Saturday, February 28, 2009

Uncle Joe

Uncle Joe and his wife Ellie back in May 2008 at our Family Reunion

My Dad's Uncle Joe passed away last night. Please keep our family in your prayers this week. He was a very sweet man. My great-grandmother (who is 96) is taking it pretty hard. He was like a son to her.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Anxiously awaiting....

...the birth of my new little cousin (1st cousin once removed?). She is going to be delivered via c-section in the morning at 8:00 am, PST. Please pray for my cousin Adam and his wife Kristie! Pray that they are able to get some rest before their big day tomorrow and that the delivery goes smoothly, no complications.

I am SO excited! This will be their 2nd child - their first was a boy named Elliott, who is now 2 years old. Click here to see one of the cutest videos you will ever see.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Menu Planning: Change of Plans - New 8 Week Plan!

I've decided to take meal planning to the extreme and change my 6 week meal plan to an 8 week meal plan. Crazy! I know. I know. BUT, it works out far better this way with our grocery rebate system. Gage works for the grocery store and at the end of the year they give us back 10% of what we spend there, but we have to go on specific days in the month. Since I only go shopping once a month anyway this works out great because now I have a time period where I have to go. This month it was between the 20th and 23rd.

I could just do a 4 week plan, but my whole reasoning behind the 6 week plan was that it gave me more time to forget about meal planning! So now I am going to attempt at an 8 week plan. If this works out, that means I have 2 months of no daily meal planning, which means more time for me to do more important writing on this blog ;) jk.

I re-worked the entire plan (pretty much) because I had my sister give me some feedback on the plan and I took off some of the meals (not all!) that she doesn't like so much and replaced them with things I know she will eat.

So here it is!

8 Week Menu Plan

February 16th - 22nd (Grocery Shopping)

M – Waffles & Eggs

T – Tuna Melts

W – Dinner with Family

Th – Beef & Bean Burritos

F - (Grocery Shopping Day)

Sa - Tortellini with Ham and Peas

Su - Broc, Cheese, and Ham Stuffed Potatoes

February 23rd - March 1st

M - Spinach Quiche

T - Chili Dogs

W - Pork Chops and Potatoes

Th - Fast Food or Restaurant

F - Dinner with Family

Sa - Broccoli and Chicken Penne Pasta

Su - Spaghetti

March 2nd - 8th (Quick Trip Week)

M - Fettuccine Alfredo

T - Chicken Piccata

W - Mushroom Macaroni

Th - Tacos / Tostadas

F - Dinner with Family

Sa – Tuna Casserole

Su – Hodgepodge Night

March 9th - 15th

M – Pasta Salad, Potatoes

T – Sweet & Sour Mini Meatloaves

W - My sister Gabby arrives! Staying in Omaha overnight. (Fast Food)

Th -ZOE'S 1st BIRTHDAY! CiCi's

F - Dinner with Family

Sa- Zoe's Birthday Party

Su- Ravioli, Salad

March 16th - 22nd (Grocery Shopping)

M – Ham & Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes

T - Ham & Cheese Melts, Veggies

W - Mom's Chili and Cornbread

Th- Chili Burgers, Salad

F - Dinner with Family (GS)

Sa – Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Su – Taco Salad

March 23rd – 29th

M – Fettuccine Alfredo, Salad

T – Chicken Quesadillas, Corn

W – Chicken Tortellini Soup

Th – Chicken Tacos

F – Dinner with Family

Sa – Sloppy Joe’s, Veggies

Su – 3 Cheese Beef Pasta Shells

March 30th – April 5th (Quick Trip Week)

M – Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

T – Homemade Pizza or Pepperoni Rolls

W – Soup / Macaroni Night

Th – Banana Waffles & Eggs

F – Dinner with Family

Sa – Pasta Salad, Potatoes

Su – Spinach Quiche

April 6th – 12th

M – Hodgepodge Night

T – White Bean & Ham Soup

W – Fast Food / Restaurant Night

Th – Mushroom Mac

F – Dinner with Family or Beef Stroganoff (recipe @

Sa – Sloppy Joe's, Corn

Su – Spaghetti

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Gabby & Me on my Wedding Day

My little sister Gabby is coming to visit! She bought a one way ticket and does not know how long she will be here. Neither of us have any money whatsoever so I'm trying to think of some things to do while she's here that don't involve using any (or very little) money. Anyone have any ideas?


Friday, February 13, 2009

Zoe - 11 Months

Zoe is 11 months old now! :) She is growing up way too fast. I still feel like she's still way younger than she is. She'll be a year old in less than a month now! I wish she could stay a baby for just a little longer. I'm enjoying her more and more as she gets older though!

As for any family news, we are all doing pretty well now. Gage got a tutoring job at his school! He's enjoying his work, school, and his many projects he's been working on at home. Zoe and I are used to spending a lot of time in our home but not quite as much as we have the past couple weeks. Zoe has had a cold for about 3 weeks now and last week I was sick with a cold which I still have but not nearly as bad as before. Most of my time lately has been spent sitting on my couch watching Zoe, reading, on the computer, or watching TV. Now that I'm feeling better I have a long list of things that need to get done in the house!

Lately, Miss Zoe Kimberly has been up to:
  • Singing a song! "laaada, laaaaaaada, layayda..." while swaying back and forth. It is quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life.
  • Placing her toys on top of the diaper boxes then knocking them off. Repeating this process over and over.
  • Hiding behind things and peaking out or around to get my attention - her version of "peek-a-boo" :)
  • Walking behind her Walk and Ride toy! (As of yesterday, her 11 month "birthday") She holds onto the handle and pushes, then walks as it pulls her.
  • Pointing at everything and saying either "dis" or "dada"
  • Throwing her cheerios down to the dogs instead of eating them. One day while she was doing this she was saying, "uh oh" with each cheerio!
  • Swimming for the first time! We went to an indoor pool last Friday. Gage and I took turns playing with her in the pool for about 45 minutes. She loved it! She just didn't understand the effect of splashing water. :)
  • Meeting Kyera for the first time on Wednesday (the 11th). She reached over and "pet" her head. It was soooo cute! I'll post a few pictures of this later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Our Next 6 Weeks

You can read about my previous 6 week plans here and here. I began this in October and it has been working wonderfully! We don't always stick to the plan (such as, if we get invited to friends or family's homes for dinner) but if we are home we stick to the plan and everything goes smoothly. It has also saved us a TON of money on groceries. My goal is to not spend more than $200/ month on groceries.

Here is our current 6 Week Meal Plan for February 9th - March 22nd.

February 9th - 15th

M - Chicken Quesadillas, Chips & Salsa, Corn
T - Egg Burritos
W - Sloppy Joe's
Th - Tuna Penne Casserole
F - Banana Waffles
Sa - Spaghetti
Su - Uncle Jeff's Birthday

February 16th - 22nd

M - Soup & Sandwiches
T - Beef & Bean Burritos
W - Tuna Melts
Th - Hamburger Casserole
F - (Grocery Shopping Day) - Dinner with Family
Sa - Tortellini with Ham and Peas
Su - Broc, Cheese, and Ham Stuffed Potatoes

February 23rd - March 1st

M - Spinach Quiche
T - Chili Dogs
W - Pork Chops and Potatoes
Th - Fast Food or Restaurant
F - Dinner with Family
Sa - Broccoli and Chicken Penne Pasta
Su - Spaghetti

March 2nd - 8th

M - Fettuccine Alfredo
T - Chicken Piccata
W - Mushroom Macaroni
Th - Tacos / Tostadas
F - Dinner with Family
Sa - White Bean Soup
Su - Shepherd's Pie

March 9th - 15th

M - Ravioli
T - Chili Burgers
W - My sister Gabby arrives! Fast Food or Restaurant.
Th -ZOE'S 1st BIRTHDAY! Fast food or Restaurant again.
F - Dinner with Family
Sa- Zoe's Birthday Party
Su- Taco Salad

March 16th - 22nd (Grocery Shopping)

M - Chicken Pot Pie
T - Sweet-and-Sour Muffin Meatloaves
W - Mom's Chili and Cornbread
Th- Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
F - Fettuccine Alfredo
Sa - Shepherd's Pie
Su -Pizza


Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Simple Saturday

Zoe has been sick with a cold for 2 1/2 weeks, and I have had a cold since Wednesday... it just seems to be getting worse each day. Zoe had a fever yesterday and again this morning. Ibuprofin is what has been getting us through this cold. She loves the taste of the liquid ibuprofen for babies so she's usually pretty upset once I give her one little taste of it then take it away. Oh well, it's worth it because it takes her fever away.

Right now we're just sitting around watching Finding Nemo (one of my favorite movies ever). Zoe is in the exersaucer playing with some toys and on our patio you will find not one but three rat terriers. Gage's family is on their way to Mexico for a week long mission trip and during this trip we have their dogs. They are basically going to be in the kitchen all week and outside when it's warm enough for them. I have got to buy a good mop... these dogs shed like crazy.

I've been doing whatever I can to get Zoe to eat because in addition to this cold/fever she is teething. Food is not very high on her list of favorite things right now. I think much of her illness is due to the teething but since I am sick now...I'm pretty sure what she has is due to more than just teething. She's been eating lots of Graham Crackers (her favorite food of the moment) and she'll eat plain oatmeal. Anything else I give her she will only eat a tiny bit of it, then she'll just cry and cry until I stop feeding her.

Well, from the looks of it, Zoe is done with her exersaucer for now. I'm off to entertain her! Maybe we'll try stacking some cups.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Engagement Photos: Nick & Monique

On Saturday I got to be a Photographer! :) I spent a few hours with my husband's cousin Monique and her fiance Nick and we went to about 4 or 5 different locations to take photos. They turned out pretty nice! Here are a few of them.

At the end of the day I ended up with over 600 photos which I narrowed down to about 300. Needless to say, they have LOTS to choose from!

This was my 2nd time doing engagement photography. However the first time I did it I used a regular point and shoot digital
camera and this time I used my Nikon D-40.

It was a BEAUTIFUL day and very warm (for this time of year) , it was in the 40's! Had we done it anytime earlier we would have been freezing cold in single digit degree weather or in the negatives. The weather on this day was a huge blessing! I had so much fun taking these photos - someday I hope to be able to do this regularly.

(The layout of this post is a little messed up, It is nearly impossible to arrange photos in the correct way in this text editor so... oh well! hehe)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Denny's turned into Culvers.

We got to Denny's.... took one look at the place and decided to go somewhere else. :) There was an hour and a half long wait and we would have had to stand OUTSIDE for most of that time...not so good when you have 2 little babies with you and its 10 degrees outside. We went to Culvers instead. Ohhh well!


Free Grand Slam!

Today until 2pm you can get a free Grand Slam at Denny's!

I can't believe I'm about to brave the ONE Denny's here in Sioux Falls...but I am. Zoe and I are going to go with Rachel and her son Evan. I'll let you know how it goes! :) Right now I'm picturing a half mile long line... haha.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day!

I've noticed that my "followers" (readers of this blog) have been dwindling. Guess my posts are not that interesting ;)

It's February 2nd, which's Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil once again saw his shadow so this means 6 more weeks of winter.... oh how I wish that was true. Here in Sioux Falls, SD it's more like 14 more weeks until the end of winter :)

This week I've been pretty busy! Monday was my 2nd to last Chiropractor appointment - my back has improved pretty drastically over the last 2 months! Wednesday we had our friends Mel & Tim over for dinner, Thursday was my morning Bible Study (Isaiah) and later that evening was our home group. Friday I introduced two of my friends (Marie and Anna). Recently Marie moved into a house that is directly across the street from Anna! They both have little babies so I thought it would be good for them to meet. Saturday I spent about 3-4 hours with Gage's cousin Monique and her fiance Nick, taking engagement photos of them. I took over 600 photos and have now narrowed it down to about 300. My goal is to narrow it down to 200. Sunday after church we went to Cici's for lunch with Gage's family, then I went to Falls Park with them and took some photos of the family for them. The rest of the day I was home with Zoe :) I spent every spare moment I had editing & enchancing many of the photos. I'm hoping to have all of the photos ready by Thursday.

Here are some fun "facts" I found at! Reading this made me laugh. Such a silly holiday!

Looking for answers to your Groundhog Day questions? You've come to the right spot! Click the links to the left to learn about various aspects of the Groundhog Day holiday, and how we've been celebrating it in Punxsutawney since 1886.

Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the holiday:

. Yes! Punxsutawney Phil is the only true weather forecasting groundhog. The others are just impostors.

. How often is Phil's prediction correct? 100% of the time, of course!

. How many "Phils" have there been over the years? There has only been one Punxsutawney Phil. He has been making predictions for over 120 years!

. Punxsutawney Phil gets his longevity from drinking the "elixir of life," a secret recipe. Phil takes one sip every summer at the Groundhog Picnic and it magically gives him seven more years of life.

. On February 2, Phil comes out of his burrow on Gobbler's Knob - in front of thousands of followers from all over the world - to predict the weather for the rest of winter.

. According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.

. No! Phil's forecasts are not made in advance by the Inner Circle. After Phil emerges from his burrow on February 2, he speaks to the Groundhog Club president in "Groundhogese"(a language only understood by the current president of the Inner Circle). His proclamation is then translated for the world.

. The celebration of Groundhog Day began with Pennsylvania's earliest settlers. They brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which states, "For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May..."

. Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day in the 1800s. The first official trek to Gobbler's Knob was made on February 2, 1887.

. So the story goes, Punxsutawney Phil was named after King Phillip. Prior to being called Phil, he was called Br'er Groundhog.


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...