Galations 2:20-21

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." Galations 2:20-21

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sewing Projects

I used this pattern to make these cute little bibs for my cousin-in-laws baby. Her baptism was this weekend. Not quite your typical baptism gift.
I made these with a terry backing so they can be used as a washcloth after eating.

A coin purse I made for my sister. I'm in the middle of working on this clutch to match.

Our life these days

This weeks marks our 20th week in the pregnancy! I'm just loving being pregnant right now. This second trimester has been soooo much better than the first. I'm still feeling quite pregnant, though.

Not-so fun things: ~I do have occasional pelvic bone pressure (which can be so bad I can hardly walk) if I have a really active day or I'm walking for a long period of time with no rest (i.e. running errands) this tends to happen. ~A couple of my sisters and I went to Old Navy for their $1 flip-flop sale over the weekend. We were waiting for 2 hours in a line that wrapped all around the store! I almost made it to check-out before I had to run outside and "empty my stomach." ~One thing that has been a struggle for me is the ever "expanding belly." I love looking pregnant, but I HATE figuring out what to wear. I'm very uncomfortable in maternity pants and most of my regular t-shirts and tanks don't fit me anymore. My aunt gave me bags of maternity clothes (which I've been so blessed with), but half of them are pants and long sleeves and it's getting warmer these days. I've been working on getting a few of my own maternity clothes here and there. While my sisters and I were at Old Navy I purchased two maternity dresses along with the flip-flops. One was on sale for only $9.99. I have a feeling I'm going to spend most of these summer months in skirts and dresses.

Fun things:
Byron is getting his lunches made by me and his homemade meals again. I've even been able to start cooking more meat and my pasta sauce! ~The baby has been very active these past couple weeks. Some days I think he/she's doing gymnastics in there. I've also been able to see my belly move during kicking-weird. ~Oh, and the best part is that Byron has been able to feel the kicking-finally! ~Next week is our 21 week ultrasound. Can't wait! No, we aren't finding out the gender. I like the mystery. It's fun looking at boy and girl clothes and just wondering.

Byron has been working on the garage project. Tearing it down and rebuilding it, that is.
My father and his brother helped in the "destruction" of the old one. Now it's time to build a new one! I'm just praying it's completed by the time the baby comes :)

Please pray we rent out our apartment soon. It's been vacant for one month now. We have had a little interest. I actually showed it today to a really nice girl around my age. She seemed to like it...we'll see.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


More-with-Less by Doris Janzen Longacre, is much more than your average cookbook. The cover of the book says it best..."Recipes and suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world's limited food resources." This book was given to me by a good family friend. What a great gift it has turned out to be.

Using a Christian and Biblical lens, Longacre writes on world shortages of food, overeating, and how to change. She goes through how to build a simpler diet by eating MORE whole grains, legumes, veggies & fruit, and nuts & seeds...and LESS meat & dairy and AVOIDING all together "superprocessed" & "superpackaged" food and things like food that has been shipped refrigerated for long distances.

She also has some great charts on things like "Comparative Costs of Protein Sources" along with writing about how to shorten your shopping list. And of course, most of the book is FULL of great recipes.

This book has been very helpful on my quest to become more frugal with the money God has blessed us with. I recommend everyone having this book close to your kitchen!

I made a Whole Wheat Dinner Roll recipe from this book to go with last nights "Pantry Pot Roast Dinner." Yes, I know it's not quite pot roast weather, but we are trying to eat more from the "pantry" as another money saving tactic and I had one in the freezer. I added a mixture of fresh, canned, and frozen veggies and it was delightful! I'm not a really big fan of the whole eating a big hunk of meat thing. I'd rather eat pasta any day, but I must say that this was the best pot roast I've ever eaten (and I'm not one to brag about my cooking). I'm just really impressed that mixing a bunch of stuff I had laying around turned out to be soooooo tastey. I also made a couple dozen rolls to freeze. I take just few out when we need them. A little time and money saving tip I learned a while ago.


Staying on the money saving theme...

My husband and I have been thinking for quite some time about getting a membership to Costco. Last night we decided to take a ride over there and browse around the store. Neither of us have actually ever been in one. To make a long story short and after spending some time price comparing, we decided to sign up (yes Lori, we finally did it).

This is another money saving experiment we are doing right now. I do have some mixed feelings about it, though. Buying in bulk is a great deal, but can the two of us realistically use those items before they go bad. Will I end up actually spending more because I think I'm saving so much money? Is the membership fee actually worth it? We'll see I guess. If any of you have any strategies for how to get the most out of shopping at Costco I would really appreciate it!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Family Budget

*Long Post Alert*

My husband and I have been very blessed to both not bring any debt into our marriage. Since we got married we've been very intentional about keeping it that way. During our engagement period we even put together a budget for our life after we became One. Our budget has been changed and refined a lot since then (almost 2 1/2 years ago already), but we are staying strong.

The reason I am writing this post is because I have stumbled across this website that I am really enjoying. It's called Small Notebook: for a simple home. It has a articles ranging from housekeeping & gardening to family life & money. I'm getting some great tips on how to keep our life simple and I was reading a few things last night in the money section that gave me the urge to write about how we do our family budget.

With the baby on the way, we have been thinking a lot about money and how to prepare for our growing family. We are a one income family aside from me working a few part-time jobs and selling things on ebay here and there. This is how we originally set up our budget: We first set up an Excel-type spreadsheet on our computer. One column for "Budget" and one for "Actual" spending. Then we listed by category the items along the left side of the spreadsheet. Income, mortgage payment, electricity, natural gas, water, groceries, savings, tithes/giving, grace/misc., etc.(add a debt payment column if you have debt). Before we started adding in numbers we looked at our monthly income and then our reoccurring bills (mortgage and utilities). We added in all of those numbers first (into the budget column). Some of those numbers can change from month to month, so we just looked back in our records and rounded up a few dollars. We then basically did an educated guess for the rest at first, but staying within our income limit. As the months went on we were able to pin down a better number for things such as groceries, gifts, household, etc. After every purchase or bill payment I would add those numbers into the "Actual" spent column on the spreadsheet. This means keeping every single receipt. Yes, even for that .50 cent candy bar. We set up the spreadsheet to automatically show us if we were overspending in area or underspending in another. It totaled everything up, so that at the end of the month we new if we went over budget or under budget. It's been working for us pretty well and we are already building up an emergency fund for the tough times.

As much as I like the system we've been using, we've been a little disappointed. The only way to really know how much we are spending is to make sure we were constantly checking our budget. That's kind of hard when you are on a road trip for the weekend. So, sometimes we ended up going over a little here and there. Nothing huge, just not what we wanted to happen. What we've also been doing for the past 2 1/2 years is using our credit card for every purchase we could. The thought was "Hey, we get the 1% cash back. We'll be making money." Well, statistics show people actually spend more money when they use a credit card (even if they are sticking to a budget). We were intrigued and wanted to put that to the test starting this month.

What are we doing different?
Using CASH for everything we possibly can. We are using an "envelope system." There are many out there. Search the web. Every category in our budget has an envelope with the actual cash amount for the whole month in it. So say when I go grocery shopping all the money I have for the month for groceries is in my "groceries" envelope. When I make a purchase, I take the cash out of that envelope to pay. I put the receipt and any change back in that envelope. Sounds pretty simple. It is. If we have to use our debit card for a purchase (like for shopping online) we take the cash out of the envelope for that category and put it in a separate envelope, so we know that money was spent. We are not using the spreadsheet anymore, but are still keeping the receipts just in case. This is new to us, so we are still figuring out how we want to do this (and maybe I just wanted a break from inputting every single receipt into the computer). We still think the spreadsheet method is a great way to go.

How's it going so far?
The month is more than halfway over and I am loving it. By seeing the actual dollars I am spending makes me so much more aware of how much money I am spending. I find myself trying not to spend all the money in the envelopes so there will be some left at the end of the month. We already have an envelope for savings, but how great would it be if I could add to that?

Setbacks? We ran out of our gift money pretty fast this month due to Mother's day, birthdays, a graduation, and a baptism. There just wasn't enough money in the envelope for it all, so I got to get creative. I've been teaching myself how to sew, so I've been making a few things instead of buying.

I will be writing a follow-up post at the end of the month so you can see how we did. We are pretty comfortable talking about money and our budget, so please feel free ask questions. I hope this post inspired you at the very least. Happy saving!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free Food

Who doesn't like free food? Suzanne Wells, Ebay Selling Coach, not only blogs about her ebay selling success and offers great tips, but she also writes articles for

Most recently she wrote a series of articles on how to get free food. Click here to read her article on how to get Free Organic Fruit and here on how to get Free Wendy's Hamburgers.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Garden in the Spring

With a really rough first trimester, we didn't get the seedlings started indoors quite early enough. I got about half of our seeds and seedlings planted so far. Here are some pictures.

2nd Year Asparagus. We'll finally get to harvest next year!

Some flowers I planted. Stupid deer ate the flowers on the lower step.

Little Tomato Plant

Pea Plant
Cucumber plant starting to flower

Our Strawberry Patch

Baby Apple Tree

Mother's Day, College Graduation, & New Hobby

We had a packed weekend. We enjoyed a nice lunch at my parents' house Saturday afternoon to meet my sister's boyfriend's parents (did you catch all that?), we hosted a pre-Mother's Day dinner at our house with the in-laws Saturday evening (first party since I got pregnant), and Sunday my sister graduated from college (we're so proud of you, sis!) and went out for a Mom's Day dinner with my side of the family.

My grandparents-in-law gave me my very own sewing machine for my birthday a couple weeks ago. I've always wanted to learn how to sew and have already been working on some little projects. I just can't wait to start making little outfits for our baby!

Reusable gift bag for Mother's Day gift
(I just loved this fabric I found on sale)
Cloth Baby Wipes/Washcloths for baby!
(I just loved these little monkeys)

My sister and her boyfriend at graduation!
Too cute.

Me and my belly at 18 weeks.
I'm just loving being pregnant!