Friday, March 25, 2011


So excited to find that someone Seth went to bible college with now works at Disney and has offered us four free park hopper passes!!!! If you know me, you know how much of a Disney nerd I am! Having grown up in Florida, I love EVERYTHING Disney and have imparted that love to my boys.

Now we just need to decide when we'll head that way. We can go as early as April 3rd or as late as my fall break in September. The only thing about April is that it's one of Disney's busiest times of year and during the summer, it's way hot. Since Eli isn't two yet I'm not sure how he'll handle the extreme heat. Last time we took him he was right over a year old and the middle of the summer. He did okay I guess. But either way, it's free!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another thing to consider is where to stay! Should we stay at the park somewhere or a preferred Disney site or some where else? We'll also either do Sea World for a day or Universal. The boys have never been to Universal. I guess it all just depends on how much money we have whenever we go. We're trying so hard to get debt free and as much as I love Disney, I don't want to jeopardize that...which is why I'm so excited about the opportunity to visit for free!!!! I didn't think we'd darken Disney's doorstep for at least two more years! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Things in the Works

Okay so my last post was a bit...heavy? I think that's the word. One person described it as raw and honest. It wasn't really meant to be much of anything but I do admit, it was a bit cathartic. Anyway, I've decided that my next few posts will be a little lighter! :)

So, I've been attempting to get back into my couponing habit because between work, church and my stinkers at home, I've not had alot of time to clip coupons. Seth and I are trying really hard to get ourselves out of debt and with his student loans now being paid monthly, we're not seeing much of a change in our debt load because we now have to take money that was being paid on credit cards to now cover student loans.

It cracked me up the other day or rather irritated me a little bit when Seth came to me and said, "Hey! I was speaking with one of my old college buddies and his wife does all of this couponing through some website and saves a ton of money a month! You should try that!" Ummmm...was he not paying attention last summer when I was spending maybe $40 in groceries and saving at least the same amount?? When he told me what website the girl was using, I was even more irritated! It was the same website I had been using for the last year or so AND THEN when I asked him what else the wife did, he said, "Um, I don't know...stays home with their kids?" YEAH! So this super couponing woman was doing everything I had done when I had time to do it and didn't have to work outside of the home. I'm sure she has time to scourer couponing websites and clip coupons. He didn't notice when his own wife did the same thing but he sure noticed when some random woman did!!! Okay...vent over....light and fluffy post beginning again! :)

SO, I decided to once again begin reviewing my favorite couponing sites instead of scanning the emails and deleting them. :) I've found some great deal sites too and am combining the two. I did a tester the other day to see if I still had it. I spent $36 in groceries at Target and saved a little over $11. Not bad for only using four or five coupons. That $36 included a pack of diapers, two bottles of vitamins, tooth paste and enough food for three nights of dinners. It wasn't bad but I can definitely do better!

Today I bought a deal for the website E-Mealz. My best friend has been using this website for about two or three years now and loves it. The deal was half off for a year's membership. Here's what the website says about the meal plans: E-Mealz has been created to provide a kid-friendly and family-uniting meal planning resource for busy Moms and frugal family cooks. Each meal plan is based on the current sales at the grocery stores, with plan options categorized according to store and/or weight management strategy. The recipes are delicious, simple and easy to follow. Each plan is new every week and has a corresponding aisle-by-aisle grocery list. Almost every week includes a crock-pot recipe and easy dinner ideas. There are meal plans for two people, for a low fat diet, a low carb diet, and for those who are following a point system, as well!

Exciting stuff! With the coupons, E-Mealz and my determination, it shouldn't be too hard for me to really start saving us some money. I'm excited and can't wait to see what comes of all of this!

Here is the link to my moolata if you want to give me referral points!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Husband is Living the Life I Dreamed of...

My husband is living the life I dreamed of.

When we got married ten years ago I made it very clear that my hearts desire was to one day be a stay at home mom. I watched just about every pastor's wife and good christian woman that I knew raise her children while fulfilling the obligatory motherly duties of being at home and at the beck and call of both her children and husband. I wanted that life and assumed it would be mine one day. I was prepped for it by my own mother and when I married a man in the ministry, I assumed that he understood the rules of motherhood. I just knew that as the spiritual head of our house and church, that he and I were on the same page and that I would one day be baking cookies for our children after school.

We got married young. I was almost 21 and he was almost 25. In hopes of deterring us from marrying so young, my father decided we should pay for our own college. Being the over-achiever that I am, I went on to earn my Ed.S. and nearly 65,000 dollars of student loan debt. My husband earned a MA and 25,000 dollars of debt. We moved seven times in our first eight years of marriage although we only lived in three states. In those eight years my husband lost his job or changed jobs three times. In those eight years we also had two sons and with each pregnancy I prayed that somehow God would make a way for me to stay at home. It never happened.

With our first son, my husband was able to stay home for about 6 months. With our second, my husband is still staying at home. Our youngest is currently 22 months old.

For a long time I was very bitter. I was angry at God and also at my husband. How could they allow my heart's desire to go unfulfilled? As I strived to support my husband's dreams of being a pastor, I had to give up mine. When would it be my turn? To make ends meet, I coached after school and even took up a job waitressing at a local restaurant. I listened to the voices that condemned me for working so much and for allowing my husband to always be the one taking care of the kids. I believed them when they said I was a bad mother because deep down, I agreed with them. Just like them, I was raised to believe that a woman's place was at home.

After experiencing severe anxiety, I knew it was time to seek some help and guidance. I also knew where most of my issues were coming from. I was jealous and overwhelmed with the feeling that I had very little control over my life. In the things that I felt I had some control, I over compensated which often resulted in me being too exhausted to do the things that I really desired to do.

I began seeing a local christian counselor who somehow knew me within the very first session. I had heard the saying, "she read my mail" but had never really experienced it until that meeting. She helped me to realize that in my jealousy and situation of supporting my family that I had found myself, I had misplaced my ability to trust in God. I erroneously thought I could handle it all myself since God and my husband had seemed, in my mind, to have dropped the ball. Things that I obviously could not control like the weather and plane rides caused me to suffer severe anxiety attacks.

I wish I could say that things now are completely different. They are not. BUT my mindset is slowly changing. I am realizing that no matter how much I'd like to be, I'm not in control over much of anything. My husband still stays home while I go off to work every morning but I am learning to lean on him more instead of assuming the role of provider. I'm learning not to try to do it all. We just recently came back from Dallas and my suitcase, fully packed, sat on the floor for nearly two weeks!!! That's huge for me!

Most of all though, I'm learning to trust again in God. I know He knows my heart and loves me despite all of my shortcomings. There will always be situations that are out of my control and things that do not go the way I dreamed they would. But I think God has been waiting on me to realize that this illusion of control that I had created in my mind was just that, an illusion. I don't know what illusions you have created for youself but I know that there is a God that loves you so much and wants to bring you back into His reality.

Lamentations 3:24 "I say to myself, "The Lord is my provision; therefore I will trust in him."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Created to be his Help Meet

I'm reading this new book sent to me by my best friend and I just felt like I should share some things as I'm reading. I know that if these are things that I need to hear, that you might too. I plan on continuing to post my thoughts as I end each chapter and think of new thoughts. Maybe this can be an email bible study?? If you're interested in getting the book the name of it is Created to be his help meet by Debi Pearl. Keep in mind that I've JUST started reading it, literally today. I just thought it may be a journey we can all take together. Let me know your thoughts!!!

This is from the TIME TO CONSIDER section after chapter one:
God's perfect will for my life is that I be a help meet to my husband. (I do have a choice in how good my marriage will be.) "For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man" (I Cor 11:8-9)

Make a new habit: Think of ways that you can be a helper to your husband. Start today.

Getting Serious with God: Locate in scripture the following words or traits as they relate to a woman of God. Write the verses in your diary, and ask God to work each of these attributes into your character. 1. Virtue 2. Graciousness 3. Wisdom 4. Prudence 5. Goodness

A Good Help Meet has a passion to be of service: the words help meet bring up images of a woman who serves others. A good help meet will have a passion to be of service. Her first calling is to be of service to her husband, then her children, and when time affrods, her passion of service will spill over to serving others.

My thoughts: Being a help meet doesn't mean that I need to be the world's idea of a PERFECT wife. I have nothing to prove to others. Something that touched home was the comment that "it is far better that the job be done poorly by your husband than to be done well by you. Your excellence as a help meet to him may very well be God's plan for improving his leadership role in the family. Your female nature cannot be retrofitted to the male role without permanent damage to the original design."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Campbell's Kitchen: Creamy Irish Potato Soup

Campbell's Kitchen: Creamy Irish Potato Soup

2 tablespoons butter
4 medium green onions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 stalk celery, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 3/4 cups (49 1/2 ounces) Swanson® Chicken Broth (Regular, Natural GoodnessTM or Certified Organic)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 medium potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups milk

Heat the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook until they're tender.
Stir the broth, black pepper and potatoes in the saucepan and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Place half of the broth mixture and half of the milk in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth. Repeat with the remaining broth mixture and remaining milk. Return to the saucepan and heat through.

Nutritional Information

Total Fat



Total Carbohydrates

Dietary Fiber

How to Freeze and Thaw
Confused about what freezes well and what doesn’t? Do you want to learn how to thaw those foods you freeze? Here are some suggestions and helpful tips.Things we like to freeze:Cooked foods: soups, stocks, stews, casseroles, lasagna, cooked rice, breads and bagels (slice first!)
Raw foods: cut-up fruit, blanched vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, nuts, stuffed pastas, tortillas, pesto, butter, grated or block firm cheeses, dough (pizza, pie crust, biscuit)
How to freeze:Cool cooked items to room temperature before freezing.
Freeze in small portions (for fast freezing and thawing).
When freezing soups or sauces, leave about ½-inch at the top for expansion.
Use bags and containers made for the freezer. When using bags, squeeze out all of the air. When using plastic wrap or foil, double or triple wrap. You can freeze in original unopened packaging, but wrap again with plastic wrap or foil for extra protection. Be sure to label your items and include the date.

How long to freeze:

Cooked Foods
Soups, stew and stocks
2 to 3
Casseroles, Lasagna
2 to 3
Meat and poultry
2 to 3
Lunch meats
1 to 2
Frozen dinners
3 to 4
Breads and cakes
1 to 2

Raw Foods
Meat (chops, steaks, roasts)
4 to 12
Meat (ground)
3 to 4
Poultry (parts, whole)
9 to 12
Fish (fillets, whole)
3 to 4
Bacon and Sausage
1 to 2
Firm cheese (grated, whole)
2 to 3
2 to 3
Dough (pizza, biscuit, pie)
1 to 2
3 to 4
3 to 4
Stuffed pastas
1 to 2

How to thaw:Preferred method: thaw overnight in the refrigerator (or figure 8 hours per pound of meat to thaw).

Food should not get warmer than 40°F to avoid the growth of bacteria.

In a pinch, completely submerge item (wrapped) in a large bowl of cold water (not warm or hot water because you don’t want your food to get warmer than 40°F) and change the water every 30 minutes for a maximum of 2 hours. Or defrost in the microwave at 1-2 minute intervals on the defrost setting, checking your food each time to make sure it’s not cooking. If you use the microwave to defrost, cook the food immediately as the microwave heats unevenly and some parts might be warm or partially cooked.