Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Worst Blizzard in 40 years? Merry Christmas! least we know we'll have a WHITE Christmas if we stay in Sioux Falls.

It's really beginning to look like we may not make it out to California this Christmas.  The news is now saying this winter storm is going to be the worst in about 40 years, with up to 18 inches of snow and lots of wind.   The storm begins today and goes until Friday.  It really starts to get bad tomorrow night, which is when our flight is supposed to leave for CA. We may still be able to fly out, but I think we probably have about a 90% chance it will be cancelled.

I said this on Facebook already but I'll say it here too.  While I would LOVE to see my family this Christmas, especially since I haven't spent Christmas with them since 2005, if it is God's will for us to stay home though, then so be it.  All that matter is that God is glorified and if this is how it has to work then okay!  We can always try for a trip to CA next year.  Christmas isn't just about family, it is about the birth of Jesus Christ.  We can celebrate no matter where we are!

This has been such a strange Christmas season... it seems to have flown by faster than usual.  The whole year has gone by fast.  There are only two days left until Christmas! Wow.   Maybe next year will be a little slower than this year ;)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Travels & Prayers

Philippians 4: 4-7 - "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

6 Days until we leave for CA! This will be our first Christmas in San Diego since 2005.

I'm always excited to go home to San Diego, but at the same time I find that I dread traveling more and more.   Traveling with a toddler is surprisingly the least of my concerns.  Please pray that this trip goes smoothly and that it doesn't get stressful while we're out there.   Short trips like this tend to get stressful.  We have 5 days in San Diego and 2 additional days of traveling.   There are a lot of people that want to see us and that we want to see and it's tough to see everyone in just 5 days.   But the Lord is at hand, and I know that there truly is nothing to be anxious about.

Please pray that Jesus remains the focus of the season for us, that we would rejoice in Him throughout our entire trip. Spending time with family and friends, seeing old familiar sites, eating delicious food, giving/receiving gifts; it's all wonderful, it's all good, but it means nothing if we are not loving, honoring, and glorifying our Lord and Savior Jesus.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Phones!

LG Rumor 2

New phones!  Finally.  For several months my phone had not been charging well and when it was charged it would last about a day before it would die.  It's been difficult for people to reach me lately.    A couple weeks ago our contract ended and it was time to renew so finally we were able to get some new phones!  These are nice because they were free (and I do love free things!) and they have a slide out keyboard, which makes texting a lot simpler.  We now have 300 text messages per month.  I'm excited, because SOME people I know only communicate through texting... we also won't be charged 20 cents every time someone sends us a text.'s my favorite color! Woohoo!

9 days until our trip to San Diego! Oh how nice it will be to get away from this insanely cold weather.  So friends & family in CA - call or text me! We need to plan times to meet up while we're out there. We're only there really for 5 days so it's going to be a short trip which usually means.. chaos.  *sigh*  Lots of people to see (both of our families and all of our friends are out there) and only 5 days to see everyone.  Yikes.   I'm sure it'll be fine...if we can get it all planned out beforehand.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Good Family Day with the Lord

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,' and  “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” - Romans 4: 5-7

Today we went to church and heard yet another great sermon by Randy Anderson.   After church we headed over to my in-laws house - Jenny & Mike's, as we do most Sundays.  Then we all headed over to Jeff & Debbie's to hang out, eat delicious food,  get into a couple typical family squabbles, play games, and watch the Charger's game.

I am reminded of the sermon today as I think back on the day we've had.   Not so much about testing God but trusting in God's faithfulness, knowing that He is there and He is able.   Today was a mostly good day, with a few low points here and there.   There were times where I was completely aware of God's presence, and other times where I know I'd forgotten him, or just simply chose to ignore him.

I need to be more consistent in remembering that God is always there.   During our good times and bad times, He is always present.   He never leaves us.  Oh how different my life would be if I were constantly aware of His presence!  So much of my life is centered on me, when it should be centered on Christ.

This week my prayer is for a changed heart.  The attitude reflects the heart, and my attitude has not been a good one lately.  I don't want to be the type of person that people think low of, because then they will think low of the God I serve. I pray that my attitude and heart would reflect Jesus Christ, and that I may learn how to replace my pride with humility.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Coupon Resources: Finding & Printing Coupons

Coupons = Money Saved!

You can save quite a bit of money on groceries each month if you take a little time each week to clip/print coupons. I personally do grocery shopping once a month, so once a month I will spend about an hour clipping & printing coupons. It's fun and simple.  If you get creative, you can end up saving more than you spend. I haven't yet done this, but hope to eventually!  Below I've compiled a list of where to find general grocery coupons, organic coupons, and local coupons.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Person of Advent

Every week I'm blown away by the sermons at our church.  I learn so much each week.  I often find myself wishing the sermon was longer, and they are hour long sermons!   God has given Randy Anderson the incredible gift of teaching and he does it exceptionally well.  I feel blessed to be able to hear him teach each week.  Here is a link to the sermon our Pastor did on Sunday.  It helped put the season into perspective for me.

The Spirit, Temptation, and the Person of Advent, Part 1

Monday, December 7, 2009

Honoring Jesus this Season

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” - Jesus Christ

Let us not be tempted by all of the beautiful things of the season and all of the seemingly important traditions, so as to overlook the true meaning of Christmas.  I am so guilty of this.

Snuggling with my daughter as we enjoy listening to Christmas music, the snow and colorful lights in the neighborhood, all of the wonderful memories of 20 Christmas' with my Mom -  so often these are the things that capture my heart more than Jesus' birth.  While these things are good, they all fail in comparison to the birth of  my Savior.  During the Christmas season it's so easy to get caught up in all of the busyness, the excitement, and the joyful traditions, thus making it easier to forget that Jesus is the reason for the season.  It is my prayer that we would live by every word that comes from the mouth of God.  I hope that this year we will discover new ways to incorporate Jesus into our Christmas traditions and that we would learn how to honor and glorify God throughout the entire Christmas season.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Flip Diapers - Zoe's New Cloth Diapers

Several days ago I read about the new Flip diaper system by Cotton Babies (the makers of BumGenius diapers).   It's affordable, the diapers are cute, trim, and easy to adjust!  You also don't need to buy 3 different sizes, it's just one size and you adjust it to fit your baby at whatever age/weight they are at.

I stopped by our local mom & baby store Elegant Mommy and was delighted to find it there! They were on sale too!  Just $13.95 for the diaper cover and one stay dry insert.   We also bought two gDiapers because they were clearanced due to old packaging.  The same diapers, just in the old packaging.  So we bought those two for $17.99, and they came with about 8 disposable liners (I think) for the gDiapers.    

Friday, November 27, 2009

Food, Shopping, and a Parade of Lights


Tis' officially the Christmas season!! I'm so excited for this Christmas... we get to spend this Christmas in our hometown of San Diego, CA!  YES!  We are going to spend every moment possible outside enjoying the warmer weather.

This year's Thanksgiving was one we will not soon forget!  Thursday morning we drove over to Jenny & Mike's house (my in-laws) and had breakfast with the family.   With the exception of one oven fire, the day was a pleasant one.  We searched through Black Friday ads, played games, and cooked a ton of food.  This year I contributed cream corn..which I think turned out a little too creamy but it was still delicious!

Yesterday we (my mother-in-law Jenny, grandmother-in-law Sandy, Zoe and I) braved the mall, Target, and Kohl's.  We shopped from about 9:30am to 3:30pm.   I always forget just how exhausted I am when afternoon arrives the day after Thanksgiving!  Wow.  I could barely move my legs!   After a few hours of relaxing,  we all (Gage, Grandpa, and Mike included) went to the Parade of Lights in downtown Sioux Falls.   I love parades, especially when they are Christmas parades and it's not too cold outside.   Zoe had a great time at the parade!  She loved the horses.  She was not a fan of the big trucks though.

When the parade ended we walked over to Michelle's (a local coffee shop) and bought some delicious hot chocolate.  We also walked down to the brand new toy store that opened yesterday! It's a wonderful store!  Zoe had a great time in there.   I'm sure we'll make many more trips to that toy store.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I first heard about Swagbucks several months ago on a blog.   The ads for it are very tacky and "Earn free prizes!" seems so unbelievable, so I didn't think much of it for a long time.  Then I saw a friend that started posting about Swagbucks on her blog so I figured I'd try it out.   I am impressed! It is by far the easiest and best way to earn a little extra money or prizes.  All you do is set up your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc) to use Swagbucks search engine (which is powered by Google & Ask) and whenever you search the internet you can earn Swagbucks.

A lot of people redeem their Swagbucks for gift cards.  It takes a few weeks to a month to earn enough to get a $5 Amazon gift card but it's worth it because you're not doing any extra work for it.   Just search the web you would any other time.

You can earn more Swagbucks by installing their toolbar, promoting, referring friends, following them on Twitter and facebook.  I don't do much of that though (except the referring).   I'm on my computer enough these days and I don't want to spend extra time searching for Swag codes...but if you are into that, by all means do it! You'll get more Swagbucks, earn more prizes/gift cards. It's a great deal! Definitely check it out.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's New?

A bunch of random updates this week...

My first ever GIVEAWAY is coming up soon! :) Stay tuned...

This week I have been reading about and trying online survey companies.  I've read about a few good ones and so far so good... I also discovered Swagbucks this week.  By using their serach engine (which uses google and instead of google by itself, I earn swag bucks!  I plan to use them to get $5 Amazon cards every few weeks, since I can buy pretty much anything (even groceries!) on Amazon.   There are tons of other gift cards and prizes you can redeem swagbucks for though.  Good deal! I highly recommend this site!

My Dad mailed me a copy of his new CD "Stand in Awe" and I was thrilled to see two of my photos in the CD artwork! I remember he did ask me if he could use the photos but I forgot about it until I saw the CD.  Very cool!  I'm working on a photography blog that will be used as my website for now.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Re-usable Wrapping Paper

I know, I know... Christmas talk already?  Talk of Christmas and putting up decorations before Thanksgiving just shouldn't be done.  Unless of course you are my friend Kristin! :)

BUT,  I just came across a nice Christmassy giveaway on a blog I frequently read that I would love to win ;)

Live Renewed is having a giveaway here for some re-usable Christmas bags!  They are beautiful and a great idea.  I plan to make some of my own as soon as I learn to sew... haha.

Wrapping paper usually doesn't cost much money but neverthelesss, it costs money.  I've always thought of wrapping paper as a huge waste of money and paper.  I try to save paper gift bags and re-use those as much as possible.  Making your own "wrapping paper" is another great idea!

For some other great ideas on gift wrapping, check out this website.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Saving on Organic Groceries

I'm new at buying healthy food.  I've always just bought whatever was cheapest.

Now I'm on a search to find good food while still maintaining a budget. I'm not one who believes all groceries need to be organic.  As long as the food is nutritional and there are little or no artificial ingredients or preservatives, I'm pretty happy with the food.  Depending on what you are buying, sometimes the nutritional value stays the same regardless of whether it is organic or not.  As a rule of thumb, the more natural the food is the better nutritional value it is going to have.  Organic just means it's about as natural as it can be.  Foods raised organically do not contain pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, or preservatives.  Organic food is more expensive, but in my opinion the nutritional benefits of many of these foods outweigh the extra cost of food.

There are ways to purchase organic foods while sticking to your budget!

Zenni Optical - Prescription Glasses for $8!

About a year ago we heard about Zenni Optical, a website that offers high quality prescription glasses for as low as $8.00!   I kid you not.   This website is very affordable and the glasses are wonderful!  They have single vision, bi-focal, and progressive eyeglasses.  All you need is your prescription information.

The last pair of glasses I bought were $12.00!   Just about everyone in our family orders glasses though Zenni now.  The word is even spreading throughout our church.  I no longer worry about losing or breaking my glasses.

My daughter accidentally broke my glasses a few weeks ago so this time around I plan to buy memory titanium glasses (bendable) so that my daughter will have a tougher time breaking them and even then, it's only going to cost about $25.  There are hundreds of choices, check them out here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crockpot: Savory Bean and Spinach Soup

This is not a recipe I have tried yet but it is one I have wanted to try, so hopefully on our next shopping trip I will remember to buy the ingredients needed for this.   Today is, however, the Nourishing Crockpot Carnival over at Passionate Homemaking and I wanted to contribute!

Passionate Homemaking is one of my favorite blogs, I have learned a great deal about natural and healthy living from Lindsay, the author of the blog.  I appreciate her dedication and all the hard work she pours into her writing.   I highly recommend checking out her blog if you haven't already.

Anyway, here's the recipe!


  • 3 14 oz. cans vegetable broth

  • 1 15-oz can small white beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 15 oz can tomato puree

  • ½ cup uncooked brown rice

  • ½ cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 tsp dried basil

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp black pepper

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 8 cups chopped fresh spinach or kale leaves


1.    In a 3 ½ or 4 quart slow cooker, combine all but the spinach or kale
2.    Cook on low for 5-7 hours or high 2 ½ - 3 ½ hours.
3.    Just before serving, stir in spinach or kale.

Yields: 6 Servings

Monday, November 16, 2009

She's got Style

I love this little girl so much :)

Zoe: "Mama!  Want Cookie, please?"

Mommy: "Oh, you want a cookie?"

Zoe: "Okay!"

Monday, November 9, 2009

Our 1st Professional Family Portrait

Our Family - Oct 09

I'm a photographer and I take a LOT of pictures.   Because of this we have only had professional "studio" pictures taken of Zoe one time, it was when she was 6 months old and it was a local photographer, total cost was  $35.    This time we were going to take pictures for our church's first color directory and the photos were taken by Olan Mills (Ooo lala!).   I'm very happy with how our photos turned out! We received one free 8X10 and we ended up buying  a couple more because we know we won't be getting more family photos for a while.   I did hear from my cousin that Portrait Innovations takes great photos and they are reasonably priced, so I think we may try them out for Zoe's 2nd birthday.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Self-Esteem in Christ Alone

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." - James 4:6

If God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, why is self-esteem even an issue among Christians today?

As Christians we are no longer controlled by our sinful nature, we have been blessed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit!  The Holy Spirit brings forth good fruit - the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.

Self-esteem is what brings us to believe we are worth anything on our own, to believe we deserve all of the good things and don't deserve all of the bad things that happen to us.   Self-esteem is what leads us to believe we are inherently good people; that we should not (nor will we ever) be punished for our sin.   It is self-righteousness.
In one sense, low self-esteem is the opposite of pride. In another sense, low-self-esteem is a form of pride. Some people have low self-esteem because they want people to feel sorry for them, to pay attention to them, to comfort them. Low self-esteem can be a declaration of “look at me” just as much as pride. It simply takes a different route to get to the same destination, that is, self-absorption, self-obsession, and selfishness. Instead, we are to be selfless, to die to self, and to deflect any attention given to us to the great God who created and sustains us. - Click here for full article.

Encouraging Sermons for Mothers

It is my prayer that these sermons and messages would be as much of an encouragement to you as they have been to me.  Each of these sermons/messages are 45 minutes - 1 hour long.   These are just a few that I've come across in the past several months.  I'm sure I will add to this list as time goes on.

Honoring the Biblical call of Motherhood - John Piper

A Woman who Fears the Lord is to be Praised - John Piper

Revive Our Hearts Series: This is Nancy Leigh Demoss' radio show.  There have been several series' on motherhood, this is their most recent series on motherhood.

A Call to Intentional Mothering with Holly Elliff:  (You can read the transcripts or click on "Listen" to hear the show)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

CCMH Worship Band - New Album! "Stand in Awe"

CCMH Worship Band "Stand in Awe"

Band: Calvary Chapel Mission Hills Worship Band

Album: Stand In Awe

Songs by: Greg Skodacek

Released: October 25, 2009

King David, Maranatha Praise Band, Brian Doerksen, Hillsong, Brenton Brown, Hillsong United, Gateway Worship, Desperation Band
Band Interests:
Bringing people into a place where there is true communion between mankind and the Creator God, where all the glory, honor, praise, adoration, and worship He alone is due, can be expressed from the heart, in spirit and in truth.

I'm not usually one to write reviews of books, CDs, or movies because...simply put, I'm horrible at writing reviews.  However, this is something I felt was worth writing about! It is the long-awaited Worship album by the Calvary Chapel Mission Hills Worship Band with all songs written by Greg Skodacek!

Greg Skodacek (my Dad) has been leading Worship for nearly 20 years.  I grew up listening to many of these wonderful songs!   These songs have been sung in several churches in the San Diego area for many years and now, finally,  an album has been released with these wonderful congregational songs.   The album has a contemporary-rock worship style of of music and the lyrics are scripturally based and glorifying to God.

This album is all about praising and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ, as we (who are in Christ) will do for all eternity!   "Unto Holiness" has been a favorite of mine for many years.  "Oh Glorious God"  is simply beautiful.  I also love "All to You", which is sung by my little sister Gabrielle on the album.

If your church is looking for some new music, these are some fantastic songs to try out.     The album is currently available via download and  it is only $6.99!  You can hear several full songs and buy the album on their website CCMH Worship Band.   You also can listen to samples and buy the album on Amazon, iTunes, and e-music.   You can also become a "Fan" on Facebook here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Family Traveling on a Budget

Recently I've had a few different people ask how we are able to take family trips, especially since we are living on one part-time income!   Well, we are able to take trips for a several reasons:

1. We have 3 people in our family.   Traveling with a family of 3 is easier and cheaper than a family of 5 or 6.  When we have more children our trips will probably become less frequent, but we have no intentions to ever stop our traveling.

2. We set aside money specifically for trips.  We have a "trip fund".  Most of the money we save goes into our savings account to put towards emergencies or towards our future home.   However, sometimes we'll end up with an extra $10 or $20 here and there and that is the money we usually put into our trip fund.

3. We usually don't go very far.  Most trips are within 4 hours of where we live.   Taking day trips is easy to do and cheap!

4. We drive a very small manual car that is in good condition.   We were able to go down to Tulsa, OK  (from Sioux Falls, SD) and back for less than $150 in gas!

5. If we are going somewhere overnight, we camp if possible.  That is VERY cheap.  Tent-camping, cabin camping, or RV camping (if we're with Gage's parents or grandparents).   Camping ranges from $15-40 a night.

6. Allegiant Air - Several times a year you can find tickets to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, and a few other places for as low as $39 each way.  That is about $80 a person.  The locations of this airline are limited.   Our small airport here in Sioux Falls happens to be one of them!

7. If it is a trip that requires several nights stay, we always make sure there is a place to stay that is not a hotel. We visit family and or friends who are willing to open their homes up to us.   If we do not know someone in the area (and we do not have an RV) we usually will not stay for more than a night or two.  Hotels are way too expensive.

8. We have very generous parents and grandparents!  Whenever we travel with family, many of our expenses are covered by family members or we split the cost between everyone on the trip, which ends up saving everyone money.

10. Gage is working part-time right now.  He is able to take time off pretty much whenever he wants.  Once he is finished with school and has a regular full-time job we'll need to get even more creative with our trip planning! :)

11. We bring as much of our own food as possible and, if we're going to be staying somewhere with a microwave and/or oven/grill we cook our own food.

12. Eat more at lunch than dinner.   If you're going to be eating out at restaurants a lot, have a big lunch and a smaller dinner.  Lunch is almost always cheaper than dinner.

Many of my favorite  memories took place on road trips.  My husband and I love to travel. We hope to travel around the U.S. as much as we possibly can, especially when our children are old enough to remember the trips!  I don't really expect to ever make it out of the country (except for maybe Canada or Mexico), but if we do, what a blessing that will be!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We're Home!

Our Family - Oct 09

On Friday we drove from Sioux Falls, SD to Tulsa, OK.   This drive took us about 13 hrs because we made quite a few stops.  Our drive home on Monday was a little less than 12 hrs.  We arrived at about 5pm.  We went to Sams Club with Wendy to get some things for Jessie's party then we went out to eat at CiCi's with the rest of the family.

I always forget how incredibly beautiful Tulsa, Oklahoma is!  This was my first time being down there in Autumn!  WOW. It was gorgeous!  It reminded me of Kentucky for sure.   If Gage ever receives a job offer in Tulsa, we're going! hehe.

Saturday we spent the day checking out Tulsa and visiting with family.  Most of the day was spent with my cousin Wendy and her daughter Jessie.  We went to a beautiful park and let the girls run around a bit.  Later that evening we took the girls trick-or-treating! Zoe did so well.  She walked right up to the doors, rang the doorbell (with Daddy's help), and as soon as the door would open she'd yell, "Cannyy!" (Candy).  We even managed to get a few "Thank yous" out of her hehe.

Sunday we spent the morning hanging out with my Aunt & Uncle.  We played a board game that my Uncle's cousin created.  It's called "Rich Man, Poor Man".   It was similar to Monopoly, but it doesn't take as long to play! :)  Later on we (Gage, Zoe, and I) went to the Woodland Hills mall in Tulsa to have lunch and walk around for a while until it was time to leave for Jessie's 2nd Birthday party!   We arrived at the party at about 3pm.   There were cupcakes, princess decorations, many gifts, and an adorable little Princess :)   I can't believe she's 2 already.  Pretty soon Zoe will be 2!   I keep telling Zoe to take her time.   I love the age she's at right now - 19 months :)

It was a good trip!  Relaxing and fun.  I've gone on 3 weekend trips in a row now.  I'm ready for a break!  No more trips for us for a couple months.  We just found out today that we're going to California for Christmas! Woohoo!

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Family Photos!

Our Family - October 2009

Zoe Kimberly - 19 Months

Zoe and Mama

Zoe is 19 months old now and beginning to put two words together.  Gage is working a lot and going to school.  I am working on getting our house back in order.   After the garage sale and my two weekend trips we had quite a bit of clutter that accumulated in our house.   The clutter is taken care of for the most part, now it's time to clean.  Woohoo!

We basically skipped the entire Autumn season here in Sioux Falls.   It went from Summer to Winter in about a week and a half!  It seems like winter comes earlier every year.   Hopefully we'll have a few more decent days until the 20's roll around.

Friday, October 23, 2009

October Trip #2: Women's Retreat

This month is a little out of the ordinary for our family.   Three trips this month! Last weekend I attended the Women of Faith conference, this weekend I will be attending our church's Women's Retreat, and next weekend we (as a family) will be driving down to Tulsa, OK to spend a few days with my cousin Wendy and her family and to celebrate her daughter's 2nd Birthday!  We're also going to take Zoe and Jessie trick-or-treating.   This will be Zoe's first time trick-or-treating.  Normally when I was growing up I attended Harvest Festivals at various churches in San Diego and that is where we' d usually spend our Halloween evenings, either that or we'd be at home hanging out candy.  I suspect that is what we will be doing most years with our children in the future.  However, this year we're going to be visiting my cousin and so this year we are going to trick-or-treat! I'm excited, it'll be fun and hopefully it won't be as cold down there as it is up here in Sioux Falls!

I leave for the retreat in about an hour.  Yesterday I went to Bible Study for the first time this season, someone there offered me a ticket to the retreat.  I literally know nothing about it, I don't even know where we're going! haha.. but I'm excited to see what God has in store.  Leaving Gage and Zoe for more than a couple hours is always hard to do.  At least this time it is only 24 hrs instead of 2 1/2 days!

Monday, October 19, 2009

To God Alone be the Glory

Aaron Shust - To God Alone
From the album Take Over

Can you take me by the hand
Can you use me as I am
Break me into who you want me to be
When the time is finally right

You will open up my eyes
Show me everything you want me to see
This life is not my own

To God alone be the glory
To God alone be the praise
Everything I say and do
Let it be all for you

The glory is yours alone
Yours alone Take the offering
I bring You want more than what I sing
Can I give you every part of me

Turn these pennies into gold
Take this life I call my own
Until I'm running after your heart
I'm needing to let go

We will rise and we will fall
But you remain after all
You're glorious and beautiful You're beautiful

Women of Faith... Faith in Whom?

This past weekend I attended the Women of Faith conference in St. Paul, MN with a friend of mine.  It was nice to be encouraged by other women about certain life circumstances.  I enjoyed hearing a few testimonies from the speakers and the worship team sang beautifully.   Even after many moments of fun and laughter and encouragement, as I said in my previous post, I was hoping to learn about God at this conference.

After some careful thought I divided the conference into percentages of what occurred during the conference.  I would say that 30% of the the conference was talking about how great and wonderful and life-changing "Women of Faith" conferences are (which is self-promotion), 20% was devoted to the selling of the books, CDs, and DVDs available by the Women of Faith speakers (more self-promotion), 40% was life stories told by the women that taught very little about Christ, the other 10% was some teaching of Biblical principles, but never any solid biblical teaching.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Women of Faith, Here We Come!

[caption id="attachment_868" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Zoe, Shaina, Kjersten, Anna, and Christa - Anna's Birthday Sept 2009"]Zoe, Shaina, Kjersten, Anna, and Christa - Anna's Birthday Sept 2009[/caption]
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2

Tomorrow my friend Anna and I embark on a small road trip from Sioux Falls, SD to Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN where we will be attending the Women of Faith Conference.

This will be my first time leaving my daughter and husband for a weekend.   I'm a little nervous about leaving my family for a weekend and going to a conference that on the surface doesn't seem to put much emphasis on glorifying God.  I know that the Lord has me going to this conference for a purpose though.   Perhaps the videos and website don't do the conference justice and it truly is a God-centered conference and I will learn more about God through this experience.   That is my hope.  My fear is that the conference is about "finding myself" and building my "self-esteem"... I'm afraid it will be about "refreshing my soul", everything geared toward my emotions.  I'm worried it will be a lot of "fluff" and nothing with substance.  Quite frankly, I want less of me and more of Him, the more time spent glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ the better!  Only He is worthy of our praise! Without Him, there is nothing good about me.  (Psalm 16:2)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. - Romans 12:3

What I am excited about is spending time Anna! We haven't really hung out much without our husbands and daughters around so this will be a real blessing!  2 days of fun-filled girl time!  Something I haven't had much of in the past 3 years, so I'm thrilled for this time of fellowship.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy 19th Birthday Gabby!


Today is my sister's 19th Birthday!  19!!! I remember the day she was born!   Happy Birthday little Sis!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Taking it Easy

"How are we going to find a tree with all of these woods around here?" - Tigger

I'm not a huge fan of television these days but I love the smile that Zoe gets on her face when My Friends Tigger and Pooh comes on.  Right now she is enjoying a "nack" (snack) and watching "Pooh".   We're having somewhat of a lazy day.  I've been sick for the past week and my house is a mess.  It started off as abdominal pain that got progressively worse, on the 3rd day I came to a point where I was in constant pain that was comparable to labor pains, it went on for over 5 hrs so we went to the hospital.  I had an ultrasound, a CT scan, and multiple other tests and the end result was that it is most likely a virus.  Sooo, I've been "waiting it out" at home.  The pain that I had on Saturday is gone but I'm still ill.   I've spent the last couple of days trying to clean up the house little by little and resting as much as possible.

What an interesting month we've had!  Hopefully this next month is a little less crazy.

Upcoming Events:

October 16 & 17 -   I'm going to the Women of Faith Conference in Minneapolis, MN with my friend Anna.  I don't know anything about any of the speakers so I'm a little nervous about it but I'm sure it'll be a fun experience.

October 30 - November 3 -  Gage, Zoe, and I are going to drive down to Tulsa, OK to visit my cousin Wendy and her family.  We'll be celebrating her daughter's 2nd birthday as well as Halloween.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Coupon Lingo

When reading coupon blogs and website you can easily get lost in all the crazy lingo there is out there! Here’s a list of some popular ones you’ll come across:

MFC - Manufacter’s coupon
SC – Store Coupon
SS – Smart Source Insert (found in the Sunday papers)
RP – Red Plum Insert (found in the Sunday papers)
Peelie – A “save now” coupon that peels off the package.
GC - Gift Card
BOGO- Buy one, Get one
MIR - Mail-in Rebate
$1/2 - $1 off of 2 items
2/$1 - 2 items for $1
RR - Walgreens Register Rewards
WYB – When You Buy
OOP - Out Of Pocket
MM - Money Maker

<-- Back to Coupons 101

Coupons 101

It is true that with enough planning and searching you can find coupons for just about anything and save tons of money on items you regularly buy each year.   The key is making sure you buy only the things you would buy on a regular basis and not just buy things because you have a coupon, also make sure you are only using your coupons on items that are on sale, that way you are getting the best deal possible.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

...then there was LIGHT!

Today we had a tree service company come to take down a bunch of the more dangerous branches from the trees in the front and back yards.   Now we have some extra light shining into our home! I'm so excited!

We're preparing for a Garage Sale at our home  that will take place Thursday through Saturday.  I had no idea just how much STUFF I have to get rid of.   So far I've filled an entire large table with baby girl clothes alone.  If you are in the Sioux Falls area and know of anyone who needs little girl clothes, let them know about our garage sale!  It's a 3 (possibly 4) family sale so we have a ton of stuff for all ages.

I'm hoping to begin potty training Zoe next week.  Last week we bought her a "potty".

Baby Bjorn Potty

If I can manage to stay home without making any trips anywhere for 3-4 days next week I'll do it.  I've had friends that have been successful (with girls at least) before age 2 and I think it's better to start her earlier anyway.   I'm pretty sure we're the only country in the world that waits until our babies are older than 2 or 3  to start potty training.  It doesn't make too much sense in my opinion.

Right now Zoe is trying to put a bowl on her head and call it a "hat" ... oh wait, now she's trying to put it on my head.  Silly girl.

Time for lunch!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Laying Foundations for Homeschooling (and for Life)

Our daughter is only 18 months old.   She's still my sweet little baby, still in diapers, still uses a binky, still sits in a high why am I already thinking about homeschooling?  We still have about 2 more years until she'll be nearing preschool age.  However, with Zoe's sudden increase in words and understanding basic concepts, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to teach her and how I want to go about teaching  these things to her.

A few days ago I decided to search for some basic things I can begin teaching Zoe now that will help her to develop some good skills that will help her once she begins homeschooling.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thoughts on Boredom

The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.  -- Proverbs 12:24

The dictionary defines the word bored as:

-verb (used with object)
1. to weary by dullness, tedious repetition, unwelcome attentions, etc.

2. a dull, tiresome, or uncongenial person.
3. a cause of ennui or petty annoyance: repetitious tasks that are a bore to do.

It seems like such a simple and innocent thing.   Everyone falls into this state of mind at times and it doesn't seem like it could ever really do a person any harm. When you are bored it means your brain is lacking stimulation and you need to do something that will stimulate the brain.   However if you find yourself in a place where you are repeatedly bored every day, "weary of dullness" and finding that nothing in life seems to amuse you or give you joy, that is when problems with boredom begin to arise. Especially if you are a Christian. You become engulfed in yourself, God is no longer the center of your life, and your goal is simply to please yourself and if you cannot find what you are looking for, if you stay wrapped up in yourself and your lack of productivity, it can often lead to depression.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Living and Learning in October 09

I have often made lists similar to this on scratch paper, but today I was inspired by this blog. I love the idea of having a list of things I'm currently doing and a list of goals for the month.  I accomplish so many more tasks with the help of lists and having it posted on a blog in some ways holds me accountable!

Special Days and Events:

  • October:  Pastor Appreciation Month and  Breast Cancer Awareness Month

  • October 4 - Gage's brother's 17th Birthday

  • October 8-10th - Garage Sale

  • October 9 - Autumn Festival (Arts & Crafts Show)

  • October 12 - Zoe turns 19 months old

  • October 14 - My sister's 19th Birthday

  • October 16-18 -  Traveling to Minnesota for the Women of Faith Conference with Anna.

  • October 22 - Eat a Pretzel Day!  Yum :)

  • October 29 - Our 5th Dating/Courting Anniversary

  • October 30 - Drive to Tulsa, OK

  • October 31 - Halloween.  Zoe is Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz this year!  Grandma Jenny is making her costume.

Homemaking  Goals:

  • Establish some regular routines with Zoe (night time routine, day time routine, etc)

  • Establish a new Meal Planning system.

  • Put away summer clothes.  Get out, wash, and organize warm clothing.

  • Go through the house and find a TON of stuff to sell at the Garage sale! ;)

  • Attempt to make a soup from scratch.  I've never done this before.

  • Complete my "framed photo collage" on the wall in the living room.  It looks silly right now because it's missing a framed photo.


  • Read Proverbs and answer the questions in the study book for church.

  • Continue to read "Lies Women Believe" by Nancy Leigh Demoss

  • Things to try: Oil Cleansing (for face)

  • Study:  Godly Wisdom

  • Do research on the following topics:  Homemade and Natural Soaps,  Charlotte Mason, Toddler Education, Breast Cancer


  • Teach Zoe how to draw with crayons on paper, rather than eating them.

  • Begin teaching Zoe about the "Potty"

  • A visit to the Pumpkin Patch.

  • A trip to the Library.

  • A trip to the Zoo (weather permitting)

  • Bake cookies with Zoe's "help".

  • Continue to work on sharing.

Should Christians "Go Green"?

As a Christian, should I "Go Green"?

My verdict is...yes and no! :)

Lately it seems that everyone has turned into an environmental activist.  Everywhere you turn there are products labeled as "Green", "Natural", or "Organic".  Much of this, unfortunately, stems from the idea of global warming and/or climate change, and not so much a genuine concern for the care of the planet.  Whether or not global warming is an actual threat to the world, the fact is that God is not the primary focus of this movement.

This movement is a result of human fears of having something to do with the destruction of the world.   The primary focus is ourselves and our future grandchildren, great-grandchildren...and so on.  It is true that humans have had a bad effect on the environment and the only responsible way to react to this is to stop what we've been doing and take steps to erase the harmful effects of what has been done by man.   This is a marvelous act of stewardship, it is taking care of the planet, which is what God intended for us to do.

My problem with "going green" is that most people do this to save the planet and all if its inhabitants from extinction.  It is a fear that humans are going to destroy the earth and will no longer be able to survive.  The truth is, God is in complete control of this planet and it's destruction will not come as a result of human activity alone.  The earth is "warming" in some areas because it is God's will for it to happen, and it is "cooling" in some areas because it is God's will.

Heating and cooling are  natural occurrences that have happened before and will happen again as long as the earth exists.  This is how God designed our planet. Our mistreatment of the environment may be one way he brings it to destruction, but in the end it is God who will destroy the earth, the sun, the moon, and everything else in this universe.  I believe our culture puts too much emphasis on the goodness of this earth, it is believed to be the sole sustainer of our lives and our love of the earth can quickly turn into idolatry if we are not careful  to realize that God is the true sustainer. As Christians we are to worship the Creator, not the creation. (Suggested reading: Deuternonomy 4:15-20)

Zoe's Sores and New Bangs

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. - Proverbs 3: 5-6

What a week! God has truly been testing us this past month.   Just when I thought things were going to be back to normal around here, Zoe somehow got these horrible painful sores in her mouth.  For the past 4 days she has been in terrible pain each time she tries to eat or drink anything.  Even without doing anything to her mouth, she'll burst into tears randomly, all day long.   Oh how difficult it is to watch my child in pain! There were about a hundred times where she'd be crying in pain and there was absolutely nothing we could do to help her.   I found myself asking God why he was allowing this to happen to her.   God assured me though that his ways are not our ways and we just need to trust him and not lean on our own understanding.  It finally occurred to me that Zoe may actually be learning things through this trial, as are we.  God works everything for the good of those who love him,  and so we trust that He is doing a good work here.

Today is the first day she hasn't cried all morning, so hopefully this means the worst is behind her.

A few days ago, when we thought it was just her teething that was causing the problem, she had a couple hours of relief after she received her medicine so we took her, finally, to get bangs.   The poor girl has had hair in her face for about 4 months now!  Now, she can see clearly and looks absolutely adorable! :)

[caption id="attachment_762" align="alignleft" width="198" caption="Before"]Before[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_761" align="alignright" width="198" caption="After"]New Bangs![/caption]

Friday, October 2, 2009

New blog....

This is my first official post at "Homemaking with Shaina" .

I'm horrible at coming up with creative and unique blog titles so I stuck with the most simple title I could come up with.  This blog is devoted to the art of  homemaking and my name is Shaina so, there you have it!  I've seriously changed the name of this blog 4 times now because I always try to be creative and end up disliking the name (all the more reason to never ever get a tattoo).  I'm pretty sure I'll stick with this one.  It's simple and to the point.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Substitute for Borax?

Natural homemade cleaning recipes are all the rage on the internet right now! It's exciting to have so many options for natural cleaning products.  Unfortunately many of the recipes contain the natural product Borax.  Borax is natural (by the fact that it can be mined) but it is also toxic which is why I want to avoid it if possible.

Yes, I do love the Soap Nuts for use as laundry detergent.  However, I've heard from many people that making your own homemade laundry soap is even more cost effective than the Soap Nuts.   I've also heard that homemade laundry soap works just as well (if not better) than regular detergent.  I ended up finding a recipe on the Duggars website. It is what they use for their family of 20 (soon to be 21)!

This recipe includes water, washing soda, borax, and melted bars of soap. This recipe yields hundreds of loads for approximately $3.00. Sounds like a great deal to me! I want to try it, but it contains borax. I'm on a search to find a recipe that contains no harsh chemicals and that is also non-toxic.

These were some suggestions I found as Substitutes for Borax:

  • Arm & Hammar Washing Soda (for use in laundry or general household cleaning)

  • Baking Soda or Salt (for abrasive scrubbing)

Not a lot of solutions!  Have any of you readers out there (yeah, all 5 of you!)  heard of any other substitutions for Borax?

Homemaker's Job Description

Making a home is a commendable job, whether you are a full-time or part-time homemaker, managing your home is well worth your time.   Being a full-time homemaker I will occasionally get the "Do you work?" or the "What do you do all day?" questions.   Normally my response is cheerfully saying, "I am able to stay home full-time with my daughter!" or, "I do whatever my family needs me to do for them."

But what does this job entitle? Does staying home really constitute as work?   Of course it does! I'm always baffled by people who think that homemakers do not work.  Honestly, I believe working full-time job outside the home would be the easier route in many ways, as well as less rewarding.  Being a homemaker requires use of every skill that you have and then some!

Job Description of a Homemaker

Responsibilities: A homemaker must...

  • be willing to work 7 days a week, for the rest of your life.

  • understand that your family comes before yourself.

  • work diligently in the home for the benefit of the family and/or guests.

  • spend quality time with each child (if you are a mother)

  • maintain the laundry

  • keep the dishes clean

  • be willing to clean the entire home thoroughly and safely.

  • be willing to cook on a regular basis and provide nourishing foods.

  • be aware that you determine the atmosphere and character of the home.

  • practice thanksgiving at all times and in every situation.

  • maintain an organized and functional household, to the best of your ability.

  • educate yourself and seek out the most beneficial resources for the household.

  • be patient and able to shrug off any negative comments on your commendable work.

  • be able to maintain your work while in the midst of a difficult situation.

  • be a cook, home economist, nutritionist, dishwasher, interior decorator, organizer, writer, gardener, landscaper, teacher, housekeeper, and anything else your family may need.


  • Family - Time spent with your family is time well spent.   It is indispensable. Your bonds with each member of the family improves with every moment spent together.   Our culture wants you to believe that time spent bonding is no longer important - never listen to this lie.  Time with your family is essential and your family will benefit greatly from it.

  • Freedom -  To learn, to live, and to enjoy people!  Homemakers spend a great deal of time learning. One great benefit of being a homemaker is the opportunity to study anything and everything your heart desires! Homemakers also have more time spend developing their relationships with family and friends, time for hospitality, time for ministry, as well as more time to develop their skills and abilities.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Our Story

The Herrmann Family Story

Our Story

My husband Gage and I both grew up in San Diego, CA. We met through in August 2005. I know, I know... we met on Myspace? Yes, but there is more to this story - read on.

After the death of my Mom in July of that year I strongly desired to be in fellowship with other believers. It was time spent in the Word (the Bible) and time spent with other Christians that helped me get through that initial period of grief. I became involved in multiple Bible studies and I created a San Diego County Christians group on with the hope of meeting some new Christians in the area and providing a new way for Christians in the area to meet. I had never had a boyfriend before, in fact, for the first time in my life I wasn't looking for a boyfriend.

Gage was a new Christian with no believing friends. He joined with the hope that he would meet some new friends. I was thrilled when I heard his story because that was the exact reason I decided to start that group! I invited him to join my friends and I at a bible study and we met in person at Calvary Chapel Hidden Valley on September 8, 2005. Little did we know at the time that God was orchestrating his plan to bring us together in marriage. Two months after we met we were a couple and a little over one year after we met we married on September 16, 2006. Our first kiss was on our Wedding day!

Zoe - October 2008

On March 12, 2008 we welcomed our first child into the world! A baby girl named Zoe Kimberly (named after her Grandma Kimberly, my mother, who passed away in 2005). She is the most incredible blessing God has granted us with. She is such a joy to have and we look forward watching her grow and learn.

Right now Gage is attending school at Southeast Technical Institute (STI). He has already received a diploma as a Software Support Specialist, and is continuing his work to earn an A.A.S. in Computer Programming. I am a stay-at-home-Mom now and I absolutely love it! I couldn't ask for a better job than this! What a blessing and privilege it is to not need to work outside of the home. My days right now are spent hanging out with my baby girl and working on whatever needs to be done around the house. In the summertime we enjoy going for walks and going to various parks in town. I have a passion for learning. If I could, I would go to school all my life. This is probably why the idea of homeschooling is so exciting to me! I love studying, reading, planning, organizing, resourcefulness, and creativity. I also enjoy writing and photography. I have just earned a Diploma in Photography and hope to one day earn some extra money for our family through my photography.

Beginning a Natural and Healthy Lifestyle

Here you will find a compilation of articles written by me and other valuable resources that have been a huge help to me in establishing a more natural lifestyle.   This section of the site will expand as I discover new and exciting things to share!

"Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. " -- 3 John 1:2.

My Journey to Natural Living - Self explanatory! :)

Natural Living Archive - All my blog posts pertaining to a natural and healthy life.

Nutritional Eating on a Budget - Lindsay (from Passionate Homemaking) has listed her step-by-step journey to eating nutritionally.

Nutritional Eating: What is Most Important? - This is another article written by Lindsay on the deceitfulness of the word "natural" in the majority of food marketing and where to begin your search for the most nutritious foods.

Weston A. Price Foundation -  Basically any nutritional information you are seeking can be found on this website. Each article is well researched and studied.  The amount of information on this site can be a bit overwhelming, I recommend picking one topic to study at a time.

Soap Nuts - Laundry soap is one of the easiest things to change which is why I believe Soap Nuts are a great place to start!  This is my review of this frugal and 100% natural way to do your laundry! I highly recommend these. Click here to order a 5 load sample for less than $3!

Urban Homemaker -  This is a family run business that promotes "old fashioned skills for contemporary people." It is an excellent resource for homemakers.  They even provide a free catalog that can be sent to your home that includes tons of useful information.

Natural Living from a Biblical Perspective

The Bible is silent on the issue of genetically modified foods and toxic cleaning agents and such, but it is not silent on these two things:

Our Bodies: Health / Nutrition: 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20  says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” As a Christian wife and mother, it is my duty to make sure my family well fed and safe (Proverbs 31: 10-31). One way of honoring God with our bodies is to be careful and wise about what we are putting into our bodies. I believe it is important to be well educated on the foods that we eat. So much of what we have been taught about food in this country is misleading.  Foods in their original form contain all of the nutrients God created them with.

God’s Creation – Our Environment: The natural resources that God created have sustained the lives of billions of people, animals, and plants from the very beginning of the Earth’s existence. God expects us to care for his creation, not to destroy it. While I’m not a huge fan of the social “Green” movement (as I do not believe in a global warming crisis), but I do believe in good stewardship over the land that God has given to us.

God's Call to Christian Women

Sisters in Christ,

Be encouraged in knowing that your serve's an incredible purpose - that is to glorify and serve our sovereign God!   In all that you do, do it to serve the Lord.   Whether you are single or married, that is God's call to his people - men and women alike - to serve Him!  God is glorified when we obey his commands and when we are willing to serve Him through our actions.  When we look to the scriptures, we see that God has specifically designed women to be the loving nurturers of the family.

How can we honor God in our homes?

  • Establish a reverence for God in your home.  There is nothing more important than this.  Do this by studying God's word, not just reading it.  Know the Bible.  Really know Jesus Christ, don't just call Him your Lord if he isn't (Jesus warns us about this in Matthew 7:21-23).  He wants your heart, not your good intentions.

  • Married women, love your husband (Titus 2) and submit to him as Jesus submits to God (the Father).

  • Mothers, love your children (Titus 2), teach the ways of God to your children, shepherd their hearts, and be an example that will influence them to always put Jesus first.

  • Working mothers (outside the home), maintain a proper balance so that your family never suffers.  Read Provebers 31.  Ask God for wisdom in making decisions regarding this balance of family and career.

  • Single women, don't rule out any preparation for future homemaking responsibilities.  If you have a desire to be married one day, prepare your hearts and minds for marriage and ministry in the home.  If you do not desire to be married, you have the wonderful gift of singleness! You can devote even more of your time to the Lord and you can use your home to practice hospitality.

  • Joyfully accept every single task and doing it all for the glory of God!

  • Serve your family and others before yourself.

  • Being an encouragement to your family.

  • Exercise the fruits of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control.

  • Pursue a joyful, pure, and humble heart.

  • Be a proverbs 31 woman!  Proverbs 31:10-31.

  • A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!

  • Expect persecution, be slow to anger, gracefully accept criticism.

  • Keep watch over all that goes on within the home; see to it that God is glorified in your home.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Autumn has Arrived!

Things I am looking forward to this season...

  • Leaves changing and falling to the ground.

  • The cooler weather!

  • Breaking out the sweaters and long sleeved shirts.

  • Raking leaves: I've actually never done it before so I'm excited to try something new.

  • Picking apples the Apple Orchard!

  • Apple cider.

  • Picking out pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch.

  • Cooking and pureeing a pumpkin to use in a few recipes.

  • Baking pumpkin seeds.

  • Zoe's second attempt at coloring. I printed out a picture of a pumpkin. I plan to give her some orange crayons and have at it! :) Her first attempt was in a restaurant, she tried to eat the crayons.

  • Tons of beautiful photographing opportunities!

  • Getting out my autumn decorations for the house!

  • Candles!

  • Our first Garage Sale since we've lived in Sioux Falls.

  • Finding a cute little costume for Zoe for Halloween.

  • Fall into Reading Challenge - this year I will set a lower goal than I did last year and only include books I own already. Last year I made it through half a book! haha.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Wonderful Wednesday

Wednesday was a wonderful day!
That morning I babysat my friend Anna's daughter Kjersten for about an hour and a half. Later that day I went for a much needed walk. It was a beautiful day! At about 5:30ish Anna and her husband came over to pick up Zoe, as we were in need of a babysitter that day too!

Gage's Dad bought us tickets to go see the Wizard of Oz in HD at our theater here in town. We met up with Mike (Gage's Dad) at about 6:30 at the theater. It was showing for one night only, in celebration of it's 70th Anniversary (available on DVD on Sept 29th!). This was also my first time ever seeing the movie in its entirety! I know I had seen bits and pieces of it over the years but I had never watched the whole thing.

After the movie, we got some Cold Stone ice cream... and we all ended up getting a "Like It" size of Coffee Lovers. I had never had that before (usually I just get coffee with heath). Having that extra caramel and almonds in there made it extra delicious :)

Wednesday was a much needed day of relaxation. Even though the previous Wednesday was our Anniversary and we were able to get away for a full 24 hrs (which was *amazing*), we went through quite an ordeal last Sat night and the whole week we had been tense, worried, and completely stressed over all that had happened and what was to come. After Wednesday I started to believe that things really are going to get back to normal around here. We still have no idea where Rachel and her kids are, or if they are safe, so we continue to pray for them. But now it is time for us to let it go and see what Lord is going to do with the situation.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Zoe at 18 Months Old!

Her Favorite Words/Sayings:

"I sit down."


"Gink?" (Drink)


"Guck." (Stuck)

"Daaeee" (Daddy)

"Baff?" (Bath)

"Bie" (Bite)

"Err Go" (There we go.)

"Peee" (Penny, our dog.)

"Sooeee" (Zoe)

"Cheeos?" (Cheerios.)

"Aaaww Done"

As soon as we finish putting her shoes on, she says, "Ahh Go!!" As in, "Let's Go!" If it actually is time to go, she continues with saying "Keys?", "Cars!", "Go!" "Buh-Bye!"

Words Learned this Week:

"Mouse." (As in, computer mouse...of course. Hehe. She was calling it a car so we had to teach her the proper term.)



"Fie" (High Five)

"Hom" (Home)

"Anna" (My friend)

"Fum" (Fun)


"Bow" (Ball)

"Oww" (When she gets hurt)


"Wuss" (Uncle Russ)
"Judah" (one of her friends from church)

"Noah" from the Bible

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Trusting the Lord in a Difficult Time

I was right when I talked about this being a time I will never forget. Things we witnessed this week will stay with us for many years, if not the rest of our lives. My heart is aching, I feel so sad and so betrayed.

The people that we welcomed into our home a week and a half ago turned out to be in more trouble than they initially let on. Ever since they arrived here there had been tension, non-stop stress, anxiety, and confusion. From the moment they arrived they were secretive, treated us with disrespect, they took advantage of our willingness to help them, they mistreated our home, they lied to us, and they hid very important information from us. They also expected far more from us than we were able to give, which is difficult to understand given that they were the ones in need of help to begin with. The more we tried to show them kindness, the worse things seemed to get.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shopping Days

Gage works at our local grocery store and because of this we receive a small rebate at around Christmas according to how much we spent in the store during the year. Honestly I think if we shopped at Wal Mart all the time we'd save the same amount or more...but even so, I think it is better to do more local shopping and it'll be nice to get an extra small paycheck around Christmas. They have set aside 3 days out of each month for us to buy our groceries (usually the 3rd weekend of the month). Today was one of the days. Grocery shopping used to be something I loved to do, but now it involves so much more than just go, grab a few things for the week, pay, and leave.

Now we must:

1) Create a list of meals for the month. Then create a list of the ingredients needed to make those meals - writing them down in groups that go somewhat in the same way the store aisles go (vegetables, canned foods, deli, dairy, etc). Using the local grocery ad, check to see if any of those ingredients are on sale (or plan meals according to whatever is on sale!), check the pantry to see if there are any items that are not needed at the store. Make a seperate list of non-food items needed.

2) Remember to bring the re-usable bags. They are so easy to forget, even if they are in the trunk...I forget to bring them in.

3) Remember to bring the WIC pouch with the WIC checks in it.

4) Remember to bring any coupons we may have for items we regularly buy (this is one I forgot to do today)
5) Remember to go to the customer service counter to get our "Employee certificate" thing before we shop.

6) Keep Zoe settled down (We LOVE those kid carts shaped as busses and whatnot. Even though they are a huge pain to push around, she loves to "drive" them and it keeps her occupied for a while.)
7) Find *everything* on the list. I try my hardest to plan our list according to the aisles but I can't always remember which isle things are in. I hate to backtrack, especially when pushing one of those huge kid carts around.


8) Examine the ingredients of every little thing we buy.
9) At the checkout, remember to separate our WIC items from our regular items because they run as a separate transaction.

10) At the checkout, remember to give them the re-usable bags, coupons, WIC checks, employee certificate, etc.

Going grocery shopping has become such a huge process, which is another reason why I love to just do one main trip each month. However, since circumstances have changed around here with 7 people in the house rather than 3, I've decided to do a big trip every 2 weeks for the time being. Though that does mean that half of what we spend next month will not be part of our Christmas rebate...oh well. Shopping for 7 people for a month seems to be a little too much for me at the moment.

God-Centered Ministries and Resources

For the Family:

Discussion and Learning about God:

Theological Discussion and Encouragement for Women:




  • Waiting for the One -  A beautiful ministry that was founded by my childhood friend Nicole and her husband Dan.

Personal Favorites:

What We Believe

We are Evangelical Christian, born-again believers who hold to the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith alone.

The Bible teaches that all it takes is one sin to separate us from God forever.  This is because God is holy and perfect and no evil can reside with Him. It is sin that separates humans from God.  The only way for man to reconcile sin was to pay for it in blood.  That is why God sent Jesus Christ to this earth -to reconcile the sins of all who would believe.  Jesus taught that only through Him can anyone have hope for Heaven.  He died and He rose again 3 days later, having paid the price of sin for all who would believe in  Him!  Jesus deserves nothing less than everything we have to give because He gave everything He had for us.

Statement of Faith:  We believe,

  1. The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.

  2. In one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  3. That Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross, a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He is now our High Priest and Advocate.

  4. That the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and, during this age, to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for godly living and service.

  5. That man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is, therefore, lost, and only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.

  6. That the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit and, thus become children of God.

  7. That water baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances to be observed by the Church during the present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as a means of salvation.

  8. That the true Church is composed of all such persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the Body of Christ of which He is the Head.

  9. That only those who are, thus, members of the true Church shall be eligible for membership in the local church.

  10. That Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of the Church and that every local church has the right, under Christ, to decide and govern its own affairs.

  11. In the personal and premillennial and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and that this "Blessed Hope" has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer.

  12. In the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord; of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.

Theology, etc:

Theology is the intellectual, relational and spiritual act of knowing God through the disciplined and communal practice of understanding and applying His word to all areas of life. – A. Orendorff

  • Reformed Theology – A belief system that seeks to teach same doctrine that the Jesus and the apostles taught. Reformed theology holds to the authority of Scripture, the sovereignty of God, salvation by grace through Christ, and the necessity of evangelism.

  • Calvinism – A major issue for Protestants is determining the degree to which Man contributes to his salvation. This is expressed usually in a Calvinistic or Armenian view, however sometimes the two views are combined. We definitely lean more towards the Calvinistic view than the Armenian view.  Both views can go too far and reach extremes that are both unbiblical.  I don't believe we are robots controlled by God and I don't believe we have full-control over our salvation.  I personally believe strongly in God’s sovereignty and believe it works together with "free-will".  Both truths are specifically addressed in the Bible, therefore I believe both are true.   Our finite minds will never fully grasp this.  This is a debate that will go on and on until people come to the conclusion that God is fully capable of allowing free will and his sovereignty to work together.

  • Evangelism –  Sharing the Gospel (good news) with others.  “…through the law comes to knowledge of sin.” - Romans 3:20.  If one does not understand their sin, they will never understand their need for a savior.   The Way of the Master uses the 10 Commandments (the mosaic law) to prove the existence of sin, which is an essential part of an accurate understanding of the Gospel.

Local Resources for Moms

[caption id="attachment_881" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD"]Falls Park in  Sioux Falls, SD[/caption]

Sioux Falls, South Dakota


Local Food Sources:

Resources for Moms:



Moms Like Me - Sioux Falls


Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Journey to Natural Living

For years I was turned off by anything labeled as natural or organic, I thought it was for the paranoid people afraid of pesticides and it also tied in with political environmental issues that I have never believed to be true.  I never thought of these (whole) foods as a source of good health and an excellent source of nutrition! In fact, I’ve never been much of a nutritionist.  My views of nutrition have been shaped by the media almost entirely.  If the commercial said it was healthy, I believed it.  If the cereal box said it had all the vitamins I needed, I believed it. I always just assumed that whatever the media had to say about nutrition must be true.

In the past couple of years the Lord has shown me that the media has been deceiving me in more ways than I can count. Food is definitely one of them.  The more I looked into nutritional facts, the more I came to realize that a large majority of the food I thought was perfectly normal had little or no nutrition value whatsoever.   No wonder why we have so many health problems and obesity issues these days!

I began to read a few blogs by other women who have found the same things to be true and have since changed their ways.  I have been inspired by these women and have now decided that it’s time to get serious about nutrition and health in our family.  Natural living is simply using the most natural resources available, that means avoiding harmful cleaning chemicals, avoiding highly processed and nutritionally deficient food, recycling, and being a good steward of the land God has provided us with.

I am very new at this so basically if you are a reader of this site,  we will be learning together one baby step at a time!  As I study I will continue to post beneficial links and resources on this page as I find them.

Finding Joy in the Winter Months

For our family, this time of year is full of two things: celebrations and a slightly overwhelming sense of cabin fever. Both Gage and I cel...