Sunday, September 28, 2014

Evangeline Grace: 11.5 Months Update

Eva wearing her Mamaw's dress that I also wore!  
 It's hard to believe that Evangeline will soon be one year old!  As the weather begins to change I find myself remembering back to this time last year: the wonderful Babymoon we took to Columbus two weeks before she was born, the many walks we went on as a family, a good friend's wedding, the Woolfest, the final days of gardening, and the last week or two leading up to her birth.

Eva is waving hello in this picture.
Eva continues to be quite the little jabber jaws.  :)  She says mama, daddy, uh-oh, and hi.  Evangeline has also been trying to say Bekah and Brother which comes out kind of like Bubba.  I am often asked if Eva is as happy as she appears to be.  She has her moments but most of the time she is just an absolutely delight and a bundle of joy.  I love her giggles and how her face scrunches up when she gets excited.  

Eva has started WALKING!  She took her first step about a week ago while holding her beloved doll named Baby.  Today she took a bunch of steps while at church and later at a friend's birthday party.  Such a fun memory to cherish!  Evangeline also has four teeth and is currently cutting 2 more.  

With each passing day Eva enjoys reading more and more. 
Eva's funny little quirk is that she still hates eating!  I keep introducing various foods to her and she has NO desire at all.  I am thankful that she is still nursing well.  Our nursing relationship has changed as she has gotten older which has been so fun.  She laughs, she giggles, and sometimes she just will not get down to business.  It is at those times that I just have to sit back and laugh while I enjoy a hearty laugh with my baby.  I am so thankful knowing that this beautiful season of nursing will soon pass.   Eva has finally decided that she will take a bottle in the past month or so which has been nice. She is also efficient enough at using a sippy cup that her taking a bottle really isn't necessary at this point.  (I am away from her for two evenings a week while I attend classes so I am really glad that she will finally take a bottle.)  Evangeline has impacted our lives in ways that I never dreamed and I am so thankful that God has blessed us with her.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Frugal Things I Did The Last Two Weeks

The beautiful wedding decorations which we enjoyed.  This picture does not do them justice.

We are adjusting well to life with myself in school and looking forward to fall.  Here are a few of the things we did the last two weeks to save money and enjoy life to the fullest!  

 My husband had a great surprise for us Friday night.  The kids and I bundled up after dark and headed next door to our church's prayer garden with blankets.  When we got there the happy hubby had plugged in the lights that had been strung in the trees for an upcoming wedding reception (he had permission).  We laughed, giggled, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  We also had a time of family worship.  Such a fun memory!  Just a great example that you don't have to spend money in order to have a great time.  

Produce we picked from the garden last week included: lemon cucumbers, 1 golden zucchini, three tomatoes (including a Green Zebra variety), okra, and 7 peppers.  

Our garden has turned into a huge weedy jungle but it is still producing!  (I refuse to weed any longer since the frost will be here in just a few weeks.)  We picked a bunch of items from our garden including our last yellow zucchini and tons of peppers.

I made homemade red pepper humus which we have been enjoying as a sandwich condiment and with lots of peppers!  I love peppers and they are a great way to increase my veggie intake.

My first attempt at Stuffed Peppers.

I used peppers from the garden and leftovers from a skillet casserole I made to bake Stuffed Peppers.  This was the first time I have made them and they were pretty good.  Eli and I loved them but I think Brandon was too scared to try them!  I have raised peppers in the past but this was the first year that I ate any orange or yellow peppers.

My niece's birthday present.

Last week my niece Zuzu turned three.  I sewed her (and her sister) a set of baby doll diapers and baby bibs.  I remember when my mom bought me diapers for my baby doll.  They were just the coolest thing ever!  I also picked up a Touch and Feel animal book which I also mailed.  We have this book and both of my kids absolutely love it!  Elijah made them both a birthday card.  

We enjoyed a trip to the zoo with new friends!  Having a zoo passed saved us lots of money.  I also packed us lunch.  

Our Goodwill Haul
 We made a run to Aldi (finally)!  We spent over $100!  It is so nice to have our pantry stocked for a while.  I decided to be brave and we stopped by Goodwill before we went to the grocery.  I purchased a nice (like new) basket.  I didn't have any purpose in mind when I purchased the basket but I always find them useful for organizing.  I purchased two games for Elijah.  I will probably save one of the games for his birthday and the other for a rainy day.  The gray shirt is actually a Lane Bryant shirt that I found for myself.  It fits great!  My favorite purchase was the light pink Gymboree sweater dress.  It is simply adorable and I am almost excited for the weather to turn cold just so Eva can wear it.  I also picked up the fun bubble skirt for Evangeline to wear around Christmas.  I love skirts which don't also have bloomers because I find that they don't fit Eva well since we cloth diaper.  I think I spent about $12 on everything pictured.

Vitacost Haul
I also received my order from Vitacost and used a $15 off coupon that I received in the mail.  I order from Vitacost about every other month and we have a specific section of our budget that is set aside for such purchases.  We purchase a number of supplements from them and I also purchase some hard to find grocery and health items.  Their prices are wonderful compared to other retailers and I love the fact that I can order everything from the comfort of my home!  Recently I just decided to try dry brushing so I purchased a brush for about $5.  This seems like a very economical way to increase circulation, exfoliate, and rid your body of toxins.  I will keep you updated!  If you are interested in ordering from vitacost you can save $10 on your first order by using this link.

I have also been thinking about the possibility of starting a youtube channel where I share all of the randomness that is my life.  I have lots of ideas for videos but I don't know anything editing, filming, etc.  Any advice?  Opinions?  Thoughts?  Would you watch my videos if I made them?  What types of videos would you like to see?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!  

Monday, September 15, 2014

August Reads

August Reads 
This past month's reading list is notably shorter than before.  I guess I should photograph my Anatomy & Physiology Textbooks because that is what I have really spent my time reading this past month.  :)  Even with a busy schedule I am sure that I will be squeezing in a few books so I would love to hear what you have been reading.  

ESV Women's Devotional BibleI was so surprised when Crossway Publishers sent me this new Bible in the mail.  The ESV (English Standard Version) is the translation that I use most often.  It is the one that I use for personal devotions and the translation that I usually teach out of.  This was my first experience with a "devotional" Bible and I must say that I really like it.  Every few pages the Bible contains a short devotion about a particular passage of Scripture.  Usually I'm not a big devotional fan but so far these devotions have been top notch.  I even quoted from one of them last week during my Sunday School lesson.  The Bible itself is beautiful and the perfect balance of femininity.  I really like the leaves design which I find classy yet not too girly.  The only thing I didn't really like is the fact that the Bible is hardcover.  I hope Crossway will end up offering this Bible in a softcover in the future.  Please note that I did receive a complimentary Bible from Crossway Publishers.  I did not have to review the Bible and my review did not have to be favorable.

For the Children's Sake: by Susan Schaeffer Macauley: I found this thoughtful book on education to be wonderful.  Macauley is the daughter of Edith and Francis Schaeffer who founded L'Abri in Switzerland.  What I found so interesting about this book is the fact that the author writes to parents who educate their children at home and parents whose children attend a traditional school.  She also writes to teachers and those who are in education.  This book shares many of the methods of Charlotte Mason in a clear and concise way and how they relate to education.  I enjoyed reading this book so much that I will probably add it to our library.  I could see myself reading it at least once a year.

Your Family in Pictures: The Parents' Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits, and Everyday Life: by Me Ra Koh:  My sister-in-law suggested this book and I am so glad that she did!  One of my goals over the past few years has been to improve my photography skills so that I can take better pictures of my family.  (I am a long way from where I would like to be.)  I do own a nice camera but I really don't know how to shoot on any setting other than auto or no flash.  This book has helped me step outside of my comfort zone and try something new.  I really like how the author almost provides recipes to capture similar photographs.  Please note that I did receive a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for this review.

Home Quilt Home: This quilting book was a let down.  I had thought that I might attempt to make one of the quilt blocks into a pillow as a gift but this book just wasn't my style.  I couldn't find a single project that I wanted to attempt.

What books did you read last month?  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Kindness of My Husband

Every day I am amazed by the incredible thoughtfulness and kindness of this guy!
So blessed to call him my husband.
I'm sitting here writing while I sip a steaming cup of hot tea.  I look outside and I see the beauty of summer quietly slip away and I can't help but be incredibly thankful.  I have a million blessings in my life but the one I often forget to mention is the blessing of my husband.  Almost six years later he continues to amaze me with his kindness and thoughtfulness.

He is currently on his way to Walmart with two tired children in tow to make a return so I can rest.  Our sweet Evangeline was up a lot last night and neither one of us slept well.  We both drove 7-8 hours yesterday.  Yet he has given me a wonderful gift-the gift of time to rest.  An hour to drink a cup of tea, write in my journal, read a passage of Scripture, and take a short nap.  What a gift!  Few women are so blessed and yet how often I forget to tell him how thankful I am for him.  So honey if you are reading this thank you.

Thank you for putting my needs (and wants) above your own.  Thank you for getting up early and entertaining the children while I took my Anatomy Lab Exam Thursday morning.  You truly are my biggest cheerleader!  Thank you for the countless hours you spend investing in our children.  Thank you for the memories we are making as a family.   Thank you for your love which grows sweeter with each passing day.

Thank you for taking our whole family to a conference I really wanted to attend.  You ate frugal meals for weeks so we could afford it.  We had a great time in North Carolina.  Thank you for looking at me and saying we need to get your mom home as soon as possible even if it means skipping the rest of the conference and the fun extra day in Pigeon Forge.  (She is very sick with bronchitis.)  Thank you.  Thank you.  I don't know anyone with a heart like yours.

Thank you for your kindness which seems to grow deeper with each passing year.

You continue to amaze me.

I love you Brandon.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

A bouquet of flowers picked from our garden. 
 Life has been CRAZY around here lately!  (Crazy in a good way.)  I have finished 3 weeks of school and my sister recently got engaged.  I have my first Anatomy test this Thursday!  We are trying to keep up with our usual frugal ways despite the decreased free time around here.  :)  (I'd love any of your suggestions by the way.)  Here are a few of the things that we did last week to save money: 

The happy hubby took Eli to the zoo.  We purchase a zoo pass each year so there was no out of pocket cost for the trip except for gas.  I packed lunch for them and they spent $0 at the zoo cafe.  I'm so proud of them!

We have enjoyed a number of zinnia and dahlia bouquets this month.  I have zinnias growing in our landscaping and also in our garden.  These zinnias and dahlias were grown from seed from Renee's Garden.  I absolutely love them!  I think I actually took this picture a few days after they were cut.  Next year I plan on doubling the amount of flowers we grew this year!  It is amazing how much a small bouquet of flowers can brighten up a room.  I keep them on the kitchen table, kitchen windowsill, bathroom, by my bedside table, and sometimes on our piano.  I always think of taking them as a gift to someone but that rarely ever happens.

Elijah attended FlowerBuds at our local extension office.  It has been a lot of fun and I am sad to see it coming to an end.  They talked about apples this week and made personal apple pies which was lots of fun.  I really enjoyed walking around the garden which is in full bloom.  They have the neatest flowers at our extension office.  One flower I hope to add to our garden next year is Tithonia or a Mexican Sunflower.

Taste of Home Biscuits
I scored major points with the happy hubby last week by baking these Rustic Herb Biscuits.  They were really good and look so cute in the new Lodge pan I used.  I purchased the pan at the Lodge Factory outlet while we were on vacation.  The shape of these biscuits reminds me of the ones they sell at Sonny's BBQ (my favorite restaurant).  

We visited the library where I picked up two books that had been ordered through interlibrary loan.

We love swings!
We have spent a lot of time outside enjoying the playground.  Eva and Eli love to swing together!

We picked peppers, okra, cucumbers, and squash from our garden last week.

I purchased lots of clothes for the Eli at a yard sale: 8 pairs of pants, 9 shirts, and 3 pairs of shorts. I purchased clothing in his current size (5) and a couple of items that I will save for next year that are a size 6.  It is hard to find nice, used clothes for him because little boys are hard on their clothes!   Finding nice used shoes is almost impossible.  I need to see what else needs to be purchased for winter but I am hoping we can get by for the most part.  (Our budget is tight right now since I am taking classes (and paying cash for them) and we had a large car repair.)

Eli is wearing an orange shirt and black shorts.  The happy hubby is in teal.  
We attended the Alexandria Fair which wasn't exactly frugal but I wanted to share the above picture.  I think the fair is ridiculously expensive ($9/person) but we attend each year to watch my brother and sister show their horses on Monday.  This year Eli participated in the chicken rodeo, greased pig contest, and kiddie tractor pull.

I cut the happy hubby's hair and trimmed his beard.  We are still using the same set of clippers that I purchased over 6 years ago.  This saves us at least $20 per month.  

I received a free copy of the new ESV Women's Devotional Bible in the mail.  I love it!  I will post a review of it soon.

What frugal things did you do last week?