterness comes from that pain.  It is my hearts desire truly, that you would accept Christ as your Savior and let Him cleanse you of that pain.

To my mom:  I have no anger, no resentment, I hold absolutely nothing but love and gratitude for you.  We have had a difficult relationship.  There is no room for guilt in love.  We both did the best we could do, and I love you to infinity. 

To everyone:  Please do not mourn.  Do not be sad.  Go out and enjoy life, love every minute of it and touch people for Christ.  Life is just a blink, separation only temporary.  I'll be waiting.

That's what I would want people to know.  Why do we wait until the end to say these things?  Why don't we tell the people we love today what we would want them to know?  Why don't we let our guard down, let our anger disappear.  In the end, nothing matters but love.  Nothing but love, and God.  Don't wait to tell your loved ones how you feel, don't hold on to resentments and anger.  It only weighs you down.  Believe me, I know.  I've done my fair share.  There is healing in forgiveness, not necessarily for the forgiven, but for the forgiver.  If I were to die today I would want my family to know that no one let me down, no one disappointed me, no one owes me anything, except to be happy and live full lives.

That's what I got from Bev's funeral, there is joy in the morning, as life goes on.  Embrace it, and enjoy it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GratiTuesday- Gregory is Elected SPL

My older boys are both in Boy Scouts.  Last night they had troop elections, which are held every 6 months.  My oldest, Auston has been ASPL (Assistant Senior Patrol Leader) for the past 6 months and has been working hard to be elected to SPL (Senior Patrol Leader).  Everyone thought he was going to be the next SPL.  He was really excited to be SPL while we’re at Summer Camp.  So, imagine our surprise last night when my younger son, Gregory was elected SPL last night and Auston is ASPL again……  Gregory’s only been to summer camp one time, he’s 2 1/2 years younger than Auston, and has only been in boy scouts a little over a year.  We’re guessing what happened is everyone thought that Auston had it in the bag, so they voted for Gregory because they wanted him to be one of the ASPLs….  Well, this will be an interesting summer and Gregory has a very large responsibility now to step up to the plate for.  It will be interesting to see how the older brother does being under the younger brother.  It will be interesting to see how Gregory leads the troop as one of the youngest scouts in charge of many older scouts.  It will be interesting for sure.

But what I’m thankful for this GratiTuesday is I just want to put out there that I am soooooo very proud of Auston.  He was really looking forward to being SPL, he’s been working on his speech for weeks (Greg wasn’t even going to run), and I know he is disappointed.  But- he has been very mature about it and even told Gregory on the way home last night that he things he’s going to do a really good job as SPL and he’s excited to work with him!…..  That took some major maturity and I am very proud of how he has handled himself.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Monday- 4/25

Ok, it’s been a Holy week of eating!  I’m very scared to get on the scale…  I think it’s bad….  REAL bad…  And today was no better, because we gave up fast food for Lent, so I HAD to have a burger, fries, and frosty from Wendy’s after Church!  Then I went to the MIL’s and ate there TOO!  And when I got home I ate CANDY!!!  Ah well.  Tomorrow is a new day and a new week.  I had flashbacks of Christmas today.  I joined WW the day after Christmas after eating an entire tin of english toffee Christmas day…  Yeah……  Here’s to a BIG loss this week!  LOL

Here’s my menu:

Monday:  Burgers, Layered Salad

Tuesday:  Hot Dogs and Macaroni and Cheese, Fruit Salad

Wednesday:  Bacon, Eggs, Pancakes, Fruit Salad

Thursday:  Ham, Potato Salad

Friday:  BBQ Chicken, Pea Salad

Saturday:  Left Overs

Sunday:  Split Pea Soup, Sandwiches

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Singing Saturday-Arise My Love

Arise My Love- Newsong

Not a word was heard at the tomb that day.
Just shuffling of soldiers feet as they guarded the grave.
One day, two days, three days had past.
Could it be that Jesus breathed his last?
Could it be that his Father had forsaken him?
Turned his back on his son, dispising our sin.
Oh hell seemed to whisper, "Just forget it, He's dead."
Then the Father looked down to his son and he said..
Arise, My love.
Arise, My love.
The grave no longer has a hold on you
No more death sting
No more suffering love.

The Earth trembled and the tomb began to shake, and like lightening from Heaven
The stone was rolled away.
And this dead man the guards they all stood there in fright
As the power of love displayed its might
And suddenly a melody filled the air
Riding wings of wind, it was everywhere
The words of creation had been longing to hear.
The sweet sound of victory, so loud and clear.
Arise, my love.
Arise, my love.
The grave no longer has a hold on you.
No more death sting no more suffering

Sin, where are your shackles?
Death, where is your sting?
Hell; has been defeated. The grave will not hold, the king.

Arise, my love.
Arise, my love.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Family Time Friday- Easter Activities

Today is Good Friday.  What’s good about Good Friday?  Isn’t this the day that Jesus died for us?  What’s good about that?  It is because he died for our good.  It was our sins that put him there.  Your sin.  My sin.  It is sooooo important to teach our children about this.  And what Christ did for us.  And why.

As we go into Easter weekend surrounded by eggs and bunnies let’s not forget the real reason we celebrate Easter.

One activity I love to do with my kids is Resurrection Cookies.  It’s simple and really teaches a lesson.  If you do only one activity, this would be the one to do.

I also have have a set of Resurrection Eggs that I use often with my children.  When I use them, I will spread them out over 12 nights of lessons, because each one is a long enough lesson in it’s self.

There is the Scripture Cake that I found that looks like a lot of fun…  I think I’ll do this this year Winking smile

You can make up a bag of jelly beans for the Jelly Bean Prayer.

Christmas morning and Easter morning I traditionally make Breakfast Casserole, so it’s done and there is one less thing to think about on those busy mornings Winking smile

Here are some other pages with ideas:



Apples for the Teacher

ABC Teach

Whatever you decide to do with your family this weekend, make it special, and make it about Christ.  Remember the importance of traditions with our children, and how traditions have impacted the church.

I hope you will all have a very blessed Easter as we celebrate that empty tomb!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Making Our Homes Like Heaven in 2011 Week 16

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Well, we’ve gone through 16 weeks of Making Our Homes Like Heaven.  I hope you have enjoyed it, and found some peace in your home and your life.  If you have suggestions, or would like to do something like this again next year please let me know.  This is my last installment of this series, and Thursdays will again be occupied by Thoughtful Thursday Smile.

We’ll still continue lists on Facebook- I don’t know about y’all, but when I do my list I am MUCH more productive.  That’s the real gem I got out of this series Smile

So, for our last week:

1.  Go through and do an inventory of your house and the projects that need to be completed.  Make a list and a plan to complete them and a time line.

2.  Clean out your cars and take them to the car wash.

3.  Go into your garden and plan out what needs to be done for Spring/Summer and purpose to get it done Smile

4.  Do an inventory of your calendar and see what things need to be eliminated to uncrowd your schedule.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and have a great productive week!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

GratiTuesday- Frosting for the Cause

I’ve got something to share with you.  It’s a blog where bloggers donate a blog post and $25 to the American Cancer Society, and commit to blog about baking some goodies to give to a local Chemo center or other place to help Cancer patients.  I was selected as one of the bloggers for this very noble cause and I feel honored to be a part.

When I agreed to do this I had no idea how cancer would be personally affecting my life as I write this very post.

Please take the time to head over to Frosting for the Cause and read today’s post.

This post is linked to Heavenly Homemaker for GratiTuesday and Frosting for the Cause.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Menu Monday-4/18

This week I reached my goal of walking 10 miles!  I had to walk 5 miles on Sunday, but I did!  WOOHOO!  Hopefully that will be a goal I can continue to reach Winking smile.  I’ll set my goal for this week at 7, though, because I already know I’ve got some things going on this week with Holy Week that will make it hard to get a lot of walking in.  I also hosted a Weight Watchers Ice Cream House Party, and have been trying their new ice creams…  YUM is about all I have to say about that Winking smile….  I’ve had lots of smoothies, they really help me to stay full and on plan and get in extra fruits and veggies.  I usually use a packet of the WW vanilla smoothie mix with 2 cups ice cold water and about 1 cup of spinach and 1 cup of frozen fruit Smile…  Believe me, you don’t even taste the spinach!  If that grosses you out, just go with 2 cups frozen fruit Smile

Ok, for this week:

Monday:   Snack Dinner

Tuesday:  Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday:  Breakfast for dinner

Thursday:  Burgers

Friday:  Pizza

Saturday:  Sloppy Joes

Sunday:  Easter- Eating at the MIL’s

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Supper Sunday- Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting

I created a new frosting yesterday as I prepared my post for Tuesday, which I do hope you’ll come back for….  I frosted both sugar cookies and snicker doodles with this frosting.  I would also be good on yellow cake, or even carrot cake in place of cream cheese frosting.

Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting

2 Cups Shortening
6 Tablespoons Water
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 2lb Bag Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon

Cream shortening, water, and vanilla in a mixer until liquid is incorporated with the fat.  Add powdered sugar and cinnamon.  Mix on low speed until combined and then med-high speed for 6-7 minutes.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Singing Saturday- Beauty Will Rise

I have some friends who are getting ready to say good bye to two family members.  This song is for you!  God will restore you to better than before.

Beauty Will Rise-Steven Cutis Chapman

It was the day the world went wrong
I screamed til my voice was gone
And watched through the tears as everything
came crashing down
Slowly panic turns to pain
As we awake to what remains
and sift through the ashes that are left
But buried deep beneath
All our broken dreams
we have this hope:

Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
and we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
For we know, joy is coming in the morning...
in the morning, beauty will rise

So take another breath for now,
and let the tears come washing down,
and if you can't believe I will believe
for you.
Cuz I have seen
the signs of spring!
Just watch and see:

Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
and we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
For we know, joy is coming in the morning...
in the morning...

I can hear it in the distance
and it's not too far away.
It's the music and the laughter
of a wedding and a feast.
I can almost feel the hand of God
reaching for my face
to wipe the tears away, and say,
"It's time to make everything new."
"Make it all new"

This is our hope.
This is the promise.
This is our hope.
This is the promise.
That it would take our breath away
to see the beauty that's been made
out of the ashes...
out of the ashes...
That it would take our breath away
to see the beauty that He's made
out of the ashes...
out of the ashes...
Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
and we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes

Out of this darkness... new life will shine
and we'll know the joy is coming in the morning...
in the will rise!
Oh, Beauty will rise
Oh, Beauty will rise
Oh, oh, oh, Beauty will rise
Oh, oh, oh, Beauty will rise
Oh, oh, oh, Beauty will rise

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Making Our Homes Like Heaven- Week 15

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Phew!  Are you tired yet?  I am!  Why is keeping up with the house so hard?  If anyone has an answer I’d love to know!   I’ve got a hodge podge of stuff this week for us to do….  Ready?

  1. Clean off the flat surfaces in your home that have collected a bunch of stuff that doesn’t belong…  like the end tables in your living room Winking smile
  2. Do a good dusting, and don’t forget your picture frames on the walls.
  3. Ok- here’s the hard one!  Clean out your kitchen trash can!  Wipe it down, clean it with disinfectant, everything!  Smile

Ok- have a great week!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Menu Monday- 4/11


This week has been a weird WW week for me.  I haven’t stayed in my points range and I haven’t journaled well.  I haven’t met my goal of 10 miles of walking either.  Basically, this has been a crazy busy week for me and I need to learn to plan ahead for these types of weeks and not soothe myself with bad food.  I need to learn from this experience that it only makes me less productive, thus furthering the cycle when I eat bad food.  My energy gets zapped and I feel downright cruddy.  It just plain isn’t worth it on any front.  This is a lesson I’ve been trying to learn for YEARS….  The time is now.  Winking smile 

The week coming up is also going to be weird, another busy week with two trips to Austin for me.  As I plan out my menu for the week I have last week in mind.  I need to be on the top of my game this week.  I am going to set another goal of 10 miles of walking too.  I’ll just keep setting that goal until I make it.  I’ve also decided to track my monthly miles as well.  It sort of motivates me Winking smile


Monday:  Rotisserie Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Fruit Salad

Tuesday:  Breakfast for Dinner, left over fruit salad or fruit smoothies

Wednesday:  Tilapia with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes and Corn, Rice

Thursday:  Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, Hot Dogs

Friday:  Taco Soup

Saturday:  Snack Dinner

Sunday:  Buddig Beef Kabobs, Fruit Kabobs

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Supper Sunday- S”tuff” On Shingles

This was a favorite meal for me growing up, and my parents made if often because it is such a cheap meal.  I’m not sure how healthy it is, but it is good, kids like it, and it’s very inexpensive Winking smile 

“SOS”- S’tuf'f’ On Shingles

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 packages Carl Buddig Beef (the cheap bags, usually around $.050 each)
1 loaf bread

Using scissors, cut beef into strips about 1/4 inch wide and set aside.  Melt Butter in a large sauce pan over med-high heat.  Sprinkle with flour and mix well to form a roux.  Allow to cook for about a minute to cook the flour.  Add milk slowly, mixing with a whisk the entire time.  You may not need all of the milk, or you may need a little more.  The end result (after thickening) should be a nice cream gravy texture.  Once the rough and milk are combined add beef strips, salt and pepper.  Cook a couple of minutes longer to incorporate the tastes.  Serve over toast Winking smile