Love Story

Saturday, January 21, 2012

1 + 1 = 6


That's right...to our surprise we will be adding a sixth and final member to our family! While this wasn't our plan, we know that God's plan is so much better than our own and trust in his timing and provision for this new little one. Big families are fun, right?

Here's how we announced to our friends and extended family:



Isn't this is going to make an adorable first picture for the baby book? And the process itself was quite memorable...it's not easy getting 3 little people to sit still. After lots of laughs, a few tears, some bribes and about 10 outtakes, it all came together. Precious:)

I had been dying to tell the kids from the very beginning....the night before we found out Nathan asked when I was going to get another baby in my tummy so I knew he would be excited. We waited until everything looked good at my first OB appointment and then gathered them up to tell them the good news. Want to see their reactions?


video

Again, such a great moment to have captured and I can't wait to show their future brother or sister just how loved they were from the beginning. And I can remind the newest addition how lucky they are that I didn't give big brothers free reign on picking a name! This morning Nathan said breakfast prayer and sweetly said, "Thank you God for putting a new baby in mommy's tummy and letting it come close to my birthday." How could I not be excited about a new little one when the ones I already have are so amazing?

For those of you who are wondering....yes, we would love a girl but honestly, a boy would probably just be easier. We already have this boy thing down and all the stuff to go with it. But ultimately, I trust whatever God has in store. He sure has planned my family better than I ever could have! Not everyone is so neutral about this subject though. Nathan is hoping God picks a sister for our family because as he puts it, "we don't have one of those!" Can't argue with that logic!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stay at home moms and screen time - Guest post

There was once a stereotype of stay at home moms that included eating bon-bons and watching soap operas all day. While I'm not sure if that was ever really something women did, I think the new "stereotype" of stay at home moms being glued to their computers is actually more common then the previous statement. I read one post that said that as many as 25% of stay at home moms admit to spending more time on the internet than they do with their kids, some spending as much as 5 hours or more surfing the web. I know that I personally have been convicted by how much my screen time plays a part in my day. When I recently saw a friend announcing a self-imposed ban from the internet before 7pm each day, I asked her to write a little bit about it for us. She bravely shared her story and I am thankful she did because I think there are many who are going to be able to relate. Here is what she had to say:


I’m breaking my own rules already.  Just a week ago, I had come to a point where it was my life or Facebook.  I was staring down an enemy every bit as formidable as the cigarettes and coffee I gave up two years ago.  The symptoms of withdrawal were surprisingly the same.  I would find myself staring out the window in my living room, feeling like time was going by painfully slow.  I felt lost, without a cause.  I knew inside what the cause was…my family.  The very same reason I gave up cigarettes….my family, my children.

Today is not a great day, yesterday wasn’t either.   Both days I had carelessly left the computer on the night before and “well if it’s on already, I might as well just check it really quick”….These thoughts are the death knell of any productivity I might have had.  

Last week was amazing though.  I believe it was Tuesday I swore to myself, I will NOT turn on the computer at all until after 7 PM.  These were the new rules…these were the battle lines.  I had toyed with the idea of deleting my Facebook account all together, because I know I have a problem, have had one for some time.   My husband assured me that this alone would not solve my problems, I had an addiction far worse than just some social networking site.  It was a screen addiction.  Often while my Facebook is open, I would peruse news sites and crime blogs for the worst news stories I could possibly find.  I would rationalize that it kept me vigilant, kept me hyper aware if one day I ran into a situation where I could spot an abused child, or heaven forbid spot someone trying to hurt my own children (child abuse stories are king in my news search problem).  So this wasn’t just some Facebook issue, this was an internet issue.  An internet addiction.

Every once in a while I would swear off news sites, and I would do well for a month or two.  But I always go back.  Facebook is another matter entirely.  I don’t think I’ve gone over 24 hours without checking my Facebook in over a year probably.  Facebook is the knarliest of opponents in my screen addiction.
 
My husband and I decided timed parameters were the only way I could face this problem of mine.  And for the first week it was wonderful.  I absolutely would not turn on my computer until after 7pm, and I got so much done.  My house had been cleaner than it had in months, I was planning my dinners (more out of boredom because I felt like I had no life all day), and I was spending more time with my 3 year old, it was fabulous.  I took a whole morning to visit a friend at her house in person.  I called friends on the phone, actually listening to their voices and having real conversations.  I was living my real life, not my false internet life.  Then came Sunday. 

After church I had come home and thought to myself, well “Sundays shouldn’t count!”…so I fired her up and immediately checked Facebook.  After about 20 minutes I felt a twinge of guilt.  Maybe Sundays should count?  I ask the husband.  He says to me “if you make an exception today, it will be easier to on other days”….he’s RIGHT!!  So I do what any good addict does and rationalize.  I set my timer on my microwave for 35 minutes and swear I won’t go over.  That day I didn’t. 
This is the beginning of a new week and it’s not going well.  Yesterday I indulged in my sweet screen all day.  I did get a couple loads of laundry done, so all is not lost I tell myself.  Today is going no better though.  Not even laundry has gotten started yet and it’s almost 1:30 in the afternoon. 
The rationalizations begin:  “Oh, the baby has a cold, I probably wouldn’t get done much anyway”,  “Maybe I just can’t really do this”….”Maybe I should just delete my Facebook account and see if that helps”.

Of course there was a time that this wasn’t a problem for me.  There was a time in another life where I lived by myself, owned no computer, no cell phone, and had no cable TV.  It was a grand time.  Then I started dating my future husband.  He likes all the toys.  I liked his computer.  I could live to this day without all the other things, but the computer has me hooked.  I often fantasize about getting rid of internet, how much easier it would be, but unfortunately, we live in Canada and still have many bills in the States, so I must handle money with online banking.  Therein lies my problem.  It’s a gateway.  I don’t know how many times I find myself turning on the computer to balance the books and think, oh I can just check my Facebook really quick.   It’s almost never “really quick”.  

My name is Adina and I have a screen addiction.   It’s not pretty.  It’s not harmless.  My family suffers for it.  But I will keep trying.  And as Chrystal reminded me yesterday “Tomorrow is a new day”. 
 
Indeed it is.

Wow. Does this strike a chord with you? It does with me. Can you relate to this on any level? Honestly, I can. If you can too, what are you doing to take a stand and regain control of your life? I would love to hear your thoughts, opinions, stories. Maybe Adina has inspired you and you would like to write a post to share here...email me with your story and I would be glad to post it. This seems to be a growing epidemic so I know that some of you reading this will have something to say...hope you chime in.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Movie Theater Morals

This past weekend we had the pleasure of going on a date at a local theater that has recently turned into a discount theater. On this particular Saturday they were having a free admission day to spread the word about their new business venture and to give back to the community. It was a great opportunity for us to get out without having to spend a lot of money and we even got to see a movie we had missed the first time it was in theaters (can I just say on a side note that if you haven't seen Courageous, you MUST!).

Because we didn't have to pay for tickets we did indulge in a large popcorn and drink which came to a whopping $10...slightly horrifying but still a fraction of what tickets to a regular priced movie would have cost. As we were enjoying our refreshments and waiting for the movie to start, the owner of the theater came in to greet everyone and talk about the new changes occurring at the theater. He is hoping to host a free day each month but they have to sell enough concessions to be able to counter the costs of that. Because of this he asked that nobody bring in their own refreshments and that because they were being so generous in offering the movies for free, if they caught someone doing so they would be banned from the theater. Harsh? I don't think so especially since tickets were free and you weren't obligated to purchase something from concessions.

Fast forward to today when I was a part of a Facebook discussion about whether or not I sneak in my own snacks when going to the theater. Now it was easy for me to side with the owner of the theater that wasn't charging anything for tickets, but how do I feel when it comes to a full priced event? Can I just say not only was I in the minority when I said I didn't think it was right, but I was the only one out of more than 50 people voicing their opinions who answered that way. This kind of baffled me so I looked into it some more and found that this question had been asked before in various forums and it seemed that when the question of sneaking in food came up the resounding response is not only, "Yes, I do it" but it is also more times than not backed with a justification based on the prices of not only movie tickets but concessions themselves.

I get it. Really, I do. As a family of 5 if we attempt to go to a regular priced movie we are out almost $50. It seems just wrong to see a movie in the theater without the popcorn so that is at least $5 added to the bill and you can't ingest that much salt without something to wash it down with so tack on another $5 for a drink. $60 for a 2 hour experience that I could pay a dollar for if I wait for it to come to Redbox and do it in my own house. Looking at it through those eyes it is easy to bust out the extra big purse, start popping some popcorn in the microwave and make a stop at the dollar store for cheap movie style candy before heading to the next showing. Honestly, there was a time when I used to do this very thing.

But is it right? Am I justified? Here's the way I look at it. I am not obligated to buy concessions when I go to the movie. That is a choice. If I am horrified by the cost of said snacks I can make a stand by not purchasing them. Heck, I can make an even bigger stand by avoiding theaters all together (which, by the way, I usually do because it just doesn't fit in our budget. Hence us jumping on the free movie day opportunity). I think using the cost as a reason to bring in my own stuff is like saying the price at a restaurant is an excuse not to tip the waiter. When you choose a restaurant with a waitstaff you need to go in expecting to include that into your cost. If you aren't willing to do that, you really should be going to self-serve places instead or just eating at home. I feel the same about the movies - if you aren't willing to pay for the services, skip them or don't go.

Another thing I have to wonder is, if it is okay in the eyes of so many, why do you have to sneak it in? Big purses, coats with extra pockets, and diaper bags are just a few of the ways people have been known to carry in outside goodies. But if the practice of bringing in your own food is something you feel fine doing, why not walk right in with the food in hand? Obviously taking these kind of measures to hide it signifies an understanding that what you are doing isn't allowed and if you were to blatantly do it there may be ramifications. If that is the case, how can it be right?

I understand that to most this is a pretty mild moral dilemma. Anything that we can recognize as fairly popular practice is easy to shrug off and consider no big deal. For me, this really began to strike a chord after I had my kids. What do I say to them when they read that big sign that says "No outside food or beverages permitted" while stashing boxes of jujubes I stuffed in their pockets? Or when I tell them we have to wait until it's dark in the theater to eat our goodies and to make sure to hide them if a person with a flashlight comes around? Would I really feel good teaching them that it's okay to be sneaky if it involves spending too much money or that it's no big deal because everyone else does it? For me the answer is no. I don't feel okay teaching them that. There is right and there is wrong and when I began to blur the line on that I am treading on a very slippery slope.

Now obviously going into this post I knew that my opinion on this subject was not a popular one. Having said that, I would love to hear your two cents on it. Either side of the fence I am interested to have you weigh in on the right or wrong of bringing your own food into a theater. Hit me with it - In your opinion, is it okay and why or why not?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pin this - Food

On this edition of Pin This I thought I would share with you some of the recipes that I have not only found on Pinterest, but also made. I absolutely love trying new recipes and for years subscribed to several food magazines, cooking 3 to 4 new recipes a week. I have since let the subscriptions lapse and rely mainly on the internet to find new ideas. This works especially great as I tighten our food budget (and our budget for extras like magazine subscriptions) because I can look for things that cater to what I already have on hand or will be buying on sale soon and I can look at a number of sources, including Pinterest. Here's what I've been inspired to try over the last few weeks:

These 8 minute mini cinnamon rolls were our Christmas morning breakfast and were absolutely delicious (not to mention E.A.S.Y)

This isn't so much a recipe as it is a tip. Homemade hash browns come out nice and crispy in the waffle maker - Brilliant!

Cookie bowls for ice cream, yum! Mine didn't turn out this beautiful because I used my own cookie dough recipe so I recommend using theirs for a better turnout.

We love us some enchiladas - these Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas were pretty good. I think the inside would make an awesome dip!

These homemade tortillas are simple and delicious - I have made them several times (including for the enchiladas) and they have yet to disappoint.

Homeade Cheez-Its caught my eye because I love making snacks that I would normally buy at the store, partly to see if I can and partly for cost and the ability to control what goes in them. Good!

I think I saved the best for last. These Apple Cinnamon Muffins are To.Die.For. Moist, sweet, so good!  
Hope that you are able to try and add some of these to your own recipe boxes. Feel free to share any of your favorite Pinterest recipe finds as well, I'm always up for something new! And if you want to see what other kinds of food ideas have caught my eye hit the Follow Me button in the upper right hand corner of my blog to keep up with all of my Pinterest finds. Happy Pinning!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

BJ's Wholesale Club

Have you all heard of BJ's Wholesale Club before? Being a girl who was born and raised in the Northwest I haven't had the experience of checking out a BJ's before but am hearing some great things about it that I wanted to pass on to those of you who can take advantage of it.

VALUE - Did you know that you can save over $500 a year in groceries compared to supermarket prices? And here is my absolute favorite fact about BJ's - they except manufacturers coupons! That's huge. There are no other wholesale clubs that do that. How exciting to be able to pair the savings that come from buying wholesale with the savings you get from coupons!

BABY - BJ's carries top brand names for baby stuff, everything from Pampers to Gerber to Little Tykes. They also carry baby products you won't find anywhere else like Pampers Cruisers + Ultra Absorbency.

BEAUTY - BJ's has a great selection from the leading brands of hair care, skin care, oral
care, deodorant and vitamins, even some cosmetics.

LOCATIONS - I mentioned that I don't live anywhere near a BJ's but I am excited to see that I can still shop their store online at BJs.com. For those of you interested in finding a store near you they are located in  Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

Now that you have heard all of this awesome stuff about BJ's Wholesale Club are you just dying to go check it out for yourself? Follow this link (http://www.bjs.com/one-day-pass.content.join_one_day_pass.A.join_consumer) and you can get a One Day Shopping Pass to check out the store and see for yourself what they have to offer (valid for in-Club purchases only and subject to 15% non-member surcharge on total purchase all of which will be refunded if a membership is purchased within 7 days of your initial visit). Happy Wholesale Shopping!

**The information in this post along with the free trial is provided by VocalPoint. I am not being compensated in anyway for this post.**

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bring on 2012!!

Nothing like a New Year to give you a fresh perspective and a clean slate! I am so excited for another year of possibilities and look forward to sharing what I accomplish with you all. Here are some things you can expect to see in 2012:

  • More Pinterest favorites- I mean, come on, I spend enough time there I can't help but have it spill out here!
  • Pictures of my new craft corner once it's complete. Nothing major just a tiny space to call my own:)
  • Lots of craft projects thanks to the above mentioned - currently working on felt finger puppets and you can expect lots of homemade gifts this year, especially for the kiddos.
  • DIY home decor - we have been de-cluttering, re-organizing and switching things up around the house so you will see some of what we have done/are doing as progress continues. Just today we re-purposed a magazine rack into something we can use in our bathroom so be on the lookout for that!
  • One man's trash is another man's treasure - We are going to be working on some fun re-purposing projects together from free finds on Craigslist after we get everything organized at home. Should be fun!
  • Monthly updates on our Christmas 2012 in Arizona savings fund - we are trying to use found/saved money to fund the bulk of our trip so I will share with you the progress we are making and where we are finding the extra money.
And much, much more I am sure! Should be a fun ride, hope you will join me. something missing from the list that you would like to see more of? Feel free to share your ideas, I would love the feedback.

Happy New Year everyone, may it be full of increased blessings and joy for all of us!!


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