Blog

We Love You, Mothers, Everywhere!

Happy Mothers Day!

This is my first Mother’s Day with the “official title”. Last year, I was counting down the weeks till our son arrived.

I don’t even have one year under my belt yet, but I see how motherhood is such a blessed and fulfilling calling! My heart is completely overwhelmed each morning, when I see Seth’s happy face peering at me as I open the door to his nursery, and hear his giggles as he reaches for me, and our day together begins. Seth is a constant reminder of the Lord’s goodness and mercy towards Don and me.

And each day, as I grow in motherhood, I am increasingly thankful for the example my mom gives me.

When my sisters got married within a few months of each other, I ended up being the only daughter at home for three years and enjoyed this special time, growing closer with my mom. My mom is so wonderful, fun, simple, and sweet, and that’s on top of being absolutely beautiful — my dad would agree! Over the years, I’ve noticed how fully she gives herself to her calling:

In the home:

the food she sets on the table, decorations that make a home cozy, rearranging of the furniture (I used to laugh but now I do the same thing), the ways she saves or makes a little money to help out

In the family:

the way she cares for my dad and make his evenings after work, restful for him, the activities with the grandchildren, the encouragement she has for us daughters, how she loves and honors her parents

In the community:

the gatherings and phone calls with her friends, and the emphasis on God’s Word at the center of every part of our lives, her kindness, extending to anyone around her, her willingness to be of service, even in the hidden things

I am so blessed to have her as my mother.

And I’m lucky to have two wonderful mothers!

I also have my mother-in-law who I am so thankful for! She is thoughtful, caring, kind, and sweet, and is also there for me in every way that my mom is. She encourages me in motherhood, being at home, taking care of Seth, and enjoying him. I enjoy any time we spend together and our talks.

Sometime I watch old footage of our families — Donnie and I as children — I’ll watch how both of our moms created an atmosphere in their homes, founded on Biblical stories and activities to raise godly, creative, energetic, and healthy children.

With their encouragement and the mercies of the Lord made new to us every morning, I will raise our children the same way.

So, thank you mothers, and we love you!

5 Reasons to Budget with Mint

Goodbye Excel spreadsheet! I felt triumphant as I transferred our budget spreadsheet to Intuit Mint. That was two years ago and since then, budgeting has been so easy for us. It’s our one-stop-shop to effortlessly visualize and manage our finances.

  1. It’s Free.

    That’s already a plus for me. I don’t know if I would have considered trying it out if there was a subscription fee to use the app. You could be wondering how they make their money. Along with the features the app has to offer, the blog  (I choose to hide the blog) gives you advice on financial services, and of course, they get a referral fee if you choose to use those services. I understand if the 3rd party, “data collecting”, cloud-based service is not for you and there is no need for you to read further.

  2. Easily Adjustable Budgets & Alerts

    Life has ups and downs, so everyone needs a little flexibility. It’s so easy to adjust your budgets when necessary. Mint also provides notifications and alerts, keeping you in full control of your spending.

  3. Tracking upcoming bills

    This feature shows you the various bills you’ll need to pay by the end of the month and gives you a complete total — no surprises. 🙂

  4. Linked debit / credit cards

    Linking the cards you use for purchases will help you get a more realistic visual of your finances. It helps to see all my card balances in one location with the transactions – even the ones still pending. I categorize and tag each transaction as it comes in and I’ve been able to easily pull up medical receipts, etc. for our taxes.

  5. Savings Goals

    Motivation helps! Select a goal — new car, new home, vacation, emergency fund — and Mint helps you decide the amount to save per month. Link an account to see the results of your savings.

 

For us, Mint is about saving time. And that means more time to enjoy our life together with friends & family!

Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

 

Summer Pizza Nights

Summer is on it’s way — each week the temperatures rise, the sun shines a little more, and my excitement grows while awaiting my favorite season! One of our little traditions for Friday evenings in Summer is pizza nights on the porch. With some of our favorite garnishes: freshly grated parmesan and crushed red pepper, we sit in the golden and pink glow that Olympia sunsets offer, and peacefully enjoy our favorite Italian food.

I’m looking forward to sharing these times with Don again.

Follow the links to view the pizza dough and pizza sauce recipes.

IMG_2701.JPG

Ways I Beat the Grocery Budget

I love that feeling when I’m right on budget for groceries each week or, even better, when I end the month with extra cash to stash. It doesn’t always happen but I’ve noticed my weekly efforts are establishing a routine, and I know the results will be rewarding.

I purpose to hold back from a grocery list until I’ve looked over my pantry and use Yummly to suggest recipes from the ingredients there.

Using the Ibotta app, I browse my usual stores (Costco & Fred Meyers) for cash back offers. The offers don’t always match what I need to buy but the app usually offers $0.25 for any item and it’s better then nothing! Read more about the Ibotta app, here.

This takes about 5 minutes to browse but it’s worth it. I have earned over $75 in the last 10 months.

The Fred Meyers app is a must for me too! Before I had the app, I would never go to Fred Meyers because I always felt like I spent more than I should. Now with the app, I can easily see items on sale, browse their coupons with the items that apply, and quickly add items to my cart. It also has a “Start my Cart” option, listing items you purchase regularly. I pay the $4.95 for the ClickList because the amount of time I’m saving is worth it. It takes me 15 minutes (max) to put my ClickList together.

With these, I have cut my grocery bill in half and that doesn’t include my extra money earned with Ibotta!

On top of these great apps, my time spent in the kitchen is profitable.

IMG_2857
Bakery Fresh Sandwich Rolls

I make my own sandwich bread for Don’s lunches, using ingredients I always have on hand, and he likes it better than sliced bread that falls apart when you eat it. 

This bread is soft and sweet and you can find the recipe by clicking on the photo or here.

 

I also store away half of certain dinners for a future week! Here’s what you’d find in my freezer:

  • Tomato Soup*
  • Chili
  • Prepared Rice & Bean Burritos
  • Sandwich Rolls
  • Homemade Pizza Dough
  • Pizza Toppings (i.e. Costco’s Kirkland mozzarella – I wasn’t sure if this would work but I tried it and it was just fine!)

*I don’t usually add dairy to our tomato soup which is why I’m able to freeze it.

Freezing enables me to use meals twice within the same month, saving me a week of meals to plan and groceries to buy!

For some of my recipes, follow the links below:

Rice & Beans , Pizza Dough, Bakery Fresh Sandwich Rolls, No-Knead Artisan Bread, Chicken Soup

Feel free to share your input with me! I’m always looking for great recipes, budget advice, and anything else that helps in my duties as wife, mother, (let’s be honest ) maid, cook, and financial amateur! 😀

 

1st Anniversary Post

Our 2nd anniversary is up and coming. Wow! Don has planned a special outing and I am so excited. Last year, I started a Google Site but the features were limited and a not as easy to use, which is why I transferred to Word Press. I am copying over a post for our 1st anniversary, to start this year off. The videos I burned to the DVD are embedded below.

Post date: May 26, 2017 3:42:06 PM

To celebrate our 1st Wedding Anniversary on May 28th, I created and burned videos I made to a DVD for my hubby. We’re also getting a complimentary anniversary cake from Celebrity Cakes. We chose the lemon cake a year ago, and hopefully he forgot all about it so I can surprise him on Sunday.

I can’t believe how quickly one year has gone by, so much has happened even from just the 1st Monday we were home from our honeymoon.

June – Arriving Home:

We went to orchestra and I was thrilled to see the amount of people with stringed instruments. We started practices for a wedding in July and Don also went out of town for a week of work in Oregon.

July:

From there, we celebrated Independence Day and my birthday, with Donnie leaving periodically out of town, which provided me the opportunity for visiting our parents and dining one evening with his grandparents.

August:

We spent a couple days in Eastern Washington for a short vacation with family and on our return I found out I had mono for the last several months, including our wedding and honeymoon. I just thought it had been the warm climate making it difficult to breathe!

September:

Directly after finishing the final hour of work on Friday, we decided to celebrate the success of the past weeks, with a one night camping trip. It was so wonderful and Don is quite the expert planner, so even though the weather was sunny and chilly (it rained earlier in the morning), we were quite cozy, and had great fun and a marvelous experience!

October:

We found out we were expecting our little bundle in mid-October and soon after, we started working to perform the Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson with the entire orchestra and choir sometime in December.

November:

Don’s birthday came and we celebrated this event together with a bout of the stomach flu, still managing to work in a few laughs about the whole ordeal. Thanksgiving rolled by, complete with morning sickness, and a mental note that the following year would allow me another shot to enjoy that delicious food, as it was not meant to be, this year. 🙂

December:

We performed the Christmas Festival on December 23rd, a Friday evening, and a dear friend’s engagement followed the morning after. We took off to Ocean Shores for the holidays and visited family staying in Seabrook, WA. Don had sweetly planned a present to await me in the cabin we booked. The present contained slippers, a cozy winter robe, and tea.

January & February:

The new year brought snow and the anniversary of our engagement. We did leave town for some rest & relaxation in early March.

March:

When we returned, I only had 10 weeks left to wait for the arrival of our baby. I started preparing the nursery.

April:

Our first Good Friday together was the start of our family traditions, replicating what our parents had done with us through our childhood and the liturgies we remembered on this day. I also made lamb pitas for lunch and during the evening service, I was listening to the songs being sung instead of singing or playing the music, which I hadn’t done since I was 14 or 15 years old.

May:

I stopped work on May 22nd, just a little over two weeks before my due date, and so far have loved every minute of being at home. I celebrated the 1st couple days with a visit from my sisters, and a lovely breakfast with a dear friend, the following morning. I also spent a sunny afternoon with my mom which was something we hadn’t done together in a long time. It was wonderful and I look forward to that more this summer. On Sunday we’ll be celebrating our anniversary and then we have just a little longer to wait to meet our baby.

Just yesterday, May 25th, we congratulated two wonderful friends of ours on the arrival of their little girl, Heather. I’m super excited to find out if we have a little daughter or son in approximately 12 days.

In the meantime, I need to burn this DVD to have it ready for Sunday. 🙂