Monday, June 14, 2010

Amazing Deal from Target

Ok, I promise I won't turn this into a "deal" blog, but I just had to share my exciting purchases from Target. I knew that I was going to get a lot of great deals because I had a lot of coupons that should make things free, but I didn't realize how good until I finished at the register. So, without further ado, here is what I purchased on Saturday.

For these purchases where the original price was $63.27, I was able to pay only $2.93!!!!!! Plus, I walked out with a $5 Target gift card and can do a $5 mail-in rebate for the Scrubbing Bubbles. Total - I will have gained $7.07 from purchasing all of this stuff. How cool is that?

What I purchased:
1 Tropicana orange juice
2 Scrubbing Bubbles power spray shower cleaners
1 Scrubbing Bubbles shower cleaner refill
1 Kraft Homestyle Mac 'n Cheese
1 Kraft Mac 'n Cheese
A polo shirt for Saul
1 Olay body wash
5 whole wheat Sandwich thin packages
1 deli meat
1 package of beef franks
1 package of Soliel razors (I bought these at Walgreens for $.83, but threw them in the picture anyway)
1 package of Orbitz gum

The only reason I had to buy the gum was because all of my coupons took my total below $0, so I grabbed this off the wrack and it made my total go to $2.93.

Oh, and I have to add that I picked up the polo shirt thinking I would have to pay a little bit out of pocket for it. But, the overage from my coupons made it pretty much free! That made for a happy husband! = )

A teenage guy was ringing up my purchases and kept saying, "This is crazy, I can't believe this."

Needless to say, I walked out with a HUGE smile on my face.

Any great deals for you this last week?


Friday, June 11, 2010

My Frugal Finds

I have been couponing and doing deals for a little while now, but this week was the first week I really feel like it paid off. I am so excited about all of the great deals that I got and I will tell just about anyone who is willing to listen! = )

First of all, when I checked my mailbox on Monday, I was delighted! I sign up for various freebies and on that particular day, my mailbox was overflowing with them!!! Here is what I got - just in the mail - on Monday!

Secret deodorant sample
2 pads, 2 liners, 3 tampons
Dishwasher cleaner
Special K protein bar
Coupon for a FREE 18 pack of Always pads
$2 off coupon for a box of tampons
Coupon for FREE Tropicana orange juice
High value coupons for Special K cereal or protein bars

I took advantage of the Medco deal that Money Saving Mom posted about last week ($10 off a $10 purchase with $.99 shipping). So, when the UPS man came on Monday, I added the following to my stash:

For around $2.50, I purchased:
2 Men's Old Spice Body wash
2 Men's Gillette deodorant
1 ELF blush
1 ELF mascara

It doesn't stop there either! On Tuesday evening, my friend Alysia and I got together and figured out our CVS scenarios. We didn't end up going shopping until later in the week, but we did all of the planning to get these products:

9 rolls of Charmin toilet paper
Cascade dishwasher soap
4 bottles of Windex multi-purpose spray
1  Dawn soap
1 Aussie shampoo
2 Pantene Pro-V shampoos
2 packs of Always pads
3 Skinny Cow ice cream cups
1 Gillette Fusion razor
6 Dove deodorants
2 Colgate toothpastes

I got all of it for right around $14 out-of-pocket - PLUS I have $7 left toward my CVS purchases next week and a $5 cash rebate coming in the mail. If you even that all out, I will have spent around $1 for all of that stuff - things that I will put to great to use!! 

I have a few more Medco orders still coming, but I won't bore you with all of those details. It has definitely taken some time to do this, but I feel like it is SO worth it because of the money we are saving - big time. 

So, do you get into doing coupons and deals? Do you sign up for freebies? Why or why not? I'd love to hear!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Homemade Tortillas

My husband has Mexican heritage and grew up on authentic Mexican food. Me - not so much. I have learned some tricks and tips, but I am still a long way from authentic. One thing I try to do though is to keep tortillas in the house. Saul has converted me - and we can eat them with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. = )

BUT. . .I was SHOCKED when I saw that one little tortilla had 190 calories in it!! What!! It seems so healthy - you can make wraps with them - and I could easily eat three in one sitting!! Once I saw this, I knew that I could not keep up the tortilla addiction. 

Saul kept talking about how yummy homemade tortillas were though, so a few months after we were married, I tried my hand at it. They didn't turn out too badly and they weren't too hard to make. No, they weren't quite round on my first try either, but they were close enough.

I finally found a recipe that I really like - and that doesn't have nearly the calorie count that store bought ones do. In fact, this recipe only has 90  calories per tortilla - less than half of store bought. Plus, they are super cost effective. Yeah!!

Here is the recipe I use:

Homemade Tortillas
Yield: 8 tortillas
Time from start to finish: 30 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbs. lard/shortening
3/4 cups water

  1. Mix flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. Add shortening and mix with hands until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Slowly add water and mix until a dough forms.
  4. Kneed dough for a minute or two or until dough becomes smooth and elastic.
  5. Roll dough out into a log and cut into 8 semi-equal pieces.

  6. Roll each piece into a ball.

  7. Turn skillet on high.
  8. Dust the counter with flour. Using a floured rolling pin, flatten dough into tortilla shape. You'll want them to be thin and as large as possible - they usually shrink and puff up when you put them on the skillet. Also, you probably won't end up with a perfect circle - just do your best. Practice makes perfect. = )

  9. Place tortilla on skillet - approximately 20 seconds on first side, 10 seconds on the second side.

  10. Place finished tortillas in a tortilla warmer or wrapped in a clean towel until it is time to eat.
  11. Enjoy!
These tortillas can last awhile in the fridge. You can also flash freeze the dough (either in balls or flattened) then defrost and cook when you want them.

I feel so much better about eating these tortillas - I know exactly what is in them, they taste great, and they have less calories than the store bought ones. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Empty Spaces

Now that we have finally painted and gotten the curtains hung in our bedroom, I am looking to fill a few of the "empty spaces." The main two spaces I want to fill are the little corner by our closet and above our bed.

I think that this little corner would be perfect for a little chair or a table and lamp - or something, but I just haven't found the right thing. It is going to have to be on the small side. Eventually we would like to install a collapsible door so that we can put something a little bigger here. I am keeping my eyes open for things at garage sales and on craigslist. I have some coordinating fabric that would be great for upholstering a chair. Any thoughts or suggestions?

The second area I need help with is our bed.

Right now we don't have a headboard. There wasn't one with our bedroom set when we got it (long story), and it has worked out great for us so far. My husband is 6'3" and just barely fits on our king size bed. So, we've moved the bed a little bit away from the wall and putting his pillow a little bit over the edge gives a few extra inches.

Anyway, we definitely need something here. Would a picture look funny without a headboard? Any ideas for making a headboard that would coordinate with our shiny black furniture? I am thinking of something that could be mounted on the wall so that Saul could still take advantage of a few extra inches.

I plan on making some pillows with leftover fabric from the curtains, but above the bed definitely needs some work.

I am so not a decorator, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know!!!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A few interesting incidents

It was another busy weekend with lots going on. Just thought I would write about a few of the more interesting incidents from the weekend.

On Saturday we went to another wedding. This was a little different because the bride has a Jewish heritage. She and her family have accepted Christ as Messiah and Savior, but wanted to honor their heritage and incorporate Jewish traditions into the wedding ceremony. They were married under a canopy, the bride circled the groom seven times, they read a wedding covenant, and had a few other Jewish traditions. It was so interesting to see the various items that take place in a Jewish wedding ceremony. The program detailed what the different traditions meant and the man conducting the wedding ceremony explained things as well. It was so fascinating.

The reception brought a few more fun traditions - our favorite being traditional "bottle dancers" just like Fiddler on the Roof. They were amazing and so fun! This pictures wasn't the real thing, but it looked very much like this. Cool, huh?

We had a meeting for our church right after the wedding, but we had forgotten a few things at home. We hurried home and Saul dashed inside to get the stuff. I was driving and in my hurry, I backed out - a little too quickly. Someone was coming down our little lane and I didn't see them until it was too late. I didn't realize what happened until I heard the little crunch. Thankfully both cars were going less than ten miles per hour (the other car was turning into the driveway across from ours), but I was still pretty shaken. I've never been in an accident before and was so frustrated with myself. Everything worked out ok and there was barely any damage. The police took their time coming, so we were majorly late to our meeting. We are just so thankful that no one was hurt and that there was barely any damage at all. Praise the Lord!

After our church meeting, we headed over to my parents. My brother was the best man in the wedding and he and my sister-in-law stayed around until Sunday We all watched the Chicago Blackhawks game together, then played a rousing game of spoons. It was fun to be with family, as always.

On Memorial Day we relaxed at home for the first part of the day. Since Saturday had been so busy, it was nice to just relax at home. I did a little bit of couponing and deal searching (a few deals, but nothing major to report - yet!). We went over to my parents for dinner and had a feast - stuffed hamburgers, brats, corn on the cob, deviled  eggs, fruit salad, chips, veggies, baked beans, etc. It was wonderful. For dessert, my brother's girlfriend made a strawberry pie and a chocolate pie. My sister's friend also brought yummy brownies. So much for a healthy meal plan this weekend!

Wish I had pictures to share, but this was when my camera was still having issues. Bummer! Hope you all had a great weekend and Memorial Day. I am so thankful for all of those who have served our country - and for the sacrifices of their family and friends!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our "New" Bedroom

At the end of last week, I posted about our bedroom decorating fail. It was pretty bad, if I do say so myself. I am so embarrassed that it stay so bad for so long, especially since we had the paint and curtains ready to go.

We finally broke up the painting into small chunks and did the two larger walls on separate days and the two smaller walls on the same day. Doing it this way made us not abhor painting by the time we were done and we didn't have to have an entire day set aside to do it. We would definitely recommend painting this way. We actually enjoyed painting. = )

My grandparents were all coming into town after my brother Christopher's wedding and were planning a visit to our place and that ended up "encouraging" us into getting it all done and put together.

One night we worked on getting the valance stapled onto the board and the other night we hung everything. We love how it turned out. What do you think??

We still aren't completely done, but we are so much closer than we were before. We love the beautiful but relaxing feel to our room. The paint still changes colors on us a bit (tan during the day and light green at night). Thankfully we like both colors. = )

I'll post later this week asking for suggestions for the "bare" spots that still occupy our room.


P.S. Sorry to any of you who may have checked back yesterday for pictures. Our camera was having major issues, which is the reason for so few pictures and  the late update.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Curtain Fail

This is embarrassing to admit, but we just now decorated our bedroom after moving in back in December. It has been a long process and it is embarrassing to admit how terrible it was for so long. I had good intentions, but decorating really isn't my thing and it ended up being really bad - for a really long time.

Here's the story.

I had good intentions. It took me awhile to find fabric that I liked, but finally Saul and I found this fabric that we loved and we thought would be so "rich" looking in our bedroom. We were going to wait for a good sale at the fabric store before buying it, but figured we could paint the room in the meantime. So, we purchased the paint and painted the room right around Christmas. The paint was supposed to be this warm caramel color that would compliment our rich red comforter and black furniture. The curtains were a dark sage green color with the caramel and reds weaved in. I had it all pictured in my mind.

Like a lot of home projects, things just didn't quite go as planned. A day or two after painting the fabric went on sale. But, when I got to the store, I found out that the fabric we liked was just a left over piece from a special order. The leftovers weren't even half of what I needed. After talking with several store employees, I found out that they couldn't even find the material in their special order section. I was also told by one employee that the fabric would be too thick to make draperies out of. I was SO discouraged and frustrated, especially because we had just painted our room to coordinate with that material. I was actually successful at finding the same fabric online - only to find out that it was more than triple the price that I wanted to pay. Ugh!! We felt like we hit a dead end.

Also, the paint had thoroughly dried by this time and was looking more and more like mustard and baby diaper filling rather than a nice warm caramel. Not at all like I had pictured. I am SO not a decorator!

Thankfully, a friend's mom does a lot of designing and she came over to offer some suggestions. We had a different fabric picked out for the living room and she actually suggested that we use the living room fabric in the bedroom and just repaint the bedroom. She also suggested that we keep the same basic color scheme throughout the house so that it would make our smaller place seem bigger. So, that is what we decided to do. But, we were too far in on a few other home projects to start in on repainting the bedroom at this point.

So, my Friday Fail is that our bedroom window was covered with this for five months!! Eeeek!

 If this isn't an 80's style sheet, I don't know what is!! We were given this used set of sheets to help keep our mattress clean when moving it. The fitted corners made it work "perfectly" for a window covering. I NEVER would have though that it would stay there for five months though! Ick!

This past week we finally got the room repainted and the curtains hung (hand sewn by my sweet mom!). Stop back by the blog on Monday I'll have new pictures up then!


P.S. This post is linked to Myra's Friday Fail meme. Stop by her blog to read about other fails.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Yummy, Healthy Meal

The other week dinner time came and I was at a loss for what to fix (I know, I really need to start working in this!). A friend had given us a ton of vegetables that were left over from her brothers wedding, but I just wasn't sure what to do with them. Like usual when this happens, my sweet husband came to the rescue and created a yummy and healthy meal!

While he was boiling some whole wheat spaghetti and penne pasta, he steamed/sauteed the vegetables in another pan with some seasoning (sea salt, garlic, rosemary, and thyme). He added just a little bit of water to the vegetables and covered them, cooking them on low. The end result was delicious vegetables with a little bit of a "sauce" to toss the pasta with. After the pasta and veggies were done, he gently tossed them and plated them. After they were plated he added a little bit of grated parmesan. Add a little bit of toasted homemade bread, and you've got a delicious, healthy, filling meal!

I will be honest and say that I wasn't sure how I would do with "all of the veggies." However, the flavors just blended together wonderfully and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We enjoyed it so much that we actually made it another time and added some diced chicken to the mix! Delicious!!!

Have you tried any new healthy recipes recently? If so, please leave a link in the comments. I'm always searching for new healthy meals to try!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Beautiful Wedding

My big brother is married. I love it!! We are so excited that Christopher found the love of his life, that God brought such a perfect girl for him, and that God brought them together in such a perfect way.

It has been so wonderful to watch their relationship grow and to see how well they compliment each other. We are excited to welcome Jen into the family! She is such a sweetie and we love her already.

Everything seemed to go extremely well with no absolute craziness on the day of the wedding. Jen did wake up with a broken blood vessel in the corner of her eye on Friday, but she was still able to wear her contacts for the wedding (a huge praise) and you really can't see it in the pictures.

They both love music, so we thought this picture was so pretty, especially with the reflection. Jen teaches piano and Chris plays several instruments, thus the following sign that was made for one of their showers and then used at the rehearsal dinner and reception.

Like I said in my last post, one really neat part about the wedding was seeing so much of my family. Here is a picture of all of my immediate family (siblings and grandparents). 

This is everyone except my sister-in-law Abbie (We missed you Abbie!!). I am one of six children - (1) Christopher - the groom (2) Kyle - far right, his wife was the unable to come (3) Me and my handsome husband (4) Kirk - far left, with his wife Kelly (5) Carlton - far right on the top (6) Carolyn - the cute girl on the front right. My mom's parents are on the front row and my dad's parents are right behind them. Such a cute family, huh? I love them so much.

The next picture has our whole family and Jen's whole family too. 

 The Ceremony

The vows were conducted by Jen's dad who is a pastor. It was very sweet.

The Kiss! Finally husband and wife!

A few more pictures
Beautiful bouquets 

The floating unity candle. So pretty.

The guest book table. The Guest Book was a scrapbook that Jen made full of engagement pictures. It was so nice for family and friends to write notes of advice in.

The strawberries for the reception. Yum!

Chris and Jen, we couldn't be more happy for you! We are excited to see how God will use you! Thank you for your God-honoring wedding. We love you!


A Trip, A Tick, Some Treasures, and Terrible Temperatures!

This weekend was another full one!! Whew, what a weekend!

First, my oldest brother Christopher got married!! We are so excited for Chris and Jen! (More on this later.) So, on Thursday evening, we packed up our car - along with my dad, sister, and brother - and headed to Wisconsin. Chris and Jen live in northern Wisconsin near the Upper Peninsula. It wasn't too bad of a drive, but we were way more packed than we had originally though. It was good to catch up with my brother who has been at college and just spend time with some family. We didn't get into the place that we were staying until around midnight, but we made it safely.

Here is a sneak peak of the wedding. Like I said, more pictures to come!

On Friday while a bunch of the girls were decorating for the wedding, Saul, my dad, and some of the other guys worked on some stuff at my brother's house. Saul and my dad installed a closet door and then worked with some brush outside.

On Saturday morning Saul woke up and told me that he felt like something was eating at his leg. I took a look, and sure enough, a tick was buried in his leg - ICK!!! I was going to put a picture on here, but I think I'll spare you! = ) I got some peroxide to pour on it before taking it out and while that didn't kill it, I was able to get the entire thing out of him. Nasty!!

The next "T" on the list is treasures. It was such a treasure to be able to spend time with family. Other than my parents and my brother and sister (when they aren't at college), all of my family lives out of state. It was wonderful to see all of my siblings there (minus one sister-in-law), all four of my grandparents, some cousins and aunts and uncles!!! It was so great to see and spend time with some of them that I hadn't seen in awhile.  Here are a few pictures - again, I'll put more up later this week.

Three generations on my mom's side. (Can you tell it was so bright outside?)

Two more cousins from my mom's side.

With some of the guys in the family -
Kyle (my brother), Carlton (brother), Saul (handsome husband), Josh (cousin's husband), Joanna (cousin), and me
Our camera broke a few days before the wedding, so I am waiting for people to put pictures on facebook so that I can get a copy. I'll have to post more pictures of my dad's side of the family once I get my hands on them. = )

The final T's are for Terrible Temperatures! It has been pretty cool here in Chicago and we haven't needed to use our air conditioner yet because it has been cool. Because we had been out of town, we didn't realize that the forecast for Sunday included upper 80 temps. We had a busy, but great, day at church on Sunday and knew that we would turn the air on when we got home since it was so hot outside. Plus, my parents, grandparents, and sister were all coming over for dinner on their way back from Wisconsin and we wanted it comfortable in the house for our company. We ended up getting home from church about thirty minutes before everyone arrived and immediately turned the air on - only to find that our air conditioner wasn't working!!! Ugh!!

We purchased our home in December and there was no way to test the air conditioner at that point. Thankfully we were able to work out a deal to include the air conditioner on a home warranty paid for by the seller. Needless to say, that home warranty is going to be put to good use (for a second time) because although the fans were blowing, nothing cold was coming out of the vents.

So, here we were in a second level townhome with upper 80 temperatures and the oven on to make homemade pizza plus a house full of guests! I felt awful that it was so hot in there, but other than leaving, there was nothing we could do. We pulled out our one fan and had it going to at least circulate the air. Our townhome also has a "whole house fan" that helps circulate the air as well, but our thermostat still said 91 degrees while everyone was there! Everyone was so gracious about it and said it wasn't too bad. As a hostess though, I felt terrible. I was going to make some cookies, but decided against it so that we could just turn the oven off. Needless to say, it was an interesting experience.

Again, once I can get pictures from my parents from everyone's visit, I'll post them.

So, that was our weekend. It was a great one full of many memories. I love my family so much and was so thankful to spend time with them.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Lessons Learned from Sunday

Yesterday was a WONDERFUL day at church. I am so thankful for our little church, for our pastor, and for the encouragement that each Sunday brings.

I'll be honest and say that last week was just a rough week in my walk with Christ. I knew I should be praying, yet nothing inside me wanted to pray. When I made myself pray, I felt like I didn't know what to say or that I was just repeating "normal" prayers even though my heart wasn't in it. Admittedly, this is not at all what I want my walk with Christ to be.

I started feeling a little bit better by the end of the week and was really looking forward to the boost that Sunday would give. Our pastor has been doing a series on prayer and I was really looking forward to hearing the next message.

The message on Sunday was just what I needed - and what I think a lot of others needed as well. Here is a little recap (all notes taken from my pastor).

Three things to do when you are overwhelmed from Psalm 42:
  1. Pour out your soul to God (v. 4) - the only way to release a depressed spirit is to use your voice and tell God everything going on inside with absolute, child-like honesty. Seeking His face is the best way to quiet your noisy soul.
    (Pastor gave a visual illustration using two cups, one with water and one without.  Just seeing the visual of pouring water from one cup to another as we should pour out our soul to God was a big help to me.)
  2. Counsel your soul (vv. 5,11) - do not be a passive student to every thought and impulse that arises in your soul. Instead, by the Holy Spirit's power, become an active teacher of these thoughts and impulses.  
  3. Remember the Lord's past deliverances (vv. 5,6,11) - hope in God that He will do the same in the future. 
At the end of the service, we took time to get with our spouse or with another person from church and just pour out our hearts to God. Boy, did I need this. Just telling my God all that I was feeling was such a huge help. Also just bringing to remembrance all of the wonderful things that God has done and thanking Him for that just lightened my "load."

What are you struggling with today? What do you need to just pour out to God? I would encourage you to do it - and to keep doing it. It makes a world of difference!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Encouraging Evening

Tonight Saul and I went to visit a friend who is in the hospital for a medical "tune up" and we left the hospital encouraged and with a smile on our faces. We had a great time with Bethany and her mom Audrey. We laughed and just enjoyed the fellowship. Hopefully we "entertained" them for at least a little while. = )

I want to brag on Bethany and Audrey for a minute. They go to church with us and are such an encouragement. Bethany and her brother both have a serious illnesses. However, you would never know it from being with them. They are seriously some of the most upbeat and positive people you have ever met. Joy exudes them and they are such a blessing.

Their mom Audrey is such an encouragement too. She has a ton on her plate, but is also very joyful and encouraging. She is always loving on people and doing whatever she can to take care of those around her.

(I know this is blurry, but I wanted to get Audrey in here too!)

I am so thankful for this family. God's grace and love is so evident in their lives. Audrey and Bethany, thank you for your love for your God and your love for others. You are such a blessing! We are praying for you!!!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What We've Been Watching

This week, my sweet husband and I have been watching this:

AND then this:

While growing up, these were some of my favorite movies to watch. One of my best friends and I would watch these for hours on end. We couldn't get enough of them! Of course, I always pretended that I was Anne since I have always had "red" hair. = )

When I found out that Saul had never seen them, I knew we had to watch them together. So, we borrowed them from my parents. My sweet husband has been watching them faithfully with me. He laughed at how many lines I knew. He has enjoyed it though - and I have really enjoyed watching them again with my man at my side. I would dream about that day when I watched these movies years ago.

Watching these movies brought back so many memories from childhood. It has been fun to reminisce.

Do you have any favorite movies from childhood? I'd love to hear about them!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Whirlwind Weekend!!

Whew!! What a fun, but crazy weekend! We hit the ground running on Thursday night and are now enjoying an evening of doing nothing after a whirlwind weekend!

Thursday night started with Prayer Gathering - which is always a great night of prayer, fellowship, and encouragement. We stayed so late and enjoyed the fellowship with all of our friends from church. I don't think we left until around 11:30!!

On Friday morning we got up bright and early (actually it wasn't even bright out when we got up!!). We met my parents and rode with them up to MBBC for my "little" brother's college graduation! We are so proud of you, Kirk!!

Thankfully the graduation was inside - because it was freezing cold and raining. Kirk graduated with a degree in physical education. He finished his student teaching in January and is happy to have school behind him.

My sister-in-law Kelly and brother Kirk

Kirk and Kelly with my parents

While we were taking pictures, I met up with this blogging friend!! We were actually best friends when we were in elementary school, but hadn't seen each other in ages. She actually found my blog through the Ultimate Blog Party!!! Crazy, huh? Anyway, it was great to see her again!! Wish I would have thought to take a picture!! (As you'll see, I didn't think of pulling out my camera very many times this weekend at all. Oops!)

After pictures we headed over to Kirk and Kelly's place and had a great "cook in" there. Thankfully they had enough room for everyone to eat inside since it was still raining - and freezing cold!! Kelly made a delicious fruit salad and we had tons of wonderful food! It was fun to spend time celebrating with a group of family and friends. We got home around 9:00 and I was exhausted. We tried watching a movie, but I lasted about ten minutes before crashing!

It was nice to be able to sleep in for a little bit on Saturday morning. I woke up early but stayed in bed and read while Saul slept for a little while longer. My grandparents gave me this book and this book  (from the Acts of Faith series by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke) awhile ago and I never had time to read them. I picked the first one up the other week to read while waiting for my aunt at the airport and now I'm on the second one. I am thoroughly enjoying them! I hadn't read a book in ages, but after finishing the first one, I immediately wanted to start the second!

Because we took our time in the morning, we ended up rushing to arrive on time for a friend's wedding in Indiana (about an hour and fifteen minute drive). The wedding was beautiful and the bride and groom were beaming! It was wonderful to celebrate with our friends. Again, I totally forgot to take pictures. Ughh. The reception was at the groom's parents home - a beautiful, Victorian home. There were planning on an outdoor reception, but it was again rainy and cold, so everyone squeezed inside - and it was a squeeze. Even though the house is large, it was wall-to-wall people! The groom's mom thinks that around 500 people came throughout the afternoon! Again it was delicious food and fun fellowship.

On our way back, we caravaned with our friends Phillip and Lydia from church. We ended up stopping at Starbucks when we were almost home just to chat. It was great to get to know them better and also see their sweet baby girl Elizabeth who is six weeks old! Unfortunately, about halfway through our time at Starbucks baby Elizabeth decided that she'd had enough partying and was ready to go home. = ) We had a great time with them and are looking forward to going out again! It was 9:45 by the time we got home, so we got things ready for Sunday and headed to bed.

Today was a great day at church with a special dedication to mothers and a message on resisting temptation. I'll try to write more on that later.

Right after church, we headed over to my parent's for lunch. My dad made lunch since we weren't there to help prepare. I felt terrible that I couldn't do more since it was Mother's Day! We had a yummy lunch with my parents and sister Carolyn who came home from college on Friday. It was fun to catch up with my mom and sit and chat while Dad and Saul played ping pong. It was a fun day.

So, we are home now, relaxing after a weekend full of travel, family, friends, and fellowship. The whirlwind of a weekend was well worth the memories and fun times.

How was your weekend?


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My First Attempt At Making Bread Was. . .


I had been wanting to make bread for awhile now and finally convinced myself to try it this past Saturday. We do not have a breadmaker or anything, but I still felt up to the challenge.

I used this recipe from (a favorite site of mine = ) and we loved how it turned out!!! Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside!

Here are a few pictures from the bread-making process.

After the long hours of kneading the dough and letting it rise, I put it in the bread pans to rise again. (After seeing the smaller loafs of bread, Saul said I could buy bigger bread pans if I wanted too. = )

After letting the bread rise for awhile.

Warm bread, just out of the oven! The smell of fresh bread baking is FABULOUS!!

We couldn't resist eating a few slices while it was warm!!

My bread-making experience made me wonder why I hadn't done it sooner. It turned out great! I loved knowing exactly what was in the bread I was eating. I also loved that the one recipe made four loaves. I was able to take a loaf to church the next day for our soup and salad lunch and freeze two other loaves (before they completed the rising process in order to save room in the freezer). Very Yummy!!

My next adventure is making sourdough bread. I am using this recipe for my starter and so far it has been doing great! I haven't made anything with it yet, but am looking forward to trying it soon.

I'm a newbie at this. Does anyone have any starter or bread-making tips! I'd love any help I can get?


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bathroom Makeover

Our bathroom was the only room that had color in it when we moved in - and it was a bright yellow. Someone helping us move in said that it would definitely wake you up in the morning! The bathroom also had this strange partition right above the shower rod that blocked any light from coming into the shower. Unless you used a clear shower curtain, it was pretty dark when you took a shower. Not good for shaving - at all!

So, we decided to do a little bathroom remodeling job. First, Saul knocked down the partition. It ended up being wood, so it was a little bit of a tough job. I think he enjoyed the destruction though. = )

Next, he had to patch the ceiling and make it smooth where the partition was. Don't worry, the pink stuff turns white when it dries. (Oh, and don't mind my husband's buzz cut. He had to because of the nasty haircut he'd paid for!)

We finally decided on a paint color - a pale green, and we started the painting.

Finally, Saul installed a curved shower rod!! Every time we have stayed in hotel that has had a curved shower rod we have had a hard time not coveting! They are so nice and make the shower feel huge. So, when we saw one on sale for $10 during a Black Friday sale, we snatched it right up even though we hadn't closed on our townhome yet. We knew that this was something that we wanted in the bathroom of our new home.

We LOVE it and would definitely recommend it!

Last, but not least, we added a little bit of wall art. This is a little picture that my parents got us as part of a shower gift. We had red and brown in our bathroom before, but this little picture has the perfect shades of green in it as well. We love having Scripture verses around our home.

 We definitely enjoy our calm look of our bathroom and the extra shower room!