Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Great Deal Today Only

Hey, ladies! I just got a great deal on Living Social. It's a $20 Amazon gift card for only $10. I don't know about you, but we buy often from Amazon..books, cookware, cookbooks, and I often get natural or organic groceries (flours, snacks, baking products) from Amazon. I was excited about this deal, and wanted to share! Here's the link.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

God's Faithfulness in My Failures...Just bein' real

So, just a few minutes ago when I was writing that last post, my children started behaving child-like. How dare them! How dare them interrupt me when I am writing a blog post for the women of the world (or the 3 ladies who read my blog!). I mean, come on, I'm writing a post on deep freezers..obviously important stuff. I know you all agree with me and feel sorry for me and completely understand that I did not stop to parent them, but instead yelled at them to please stop so that I could have a few moments of peace! understand, don't you? Well, you might understand..though I doubt you agree with my actions, and God loves me too much to let me get away with it. So much so, that right afterwards, I checked my husbands' facebook page, and this article was his recent post (before I yelled, mind you...he knows what I need ahead of time, I guess! ha! ). Read article here. Ugh! Hit me right where it hurt..and it needed to.

I DO this. I AM this person. How many times a day do I feel like these little people are interrupting my life? How many times do I just yell and go off on them for daring to break the peace in the home (or even in my head) vs. taking a moment to parent them as God would have me. I needed to read this..for today and for every day. I do realize, in many of those moments, why I'm feeling like I'm feeling and I realize it's wrong. I thank God for his grace to remind me and not leave me stuck...or rather, not leave my kids stuck with a self-centered mom! Just bein' real here, ladies. Either you can relate, or you can't. Anyhow, it's an issue for me. And, I pray God will truly change me in this area.

Here's a small excerpt from the end of this article:

"... But my problem is that there are moments when I tend to love my little kingdom of one more than I love his. So I’m impatient, discouraged, or irritated not because my children have broken the laws of God’s kingdom, but the laws of mine. In my kingdom there shall be no parenting on family vacation days, or when I am reading the paper on my iPad, or after ten o’clock at night, or during a good meal, or . . . I could go on. And when I’m angry about interruptions to my kingdom plan, there are four things I tend to do.

1. I tend to turn a God-given moment of ministry into a moment of anger.

2. I do this because I have personalized what is not personal. (Before we left for the amusement park that day, my children didn’t plot to drive me crazy in the parking lot.)

3. Because I have personalized what is not personal, I am adversarial in my response. (It’s not me acting for my children, but acting against them because they are in the way of what I want.)

4. So I end up settling for situational solutions that don’t really get to the heart of the matter. (I bark and order, I instill guilt, I threaten a punishment and walk away, and my children are utterly unchanged by the encounter.)

There is a better way. It begins with praying that God would give you new eyes; eyes that are more focused on his eternal work of grace than on your momentary plans for you. This better way also includes seeking God for a flexible and willing heart, ready to abandon your agenda for God’s greater plan. And it lives with the confidence that God is in you, with you, and for you and will give you what you need so that you can face, with courage and grace, the parenting moment that you didn’t know was coming." (Paul Tripp)

Organizing my deep freezer

Okay, so we brought back our deep freezer from Kentucky, and I'm SOOO happy! However, digging stuff out of there is starting to drive me crazy. First off, it feels like -30 degrees in our garage, and standing there lifting things out of the deep freezer to find things in the bottom gets cold fast! :) Secondly, I just feel like things are thrown here and there. Even when I try to organize, like meats in this section, homemade stock in this section, etc..the sections get blurry quickly! I found a great article some time back on organizing an upright freezer, but I never could figure out how to organize a deep freezer. So, I thought I'd google it today. Not sure why today...not like I'm gonna get out there in these temperatures and organize it, but I'm thinking ahead! :)

So, here's a few ideas I ran across. I LOVE these baskets...didn't even know they made them! However, I'm not sure how many I can afford at almost $12 each! So, I'll put that on my "garage sale list" for the spring/summer. But, for now, I ran across this post, where she uses cardboard boxes! While not as pretty, it is definitely an option for now. I like this idea because 1) it's free!, 2) it will get me by until I can come up with a prettier solution...though, who knows why it has to be pretty? :) I may end up finding I like it just fine. I have inventoried my deep freezer over the years many times with a list and that's just a lot of work to constantly keep up with..for my brain, at least. So, if and when I decide to go forward with this plan, I'll try to remember to post before/after pictures! Anyone else have any other ideas?

My Walgreen's Trip 1/16/11

photo © kari mcgrath 2010

I haven't been doing well the past couple months with couponing, because I kept forgetting to get the Sunday paper, then there were the holidays, etc... I finally got my coupon binder cleaned out yesterday and re-organized. I have kept to my grocery cash budget, for the most part, except a few times around the holidays. So, I was looking forward to going out today to get back in the swing of things. I also re-worked our budget last night and plan to TRY to cut down our grocery budget even more starting next paycheck. Right now, I spend $100/week for our family of five (on food), and I'm going to try to get it down to $75/week. It's hard when we like to eat healthy 80% of the time, but I've pretty much got things worked out now where I think I'll be able to do it...just cut out some of the extras I allow us from time to time and simplify again a bit. It'll be a good challenge for me.

So, here's my Walgreen's breakdown for today:

1 Sunday newspaper @ $1.75

2 boxes Kellog's Fruit Loops on sale for 1.99 each
-I had a coupon for $1.50 off 2
-final cost: $1.24 each

**no, these are not part of our "healthy eating", however they do fill the kids' tummies on the mornings we have to run somewhere or I'm too tired (or lazy) to cook

2 boxes Kellog's Raisin Bran Crunch $4.99 each
**These were advertised (on the shelf sticker) for 2/$5 with a $2 Register Rewards, however, they rang up as $4.99 each. Seems the sticker was left from last week on accident, however they gave me the cereal at 2/$3, which was the advertised price on the shelf sticker. Thank you, Walgreens!

-I used (2) $0.70 coupons
-final cost: $0.80 each

2 bottles pepper on clearance for $0.59 each

1 Tom's of Maine toothpaste $3.99
-$3 Register Rewards
-Final cost: $0.99

1 Kotex maxi pads, 2 (18 count) Kotex tampons on sale 3/$9
-I used a $2/2 coupon
-It produced a $3 Register Reward
-Final cost: $1.33 each

1 Trial Size Thermacare hot pack sale price $2.50
-Produced a $2.50 Register Reward
-I used a $1 coupon
Final Cost: FREE plus $1 money maker!!!

1 (12 roll) Charmin Basic $2.99

Final Cost for all 13 items: $15.15

Original price on the 13 items: $51.64

Total savings: 70%!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gifts from the Heart

Every year for Christmas, my daddy makes some special gift for all of us. One year it was birdhouses, one year walking sticks...but every year, it's something I look forward to. These gifts require his time and he thinks of each one of us and our personalities. Mom does this often, too. Last year, she made me this amazing rug which I only recently got, b/c it took so much time to finish! I really treasure these handmade gifts, because they are unique. And, love goes into them. This year dad made us all pens. I use mine every day to write in my journal. I'm so blessed to have parents who "raised us right", who were great examples, who we always knew loved us. These pens are just a small thing, but a treasure to me.

Shane's pen is made from deer antlers.

My pen is made from wood taken from Cedarmore, the camp Shane and I lived at for 4 years.

Snow, glorious snow!!!

So, God finally heard my prayers for more snow! Here we move back to Indiana-and Northern Indiana at that-and there just hasn't been much. I know some of you would rather I have not prayed this prayer, and really-I shan't take the blame or praise for it (since I cannot make the snow personally). But, I am SOOO happy with this beautiful, white powder falling from the sky. Big reminder here: I love snow from the INSIDE looking out! I like to look out my window, with a cup of hot coffee in hand, and comfy fleece pants on. I don't like to be out in it. :) However, I went out for a few minutes with my camera today...just couldn't resist. Enjoy! And, if you don't like snow, just don't let me know..I don't wanna hear it! :)

(all photos © Kari McGrath 2011)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

What's for Breakfast?

(didn't take a picture of the scones, so I was browsing my old photos and thought this one was appropriate for the title!ha!)

Yesterday I made THESE cinnamon breakfast scones. I made them with gluten-free flour and had to add about 1/4 cup cream to the mixture (b/c I was out of milk, and cream just makes anything better anyways!) b/c gf flour absorbs more liquid. They turned out amazing...soft and tender. MMM... This morning I'm having a leftover scone. Pair that with coffee...nothing better on a snowy day! :)

Photography Blog

I honestly haven't done alot with my photography since we moved to Indiana, and in a way it's been nice to take a break. However, I have done a couple shoots and have put them up on my photography blog. Be sure to check them out. And, I'm hoping to finish some personal projects and put those up, too, in the near future..when I have the time. :)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Weigh-in Friday

Okay....drumroll, please....this week I lost 1.8 pounds! (note the ticker going down at the bottom of the page!) :) It's a start.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

My Chains are Gone

photo © kari mcgrath 2009

"One day as I was passing into the field...this sentence fell upon my soul. Thy righteousness is in heaven. And, methought, withal, I saw with the eyes of my soul Jesus Christ at God's right hand; there, I say, was my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me, he [lacks] my righteousness, for that was just before him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, 'The same yesterday, today, and forever.' Hebrews 13:8. Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed. I was loosed from any afflictions and irons...Now went I also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God."

John Bunyan, Grace Abounding, p. 59

Weight Loss

Okay, so I'm not going to be linking this post up on facebook for the world to see, but I will share with you, my few readers! :) I've debated whether to do this or not, but it will be good accountability for me. struggle with weight loss! It has been a struggle for me for my whole adult life, basically. Well, back when I was..not thin, but just about right for me..I didn't know it, but since the babies came, it's been a roller coaster for me.

The past few years, I've tried this and that. I tried adding more coconut oil to my diet, which plumped me up more! I tried eating only whole foods, which did the same! I knew enough by then, from reading alot, that I didn't want to do low-fat, sugar free diets anymore. But, I just haven't been able to hold myself accountable, I suppose. (though I hate to admit it)

I have joined Weight Watchers 3 times in the past. (I should be put in "the box of shame", for those of you who saw Despicable Me!) First time I lost 23 pounds, second time ?, third time about 12 or so. Every time I thought I was smart enough to go home and do it on my own. Guess not! The past few years, I've avoided joining, because I was still sure I could do it on my own, two-because I wasn't looking forward to nights of hunger. :) Plus, I always lost weight on eating 100 calorie twinkies and york peppermint patties and diet soda. But, I can't say I felt better physically, health-wise. That was my own fault, but it was what it was nonetheless.

Anyhow, whenever Shane saw me struggling with one plan or another, he'd say "you know honey, the only thing that's ever worked for you is Weight Watchers." After two years, I decided I was out of other options. :) So, Merry Christmas to me, I joined WW online. (because it's cheaper) This time, however, I have been determined to do it eating regular foods (focusing on whole foods as much as I can..or want to). I am determined not to eat low-calorie, nutrient lacking foods, just eat less of what I normally cook or ingest. Anyhow, the whole WW program has been re-vamped anyhow, and it's alot easier now to do for some reason. (I think the fact that fruits are free helps me alot!) I don't feel deprived at night anymore. (maybe b/c I'm making better choices with more satiating foods..and being gluten free knocks out my "100 calorie twinkie options anyhow!) :)

So, I invite you to join me on my journey or help me (push me) along the way. :) I joined a few weeks before Christmas, lost 1.8 lbs, then gained it back over Christmas/New Years! Tomorrow is my weigh in for this week. I have hope I have lost something. WW wants me to lose 40 pounds. Ugh. That number just kills me and feels so far off, it almost seems impossible. Let's just say, I haven't weighed that number since I was 20! But, I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I feel okay, not great, but okay with where I am right now. (usually) I realize now that I will not be a super model when this is all over. I still may not like my thighs or hind end or feel "skinny." However, I want to be healthy for my family, and stop this before it gets farther than it's already gone.

Okay, that's my story. I amost don't even want to post this. But, what do I have to hide? So, here I am laid bare (well, you know what I mean). There's a new weight loss ticker at the bottom of my page. I'll try to keep it updated and keep you all updated. Appreciate your prayers. I know some of you share this struggle, some of you don't (I still love you). But, I think this will be good accountability for me.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What's for Dinner?

(picture courtesy Nourished Kitchen, one of my favorite Foodie blogs)

So, what's for dinner over at your house tonight? At ours, it's Cottage Pie with Mashed Yams (recipe here) and broccoli. This is a YUMMY dish I've made before. I can't wait to dig in! :)

Just me and my boy in the sunshine!

I get MANY, MANY pictures each day drawn just for me! For Christmas, my parents and sister got my son TWO whole reams of white computer paper all for himself..and believe me, I feel like all I do is pick up white paper all over the house these days. :) While I hate to admit that many of these end up in the trash can..come on, I cannot possibly keep them all AND my sanity...once in a while, one will just melt my heart. This was one. :) I am so blessed that I am so admired that some one would want to draw picures of me all day long, besides the fact that I look so tall and thin. hee,hee...