Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Saturday 7

1. I spent last Saturday wedding dress shopping with my little sister! She's tiny and gorgeous and looked amazing in every dress she tried on. When she finally decided on "the one," they had to bring out a seamstress to decide if she needed a size 0 or 2. Wow. Haha. While we were there, we tried on some bridesmaid dresses. I definitely did not have to decide between a 0 or 2. Haha.

2. The dress-trying on led me to start working out again this week. I'm fortunate to have a husband with a degree in exercise science, so he taught me some weight lifting moves. Truth be told, if things go as planned, I'll probably be pregnant for the wedding, so I'm not too concerned with losing weight. (No, I'm not pregnant right now.) But I would like to tone my arms (the dress is strapless) and legs (it's also short). So I've been doing lunges and squats and free weights. And I am soooore!!! I guess that means it's working!

3. I read another Colleen Coble book this week: Anathema. I got it from the library and was surprised to see that it had been censored! Throughout the book, various words were scribbled out in black pen. The censor-er didn't do a great job, though, because I could still read the words. He/she blacked out two "gosh-es" and a "heck." Seriously. Lol. It cracked me up.

4. Lucy has a new word this week: birdie. Unfortunately, it sounds remarkably similar to "boobie." Lol. I'm just waiting for her to see an old lady with birds on her shirt and shout "boobies!"

5. Justin and I took Lucy to see the butterfly exhibit at Frederick Meijer Gardens this week. His grandma has a membership and literally lives across the street, so she got us in for free! Lucy loves butterflies, so I was excited for her to see them. When we first walked in the conservatory, Lucy stopped in her tracks and gagged. Lol. It's super humid and the flowers smell so strongly, I think she was a little overwhelmed. But once she got acclimated, she loved it! It wasn't too busy, so we let her run around and check everything out. So much fun.

Going through the gate in the children's garden.
My loves
6. After the gardens, we went back to Justin's grandparents' house. Grandma insisted we stay for pizza and was amazed at how much Lucy can pack away. Haha. It was so nice to spend time with them. It's the first time we've seen them since they left for Florida after Christmas, and it just reminds me again how blessed we are to have them in our lives. I never had much of a relationship with my grandparents, so I love the chance to have a relationship with Justin's grandparents.

7. I got a big box of diapers from Sam's Club this week. I think it's going to be the last one. Lucy will be 2 in 2 weeks. It's time to get serious with this potty training thing. She hides when she poops. I know that's an indicator that she's ready. I don't know if she has any concept of peeing though. Ha. Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Saturday 7

1. My craft with Lucy and Lyla this week was fruit loop rainbows. I got the idea from Pinterest and was pleasantly surprised with how it went! I didn't think it would hold the girls' attention very well and that I'd be doing all the work. I was wrong. I was especially surprised with how well Lucy did. I gave them each a pile of fruit loops then told them to pick out all of a certain color. I'd pick out a couple for Lucy to show her what color we were doing, then she found the rest herself!
Picking out the blue ones. (She lined them all up next to her paper.)
And both girls did great with making the rainbow. I squirted some glue on and they lined up the cereal! (One of Lucy's favorite OCD activities. Haha)
The finished product!
2. Last week, I got all "Mom of the Year" and pureed a bunch of carrots. I froze the purees in ice cube trays and started putting the carrot cubes into everything - mac n' cheese, beef-a-roni, spaghetti (we eat a lot of pasta). It was great! She ate it all with abandon and I was thrilled with how easy it was to sneak in some nutrition. But then this started happening . . .


It actually took me forever to figure out where the hives were coming from. I didn't think I was feeding her any differently than usual. But then I finally realized I was sneaking those carrots into almost everything she was eating! So frustrating. She used to eat a ton of carrots when she was a baby, but she hasn't had them in probably a year. Apparently her body is rejecting them now.

3. I found a new author I'm obsessed with: Colleen Coble. So far I've read the Aloha Reef Series, the Lonestar Series, and Abomination. (I realized later that Abomination is book 4 of another series. Blurg.) The Lonestar series was my favorite because all 3 books were about marriages of convenience. For some reason those are always my favorite! Haha. Although it was admittedly kind of dumb that all 3 couples in one little town all had to get married for some reason or another. They're murder mysteries with a romantic storyline. I almost always can figure out who the killer is, and there's never any doubt about the couple getting together. But I still love it. :-)

4. I am so torn between refinancing our house or just selling it and trying to find something cheaper. Selling is a gamble. Who knows if we'll be able to sell it for enough, quickly enough. And even if we do, will that house I want still be available? What if it's not? Do we settle for something cheap and nasty or live with our parents until something better comes up? But I'm not convinced refinancing is going to lower our payment enough to make a difference in our budget issues. I emailed the mortgage guy at our bank and he said to even begin refinancing we have to pay a $350 application fee. Not possible.

5. The good news on the financial front is that Justin got paid way more than we expected for working that side job last weekend. The electric bill got paid! (As did a few other bills.) Thank you for the prayers, words of encouragement, and even offers to help us out. I really wasn't fishing for handouts by writing that last week. I just write what's happening in our life - and that was pretty front and center. Plus, I like to keep a record of how God provides.

6. Lucy is really into praying lately. She never lets us forget to pray before meals. She loves to pick a person to pray for from our prayer sticks at bedtime. And sometimes she just randomly wants to pray. She got a sucker at the doctor on Thursday and before she would eat it, she insisted that I pray. And I'm pretty sure she's the cutest pray-er ever. She bows her little head and folds her little hands and closes her sweet little eyes. Best kid ever. :-)

7. Radical Update - it didn't go as well this week. I got behind on my reading and had to read 6 chapters in one day. It just hasn't become a habit yet. I need to pick a time of day and always do it at that time. The days that I have off, I read it while Lucy's napping. But when I work, I usually forget until 10:00 at night and then I just want to go to bed. Hm. And I was really forgetful with praying too. These were the countries I was supposed to pray for: Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ghana, France, Germany, and Greece.

And I attempted to serve out of my context. Monday night, I went to a local nursing home with my Ladies' Bible Study with the intent of ministering to some old people. I was not really looking forward to it, because that's definitely out of my comfort zone. We got there, sang some songs, and all the old people went to bed! So hopefully our singing was ministering. I didn't even talk to anyone!

Well sorry this was so long. Although you all should be used to that by now. :-) I'm off to go wedding dress shopping with my little sister!!!! Have a great week!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Saturday 7

1. Last Monday marked 1 month since I gave up Dr Pepper. I did it with the intention of losing some weight, so I replaced it with 0 calorie, 0 sugar Crystal Light. Once in a while I had a diet Dr Pepper, but again that's no calories or sugar. I honestly drank a LOT of pop before. I'm sure it was upwards of 500 calories a day. I was sure cutting it out would result in weight loss. Wrong. I lost absolutely nothing. 0 pounds. So not worth it. I bought a 2 liter yesterday and already have it half gone.

2. So it's been kind of a depressing week around here. We're having some major financial problems. For all the years we've struggled financially, we've never actually missed any payments on our bills. But unless something miraculous happens this weekend, the electric bill will not get paid by the time it's due on Monday. (So if there's no Saturday 7 next week, it's because our electricity got shut off. ;-)) The reason we're having such problems is because my new hours/pay have finally caught up with us. We literally do not make enough to cover our bills every month. So something has to change.

3. The solution that makes most sense it to buy a cheaper house. We got a great deal on our house, but we can't afford it anymore. :-( My hope is to sell the house for more than we owe on it (it's worth more) and put a big down payment on a cheaper house. Until recently, I wasn't having any luck finding a cheap house that isn't completely disgusting. But then I came across this one. Love it! You won't be able to see the pictures unless you sign up with the website, so here are some of the highlights:

Living room - love the bamboo flooring!
Dining room (being used as an office).
Another view of the dining room - built in bookshelves!!
Kitchen with eat-in area and slider to deck. 
Tiny bathroom - the only one in the whole house! :-/
Master bedroom
One of the upstairs bedrooms. (There are 2)

Isn't it gorgeous?! There are a few problems, though. Haha. We took the $8,000 first time homebuyer's tax credit when we bought our house. We have to live here for 3 years otherwise we have to pay it back. 3 years will be June 5. Sooo . . . we have to sell our house for more than we owe - quickly, and the above house has to stay on the market until our house sells. But we can't sell it until June 6. Haha. What do you think the odds are of that? Sigh. I shouldn't get too attached . . . Oh, did I mention that this house is exactly half a mile from my sister's house? Yeah, not getting attached . . .

4. Justin worked 6 days this week. A friend of ours hooked him up with a side job of doing demo on a house. He spent 11 hours yesterday tearing the roof off. And he left at 6:30 this morning to do it again. I feel terrible that he's working so hard, but I'm so grateful that he's doing it.

5. Lucy learned a couple new words/phrases this week that I'm just thrilled about. The first one she picked up from Lyla: "mine!" I knew that'd be coming soon. And the second is kind of adorable, and kind of annoying: "do it!" Meaning, "I want to do it." She also correctly identified the color orange a couple times this week. (What a weird color to start with!)

6. Another of her favorite new words is "help." She helps me with everything. Laundry, dishes, cooking, even going to the bathroom! I'll say "I have to go potty" and she yells "help!" and runs into the bathroom with me. Haha. I let her rip the toilet paper off the roll for me, but I handle the rest. ;-) It really is nice that she likes to help so much. I get a lot done during the day because she's happy to help me.

7. Time for the Radical Update: this week I read most of Job. Man, talk about a depressing book. And we prayed for Brazil, China, Cambodia, Congo DRC, Costa Rica, Croatia, and Czech Republic.

Monday, April 9, 2012

No Clean Eating Here!

I'm up to 308 repins of my clean eating peanut butter fruit dip on pinterest. Really? Does it look that good?

Anyway, here's another recipe from Pinterest that is not clean. There's more than a cup of sugar in it. Haha. But it's delicious! (Duh - a cup of sugar!) Lucy helped me make it, then Justin and I polished it off in 2 days! (Lucy did get a few bites. Don't worry about her being deprived!)

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

For the bread:
  • 3 over-ripe bananas, smashed up
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
For the swirl:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a loaf pan.
  2. Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together. sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture. Then gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix!
  3. In a small dish, mix together the 1/3 cup sugar and 1 Tbs cinnamon.
  4. Add 1/2 of the batter to the loaf pan and then sprinkle half, or a little more than half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter, and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon-sugar on top.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
I added chocolate chips as well, because that's how I roll. And mine got a little burned when I baked it for 55 minutes. That didn't stop us from devouring it, though!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Saturday 7

1. I had this week off for Spring Break. It was fabulous! On Monday, we went to the zoo with Kelly and Presley and Carrie and Abby. (Lucy can say "Abby" so anytime we talk about the zoo, she exclaims "Abby!" She hasn't quite figured out Presley yet. Haha.)
Lucy was kind of a grump the whole time. I realized why later that afternoon . . .

2. We got home around 2 and she went right down for her nap. She didn't wake up 'til 6 and I knew we were in trouble. Sure enough: 104* fever. I gave her some ibuprofen and went to Bible Study, leaving her in Justin's capable hands. At 9:20 I got this text: "Lucy just puked all over. You need to come home and clean the carpet. She won't let me put her down." Haha. I was having flashbacks of the night she puked every 20 minutes for 8 hours, so hurried home. I had nothing to fear. She slept soundly all night and woke up fever free! Woohoo!

3. Tuesday night, my nephews Tristan and Tayton came over. (My other nephew, Tyler, is on a cruise in Mexico so he was unable to attend. Lucky duck.) They spent the night and we spent all day Wednesday playing games. We played Scattergories, Clue, Phase Ten, Skip-bo, and Blokus (my new favorite). It was great! I love them.

4. I made another winning recipe this week. From plainchicken of course. We got a free grill from my brother-in-law and have been looking for some good grilling recipes. This one got rave reviews, so I was excited to try it out. It lived up to its expectations!
Picture from plainchicken.com

Cajun Chicken
1 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
2 Tbsp dried Italian-style seasoning
2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp lemon pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness

In a small bowl, mix the oil, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and lemon pepper. Place the chicken in a ziplock bag. Pour marinade over chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.When ready to grill, drain chicken, and discard marinade. Place chicken on hot grill and cook for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear.



5. Lucy will be 2 in just over a month and this week she finally started speaking in sentences! Well, at least she finally started putting 2 words together. She's been suuuuuper clingy lately, so a big one I've been teaching her is "up please." (Instead of just standing at my feet whining.) I hear that all the time now. And then yesterday, she was petting Lola and she randomly started saying "hi, kitty!" It's so cute. She drags out the hi so it sounds like "hiiiii, kitty!" And she chases Lola around the house saying it over and over. I don't think Lola finds it as cute as I do. 

6. I came across this article a couple days ago and can't decide what I think about it. The author describes his struggle with Jesus' phrase "My God, My God why have you forsaken me" on the cross. The author says a God who would turn away from his son in his time of need isn't a good God. And he questioned how the Trinity could be split. Anyway, his solution is to say that Jesus wasn't really accusing God of literally forsaking him. He was alluding to Psalm 22. The author claims that in Bible times, people quoted the first verse of a Bible passage in reference to the whole chapter. I understand some of the author's objections to God forsaking Jesus on the cross, but it makes me nervous to twist Jesus' words. Read the article and tell me what you think.

7. All right, it's time for the first Radical Experiment update! It went really well! I'm sure it's because it's the first week and I'm excited about it. Plus, I had the whole week off, so I had plenty of time to read the Bible and stuff. Anyway, I read Genesis 1-11 and Job 1-13. Job is really hard to read. Ugh.

We prayed for Afghanistan, Austria, Bosnia, Bhutan, and Armenia. I'm really enjoying the info on the Operation World website. It's crazy to see how few Christians are in these countries and how desperate their spiritual and physical needs are.

I'm going to leave you with a verse from Job that I read this week. I don't remember seeing this before (although it was underlined in my Bible, so I obviously read it years ago), but I thought it was appropriate for this Easter weekend:

Job 9:32-35

32"God is not a mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial. 33 If only there were a mediator who could bring us together, but there is none. 34 The mediator could make God stop beating me, and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment. 35 Then I could speak to him without fear, but I cannot do that in my own strength.


So thankful for that mediator!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Radical Experiment

I decided to bite the bullet and just do it. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, read point 6 of the Saturday 7 below.) I'm not going to make a separate blog. I'll probably just update my progress every week in the Saturday 7. (More for accountability's sake than anything.) Here's the plan I have mapped out so far.

1. Read through the Bible in a year. I signed up here for a reading plan. I chose chronological because it's something I've always wanted to do. Right now, I'm signed up for NIV readings, but I'm looking for a different version. I posted on facebook that I want something different enough to feel new to me, but not just a random version that doesn't have merit. Any suggestions?

Also, the website has a link to commentaries, which I'm really excited about. So many times I read sections of the Bible and think, "What on earth did that mean?" However, it gives me a lot of options for commentaries. If you happen to be a Biblical scholar, would you mind putting in your two cents on which of these you think is the most Biblically sound? Calvin, Darby, Geneva, Gill, Jamieson Faussett Brown, Matthew Henry, or Wesley. Are there any I should definitely avoid?

2. Pray for the whole world in a year. Thanks to David Platt's suggestion, I signed up with Operation World to receive daily emails to pray for a country a day. The email has a link with specific information and prayer requests for each country. I'm going to try to do this with Lucy every night.

Those are the two I'm focusing on right now. It'd be awesome if anyone wants to join me on this journey! I'm excited to get started! (I read Genesis 1-3 tonight and already have questions! Haha.)
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