Thursday, September 25, 2008

Always Living Right At The Edge

It is always very interesting to see all the ways God will work in our lives. I have been reading a book and involved in a Bible study for the past few weeks called "Behind Those Eyes." One of the reasons that I decided to take this study was that I new that with a baby on the way it would be hard to be involved in a study through my church for the next little while. This was only going to be a six week commitment and it was going to be taught by the author of the book herself, Lisa Whittle. How cool, right? Well, this book has been such a blessing to me. It has taught me so much, convicted me about many things in my own life (ouch!) and continues to touch my heart with every chapter that I read. Lisa uses several different characters such as Ms. Happiness, Ms. Perfection and Ms. Spiritual to portray the ways we try to convey to others who we want them to think we are or ways that we try to label others. When it all comes down to it we all want to go deeper. We want to be real with one another. We want the TRUTH. Another thing that Lisa said was that when God isn't doing anything in your life to shake you up, you better have a heart check. There should be something going on in your life that is making you stand at the edge and say "God, are you sure about this? Do you really know what You are doing? I feel like I have been at "the edge" for a long time now. There hasn't been much in our lives lately that feels secure. It seems like it has been one thing after another. First it was my job, then it was our finances, then Matt's job, finding a house, now our growing family! Can't a girl have a little down time?!?!
Last night, just to keep us on that edge, Matt and I received some very unexpected news about his job. Needless to say both of us were a little shaken up from what we found out. However once again we were both driven to our knees. What else can we do? The Lord has been so faithful to us and has provided for us all along, why would I think He would fail us now? Even today at work the Lord brought some encouragement to me through another teacher. She and her family are friends of ours and she told me that she was praying for us. She knows with the way things are right now with the housing economy that things must be tough for Matt and I and with a baby on the way it can be scary. She told me that even her family has been "living on the edge" and will continue to pray! Thank you Lord for sending her my way today! God is good and we WILL wait on Him to show us what He has for us!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Triple The Coupons...Triple The Fun!!!

A few weeks ago I ran into the mom of one of my students at Target and we ended up chatting for quite a while in the isle on how to save money. Matt and I are all about that right now, especially with a baby on the way! She is quite the coupon guru. I don't think she has been doing the whole coupon thing for very long, but boy has she caught the fever! The things she was telling me, I could hardly believe! She said that she never pays for things like toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and rice and pays only pennies for many other products, including milk! Many times she walks away with the grocery store paying her! She was giving us tips left and right and Matt and I were trying to hang on to every word she said. Needless to say Matt and I have caught the fever!
Last Friday, the kids at school threw me a little baby shower and in one of the packages was this awesome coupon organizer filled with baby item coupons! It was a great way to get us started. When I got home I organized the rest of the coupons I had cut throughout the previous weeks and was ready to hit the store. Now, I have always heard and thought that Harris Teeter was the most expensive grocery store, but not when I found out that they double your coupons every day and triple them once a quarter! Triple your coupon days just happened to be this weekend. So off Matt and I went to see what we could find. It was like playing that game that used to be on T.V, Supermarket Sweep! We were trying to find all the free stuff! For our first time I don't think we did to bad. In fact we bought the paper today and went back to HT a second time to get some more deals. We are still learning how it all works, but we did walk away with free toothpaste, free gum, a taco dinner kit and beans for $1.05, 5 boxes of rice for less than what it normally would cost for one, rolls and rolls of Quilted Northern toilet paper for $9.00, Eggo waffles for $1.00, deodorant for $0.75 and my regularly priced $4.00 conditioner for $0.50! We tried to get a few other items, but we knew they were a hot item because they couldn't keep the shelves stocked. It took us a while to shop, but the better we get we know that we will become faster! We also know to get up early to get all the good deals! Our total shopping bill this weekend came out to be about $75.00 and we ended up only paying about $30.00! We thought that was pretty good for our first time! If that doesn't get you cutting coupons, we also have another friend who does this and her total was almost $500 and she walked away paying $70.00! WOW! Any coupon gurus out there? Do you have any good tips to share with a beginner? I can't wait till the next triple your coupon days at HT. We will be there bright and early with our coupon binder and calculator in hand and a game plan to save!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What's For Dinner?

I usually don't have much time during the week to think about cooking or baking. I am not a huge fan of eating out. I can always find something around here even if our cupboards are bare. I can be content with a grilled cheese (even if it means eating the end pieces of the bread), cereal (even if I have to mix several kinds together to make a bowl) or a can of soup. Matt on the other hand has a little more difficult time. We try to plan out our meals for the week. Sometimes it works, but other times it doesn't. I will give him credit though; if we do eat a decent meal it is because he cooked it. We like to use the crock pot when we can. It is so nice to walk into the house after a long day at work and smell dinner already prepared! Yummy! The one place I LOVE to get QUICK and EASY recipes is the Kraft Food and Family magazine. It is a free magazine filled with great recipes with ingredient that are usually already stocked in the kitchen. The only complaint that I have with the magazine is that it doesn't come frequently enough. I think they only come four times a year! I am always waiting for the next one to arrive. When we moved this summer, I was worried that I wasn't going to get my next copy. I re-registered for it just in case. My mom got her copy the other day, so I am anxiously awaiting mine! (You can register for the FREE magazine at kraftfoodandfamily.com).

I did have time this past weekend to bake some really good cookies from a past issue. They looked really yummy and easy. It is nice to have a sweet treat around here every once in a while. These cookies are called "Soft and Chewy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies". You will have to try them!

"Soft and Chewy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies"

Prep:10 min
Total: 18 min

1 Pkg. (2-layer size) devil's food cake mix
4 oz. (1/2 of 8oz. pkg.) cream cheese, soften
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg

PREHEAT oven to 375*F. Place all ingredients in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 2 min. Beat on medium speed an additional 2 min.

SHAPE into 1-inch balls. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Flatten each ball, in criss-cross pattern, with tines of fork dipped in sugar.

BAKE 7-8 min. or until edges of cookies are set. Cool 2 min. on baking sheets. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Makes 3 1/2 doz. or 21 servings, 2 cookies each.

I only cooked mine about 5 minutes. They turned out perfect. They were very soft and delicious! Everything gets mixed in one bowl so it was easy clean up! This is a great recipe for a quick dessert on a busy week! Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tis The (Football) Season!

Well, today was a BIG day at my house. My husband and his family are slightly obsessed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The countdown until kickoff started well before yesterday. Needless to say we were all together ready to watch at 1:00pm and not a minute late! Now I can take a little football, but it pales in comparison to their love. I made it until half time, but I really look forward to a nice long Sunday afternoon nap if I can squeeze it in. For the next several weeks Steeler football will take priority over many things. When the flag goes up outside our door and the clock strikes kick off time, you will know what is going on in my house! At least this afternoon things are happy. The Steelers won, 38-17. Whew! GO STEELERS!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Baby Jake's Nursery!

Ever since last weekend when Baby Jake tried to make an early appearance, Matt and I have felt the pressure to finally begin his nursery. We knew we were down to the last few weeks, but we had just been so busy that we had not had the opportunity to start. So this week we decided to get going! Since I was put on bed rest this week, I wasn't much help, so I can't take much credit. Matt did much of the work and I am very pleased with how things are coming together.
When we moved in our house back in the summer, everything that I didn't know what to do with went in here. The first step was to clear it out. Once that was completed, Matt began to tape everything off!
We decided to go with navy on the bottom, khaki on the top with white chair rail in the middle. I didn't really want a "theme" for the nursery. Just all boy:)!
Matt did a GREAT job painting. I was very happy with the color. It looks awesome!

Next came the chair rail. Matt worked very carefully measuring and cutting all the right angles! It turned out perfect!
The chair rail needed to be painted white and then it would be all ready to hang on the walls.
The chair rail pulled the whole room together. I was so excited and pleased with how it all looked! It looked very clean and classy!
Once the walls were completed, Matt (with a little of my help), started putting all the furniture together. The room is not that big, but the furniture fits perfect!
Here is the picture of the crib. I love the cherry color and the style of the crib. I finally settled on the bedding I wanted. I had a very hard time with this decision. This is the pattern that I really wanted and Matt surprised me by going to Pottery Barn Kids and getting it for me!
All the time, energy, effort and LATE nights put in by Matt are very much appreciated by me. I am very happy with the way things are turning out. Now it is my turn to pick out all the fun decorations!
Now we both feel a little better and a little more prepared just in case Jake comes a little early!
Thanks so much for all your hard work!
Both Jake and I appreciate it very much!
You couldn't have done a more perfect job!
I love you and can't wait till our baby gets here!