Saturday, June 28, 2014

Frugal Things I Did Last Week (almost 2 weeks ago)

I let Eli cut our lettuce this week.  
Summer has kept me very busy so far but I hope to blog a little more regularly.  Here are a few of the frugal activities that have been keeping us busy: 

We enjoyed a number of salads from our garden.  Okay confession here, I actually grow loose leaf lettuce in our landscaping next to the flowers.  :)  Surprisingly it does really well.  This past week we cut a few different types of loose leaf lettuce: Buttercrunch, Argula, and Tom Thumb (a bibb lettuce).  Yum!  Growing lettuce is an easy way to save money and is really easy.  We have also successfully grown it in a container.  In our big garden I planted more buttercrunch and a bunch of romaine lettuce.
Eva's Dedication Cake: I opted to go for taste instead of looks and used a cream cheese icing instead of a decorating icing.  I had originally planned to make a cute little banner to put on top but didn't want to wake up my nieces who were sleeping downstairs.  
We spent a wonderful Father's Day dedicating our daughter Evangeline.  I felt so blessed to have all of our immediate family present!  Such a treat for us since we live far away from many of them.  We opted to have lunch afterwards downstairs in our church's fellowship hall since treating 25+ people to lunch is completely out of our budget and would be incredibly too chaotic!  Can you imagine trying to seat that many people together?  :)  It was actually very simple and almost everything was done ahead of time since I spent most of the day before out of town.  For lunch I served: Homemade BBQ (made ahead in the CrockPot) on buns, cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, green beans, potato salad, and jello salad.  We had sweet tea and strawberry lemonade to drink.  I made Evangeline's cake and we served it alongside brownies and Graeter's ice cream that was leftover from my brother's wedding.  This was such a special day for us and I am so thankful our families were able to be a part of it.

We ate from our freezer for meals this past week.  I have just a couple meals left from my most recent OAMC adventure.
Nina & Poppy Steve bought a slip-n-slide and a sprinkler for us to play with us. 

Eli loved the slip n slide! 
On Monday we headed to the zoo with Brandon's side of the family.  Before we left we packed a picnic which we enjoyed while at the zoo.  We have a zoo pass so this ended up being an inexpensive family activity.  One guest got in free and we used all of our 1/2 priced admission tickets we received for the year.

I finally weeded through the entire garden.  After 6 days of rain it was really bad!  We have lots of things planted and expect to have a number of items to pick by the end of July.  Hopefully I will be able to put up lots of garden bounty in August and September.  This week I am hoping to plant a few more rows.

Love my boy!

Eli & I canned 12 1/2 pints of strawberry jam.  I purchased the strawberries on sale at our local grocery store.  One day I would love to grow our own strawberries but I haven't had time yet.  I would really like to build a raised bed for them.  I have fond memories of my strawberry patch as a little girl.

I stopped by a yard sale and picked up a few t-shirts for Eli and a few spools of ribbon.

We visited the library for story time this week.  Eli & Evangeline turned in their reading logs and each received a nice prize for reading.

What frugal things did you do last week?  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Evangeline's Dedication

Praying over our sweet Evangeline

Evangeline was such a ham and loved being in front of everyone. 

Evangeline's Uncle Bryan did a great job singing. 

We are so thankful for our Eva Grace.

Last Sunday on Father's Day we had the privilege of dedicating our beloved Evangeline to the Lord.  It was such a special time for Brandon & I to focus on the great responsibility (& blessing) that God has given to us.  Eva's dedication was a day of much joy as we were able to gather together with family to celebrate.  I think it was the first time since Elijah's first birthday that both sides of our family were able to be together in the same place and at the same time.  It was also the first time that Brandon & I have been able to spend Father's Day with both our Dads.  We had a wonderful time and are so very thankful.  (I was unable to load more pictures for some reason but here are a few to enjoy.)

Monday, June 16, 2014

May Reads

My reading list for the month of May
25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband: by Jennifer Flanders: One of my desires as a wife is to show my husband more respect.  We honestly do have a great marriage.  I do respect him and think he is the most wonderful man in the world but I also know that this is an area in my marriage that I can always grow in.  I want my husband to walk around and know without a doubt that I respect him.  I thought this book was great.  Flanders identifies 25 ways to show respect to your husband.  At the end of each brief chapter she lists a number of practical steps to take in order to be more respectful.  I am blessed to be married to a wonderful man but I do think it would have been nice if Flanders had added an appendix for women who are married to difficult men.

The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki:  I really enjoyed this historical fiction novel which told the story of Peggy Shippen Franklin who was the wife of Benjamen Franklin.  I never know exactly how much to share about a fiction book that I enjoyed but let's just say I found this book to be thrilling and would highly recommend it.

The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting by Josie Jeffrey: I have been interested in companion planting for the past three years since I began raising my own garden.  (Growing up I helped in our family's garden.)  I thought the format of this book was really neat.  It includes three sections of different plants which can be mixed and matched in order to determine which plants to plant next to the others.  There is a symbol on each plant that can be matched up to the other plants.  This tells you how beneficial the plants would be to one another.  You can learn more about the book here.  While I thought this was a really cool aspect, the book was really overwhelming.  Although the author mentions huge charts that she utilized at her home, they are not to be found in the book.  It doesn't really provide any specific examples.  Personally I like to plant marigolds by tomatoes.  A typical garden layout using companion planting would have made this book awesome!  This book would really be improved if it included more information similar to the book Carrots Love Tomatoes which I have also read.  (Please note that I did receive this book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for this review.  My opinion did not have to be favorable.)

Living on Less by the Editors of Mother Earth News: This book was really hippy but the crazy thing is I really enjoyed it!  :)  I do realize that my family and I are not going to tackle the majority of the projects in this book.  We have no desire to build a non-traditional home and my husband would have a fit if we started milking goats or butchering our own chickens.  (Though I might be tempted to borrow a few books on raising goats from the library just to make him squirm.)  :)  There are many aspects of this book that I enjoyed.  I really enjoy the title "living on less" which really sums up a lot of our mentality in our family.  We really believe that it is possible to live a great life while living on less money.

The Early Years by Sonya Shafer and Karen Smith: The subtitle of this book reads "A Charlotte Mason Preschool Handbook" and that is exactly what it is.  I really enjoyed this book which encourages parents to think twice about pushing worksheets on their young children.  This book emphasizes the importance of children spending hours upon hours of time outside.  I fully agree that spending time outdoors (at least a couple hours daily) is really important.  The one aspect of the book which I don't agree with is the fact that they recommend waiting until a child is 6 years old to begin any sort of formal schooling .  I do see great wisdom in waiting on worksheets, flashcards, etc but I think that some children will be ready for formal schooling at age 5.  Our son is currently 4.5 and up until this point we have been really laid back about worksheets.  Sometimes he asks to work on a maze or activity (often at church) but we do not push it.  What we do push is spending at least 2 hours outside everyday and I am intentional to talk to him throughout the day.  One of our main goals in our son's early education is to create a love of books.  Since he was very young we have read to him.  I don't mean that we just read him a bedtime story every evening.  I mean that we read all the time.  We regularly check out a dozen children's books from the library each week which we enjoy throughout the week in addition to books that we own.  He also listens to books on tape and we read chapter books aloud.  So far he absolutely loves books and looks forward to the day when he will be able to read for himself.  :)  Overall I gleaned a lot of helpful ideas and encouragement throughout this book.

What books did you read last month?  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Evangeline Grace: 7 Months Update

Our little sleeping beauty loves to sleep late in the morning.  Sometimes I wake her and sometimes I just let her sleep.  

Every time I sit down to write an update about our sweet Evangeline I can't believe another month has passed.  Honestly it's almost time to write Eva's 8 month old update since she will be 8 months old by the end of the week.  (I'm going to just include pictures in this post up and insights until about Eva turned 7 months old which was the middle of May.)

Although she might look excited in this picture-Evangeline HATES baby food!  
 Although Eva has tried a variety of baby food (slowly introduced one per week) she continues to hate everything we have given her.  It doesn't matter if it is jarred or homemade baby food she hates it all!  Eli on the other hand thinks baby food tastes great so he is more than happy to finish anything she doesn't eat.  :)  At over 20 pounds the doctor isn't worried one bit!  She has officially outgrown every piece of 9 month clothing.

Evangeline enjoying a family picnic before hiking at Boone Cliffs.
She is laying on a blanket that was handed down from Brandon's Mamaw.  
 This past month Eva has really begun to enjoy being outside.  It's a good thing because our family is very active and we spend a minimum of 2 hours outside everyday!  We love to walk, hike, garden, read outside, play, etc.

Such a Daddy's girl.
 Evangeline has really enjoyed being worn by her daddy the past month.  We have enjoyed many walks, a trip to the zoo, and a real hiking trip at Boone Cliffs.

Feeling blessed at the Dinsmore Homestead.  
 Her favorite activities are rolling all over the floor, giggling with her brother, and jumping in her exersaucer.  Oh and of course she LOVES to nurse.  :)
You know your baby is growing up when you start asking for a high chair when you go out to eat.  

She loves the zoo and trips to the farm. 
 Eva is now able to sit up on her own which has been nice.  She is starting to get really squirmy especially while I teach my Sunday School class.  (I teach the senior adult ladies class and the ladies enjoy her being in our class so much that I just keep dragging my feet about putting her in the nursery.)
She is also very friendly when we go out.
This picture was taken at Skyline where Eva tried her best to get to our chili! 
At 7 months old Eva can pretty much crawl/get around.  She doesn't pick her back end off the floor but just uses her pinky toes to propel herself around the house.

Monday, June 2, 2014

This Week's Goals

I hope to spend lots of time hanging out with this handsome little guy.  
Setting goals always helps me to accomplish more.  Here are just a few of the things I hope to work on this week:  

Family/Marriage/Mothering Goals:
1)  Attend Flower Buds with Elijah and Evangeline at our local extension office.
2)  Enjoy an at home date night with the happy hubby.
3)  Visit the library with my family.

Homemaking Goals:
4)  Sew a birthday gift for my Grandmother's 81st birthday.  I plan on sewing her a bag to attach to her walker.
5)  Gardening Goals: Finish transplanting the majority of the plants for the garden and plant another row of green beans.  (I currently have 5 rows planted in my garden and hope to have 10 by the end of the week!)  We are expecting rain this week so I am not sure how much I will actually accomplish.  I would also like to weed the flowerbeds and plant more flowers but the garden is my first priority.  :)

Personal Goals:
6)  Begin my new Bible Study The Wisdom of God by Nancy Guthrie.  I really enjoyed the time I spent going through The Son of David which she also wrote.
7)  Stay on track with Trim Healthy Mama 5 days this week.
8)  Spend time with a friend.

Ministry Goals:
9)  Mail 3 cards to friends experiencing difficult times.  (Something that has been on my to do list for 2 weeks!)
10)  Prepare and teach Sunday School.

What goals do you have planned for this week?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

May at Our Home

If you have noticed I haven't been blogging as frequently this past month.  Honestly it just hasn't been that big of a priority for me with everything else going on but I hope to be able to blog more frequently in June.  Here are a few highlights from our month:

 We started off our month by celebrating May Day!  We made a bouquet of flowers and left them on a neighbor's doorstep.  It was SO much fun!

Amanda's brother Jacob graduated from high school!  We are so proud of him and look forward to what God has in store for him.

I enjoyed a wonderful 5th Mother's Day where my family spoiled me like crazy.  I was also blessed to attend a lovely Mother's Day Tea at our church with my mother, sister, grandmother, and daughter!  Such a sweet time.  (In the picture above Evangeline is wearing my handkerchief bonnet that I wore as a baby.)

Brandon's brother graduated from college in Arkansas.  (Unfortunately I don't have a single picture to share.)  I am so glad that we were able to attend and spend some time visiting family.  We are continually reminded at how different our children are.  While Eli loves to travel, Eva does NOT!  Traveling was very challenging this time but our kids had an absolute blast playing with their two cousins June and Zuzu while we were in Arkansas.

 Amanda's brother Josiah got married to a sweetheart named Amber.  They had a lovely, small family wedding outside in the prayer garden.

We also celebrated my mother's birthday and my grandfather's 82nd birthday!  This past weekend Brandon and I were so blessed to attend a conference called The Shepherd's Family which focused on the unique aspects and blessings of a minister's family.  It was led by Brian & Cara Croft and was such a blessing to us!

Needless to say this has been quite a busy month for us!  One filled with blessings and so many things to be thankful for.

How did your family enjoy the month of May?