Thursday, April 30, 2009

What happens when you need EVERTHING?!


Well, it took some work, but I was able to get all our "big" ticket items and still save pretty much 50% on our grocery total! YAY!
I was dreading the shopping this week. We needed pull-ups, paper towels, laundry detergent, and garbage bags. Those four things alone would usually DO US IN for our groceries for the week! ha ha! BUT, I utilized my coupons and shopped at Walmart which usually has the best non-sale prices on those things. I was able to save $3 on the pull-ups, $1 on the garbage bags, and .50 on the laundry detergent. I am trying a new brand because it is cheap..able to get it for $2 at Walmart. It is called Sunburst. THEN I get to Kroger and see that they have started that brand this week so it is on special. They had it for $1.88 and they would have doubled my .50 coupon so I could have gotten in there for 88 cents! ARGH!
Oh well.
I already had shopped at Publix this week, spending $4.88 and saving $7.75. I got a bottle of Northland pomegranate blueberry juice, 2 boxes of Orville Popcorn and a loaf of Earthgrains bread. Not too bad.

On to Kroger. I spent $83.94 and SAVED $72.13. That is 47% according to the receipt.
Combing all my shopping from Publix, Walmart, and Kroger I spent about $92. I saved $84.38.
That is pretty encouraging. I was afraid I was going to have to totally blow the budget, but I didn't! And we are set for a few weeks on our major staples... now just for the super savings in the next couple of weeks!

YAY!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What we've been up to....

I don't know if you realized this, but I actually had a birthday this month.

Yesterday in fact... I actually turned 28 on the 28th of April.... oh... you already knew? Huh. I guess good news travels fast.

Last week I hosted a Thirty-One home show party for my friend, PJ, who just became a consultant. I combined it as a "birthday party" and I was able to meet a goal for orders and got to pick out $150 in FREE products for myself for my birthday!! That was an awesome gift, and I just have the best friends and family who helped me reach that goal. The company really does have cute products, so I have some really nice things coming that I will be sure to post when they arrive.

Hmmmm....well other than that... we have actually been very busy!!!!!!

Our latest breaking news is that Katie lost her FOURTH tooth on Monday night! That makes four teeth in 6 months...and two more loose even now! What a cutie!



I missed out on posting several things while I was in the midst of my self-promoting countdown. The biggest project was spring cleaning, which included a makeover for Katie's room. She now has storage room for all her "stuff" and a new reading/writing area under her princess curtain/tent. She loves it. This collage shows her in her reading nook right before bed and as soon as she woke up the next morning. It is really a big girl room now!


This past Saturday we actually went to the park and enjoyed some family time! Corey had just got back into town after being gone for ELEVEN days! So, we spent the day just hanging out together. You can click on any of these collages to see it BIG!


Noah also finished up his soccer class. We love these sports classes for 4 year olds. He will be too old for them soon. It teaches them the basics of different sports. He is taking the t-ball class now. Katie has declared this to be her last semester of ballet. She wants to take music lessons next..but here are some of her in class also. In the bottom left picture, the class teacher is actually holding Noah. It was the last class and they were playing a real "game" and no one else could get to the ball before Noah, so the teacher held him so the other kids could have a turn. He thought it was so funny and it really boosted his confidence of course!



Oh yeah...there was EASTER this month too! Here are some shots from Egg Hunts at the grandparents' houses. Katie got that sleeping mask in her basket from my parents, is it not too much? ha. They also got new Bibles from Corey and me in their baskets from us.



We started out April with an Egg Hunt with the homeschool group. It was a beautiful day, we got some cute pictures!


So, yeah, I have been doing more in April than sitting around writing my answer every day. ha ha. It has been fun. Looking forward to some fun times in May, including perhaps a trip to the Georgia Renaissance Festival...Corey's birthday...Mother's Day... FUN times ahead!

Bonus: Guess the reason for the music theme this month. Winner gets a song dedication prize of my choosing :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Un-Birthday To Two of YOU!


Happy Birthday to me, and Happy Un-birthday to everyone else, especially two very lucky people who are winners today in my birthday countdown contest!
I turn 28 years old today on the 28th, which is supposed to be something special I think....


The official contest "name drawers."


Today ends the birthday countdown,
and as a birthday gift to myself I am making today an easy one.
So today's question is:
"Who did you pick as the winners of your birthday drawings?"
I am SO GLAD you asked!!!!
Faithful readers, I am pleased to announce the winner of
my two birthday drawings. The first drawing was from those who submitted questions on the first post request for questions for the next 28 days. I had 20 different people submit questions! I had my very reliable and impartial official pull a name and....

Jessica D. is the big winner! Jessica wins a $10 Target gift card!

Happy Un-Birthday Jessica!!!!!

update: I was trying to be fun and different by sending a different type of giftcertificate,
but giftcertificates.com charges a $3.45 fee for ONLINE delivery!
Totally ridiculous, you are getting a Target one instead! ha ha! Didn't think either of you would mind the change!

My next drawing was added after a few days of answering questions. I decided I would reward those who were faithfully commenting on the other days' questions. So, this drawing included an entry for each time someone commented on the birthday countdown posts. If you commented 5 times, then your name was in 5 times!
My other reliable and impartial official drew a name for this one and....


Bethany is the other winner! Bethany you win a $5 Target gift card!

These may not be super big prizes, but hey, it is a very modestly circulated blog and look at it this way.... it's more than you had before! Happy Tuesday, April 28th!

Also, Anniversary Greetings are due! Today marks my parents' 30th wedding anniversary! I was born on their 2nd annive
rsary...
Happy 30th Anniversary Mama and Daddy!

Congratulations to both of the big winners, and thanks to everyone for reading all these 28 days worth of questions and answers! I am looking forward to a fun day today and am happy to spread the birthday joy to you guys on your un-birthdays! Jessica please post the best email address for sending your certificate via the web!

Tune in tomorrow for NOTHING! I am taking a BREAK! ha ha!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Twenty-seven

My mom asked:
"If you could meet and talk with anyone(dead or alive)
who would it be and what one question would you ask them?"

When I first considered this question I thought that it might make sense to pick someone who I would not have an eternity in heaven to get to know and talk to...I mean, makes sense right? ha. Well, that would require a whole lot of assuming on my end of the equation, so I guess I will just pick someone else.

So, here goes. As a mom, I think that I have a really good one.
I would love to talk to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The one question I would ask her is: "Tell me about the babyhood/toddlerhood/childhood of Jesus. The Bible doesn't tell us anything at all about Jesus' childhood except that He grew "in wisdom and in favor" with God. But, wouldn't you like to know the details? Did she nurse and how long? Co-sleep? Spank????? Can you imagine spanking a child you knew was the son of GOD??! Did he EVER disobey? Was he constantly teaching THEM things? Did he ever get sick? Did he love animals particularly or dislike any foods? How did she handle that? Was he a popular child? Who was his best childhood friend? Any funny stories?
I think that would be a very interesting story to hear. And I wonder why more is not included?
Oh well...I guess it's something I'll never know in my lifetime. But, that is whom I would pick...
What about you?

Well, that is just about it for the questions. I will give everyone one more chance to submit and TOMORROW is the big day! The day I reveal the winner from all those who submitted questions at that first opportunity. AND a special bonus drawing! You won't want to miss it!!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Twenty-six

Corey asked: "What was your favorite childhood cartoon?"

When you are discussing entertainment it is really difficult to pick one "favorite."
Here are some of my
favorites:


Alvin and the Chipmunks (especially the movie with the Chipettes)

and

Garfield and Friends

I remember really enjoying both of these....the
y were funny, and I really like the songs in the Chipmunks. Another favorite of mine even as a teen was Animaniacs. That was one of the last really funny kids' cartoon shows! SO funny! I miss it!


So, there you go. Three favorites. Can't pick. So fun!

Tomorrow I will answer another one of my mom's questions: "If you could meet and talk with anyone(dead or alive) who would it be and what one question would you ask them?"

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Twenty-five


Corey asked: "And why...."

Because I can eat any kind of meat in the world
if it is on a piece of delicious, hearty, fresh baked bread!

It makes all the difference... Boar's Head or Land O' Frost.... it doesn't matter, neither will be good if it is slapped on a piece of store brand white bread! ha ha!!!!!

Something like this is what I always buy.....
Mmmmmmmm.......
not exactly fresh baked, but the next best thing....


If you are confused by this post, go back and read the yesterdays.....

Tomorrow I will answer yet another one of Corey's questions....
"What is your favorite childhood cartoon?"

Friday, April 24, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Twenty-four

Corey asked: "What is more important in a sandwich, the meat or the bread?"

Absolutely the BREAD!!!!!


Tomorrow, I will answer another of Corey's questions: "And why?" :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Twenty-three

Chris asked: "How/Where did Corey propose?"

Wow! You're not going to want to miss this great story! ha ha!!!!
I saved this one for today, because we got engaged on Easter Sunday, 2000. Easter fell on April 23rd that year, which also happens to be today's date! So, happy engagement anniversary, Corey! (We have never celebrated that before actually, I had to look it up! ha!)


We bought a ring in February right after we started dating in December, 1999. We had that ring hidden many places, including a safe deposit box and his truck glove box! ha! Every time I would go over to his house he would get it out (the times it was there) and ask "Do you want to?" I would always immediately reply, "No, not yet!"

Well, on Easter 2000, he got that ring out again, for about the millionth time since he bought it, and this time when he asked, "Do you want to?" I replied....."Okay." He was surprised and said, "Are you sure?!" And I said, "Yeah, why not?!"

So there you go. What a great romantic story, huh? We went out to greet his mom and grandmother, and I think Matt was there too. His grandmother took a picture of us (it was Easter, of course everyone had the camera ready!). Here we are....mere moments after the "big" event. :)



I think Corey looks a little unsure....

Here we are on the big day. It was July 7, 2001. One year and a few months later. We rearranged the plants at the front of the church nicely wouldn't you agree?


Here is one more photo I had to scan while I was at it. Andy and Bethany helping decorate our car at the reception (held at Provino's in Rome). Look at you guys! Look at us! Gracious! Did you ever think that day would be what it is to us now?!?! Crazy!
God is so good like that!!!!!

Aren't they cute?!

Thanks for the question, Chris!
It was neat that it worked out that I could post it on the "anniversary."
Tomorrow I will start answering some of the questions Corey FINALLY contributed!


Corey asked: "What is more important in a sandwich, the meat or the bread?"

AND...coming up next Tuesday...the WINNER in my birthday countdown prize drawing!!!!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Twenty-two

Bethany asked: "What is your favorite movie, or genre of movies?
(special music selected specifically for today's question!)

I had absolutely no idea what this movie was about when I watched it a month or two ago. I was just scrolling through all the old movies available for instant play on Netflix. When I saw it had Clark Gable and was highly rated, and I had heard of it before, I decided to give it a try.

It instantly became one of my all time favorites! It has a fun (even though it is kind of predictable) storyline and I just plain enjoyed it! It is, however, as impossible to pick a favorite movie as it is to pick a favorite book (BETHANY!) but here are some more of my favorites.....


Next.....

This is probably my favorite watch it anytime movie. Wonderful movie. Pretty closely follows the book as much as a movie can and doesn't change things too tremendously from the awesome book. LOVE love LOVE Winona Ryder as Jo. Every actress chosen was just perfect as the way I always pictured them when reading the book!


Gone with the Wind, 1939

Then there are the blockbuster classics....gotta love this one. Not just because it is a classic, but because it is a GREAT classic! It is just a bit long to pop in any old time. ha. I actually like the book and movie equally well....even though they are VERY different. Pretty rare thing.

I am SO not a Will Farrel fan, but I actually laughed so hard the first time I saw this movie that I almost...well...you know. It was so funny! Sometimes I like a really good funny movie, like this one, or Get Smart.

Winner for all time favorite series of movies.....

Anne of Green Gables series, 1985

Great books,great story, great movies...a great time!



This movie is on my "to see soon" list. I read the book in high school (not sure if I should re-read it before I see the movie or wait until after I see it). I remember loving the book and I have randomly seen that this is among several people's "top five" movies on facebook, so I really really want to watch it soon. Hopefully it will be another favorite.

As you can see, I don't really have one favorite movie or genre, but, in general...I don't like to be stressed out when I go to a movie! ha ha!

In other birthday
movie news....
what was the number one movie in 1981?

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Not too shabby!

Tune in tomorrow when I will finally answer Chris's question:
How/where did Corey propose?


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Twenty-one

My mom asked:
"If you could go back and live over one day in your life, what day would that be and why?"

When I first started thinking about this question I was trying to pick a day that would be great to "re-live." A day that was awesome....I considered my wedding day, the day my kids were born, but how could I pick between those? How could I pick the day Katie was born over the day Noah was born or him over her?

So, then I tried to think about a day that might have been a time to make a different decision. One that would impact my life greatly. And I finally came up with what I think is a good one!
I would relive any day after we bought a house and before the 1st day of my last year of teaching. We could have created a budget that would have gotten us completely out of debt and enabled us to more easily allow me to stay home and able to do more with our debt free lifestyle! How awesome! What regret that we didn't plan for me to quit while I was still drawing paychecks.
Why would I pick a day "after" we bought a house? Well, because we bought a house that was modestly in our price range, so we didn't spend the same amount as we would have had we already been out of debt.
It may sound pretty crazy that of all the days that such a seemingly unimportant choice was made. But, let me tell you...that is IMPORTANT and would have made a HUGE difference in our lives! So there you go. A pretty dull answer, but an honest one!

Tomorrow I will answer another one of Bethany's questions: What is your favorite movie or genre of movies?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Twenty

Jessica asked: "What is a favorite memory from your childhood?"

I found this picture just for Corey!

One of my very favorite memories from my chil
dhood is the year we went to Pigeon Forge and my brother and I were old enough to walk around Dollywood by ourselves and ride things on our own.

That was a huge deal for us, not sure why, I guess we didn't want to be stuck watching the "shows" all day. (Yes, I put quotes around "shows") We rode the roller coaster that is set inside like you are going through a burning town (or building, can't remember) over and over. It was so much fun!

Tomorrow I will answer another one of my mom's questions (since no one has submitted more-go ahead if you thought of one!). "If you could go back and live over one day in your life, what day would that be and why?"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Nineteen

My mom asked: "What is your favorite story from the Bible.....and why?"


My favorite story from the Bible has got to absolutely 100% be the Christmas story,
of course!

I love it because it is one of the very first stories that children are capable of learning and remembering in great detail. Everything about it is so amazing and I have since heard so much more information about the details and the extreme way that everything had to be done in order for it to be *right.*

A great, miraculous, complete, wonderful, and amazing story. So big yet so simple. Just the best.
And, speaking of....if you haven't seen The Nativity Story, you really should. I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it is... a GREAT movie.


Tomorrow I will answer Jessica's question: "What is a favorite memory from your childhood."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Eighteen

PJ asked:
How do you want your kids to finish this statement when they get older:
"my momma always said..."

"life is like a box of chocolates..."

SORRY!!! How could I NOT do that?!?! ha ha.

Okay, seriously...this is tough to decide. Well...as far as things that you want them to remember always coming from their mom's mouth, it would have to be something positive. I want them to remember something good I said...and encouraging.

I think the thing that I think I would want them to remember as a life encouragement would be "God has a plan." A plan for their future, (the best one)....a plan for a spouse (the best one), a plan for who they are friends with and the influences for their lives (the best ones)...the list could go on. Adopting this as a motto will make me more aware of it too and how I am helping to facilitate this in their lives with action and prayer.

Hopefully this could help them endure things that aren't so pleasant...and also seek out the best decisions as they realize that everything they do should be in the best interest of completing God's plan for them.

This was such a great thing to think about, PJ! I think everyone reading this should think about it too! If you stop and take the time, then you can start plugging that in with your kid's now...with purpose! Thanks for making me do this so I can get started!!!! :)


"For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).

If you have any other ideas for questions, or missed out on posting one, please feel free to do so today! You won't be entered in my giveaway drawing, but I know some people may have thought of more questions as the countdown has been progressing. I have gone through each person at least once...so I would love to have more choices...if not I will go back and answer some of the multiple question responses.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Kroger paid me to take home pasta today!


(Be sure to scroll down for today's birthday countdown message)

So, here's what $11.27 bought at Kroger today!
All this Barilla pasta was on sale for .75 each. There was a coupon in the paper for .50 off of each respective kind shown here. That means they paid me .25 to buy each package! That is $2 total for taking home 8 boxes of pasta!!! All the rice cakes were free as well...$1 off coupon and they were on sale 10/10.
The soap was .09 (not on sale, just regular price was $1.09 and the coupon was $1 off.)
I am kind of embarrassed to go back to the store for a while...
but who could pass up a total of 72% savings?!?
I just feel like they are going to get wise to it or something, it is almost too good to be true!


What I got for $11:
8 boxes of pasta
4 bags of rice cakes
3 bottles of shampoo
2 6pk yogurt
Eggland's Best Eggs (closeout price $1.19)
2 bunches of grapes
3 bananas
1 gallon of milk
1 Johnson's Buddies bar soap

Birthday Countdown: Day Seventeen

Our four year old (4 years, 5 months at the time) reading a (not memorized) book to his daddy.

Erin asked: "What do you like best about homeschooling?"

Wow. This could really be a long involved answer. I guess the short answer is that it allows us to be a family.

The long answer:
I so love being able to see my children grow up in front of me. It is a special calling for me to be their teacher. I believe it is the way God designed the family...as a working unit, to grow together and learn and be taught from the family's perspective. I have a responsibility for my children...in every sense (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and I feel that if I am to be responsible for those aspects, then I have to TAKE responsibility for those aspects of their lives.
Another part of it that may seem selfish to some... is that I just want to be with my kids. I mean, I birthed them for goodness sake... I don't want to send them off for eight hours every day to let some other person spend FORTY hours a week with them!!!! I love my kids, and I just enjoy them. I want to be with them. I want to have the privilege of teaching them the important things, the silly things, and the fun things in life.

It is pretty much impossible to share your reasons/loves for homeschooling without sounding like you are saying that others who don't choose to homeschool are wrong. I am not saying that at all. If you don't want to homeschool, then you truly shouldn't!

Why should I choose whole class instruction over private tutoring? Homeschooling allows me to create customized, individualized, efficient instruction based on my childrens' interests and in a loving, safe, disciplined environment. I could go on and on, but I won't.

And, just for everyone's peace of mind and enjoyment, I found a great article about the benefits of homeschooling, specifically, the *socialization* "issue."

Enjoy! Thanks for the question, Erin. I love absolutely everything about homeschooling!!!!


Tomorrow I will answer PJ's question: How do you want your kids to finish this statement when they get older:"my momma always said..."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Sixteen


I always wash my hair every single time I take a shower or bath.


Jessica asked: "Do you wash your hair every day?"

ANSWER: "I WISH!"

Tomorrow I will answer Erin's question: "What do you like best about homeschooling?"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What can you get for $11.81?


Total before discounts: $40.93
Coupons: $9.30

Store Savings: $19.92

Total Savings: $29.12

FINAL TOTAL: $11.81


I shouldn't have bought the Cheerios because it wasn't the best price I could get, but Noah about cried a river when I started to put them back...he has been awfully good about compromising on breakfast (Kix have been out since Monday!).

Deal of the day: Betty Crocker Potatoes for .30 each!


Just wanted to share! It is so much fun!

Birthday Countdown: Day Fifteen

Laura asked: "What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?
What is a regret that you have?

I can answer these two very shortly and sweetly:


I am most proud of my children! They are such sweet, loving, and smart kids. I know I am the mom and it is my job to think they are the best kids ever, and yeah, I am definitely in agreement with that! ha ha. I love them so much and they are my biggest "investment" as far as time, effort, etc. and I am completely 100% proud of them and who they are.
Besides that obvious answer, I guess I am kind of proud of the fact that I won some writing awards in college. A couple for poetry, one for short story. It makes me think that one day I just might be able to publish that childrens' book I listed yesterday :)

Regret: DEBT! Not much else you can say about that. *BAH!*


Tomorrow, Jessica's question: "Do you wash your hair every day?"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Fourteen

Jon asked:
"What do you want to do in the next 28 years that you didn't do in your previous 28?"

Jon is actually a former high school classmate of mine. I recently discovered his blog through facebook and have enjoyed seeing what he has been up to recently, including welcoming an adorable little baby girl into the world last month.

When I read this question to my husband, his first (always sarcastic) response was: "Turn 50." not very funny.

28 Things to do in the next 28 years:

1. Add on to the family...at least once. :)
2. Get a bigger car due to #1.
3. Get a bigger house due to #1.
4. Graduate three or more from homeschooling and send them to the rest of their lives whatever that may be.
5. See New England and my "Green Gables" island.
6. Maybe take my grandkids to Disney World! *whoa!!!! why did you take me THERE?!*
7. See one of my children marry a Freeman child. :)
8. Write a children's book.
9. Be on a game show.
10. Finally have a fenced in yard so my husband can have a pet.
11. Hopefully see my brother get married! Not sure if 28 years will be long enough.
12. Get out of debt.
13. Be physically fit.
14. Run a half marathon.
15. Finally see Phantom of the Opera (live).
16. Clean out our basement ha ha.
17. Get a piano for our house.
18. Live in another state.
19. Work part time somewhere for FUN.
20. Babysit my childrens' cousins.
21. Grow a vegetable garden.
22. Read the Bible cover to cover.
22. Give up worrying completely.
23. See the west coast.
24. Visit a spa for a full day of pampering.
25. Complete a quilt.
26. Learn to swim.
27. Own a vacation home.
28. Have a great time at my awesome surprise 50th birthday party thrown by my husband of almost 30 years.

Thanks for the fun question, Jon.


Tomorrow I will answer Laura's question: "
What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?
What is a regret that you have?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Thirteen

The Duke Family asked: "How did you and Corey meet, and how long were you together before you got engaged, married, and had your first precious baby?

We got this Willow Tree figurine for a wedding gift. I love it!

Well, I am too lazy to find old pictures to scan right now, but I promise I will do that at some point.

Corey and I met at church. We both knew "of" each other before we met. His parents and their family grew up with my parents and our family. But, we had never met. (well, Corey says he remembers meeting me at a grocery store one time with his grandmother but I don't remember that at all)

When we DID finally meet, we actually sat down together and mutually agreed that although everyone was trying to play matchmaker we were totally uninterested. That was sometime in January or February of 1999.

In May of 1999 we went on our "first" first date. We saw The Mummy. It was great. BUT, I had to shed the small town for a while and was determined to do so on my own, so I went on to UGA for a semester in the fall of 1999. In December, when I came home for Christmas break, we hung out some more at church and I really really knew that I could not leave again. SO, I un-enrolled myself, came home, and we had our "second" first date on or around December 19th or so. It was to see "Grease on Ice" at the Forum in Rome! ha ha!!!

Anyway, in February of 2000 we were walking around the mall one Sunday afternoon near Valentine's Day and the jewelry store was having a sale on engagement rings. I suggested that we should go ahead and get one since they were on sale and they had the exact one that I wanted. We went in and bought a ring less than two months after we started officially dating. Later that spring we got engaged. I won't tell that story because it is another question....

We were engaged for over a year. We were planning a September 2001 wedding but moved it up. I was just ready to be married. AND, after attending Andy and Bethany's huge wedding where I about hyperventilated just sitting on a pew, I decided I didn't want the big wedding thing anyway and we put together our wedding in about a week's time. A friend made my dress, my PawPaw did the ceremony, and we just went up to the church (since we had a key), rearranged the lilies in the front and had ourselves a short, sweet, CHEAP wedding! We had a reception lunch at Provino's afterward and spent a lovely one nighthoneymoon in historic Chattanooga! ha ha!

So...there you go. The rest is history. I enrolled in Shorter College and in March of 02 we found out we were going to be blessed with our beautiful daughter, Katie, in October. Noah followed about 20 months later in June of 04.

I absolutely would not change anything EXCEPT.......

If we had known that $ would have always been tight anyway...we would have taken a week and gone to...GUESS WHERE for our honeymoon?!?! ha ha. It's okay. Actually, we are finally planning that DISNEY honeymoon for this December.....TEN YEARS after our "second" first date.

I have so enjoyed being married. It was truly a perfect fit for us. We are so good together. I figure in another 10 years he will be just about perfect (with my training of course!) ha ha!

Tomorrow I will answer Jon's question: "
What do you want to do in the next 28 years that you didn't do in your previous 28?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Twelve

Mrs. Routt asked: "Besides the obvious - trusting Christ as your Savior - how have/do you cultivate your relationship with your Savior?"

What a great question to fall on Easter?!


Well.... I guess one thing I do is to attend and be involved at our church, Graceland. God is always showing us new ways we can serve and work to be proactive toward leading others to Him through music, teaching, and small groups.

And, speaking of small groups... that is really the BIGGEST thing that helps me with my daily relationship.

I am not by nature a disciplined person..whether it be diet, exercise, chores, etc...it just doesn't come easily to me. So it makes sense that this also plays into my daily routine of "practicing the fundamentals" of daily prayer and quiet time with God. This is where the accountability and fellowship of a small group comes in. I cherish each time I am given the opportunity to join in a Bible study. I have joined one that was for "Moms"...one for "couples"....one for "just girls," etc. They have all been placed in the perfect moment of time in my life when I needed it the most.
Right now I am in two small groups. One is a book club for girls at our church and we are reading "Believing God" by Beth Moore. We get to discuss and pray and just fellowship together. It is more of an intimate group where we truly bear one another's burdens. I have made some great friends and learned so much from the ladies of all ages that are in our book club.

The other is a group going through Beth Moore's "Esther" study. It is more of a study that gets me to doing my homework kind of thing.

I gain so much from these groups and the time I spend each week preparing and studying to be ready to meet with them is really what keeps me on my toes.

Is it bad that I need those things to make me do what I am supposed to do? What do you think?

Thanks for that question Mrs. Routt. Good one!

Tomorrow I will answer a question from The Duke Family: How did you and Corey meet, and how long were you together before you got engaged, married, and had your first precious baby?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Eleven

Mama asked: "If tomorrow you could visit any place on this earth where would you go? Excluding Disney!"

Tokyo Disney! HA HA! Just kidding, I would have to fly to do that....

I really am excluded from many interesting places because I won't fly... sad but true.
But really, right now the thing I would love to do the most is to take a road trip all the way up the east coast and see all the places along the way. This couldn't be done in a plane anyway.

I would love to hit Boston, New York, Amish country, Vermont, Maine, and even head all the way up and see Niagara Falls and cross over in to Canada. Drive all the way up to Nova Scotia and end up HERE:

"Green Gables" on Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia

Oh, to have the money and for Corey to have the time off to take this dream trip! That would be SO fun! Think of all the great and fun places you could see between here and THERE!

Tomorrow I will answer a question from one of my former high school teachers...Mrs. Routt asked: "Besides the obvious - trusting Christ as your Savior - how have do you cultivate your relationship with your Savior?


Friday, April 10, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Ten

Joy asked: "What have you scrapbooked lately?"


I actually have not scrapbooked since November. I would guess that would make my answer "nothing." Agh. I am unhappy to say that blogging has kind of become my online scrapbooking. It is quicker to sit down at the computer and type up something than to get out all my scrapbooking supplies and create pages. :(

I want to make our scrapbook about our Disney trip...but I haven't even gotten pictures developed. It's a good thing I created that Disney blog so at least when I get around to scrapbooking the pictures I will already have our daily experiences recorded.

I actually really want to print out all my blog posts and put them in a notebook. This would be a great scrapbooking venture because I could include photos from the slideshows, etc. But, the longer I put that off, the bigger of a project it becomes.

To actually answer the question: I was working on a school year scrapbook. That is the last thing I worked on. I got to around October.

The last completed project I did was a scrapbook all about Katie getting glasses. It is a small 8x8 album and it has the printed blog post with all the comments during that great time. You can read the story here.

Thanks for that great question, Joy! I am so enjoying getting to be in a completely different state of mind with each question!


Tomorrow I will answer one of my mom's questions: "If tomorrow you could visit any place on this earth where would you go? Excluding Disney!"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Nine

Sullins' Spot asked:
When was a time in your life that you felt like the
world was crumbling around you
and God showed himse
lf in an incredible way?


Wow. I don't even know where to begin on this one today.

I guess it would begin with a time when we were just "scra
mbling" for lack of a better word.
I was working full-time at a job that depressed, exhausted, and wore me down. This, in turn, stretched the relationship between Corey and I to the limits. There was no time, no peace, no rest....just unhappiness, stress, and just "unrest" in general. I felt like a complete failure at ever
ything I was trying to do. I got terrible reviews at my job even though I was truly giving it everything I could! I was doing many things that I had the potential to do well at, but it came to a point where I was doing 10 things at 10% rather than a couple of things at 100%.

Then a wonderful thing happened. My mother-in-law told us that she was no longer going to be able to provide the wonderful child-care we had been receiving while I worked.

At first it seemed like a devastating situation. Corey and I argued what was the biggest argument we have ever had. He was stubborn and so was I. I insisted that I needed to just quit my job and stay home. He insisted that it was impossible and we would have to find another way. Our children were too young for "school" so we enrolled Katie in a 3 yr old program at Unity and we were searching for a day care for Noah.

This was impossible. There is no day care in the world that would be good enough for my little boy when I felt that I was supposed to be staying home with them both. The opportunity of a "way out" from my miserable job was also a huge draw. I was needed at home. My kids needed me. Our household needed me...and I despised working in the public school system. I am not trying to make myself sound overly important, but it is my personal belief that when you bring children into the world it is your job to be active and involved in their raising and teaching. People accomplish this is many different ways and it was obvious that God was putting all the pieces into place for me to do this as a stay at home mom.

This could become a very long story, but I will just say that ultimately we decided to try my staying at home. If it didn't work we would go from there.

Well...... it worked. Katie was even able to go to attend her year at Unity.
With having more time at home, I was able to meet some great Christian neighbors who also homeschool. God even arranged a friend's deployment to coincide with this critical time in our lives so that his wife would be living less than 5 minutes away and provide daily encouragement and information about homeschooling....easing us into the frame of mind that this was something we could do.

I was able to be a better wife and mother.
The budget ended up working. We found that we just had to make decisions based on what would provide the most emotionally rich lives for our children, not necessarily the most "rich" lives for our children.

How would you feel if God took away your happiness in a job you dreamed of doing your entire life? If God took away your perfect childcare and your incredible health insurance, and your ease about the future lives of your children? What if God took away your peace?

God took away our child care so that we would make the choice to do what He placed in our hearts with my staying at home.
God took away my happiness at my job so that I would easily and freely leave it with no regrets. God took away our government insurance so that we would seek out more natural remedies and a healthier lifestyle. (Katie is now off allergy medication and we have had maybe 1 or 2 prescriptions for antibiotics in the past couple of years) God took away our peace with the local school system so that we would make the choice to homeschool which is such a perfect fit for our children and family... (which then resulted in us finding that Katie needed glasses). God took away the peace in our hearts so that we would make a major change. A change that took us away from the comfort of what we had known for years, but that placed us exactly where we needed to be. (as a musician and teacher in a church plant project, and in a church with other homeschoolers and programs for homeschoolers!).
We don't eat out every night anymore. We eat healthier food. We don't argue as much. We have more friends. Our children have more friends. I have time for what is important in our lives. We don't spend money "getting away from it all" every other weekend because the weeks seem so overly stressful. We are growing closer together as our children grow up, and have PEACE that our lives are on the right path.

God takes away... but what does He want YOU to put in that place? It will always be something better.

I do want to say that we are thankfully being provided with insurance. That is not to be overlooked. But, it is a well known fact that it is expensive and difficult to come by private insurance that is as well-paying and easy to use as the government provided stuff. When you have to consider that it is now going to cost $40 for the visit, and the Rx coverage will be impossible to predict...you finally take the time to explore your other options. This is how it worked for us anyway.

Thanks for the question Amy, it really made me think long and hard and gave me the courage to share....
I am loving the variety of questions everyone asked!!!

Tomorrow I will answer Joy's question:
What have you scrapbooked lately?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Eight

Bethany asked: "Besides the obvious, (God's word)
what is your favorite book?"

What a completely impossible question!!!!!! How could anyone ever choose one book?!!! I have so many favorites! Anne of Green Gables (entire series), Little Women, many writers who I enjoy like Karen Kingsbury and Beth Moore.

But, looking back I remember stating immediately after reading one particular series that it was my favorite one of all time. I really enjoyed the love story (of course) that was combined with really rich historical writing and interesting plots in each book. It is the "Dr. Cheney Duvall" series by Lynn Morris. (click on the link for a list of all the books on Amazon.)

It slightly reminds me of "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Women" if you are familiar with that, but with a much more interesting series of stories since she doesn't just stay in one town. I learned a lot of history while reading this series while enjoying the ongoing romance and struggle of the leading lady trying to make her way as a doctor in a man's profession. Read it. It is great.

Thanks for the impossible question, Bethany! ha!

Tomorrow I will answer the question from "Sullins Spot:" When was a time in your life that you felt like the world was crumbling around you and God showed himself in an incredible way?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Seven

Emily Green asked:
"What is the best thing for getting Georgia clay out of kids' clothes?

Okay, if I'm allowed to add a question/expand...here it is...
what as been one of your most wasteful purchases to date?
What has been one of your best/most valuable purchases to date?"

Here's my advice for getting Georgia clay out of kids' clothes:
Throw it away. Buy a new ________.


Ha. I must admit that my kids don't get in the mud very often...or at all. I know, I am guilty. Katie had a complete crazy meltdown yesterday because she saw/heard a bee buzzing around the front porch. She was frozen to the stairs and just screaming. The neighbors were in their garage and came out to check on us, that's how loud she was. I waved at them and explained "She saw a bee in the yard, we don't get out much!"
Guilty guilty guilty.

It is a huge planned out event if I know there is going to be mud and they wear the oldest clothes they have.
So, sorry, I don't have good advice for getting the stains out. Maybe someone else will be able to help you, Emily.


Now, to the next part!
Wasteful purchases! I am an expert on this! In my opinion, one of the most wasteful purchases you can make is overpriced food, whether at a restaurant or a grocery store. That is where the bulk of our wasted purchases have gone. Also, as far as a singular completely wasteful purchase, I have to say it was the spray tanner I bought from QVC one time. It didn't work....it was a mess...and a complete waste of money as I never even got ONE good use out of it! And just for good measure: something that most people would find wasteful but I refuse to give up: Eggland's Best Eggs! Totally worth it! I just can't eat the "store" eggs anymore!

Most valuable purchase:
Several baby items come to mind. One is the breast pump we bought when I went to work full-time after Noah was born. That thing MORE than paid for itself!
A small overlooked value: individual umbrellas for the kids. What a great thing! Have you ever tried to walk in sync with two kids ages 4 and 6 who are obviously different heights and shorter than you, while keeping them dry and out of the run off from the edge of an umbrella, WHILE holding bags from an outing to the grocery store?! Well....individual umbrellas and *having them with you* is a lifesaver!

Also, I have greatly enjoyed the purchase of reusable grocery bags... Great idea and a great value at $1/each.

Thanks for the fun question!


Tomorrow I will answer Bethany's question: Besides the obvious, (God's word) what is your favorite book?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Six

Karen asked: "What has surprised you most about being a mother, and why?"

Wow. That is an almost impossible question. SO MANY things have surprised me about being a mother. And, sitting here thinking about this the very first and most honest thing that I can share is.... I actually enjoy it.



Shocked?! I was too! I never imagined being a mother. I always thought that if I ever had kids that they would be adopted. The idea of giving birth was definitely not appealing to me at all! I have always been someone who enjoys her sleep...enjoys doing things spur of the moment...and who hated cleaning and chores with a passion. Kids of course, interrupt your sleep tremendously (and your ability to sleep forever due to permanent bladder changes!), you can't just run out the door at the spur of the moment, and they absolutely bring more chores and CLEANING that you could ever imagine. "Selfless" was not the first word I would use to describe the "before being a mom" me. Doesn't sound like a good fit, huh?

Well... I will tell the entire story on another question, but when we found out we were having Katie, I was definitely excited, but as a newlywed and a college student, I wasn't sure how this was all going to work out. But, God is good, and the day Katie was born guess what? A mother was born. I will never look back and though lack of sleep still makes me cranky...I have made it through. A giggle, laugh, little hand to hold, little personality to mold...it is all worth it. You could have never made me believe it, and it is the most cliche expression used in the world, but "having a baby changes everything."

So, my biggest surprise is that I love being a mom. From the biggest hugs to the tiniest crumbs on the floor!


Tomorrow I will answer Emily Green's question: What's the best thing for getting Georgia clay out of kid's clothes? [and]...what as been one of your most wasteful purchases to date? What has been one of your best/most valuable purchases to date?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Five

(God Stop Sunday will resume after my birthday countdown....)

Hannah asked: "What is your favorite Girl Scout Cookie?"


EASY one! Samoas! Without a doubt!


We bought some cookies this year outside Walmart. I let the kids pick...bad idea! We ended up with Lemon Chalet Cremes and Sugar Free Chocolate Chip. EGAD! They were awful!
Samoas are definitely the way to go!

Tomorrow I will answer Karen's question: What has surprised you most about being a mom, and why?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Birthday Countdown: Day Four

Emilee Turner asked: "What is your favorite time of day, and why?"


The time of day that I look forward to the most is the few hours after my kids go to bed, before I go to bed. We have our family devotion and prayer time together (which is just a highlight of the day, kids are the cutest things during times like that!) and we put them to bed (usually between 7:30 and 8pm)...they are just so sweet. The house is all quiet... and Corey and I just can literally "chill out." Sometimes this is when I go do my extended coupon shopping night out...sometimes we watch "The Office" or a movie together... I lay in the bed and read a book....take a long bath... Many times you will find me mixing up some kind of baked treat to enjoy, or pouring a bowl of sweet cereal. It's just the best time of the day for me because I can feel like I have accomplished something for the day and now enjoy some quiet time. It's the thing I miss when we are out too long and get home super late. It isn't that I am going to bed that much later, but that I missed my "just me and Corey" time.

Thanks for that great question Emilee!

Tomorrow I will answer Hannah's question: "What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?"

(Sorry Chris, I am saving your question for another day...but I have a good reason :)