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.

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...