Sunday, November 28, 2010

Travels, Deals, and an Organized Home!

October 2010, Princeton NJ
I have pictures of me younger
than her on those stairs. :) 

My Dad and my Daughter.  This is not a sight I see very often! Due to the distance between California and South Dakota Zoe has only seen Grandpa Greg about 5 times.  I honestly didn't think she was going to see him until sometime next year.  Things changed last month when my Great-Grandmother (my Babicka - means Grandmother in Czech, pronounced Bah-beech-ka) passed away on October 10, 2010 (10/10/10).

Zoe and I flew out to Princeton, NJ for the funeral.  My Dad and several other family members flew out there as well. We spent a week out there and then drove back with my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin - a 3 day trip. Altogether we were gone for 10 days. Traveling with a toddler is exactly how I thought it would be....difficult! It was a great trip though and I'll always remember it.  I doubt Zoe will remember but she had a great time visiting and getting to know family members she doesn't normally get a chance to see.

Since that trip I've kind of been in a hole... I have barely left my house.  I haven't really visited with anyone.  I think losing another family member has thrown me into another little battle with depression.  Granted, this time is much easier than when my Mom died.  Hopefully this will all be over soon.

On a much more hopeful note - I haven't just been sitting around doing nothing! I was overcome this week with the urge to organize! It all started with a simple re-arrangement of a couple pieces of furniture.  Now, I have an "office" in my bedroom that is organized, several organized closets, organized drawers, even the items under the bed are organized :)  I still have more drawers to work on in my room then it's onto the kitchen!

I've also been hard at work on my website - Sioux Falls Frugal Mom.  This week is by far the busiest week for bloggers like me.  I posted about over 100 deals this week, read through over 1,000 e-mails, spent about 40 hours in front of the computer, and still managed to get all my organizing done! I don't really know how I did it... I really haven't slept much this entire week.  Late nights and early mornings.  Things will slow down a little bit this week but it IS Christmas season which means a lot of people are looking for good prices on things right now so of all months for me to put extra effort into the blog, December is it.

Isn't that picture of Zoe adorable? It was taken right after my Great-Grandmother's funeral. We went back to her house to realize that we didn't have a key so we were waiting for someone to arrive that had a key. We just hung out on the steps for a while.  She loved Babicka's house. I sure hope she remembers it even a little bit!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why am I a Homemaker?

Shaina and Zoe
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
- Proverbs 16:3
These sections are coming soon... I switched from Wordpress back to Blogger and the links were all wrong. I have to go back and find them sometime.

Homemaking Resources: Here is a compilation of  resources that have been beneficial to me in my homemaking.  Blogs, websites, and articles all pertaining to the home!

Why am I a Homemaker?

It is by God's grace alone that I am able to be a full-time manager of the home.  What a privilege and blessing it is to be able to devote so much of my time to the care of my family.

One of my strongest passions in life is homemaking.  I love absolutely everything about it.  I believe it is the greatest occupation a woman could have.  It provides a way to actually USE all of my skills, abilities, and talents - and it's all for the benefit of my family!

I'm not against working mothers, but I am against working to the point that the family begins to suffer. I am also a huge advocate of staying home with children ( if able) until they are at least school age.  Of course I would be willing to open to work outside the home again if it is where God leads me, but regardless of whether I work outside the home or not, my faith and my family come first. My home is my main ministry. I personally have no intentions to ever work outside the home full-time ever again.

I believe the character and atmosphere of the home has a lasting and significant impact on every single person. Therefore, I believe the home is worth putting as much time and effort into as you possibly can.  The home is where the family resides.  So much of our lives are spent at home with our family and this is where many of our values are formed. This is why God has placed such high priority on the structure of the family and the home.

Homemaking is defined as the management and personalization of the home to make it a functional, comfortable, and safe place to live for the entire family.  Making a home involves not only household management but also fulfilling our biblical roles as a woman, and/or as as wife, and/or as a mother.   We can know what these roles are simply by reading the Bible and seeing what specific qualities and responsibilities God expects of women.  One of the things God calls all women to be is a worker in their home (Titus 2, 1 Timothy 5:14).   That does not mean that women cannot work outside of the home as well (as the Proverbs 31 woman did in fact work outside the home), but it does mean that women have an obligation to care for their homes for the benefit of their family to glorify the Lord.  Not every woman is called to be a full-time homemaker, but according to the scriptures, God has specifically designed women to be the nurturing "keepers" or "managers" of the home.

Whether you work outside of the home or are home full-time, caring for your home and family is an essential part of life.  It is not always easy - it is work.  This work is important and it does not go unnoticed, it puts your education to good use,  it allows you to use all of your gifts, talents, and skills,  it is extremely worth-while, and it is life-long.  Despite popular belief, this work does not end after you've raised your children.  The work ends the day you meet the Lord!  It is my hope and prayer that all women would take making home to heart.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

1 Peter 1: 3-6

This is exactly what I needed to hear today...

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Just an Update.

We have officially begun potty training. No particular method...just letting her try it for a few hours a day.  We've had a little bit of success, a few accidents.  I'm actually glad when she has an accident because she's learning from it.  I'm debating over buying pull ups for when we're out and about.  I know so many people who say, "No pull ups!" But.. what do I do if we're out?

I've been having quite a bit of fun finding deals to post on Sioux Falls Frugal Mom.  A  little too much fun I think!  It's just so fun finding a great deal and sharing it with other people :)  Oh yes..before I forget - I did another TV interview! This time it was with KSFY.  You can see it HERE.

Gage is excited about finishing school next month (sort of... I think he'd go there forever if he could!).  He's going to begin looking for a job very soon.  Please pray that he finds a great job right away! :)

After living without food in the house (haha, well.. fruits, vegetables, bread..anything healthy) for over a week now, we finally got paid today AND received a wonderful tax return! It feels so nice to have money to pay Dr. and Dentist bills off and go grocery shopping and perhaps buy a few things we've been needing for a some new towels and a blender!  Since I have $50 in my Amazon account from Swagbucks I think I may splurge and buy a Wii Fit (it's only about $100 so it'll cost us $50).  I have friends that have that and they love it.   Oh yes, I need to buy glasses!  It'll be nice to see the words during worship at church and actually see Pastor Randy when he's preaching!

Kingswood Rummage Sales are coming up soon! Hopefully it doesn't rain this year.  I should make a list of things to look for at the sales.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nutritional Resources

Nutritional Books:

Nourishing Traditions - By Sally Fallon

Nutritional Articles


A Guide to Natural Sweeteners - A great article provided by The Nourishing Gourmet!

Lindsay's Favorite Sweeteners - Discussing rapadura, sucanat, stevia, honey, sorghum, maple syrup, and more.


Healthy Oils - Lindsay covers the topic of healthy oils, with Coconut Oil and Olive oil being her top picks for nutritional benefits.   This is in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2

A New Look at Coconut Oil - An article provided by the Weston A. Price foundation


The Ploy of Soy - The Weston A. Price Foundation offers some excellent information about Soy and  how it can be harmful to your health.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Zoe's 2nd Birthday!

Zoe turned 2 a couple weeks ago!  She is definitely a toddler now.  Running is one of her absolute favorite things.  Pretty much all her words are real words now.  She's even begun saying "My shoes" instead of "Zoe's shoes", and "I would like some crackers" instead of "Zoe would like some crackers"  :)   She's been playing pretty well with her friends, but as all toddlers do, she does suffer a bit from the "that's mine" syndrome! haha.   This month was a major birthday month!   The first week, our friend's baby was born, that same week was Gage's brother's 12th birthday,  the next week was Zoe's birthday, 4 days later was my mother-in-law Jenny's birthday, and the next week was Zoe's best friend Kjersten's birthday!  There were 3 birthday parties this month, and many more birthdays I didn't list.   Zoe certainly got her fill of birthday cake!

The skirt she is wearing in the picture was made by Jenny! Isn't it adorable? It was the perfect thing for her to wear on her birthday.  Jenny also made her a Winnie the Pooh dress to wear at her birthday party!

Zoe's party was fun.  She "played" the Wii, opened presents, stared at her birthday candle, ate cake, and looked cute.   Unfortunately the only one of her little friends that could make it to the party was Evan! We're so thankful that Evan was there :)   Everyone else at the party was an adult.  We still had a great time though!

Zoe was blessed with so many amazing gifts this year.  A magna doodle, her first skates, adorable clothing, a little keyboard, an overnight bag that looks like a stuffed animal (so cute!), fridge phonics (she LOVES this!), her first barbie, a new Veggie Tales DVD and many many more.  I used some of her birthday money to buy her some new books, as well as a bunch of adorable spring/summer clothes so she's almost set for the warmer months!

Thank you to all who came to the party and/or provided her with a gift!  She now has everything she could ever need, and then some.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

"I need glasses!"

We moved here in 2006 and we have driven past the "Ground Round" restaurant hundreds of times and were always curious as to what in the world the "Ground Round" was... it doesn't exactly sound very appetizing... but today we decided to give it a try.  The food was actually pretty good.  The menu is all over the place though, a little confusing, food doesn't look too good on the menu, and they serve you warm (border-lining cold) popcorn as soon as you sit down.   Not peanuts, chips, or bread....  popcorn.   As soon as the waitress left our table, Amanda and I simultaneously said, "that's interesting."   :)   The food was good though.    I got the broccoli cheese soup and salad.

The highlight for me however was not the food, but a little comment my little girl said.  Zoe was looking around the restaurant and out of nowhere she says, "I need glasses..."   Glasses? She must have heard me say that recently.  Even so, it was hilarious to hear my 2 year old say that!  I doubt she needs glasses, but I definitely do need glasses. I always notice it when I'm at church and I'm trying to read the words on the screen during worship and I can't.   Zoe broke my glasses about 6 months ago and I still haven't ordered new ones.. I need someone to measure the distance between my pupils.  As soon as I get that measurement, Zenni Optical here I come!

After lunch we went to Barnes & Noble, then to Falls Park.   All I can say is.. WOW.  I have never seen the park so flooded before, and the waterfalls were flowing faster than I've ever seen! It was amazing.  If only the water wasn't completely brown and the sky gray... it didn't exactly make for good pictures!

One of my best friends from CA came to visit us this past weekend! Amanda arrived on Thursday morning and she left at about 5pm today.  It was so nice to have her visit, even if it was just for 4 days!  She came to visit for Zoe's birthday.  I'll write more about Zoe's birthday and birthday party in another post.  For now, it is almost 2 am.  I need to sleep!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

She's almost 2...

So much going on!  Hopefully things will settle down in a couple weeks and I can begin to write more about what's going on around here :)  In short, I'm preparing for a 2 hr class on Digital Photography that I'm teaching Sunday afternoon and I'm planning Zoe's 2nd birthday party for the following weekend!  My best friend Amanda is coming to visit so I'm preparing for her visit by cleaning and getting her room ready. I've also been working on Sioux Falls Frugal Mom quite a bit lately.  That interview with Keloland brought quite a few readers! It was a heck of a lot of work at first but now I feel I've got the hang of it and it should get a lot easier to maintain.

Today was a nice day.  I spent a lot of time listening to Zoe say, "Mommy! Watch dis!!" and "Mommy! What's dat??" "What's dis?" haha.  She's so eager to learn.  I love this age! She learned the letters "B" and "H" today.  I'm going to try and teach her a couple letters a day.   This little girl loves to learn words and she loves to talk!   She says many short sentences already. Some longer words she's learned this week: "Dinosaur" , "Downstairs", "Motorcycle" and "Delicious!"  I also discovered - like mother, like daughter - she's a fan of the ocean!  - "Mommy! Ocean! Pretty."

She's almost 2. I can't believe it.   She's no longer a baby :(   I'm looking forward to her getting older but man, it just makes me sad to think about the fact that she'll never be a baby again...


How are you all doing? All 5 of you! hehe.

Daddy's Little Valentine

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Finally, an update :)

God is challenging me this month.  I know that whatever happens it will all be for his glory, so I'm actually pretty calm about all the new things that are going on!   So what's new, you may ask?

Bridget is MARRIED! -  My step-sister Bridget has been engaged for 4 years now and she finally married Adam on February 6, 2010....which also happened to be their 10th Anniversary of dating.  I'm so happy for them, Adam has already been a part of the family for a long time but now I can officially call him my brother-in-law :)

California: We were blessed with near perfect weather on our trip to the San Diego area (where we grew up).  We were there from the 3rd to the 10th.   We had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends, eating our favorite foods, and attending Bridget & Adam's Wedding!  The day before we left I started to get super sad about leaving and the next couple days were pretty rough when we got home, but I'm over it now...for the most part.  While it breaks my heart that my friends and family will not be able to see my daughter (and future kids) grow up, all that really matters is that we are where God wants us to be.  Right now, that is in Sioux Falls.  If God wants us in CA we'll end up in CA somehow, if not, that's okay too.

Learning to Forgive: God has shown me in the past several months that I struggle with forgiveness.   Part of being a follower of Christ is to learn to exemplify Christ in all that I do.  Christ forgave and Christ loved.  He did not get angry for unrighteous reasons.  This means that when I am provoked, angered, annoyed, saddened, or persecuted, I must not react unrighteously.  Righteous living requires learning to forgive and show others grace, just as He, in his grace, has forgiven us who believe in Him.  So instead of holding a grudge or letting little things build up, I am choosing to forgive and to love.

Keloland News Interview: Pigs do fly.  Not only did my step-sister get married this month, but I did a TV interview! Say what?!  TV? Interview? Shaina? Ummm yeah.   I'll explain!  You know that site I've been working on the past several weeks? Sioux Falls Frugal Mom?  It just so happens that Keloland News is doing a special segment on Moms who help other Moms save money (or something along those lines, haha).  They came to our house and interviewed me and my wonderful little family.  This interview is set to air on Sunday night at 10pm on KELO-TV - it is part of the  "Eye on Keloland" segment.

Teaching a Digital Photography Class: Never in my life did I ever think I would agree to teach anything if it involved standing up in front of more than one person and talking... yet, I have agreed to teach a one-time digital photography class and I am actually very excited about it! I need to get to work on the plans though.  I think once I have a set plan I'll feel even better about the idea of teaching a class.  It's really the talking that I'm nervous about.  I just need to pray.  God will help :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Terrible/Terrific Two's, already?

Ohh the joys of having a toddler!  Most of the time she's the cutest and sweetest little girl in the world, but when she wants something or dislikes something, boy does she ever let you know, and not in a nice way!!  Thankfully God has granted me with an ever-increasing amount of patience these past few months.  I still need a lot of prayer though, there are still times where I feel like giving up on patience.  I begin to yell...and before I know it, I am completely overwhelmed and  dreading the thought of ever having more children.

This age (22 months) is very fun and very difficult.

She is saying short sentences now, learning hundreds of new things every day, she's a little joker - she loves to entertain us, she loves people - she'll say Hi to just about anyone, she gives wonderful hugs and kisses, she loves to dance and sing, but she also knows the words, "No", and as of a few days ago... "Why?".   She's a huge fan of tantrums and disobedience, and she only wants to play with Mom & Dad's things, or with trash & recycling, never her own toys.  She enjoys ripping paper apart and biting her crayons.

This is just proof that we are all born sinners and we all need Jesus.  I just need to encourage her in the ways of God and pray for her salvation daily! :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Birthday Surprise, and My 25th Birthday!

Alright! I'm finally old enough to rent a car.  Yeah! ;)   5 more years left in my twenties! Arg.  Life is seriously too fast.

Today I'm going over to my in-laws house with my husband, daughter, and SISTER to hang out, eat homemade cake, and homemade pretzel dogs.  :)  Yes, I said sister. My sister SURPRISED me on Wednesday by showing up in Sioux Falls!  Gage asked if I wanted to go to Olive Garden, so since Zoe was with Gage's Mom for the day we went at about 4pm.  I walk in and at first I see Russell (Gage's brother)... thought that was odd... then I look over and see my sister Gabby!  We freaked out, hugged, as sisters do in those types of situations.  Then we all ate delicious food!  It turns out she's staying with us for 3 weeks, until February 3rd, which happens to be the day WE fly back out to CA for our step-sister's Wedding so, we'll be on the same flight as Gabby!  That wasn't planned at all by anyone!

I haven't been surprised like that since I was about 9 years old!

In other news.. this morning I found out that I've been blessed by a wonderful friend and a wonderful store called Elegant Mommy!  I am going to receive 8 cloth diapers!  That's about... $150 in diapers right there and these diapers will last years.  Possibly through all the kids we plan to have! Yeah, all 8 of them! j/k...  Some people think we're going to have 8 kids.  Not sure why haha.

Ok, time to go celebrate being a quarter of a century!! :)


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hosanna in the Highest

Heal my heart and make it clean

Open up my eyes to the things unseen

Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks yours

Everything I am for your kingdom's cause

As I walk from earth into eternity

Christmas Trip 2009!

The worst blizzard in many years hit Sioux Falls the night we flew out to California.   We heard they shut down the airport right after our plane took off at around 7pm on Christmas Eve, so we just barely made it!  Praise God for stalling the storm just enough for us to get out of Sioux Falls safely!

We arrived in Las Vegas, NV late on Christmas Eve,  made our way to the rental car place, then drove down to San Diego, CA.  We arrived early at about 3am (5am our normal time!).   Despite being extremely tired on Christmas Day, we had a wonderful Christmas.  We spent Christmas day with Gage's family, then we went up to Escondido and spent Christmas Evening with my family.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Resolutions & 2009 Review

2010 Resolutions:

  1. Print out this list and post it on the fridge so that I won't forget about it this year.

  2. Pray that my Dad will be blessed with a wonderful job this year (he's been unemployed for a year now!)

  3. Lose another 10 lbs.

  4. I'm turning 25 this year so I need to try 25 new things (foods, sports, activities, etc).

  5. Save at least $20 on groceries by using coupons each month.

  6. No hospital trips, unless it's to have another baby :)

  7. Create a website for my photography.

  8. Read 5 books

  9. Read the Old Testament

  10. Learn 3 new recipes to replace the foods that contain MSG and HFCS.

2009's Resolutions:  Crossed off resolutions accomplished.

(I completely forgot about this list after about the first month..otherwise I may have actually accomplished more!)

  1. Study the Bible daily.  -- This was a tough one... I failed for sure.

  2. Read the entire Old Testament. -- Totally failed!

  3. Learn to be a better wife and mother. Always a work in progress...but I feel good about this one this year :)

  4. Spend an average of $200 on groceries each month.

  5. Have at least $3000 in the savings account at this time next year.  --  Nope, $1000.  Lots and lots of unexpected expenses this year.  Hopefully next year will be a better one for us financially!

  6. Make exercise a habit. I did this for several months...but then stopped so..I'm not sure if I should really count this one haha.

  7. Loose 10 lbs. to get back to pre-pregnancy weight (Preferably 30 lbs but 10 is a good goal haha)

  8. Read a minimum of 10 Books.  - Nope.  I read 4 books this year!

  9. Write a letter (snail mail) to someone every month (Particularly my Great-Grandmother and our Compassion sponsor child, Fabiola.)  - Didn't accomplish the "every month" part.

  10. Try 100 new things (foods, sports, events, activities, etc)

  11. Go on 3 road trips, even if they are short ones.

  12. Learn how to use the Sioux Falls freeways. There are TWO of them, which is nothing compared to San'd think I'd have this down by now, after two years of living here, but nope. My sense of direction here is pretty much non-existent. I always avoid using the freeways because I have no idea where they lead- what off ramps are on there or which direction they go haha.. I'm totally lost in this city most of the time.  -- FAIL! Someday I'll figure out how to get around here.

  13. Complete my Photography Diploma Program! I started in the summer of 2007 and have had to extend my time an additional 6 months - twice! If I don't complete this in 5 more months, that will be $1000 down the drain so... I really do need to finish it. Trouble is finding time to take a darn photo of a woman outdoors in this crazy cold weather. Why did that have to be my first project? Ugh.

  14. Meet at least one new friend this year.

  15. Complete the following Scrapbooks / Photo Albums: Our Honeymoon Album, Zoe's 1st Year Scrapbook.  -- Didn't even attempt this one.

  16. Find, sort, and organize ALL of our photos (digital and prints) up until Dec 2008.

  17. Learn to Sew.  *sigh* still no! :(

  18. Travel somewhere I have never been.

  19. Work on my Family Tree

  20. Get outside more!

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...