Friday, December 28, 2007

Letter Writing Friday...

Just like us, the inside is the most important....but that doesn't mean you can't dress up the outside too! Here are some ways to create a neat envelope to get in the mail (just don't forget to include the letter inside!).

  • Stickers. You can get stickers almost anywhere. Some are more expensive than others, so watch out. Some places I like are Hallmark, Dollar Tree, or CBD.

  • Crayons. Take a crayon and draw a picture on the outside of the envelope.

  • Borders. Draw, print, or stamp a border along the side or back of the envelope.

  • Creative Name. You don't always have to put the formal name of someone. The post office looks at the address part to get where to mail it. You can therefore mail it to, "The Birthday Girl," "The New Mom," "Jumbo," "The World Traveller" or some such thing. You can write it in crayon, colored pen, caligraphy, arched, balloon letters, you choose!

  • Return Address. This can be put on the back of the envelope, down the side as a border, or the more traditional upper left hand corner. You can hand write it or you can purchess neat reaturn address stickers too.

Things to remember:

  1. Always keep the addresses legible!

  2. Don't cover up the addresses or stamp with your artwork/stickers/etc.

  3. Use ink that is dark enough to read

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sale tips...

Well, I don't have the pictures I was hoping for, but I'll go ahead and post anyway. :)
So, this past month, I've gotten hooked on coupons and sale items. It all started with a blog called "Money Saving Mom" and a friend. Within that month, I have been able to cut our grochery bill in half! (I realized I would be saving some, but not HALF!)
Sometimes on the radio, I hear the ad with the chipper lady saying, "..You get such a good feeling from saving money at the grochery store...." and I must admit, I didn't really believe her. "Sure, it would be nice," I thought, "but it wouldn't make much difference to me." BUT.....I found out it's true! It really is fun to search for the right deal, and keep my eyes open for sales and coupons. It's so fun to come home from shopping and tell Mathew, "Look, look! We saved $40 today" and to see him smile. (I think sometimes he's not smiling for the same reasons I am! lol) are some tips I've learned so far about deal hunting and money saving....
  1. Look for coupons. I started out with no coupons, and now have a nice stack. I find coupons online ( and, in the newspaper (sometimes they are rather inconspicuous), and in our advertiser (Walmart, Pamida, Pizza Hut), at work (co-workers have an envelope downstairs of coupons they don't use).
  2. Watch the ads. I've noticed, that if I watch the ads every week, I can see what grocheries are on sale, as well as other things (like batteries or clothes etc). If I see a brand name item (like Duracell or something), I go online and Google search for "*brand name item* coupon." For instance....I found a coupon for Nature Made Vitamins ($3.00 off) and I used two of those coupons while there was a sale at Walgreens for Buy One Get One Free. So the vitamins, normally $10 each, ended up being about $3.oo each)
  3. Use your head. Just because something is on sale, or even a bargin deal, think about if you really need it or not. I've made the mistake a couple times of getting a "good deal", when actually, I wouldn't bought the item ever if it hadn't been on sale, and I still haven't used it. Also, you can often double up coupons at stores like Target, Walgreens, and Walmart. So, use a coupon + a sale price and get a good deal.
  4. Don't waste your time. Coupon hunting can be time consuming. I realize that, although I like to surf the internet and spend my time store hopping, it's really not the best use of my time. Sure, God wants me to be wise, but He doesn't want me to be stingy with money or flustered with people and family or rushing past what's important to Him just because I'm in search of a good deal! I've found a small folder to keep my coupons in, I've bookmarked my favorite and easiest coupon web pages, I've limited myself to shopping twice a week (one main trip, one quick run) and to searching the internet once or twice a week.

One last thing. Here is a list of my favorite web sites to check on deals:

I'm Excited....

I'm excited today....and am anxious to be done with work for the day. I'm excited because our family is coming up for the weekend. I'm excited because it's snowing. I'm excited because of some new lesson plans I've made. I'm excited because I found some really yummy chocolate to eat. I'm excited because I'm a child of the King.

"Therefore we do not look at what we can see, instead we look at what we can't see because what can be seen lasts only a short time, but what can't be seen lasts forever!" 2 Cor. 4:18

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tired Tidbits of our Trip....

I am so tired! We just got back from a trip to Arizona at 1:30 am this morning. It was fun, but I am so tired! (Did I mention that already?)
Reasons I know I'm tired:
  1. I opened the door and then ran into it.
  2. I forgot my wedding ring after I put hand lotion on.
  3. My eyes are puffy.

There are many things I am thankful for about this Christmas:

  1. A trip to see our brother
  2. Sammi, our niece
  3. Beautiful sunsets in AZ desert
  4. Long talks with Mathew
  5. Naps
  6. Christmas lights
  7. peanut M & Ms
  8. long visit with my sister on the way home
  9. A phone that works
  10. A house that was warm to come home to
  11. Parents

Our trip was pretty uneventful, but very relaxing! (I will post pictures later) Two neat things God provided for us coming home were,

  1. He helped us be on time for our flight. (We entered the AZ airport early, checked our bags and got our tickets, and then commenced to wander around the airport shops. We had a fun time just browsing and then finding a place to eat, all the while totally forgetting that we hadn't gone through security check yet. So, about 1/2 hour before boarding time, we started towards our gate....and found ourselves in a loooong line for security check. We had forgotten we were still in the outer part of the airport! Thankfully, God had made our flight 15 mintues late which made it perfect for us to get through line and to our gate just in time!)
  2. He provided a better way for us to drive home. (We were both pretty tired by the time we got to the MN airport, and not really sure how we would manage the 4 hour drive home in the dark. BUT, my sister and niece decided they would come up early to our mom''s house, so came with us last night. She drove. We visited. Mathew and Sammi slept. It worked out perfect!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Saturday morning we woke up to God's beautiful world! I don't think I've ever seen it so covered every tree branch, every grass blade, every detail of everything to make a white wonderland. God definitely is the master of beauty!

(Here is a definition of Hoarfrost: Fernlike crystals of ice that form by deposition of water vapor on twigs, tree branches, and other vegetation.)

I've been reading through a book called Captivating, and I love what it says about beauty.
  1. Beauty invites. "It captures you, as in a piece of music or a garden. It draws you in, holds your attention. You can't wait to get back to it, spend time with it. All of the responses that God wants of us."
  2. Beauty nourishes.
  3. Beauty comforts.
  4. Beauty inspires.
  5. Beauty is transcendent. "Sometimes the beauty is so deep it pierces us with longing. For what? For life as it was meant to be. Beauty reminds us of an Eden we have never known, but somehow know our hearts were created for. Beauty speaks of heaven to come, when all shall be beautiful. It haunts us with eternity. Beauty says, 'There is a glory calling to you.' And if there is a glory, there is a source of glory. What great goodness could have possibly created this? What generosity gave us this to behold? Beauty draws us to God."

May you be aware of beauty in your life this week, and be drawn to God through it!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

5 Holiday Tips

Over at Rocks in My Dryer she is having her "Works for Me Wednesday" post.
Here is a list of things I think are important to remember during the holidays:

1. Don't get in over your head. Make a list of what is important to do this week, and don't keep adding and adding. Learn to limit what you do....and do it to your very best.

2. Take time out to pray and read God's word. Remember to look for God's perspectives on things. Don't worry.

3. Have fun. Make play time with friends and family. Laugh. Alot.

4. Praise God. Praise Him with music and song. Listen to music. Sing it yourself. Turn the radio on. Learn a new Psalm.

5. Keep things in focus. Remember that the world will never be the same simply because the Son of God was born a little baby. Find some ways to make that a priority, even over other traditions.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My Favorite...

Here is list of my favorite Christmas songs:
  1. Away in the Manger (version 2)
  2. What Child is This
  3. We Three Kings
  4. O Come, O Come (or Immanuel)
  5. Go Tell It On the Mountain
  6. Silver Bells
  7. I'm Just a Poor Little Christmas Tree
  8. Little Stranger in a Manger
  9. Come On Ring Those Bells
  10. Let It Snow (mostly for the fact I love snow!)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

On Friendship...

I saw this list the other day in a book called "Lists to Live By." I thought it was pretty good and I'd like to share it.

How to Build a Friendship With Someone You're Dating (or just being friends with someone of the opposite sex)

  1. Keep physical contact to a minimum.

  2. Explore new interests and hobbies.

  3. Do activities that are fun.

  4. Be yourself - don't put on an act just to get the person to like you.

  5. Ask open-ended questions.

  6. Listen to the other person's heart, not just to the words.

  7. Talk with a godly older couple and discover how they built their friendship.

  8. Read a good book together, and discuss how its content can help you foster your relationship.

  9. Seek to understand the other person's viewpoint.

    (Dick Purnell from Decision Magazine)

I know one of the main things that drew me into friendship with my (now) husband was his respect of my personal space "bubble." That was a big thing for me, that he would give me that space so I wasn't always on gaurd and could be myself. It, in turn, helped me respect him for his values too. The fact that we shared Christ was another strength of our friendship, as was his willingness to serve others and share a smile.

While we have had our ups and downs and dissagreements, just like any other couple, I'm still so grateful for the friendship we shared before we were even serious! I know one of the things we both (individually) had declared to God, was that we weren't going to activily seek a boyfriend/girlfriend at that time in our lives. That God was to be our passion, and He had created us for a purpose and a place. I knew that I should be content with Him, and rely on Him in that area. It was after a long talk with God that I was at peace, and it was a couple months after that, that He really blessed me with the beginnings of a friendship with Mathew.

I know every relationship is different, but just keep in mind that God really does want to be first in our lives. He will lead and guide. Use your head. Don't jump to conclusions. Have some guidelines. Develop a pure friendship. and most of all, keep God first!

Friday, December 14, 2007

How Much Do You REALLY Know About Christmas??

Christmas I.Q. Test
* Edit* The answer to #5 is in question. Check out Matt 1:24.

1. As long as Christmas has been celebrated, it has been on December 25.
a) True b) False

2. Joseph was from:
a) Bethlehem b) Jerusalem c) Nazareth d) Egypt e) Minnesota f) none of the above

3. How did Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem?
a) camel b) donkey c) walked d) volkswagen e) Joseph walked, Mary rode a donkey f) who knows?

4. Mary and Joseph were married when Mary became pregnant.
a) True b) False

5. Mary and Joseph were married when Jesus was born:
a) True b) False

6. What did the innkeeper tell Mary and Joseph?
a) Come back after the Christmas rush and I should have some vacancies. b) I have a stable you can use. c) There is no room in the inn. d) Both B and C e) None of the above

7. Jesus was delivered in a:
a) stable b) manger c) cave d) barn e) unknown

8. A manger is a:
a) stable for domestic animals b) wooden hay storage bin c) feeding trough d) barn

9. Which animals does the Bible say were present at Jesus' birth?
a) cows, sheep, goats b) cows, donkeys, sheep c) sheep and goats only d) miscellaneous barnyard animals e) lions, tigers, elephants f) none of the above

10. Who saw the "star in the east"?
a) shepherds b) Mary and Joseph c) three kings d) Both A and C e) none of the above

11. How many angels spoke to the shepherds?
a) one b) two c) a "multitude" d) none of the above

12. What "sign" did the angels tell the shepherds to look for?
a) "This way to the baby Jesus" b) a star over Bethlehem c) a baby that doesn't cry d) a house with a Christmas tree e) a baby in a stable f) none of the above

13. What did the angels say?
a) "Joy to the world, the Lord is come" b) "Alleluia" c) "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" d) "Glory to God in the highest" e) "Glory to God, the New born King" f) "My Sweet Lord"

14. What is the heavenly host?
a) angel at the gate of heaven b) angel who invites people to heaven c) angel who serves refreshments in heaven d) an angel choir e) an angel army f) none of the above

15. There was snow that first Christmas:
a) only in Bethlehem b) all over Israel c) nowhere in Israel d) somewhere in Israel e) Mary and Joseph only "dreamed" of a white Christmas

16. The baby Jesus cried:
a) when the doctor slapped Him on His behind b) just like other babies cry c) when the little drummer boy started beating his drum d) He never cried

17. What is "frankincense"?
a) a precious metal b) a precious fabric c) a precious perfume d) an eastern monster story e) none of the above

18. What is "myrrh"?
a) an easily shaped metal b) a spice used for burying people c) a drink d) after-shave lotion e) none of the above

19. How many wise men came to see Jesus?
a) 1 b) 2 c) 3 d) unknown

20. What does "wise men" refer to?
a) men of the educated class b) they were eastern kings c) they were astrologers d) they were "sages" e) they were smart enough to follow the star

21. The wise men found Jesus in a:
a) manger b) stable c) house d) Holiday Inn e) good mood

22. The wise men stopped in Jerusalem:
a) to inform Herod about Jesus b) to find out where Jesus was c) to ask about the star they saw d) for gas e) to buy presents for Jesus

23. Where do we find the Christmas story in order to check up on all these ridiculous qustions?
a) Matthew b) Mark c) Luke d) John e) All of the above f) only A and B g) Only A and C h) Only A, B, and C i) Only X, Y, and Z j) Aesops Fables

24. When Joseph and Mary found out that Mary was pregnant with jesus, what happened?
a) They got married b) Joseph wanted to break up the engagement c) Mary left town for three months d) an angel told them to go to Bethlehem e) Both A and D f) Both B and C

25. Who told Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem?
a) the angel b) Mary's mother c) Herod d) Caesar Augustus e) Alexander the Great f) no one told them to

26. Joseph took the baby Jesus to Egypt:
a) to show Him the pyramids b) to teach Him the wisdom of the Pharoahs c) to put Him in a basket in the reeds by the river d) because he dreamed about it e) to be taxed f) Joseph did not take Jesus to Eqypt g) none of the above

Check your answers below, then take the poll on the sidebar!

----------Key----------1. (b) 2. (c) 3. (e) 4. (b) 5. (b) 6. (d) 7. (b) 8. (c) 9. (f) 10. (e) 11. (a) 12. (f) 13. (d) 14. (e) 15. (c) 16. (b) 17. (c) 18. (b) 19. (d) 20. (c) 21. (c) 22. (b) 23. (g) 24. (f) 25. (d) 26. (d)

Letter Writing Friday: 20 Things to Include in a Letter

Whether a kid or an adult, it's fun to get letters! Here is a list of things that you could include to make it even more fun:

  1. feather

  2. foreign stamps

  3. stickers

  4. directions for a craft

  5. trading cards

  6. gift certificates (snacks, eating out, or movies)

  7. self-addressed envelope

  8. recipies

  9. game of tic-tac-toe (started)

  10. story

  11. photos

  12. currency

  13. coupons

  14. CD of a sound you heard or a song you like

  15. hankie

  16. leaves

  17. party hat or folded decorations

  18. confetti

  19. seed packet

  20. pressed flowers

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

PB & Honey Sandwiches

Over at Rocks in my Dryer there are all sorts of neat ideas and helpful tips!

Today, my tip is about making (and eating) a Peanut Butter and Honey sandwhich. :)
If you've made PB & Honey before, you'll have noticed that the honey tends to slide off the edge and drip all over your hand as you crunch and munch. Here is an easy solution to that problem (maybe you know this already!!): Add one large dollop (that's a large spoonful I'm sure) of PB in the middle of your piece of bread. Drizzle the honey (as much as you like) on top of that dollop of PB and immediately (after closing the honey jar), mix the two together with a spoon. Now, they are nice and spreadable for your whole piece of bread AND the honey won't run away! Works for me!

Also check out Abbi & Amy's posts!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Of Photos and Such

My camera is working!

For a while, my camera didn't seem to be working.....shutting off instantly and I could never get it on. It was frustrating.....but then! My friend Keren mentioned she had the same problem when she used generic batteries (like I was trying to do), but the name brand batteries worked fine.

So, I invested in some rechargeable Duracell batteries! Horay...they work! In fact, it's a big money saver considering how many batteries I would normally go through with my camera. Now, instead of buying new ones, I just recharge them!

So, now that my camera is working, I've been experimenting with outside pictures. I found a free, handy web site (Picnik) to edit my photos online. It was here I fiddled around with these new blog banners..... how fun!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Jesse Tree

Now that we're in a home of our own, I've been thinking alot about Christmas and Christmas traditions. One of the new things I've been studying and reading about, is something called a Jesse Tree. It's basically a tree with ornaments that have a special meaning about Christ or the Bible (for instance, an ark for Noah's ark). It is used during the month of December in some churches to teach about the coming of Christ (His birth anyways). After reading about it, I thought it might be interesting to do something similar with our family. (Well, we don't have kids yet, but I thought it'd be neat to do with kids weekly). I came up with a purpose and a list of things I'd do, and thought I'd share it with you.

"Jesus Tree: To learn about God's plan from the beginning of time, and how it relates to us.
God loves us. Very much. Even from when we first sinned in the garden of Eden, He had a plan to save us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Christmas is often a one-day splurge of activity and celebration. But there's more to Christ than His birth and more to the story than 33 years. Let's take a look."

Then, what I've done, is made 16 Bible lessons with a verse to think about, questions, and an ornament craft to work on with the kids. Every lesson, we'd make an ornament and hang it on a bare-branch tree. Christmas day, I'd change the bare-branch tree to a full evergreen, decorated with lights and new ornaments. Here is the basic outline:

  1. Adam & Eve. Key verse: Genesis 3:14,15. Symbol: Snake or fruit.
  2. Noah's Ark. Key Verse: Gen 6:5,6. Symbol: Dove, boat, or prism.
  3. Abraham's Offspring. Genesis 17:7. Symbol: Star.
  4. Jacob's Blessing. Gen 28:14. Symbol: Angel or ladder.
  5. Judah's Inheritance. Gen 49:10. Symbol: Seal, scepter, or jewel.
  6. Moses' Method. Deut. 7:9 Symbol: Red ribbon or red glass ornament (blood sacrifice)
  7. Ruth's Righteousness. Ruth 1:16. Symbol: wheat
  8. Jesse's Geneology. Is. 11:1 Symbol: Branch or leaf.
  9. David's Throne. Jer 23:5. Symbol: Crown.
  10. Immanuel. Is 7:14. Symbol: The word Immanuel or the letter I
  11. Bethlehem's Child. Micah 5:2. Symbol: shed, nativity or house
  12. Eternal Life. Psalm 16:10. Symbol: the word Joy.
  13. Prince of Peace. Is 9:6. Symbol: The letter P or something white.
  14. Man of Sorrows. Is 53:7. Symbol: thorn or tear
  15. Out of Eygpt. Hos 11:1. Symbol: potporri or pyramid.
  16. The Great Shepherd. Is 35:3. Symbol: Sheep or candy cane.
  17. Christmas Day. Matt 1,2. Lights to represent the Light of the world. Gold to represent His majesty. White to represent His holiness. Green to represent His life. Hang up Jesus' many names as ornaments.

Here is what a lesson looks like:

Day One: Adam and Eve

Text: Genesis 3:1-19

Key Verse: Genesis 3:14,15

Symbol: Fruit (Dried Apple Ornament)

To Think About:

  • Even from the very beginning, God loved us past our sin and made a plan for us. Part of His plan was to send His Son.
  • Can you see where it talks about this in these verses?
  • Where is it pointing to Jesus?
  • What does it say Jesus will do?

Read these as well:

  • John 1:1
  • Isaiah 59:1-3
What are some things you do around this holiday time?

Friday, December 7, 2007

A New Experience

A couple nights ago, on our way home from church, we got a flat tire. It was the first time for both of us! And believe me, we did it good! It was quite an adventure (but easier on me because I could run in and out of the house when I got cold. Poor Mathew stayed out the whole time) After 3 tries, some extra implements, and a couple time outs in the warm house (it was about -10 last night), we got it done! Here are some tips next time you need to change a tire:

  1. Have the car on a flat (not inclined) surface

  2. Have a spare tire, jack, ground cloth and tire iron in the trunk.

  3. Put the emergency break on before you start

For more details, check out How To Change a Tire.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Go Bannanas!


  • Bananas don't grow on trees, as is commonly believed. They grow on compacted, water-filled leaf stalks that grow up to 25 feet high. They are the world's largest herb. (Source: The Packer, 9/9/89)

  • Alexander the Great discovered bananas in his conquest of India in 327 B.C.

  • As the green color of bananas turns to yellow, the starch in the fruit turns to sugar.

To ripen green bananas, put them into a plastic bag, seal it and place the bag in a warm place like on top of your refrigerator. This will cause the bananas to heat up which speeds the ripening process. You can also put other green fruit like peaches and pears into the bag with a ripe banana, and they will ripen faster as well!You can freeze bananas! Just peel and store in plastic bags up to 6 months.Thaw and drain frozen extra-ripe bananas and use in baked goods... or slice frozen into blender drinks. Have for breakfast, snack, refreshment or as a frosty ice cream-like dessert without all the extra fat or calories.Sauté green-tipped bananas until brown in just enough margarine or cooking spray to coat. Serve as a side dish or "starch" with chicken, pork or even fish. (from Marketplace Food & Drug)

Be sure to check out Tammy's Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Works for Me Menus

Over at Rocks in My Dryer, she had a lovely post about quick and easy to serve meals. Check it out at Works for Me Wednesday. You can also look at Abbi's meal idea. Here's a few I have used, although I'm still working on my cooking ability!

1. Short on time

  • Stir fry & Rice (simply stir fry fresh or frozen veggies, add a little salt, pepper, soy sauce, garlic, onion, and chili-garlic paste. add water and cornstarch to make gravy. serve over rice)

2. Short on ingredients

  • Maggie Noodles (this is an international version of Ramen noodles....a little bit tastier with a bit of spice. add some frozen peas or carrots)

3. Short on evening time

  • Slow cooker Broccoli Cheese soup (very simple, but does need 2-4 hours of planning ahead to get it started in the slow cooker)

4. Desserts

  • No-bake cookies

  • Instant pudding

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Snow and Work

Well, it's been a while since I've been able to log in, but here I am!

It's gotten busy at work.

It's snowed alot!

Here are some pretty pictures of our heavy snows.

I've also been working on decorating our home. (See Abbi's blog) I had some extra courdoroy material that was teal and gold, very pretty, so I sewed some runners and tablecloths.

I also cut out some snowflakes to hang in our window.

Hope you are enjoying your December too!


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