"Look and see, for everyone is coming home!" Isaiah 60:4

Sunday, May 22, 2011

You know your husband ROCKS when...

his wife of 3.5 years neglects to plan ANYTHING for his birthday and he's still just as happy as can be.

Today is Dylan's birthday.

I am that wife.

We had a good day today though, despite my inabilities. Church, of course, then lunch with Sunday School class (who sang Happy Birthday to him too!),  home for a bit, but it was my mom who really saved the day!

She decided to take our family out for dinner wherever Dylan would like to go! (Isn't she the best?! I love my mom!)

We ended up at Old Chicago for dinner, followed by more singing, ice cream and a really big cookie! So yummy.

In my defense, we have been way beyond busy around here. In fact, I think he kinda knew I wouldn't be able to plan much for him because,.....well, I told him so last night. He knew before I told him, and I felt horrible that I wasn't able to do more for his birthday. I did promise him that I would surprise him with a little something when things calm down around here a bit.

I don't care if it'll be almost winter before that happens...it adds to the surprise element, dontchathink?

(P.S. Thanks mom! We had a blast! Love You!)

Friday, May 20, 2011

A big ol' mess of stuff...

This post, much like this week in our home, is a little crazy.

Just to warn you

But that's what makes life interesting, right? You never really know what, or who is going to come around the corner

This is what my husband looked like this evening. He's portraying his glory days from high school wrestling and football. I love him. :D

SO anyway...

Some of you know I am a couponer. We live on a budget of $50/week for groceries. Well, I usually don't do posts on grocery store deals, but I just had to include it in this random post, since my find was so, ...well, random...

I was able to get 6 containers of ORGANIC YOGURT for FREE this week! YAY!

How does this work? Well, here goes:
The yogurt is regularly priced at .99 each. These are located in the "Health Food" section of our store, which also usually has brochures for various product, recipes, and occasionally, coupons. Today was such an occasion!
I found this coupon

in the brochure area, and thought I'd see what Stonyfield products were around $1.00. That's when I found the yogurt! So I grabbed 6 7 of these coupons and 6 cartons of yogurt! Here's the results:

.99 for yogurt minus

.99 in coupons equals FREE YOGURT! Since the original coupon was for 1.00, the cashier simply alters the value of the coupon and pushes it through for .99 instead of the full dollar. I promise I didn't take the .01 that it has on the receipt. It was kind of a big day for me. I'd also gotten free KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce and paid only .28 for 2 lbs of strawberries! However, this deal came out of the blue. I hadn't been planning on it, but was more than willing to add free yogurt (organic, to boot!) to our meals this week! If the coupons are there next week, I'll probably do this again!

I also had a chance to bring in the first harvest from the garden!

The top handful are chives we grow in our container garden area, and the bottom is, obviously, a strawberry! I am quite proud because I fought hard for that strawberry, and am proud to say that I had the pleasure of eating it. This is actually the second strawberry to ripen this season. You see, we have at least one chipmunk living out by our woodpile, as well as a small army of squirrels around here. One of those little varmints got to my strawberry before I could on Monday, so once I saw the second strawberry about to ripen, I knew I had to get to it before any of them did.

Varmint patrol...It's what I do around here...

P.S. Mom- I promise I washed my hands...with soap....:D

Anyway, I'd better get on to bed...staying up too late makes me feel a little loony!

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Sorry to anyone who has been by our blog but unable to comment! I've changed that setting now so "anonymous" users may also comment! Just please be sure to leave your name somewhere in your comment :D

And NOW back to your scheduled programming......

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Home For The Summer...

So today we went to Manhattan to help move Matt, my brother, home for the summer. 
We left around 7:30 this morning...
See how awake we are?

I really do love the drive out there. Its my favorite part of Kansas to drive through.

This is my favorite exit

I love Manhattan for many reasons. It's where my dad went to college, where I went to college, where my husband and I met, where our first baby was born, and ALMOST where we got married. Now my little brother is going to college there too.

It will always be a special place to me.

Matt lives in Goodnow

So when we got there, we helped Matt and his roommate, Grant, transform their room from this

to this!

Yay clean!
When we got done, we rewarded ourselves with some pizza from a new place in Aggieville.

Doughboys is the new restaurant my mom's godson opened earlier this year. It's very good, and I promise I'm not just saying that (though, I am a little biased. C'mon, it's family!)

While we were there, a film crew for Food Network stopped by to film a spot on Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese. I'd never heard of this until today, but people were lined up around the corner and down the block!

Unfortunately, they ended up not filming there, but it was fun to see all the hub-bub outside while we were eating!

When we were done, we headed back to campus for some dessert heaven at Call Hall Dairy Bar!

The kids thoroughly enjoyed this part!

We left Manhattan after we finished our ice cream, considering we still had to UNload a full SUV when we made it home. It was a very fun day, but we were glad when we got home.

Today we also found out in a couple weeks we will be headed north to Redding, Iowa to meet up with Dylan's dad and step-mom, Tony and Norma for the National Cattledog Finals! We're very excited because we don't get to see them very often, usually only a couple times a year. They live in Georgia, not an easy place to get to with two littles in tow.

Hopefully I'll have a little more time this week to update! G'night!

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 10 - A More Serious Post

Tomorrow is going to be a hard day for me.

On one hand I have so much to be excited about and so many blessings to be thankful for.

On the other, tomorrow marks the day that 1 year ago I lost our 3rd child. I still consider that baby ours, even though s/he is with the Heavenly Father now.

I miss that baby dearly.


 An odd thought, some might say. How can you miss someone you never "knew"? I guess that's exactly why I miss that baby so much. I never knew anything about him/her, only that s/he existed. Not until I too go home will I be able to know who that little would have grown in to. I'll never hear a laugh or see a smile, feel a hug or smell that sweet baby smell.

I decided to name that baby (with Dylan's approval) Josiah Elim Stewart. I'll refer to as Jo, because we don't know the gender. Part of this was for closure for my heart, and part because this baby is real and I felt s/he deserved to be recognized.

I experienced something new when I walked through those first few weeks and months after. First came the depression. It was immediate, and it scares me how sudden it griped my heart and mind. It lasted for about 2-3 weeks, the worst being the first few days after I lost Jo.
Then came the condemnation. When I started talking about it, there were times I felt like I couldn't really say what agony my heart was feeling. I so badly wanted to.  But I felt like what I was going through was only to be spoken of in hushed tones and only with people who have gone through the same thing. It angered me that a miscarriage was almost seen as something that shouldn't be that emotional. That I was wrong for feeling such loss. That there was no way I could have developed that kind of love for a baby in such a short period of time (We knew we were pregnant for only 2 days).

This kind of love is unexplainable, especially in a world where relationships are extensions of our desire for immediate gratification. This baby had done nothing. And yet, I would have fought to my last breath to protect Jo. There was nothing this baby had done to make me love him/her. It was the same with my 2 older children. Both of them I have loved from the second I knew of their existence. It's a mother's love and like I said, if you haven't experienced it for yourself, it's unexplainable.

A few months after, we did have friends that we sat down with and they picked our brains about our experience. It was a good outlet to express my feelings and anguish, even to the point of how the Church should be talking about it more, letting families know how to look for help, to not hesitate to tell a pastor of what you're going through, to know that you wouldn't be seen as odd for feeling your sorrow, especially when we say we value life at all stages.

In the year since Jo went home, I've had many times to reflect on what s/he was here to teach me. First that God's timing is perfect. Becoming pregnant in May was not my ideal time because I knew I wouldn't do well in the winter when I was 9 months pregnant. Winter is hard for me as it is, but with all the hormone fluctuations, I felt it would be even worse. But once I got out of my own head, I saw that though I couldn't do it on my own, God could. Second, that I would so love to have more kids. I don't know how many more. I like even numbers so 4 would suit me well but I am willing to leave that door open now and let God bring in as many as He sees fit. Third, that there should be no condemnation for families going through such a thing. That your sorrow is real and ok to feel because of such a loss.

Please be in prayer tomorrow. We have many things going on and when I get overwhelmed with life, I tend to shut down. I thank all my friends and family for such support you have shown me through this, especially my husband. He's been my rock and my biggest support through this year. I've talked his ear off for countless hours and couldn't thank him enough.

This past weekend

was filled to overflowing with projects to do around the house. But for starters, we had to figure out something for... BREAKFAST!

Rarely to children function well on empty tummies. We are still lacking cereal and were officially sick of eggs, so the only thing I could come up with was French Toast! We had a loaf of bread still in the fridge, so we cut that up (it's homemade) and made enough french toast to feed a small army of kids.

Breakfast of Champions!

I also whipped up some smoothies to go with it. Here's my smoothie recipe below:

Breakfast Smoothies:
  • Fruit of any kind (I used cantaloupe, pineapple and strawberries)
  • Yogurt any flavor (I like to stick with plain or vanilla - I'm boring)
  • Milk to help get things moving
  • Ice to keep it cold (about a handful or so)
  • Flax seed (I used about a 1/3 cup, enough for a family serving)
 As you can see, the recipe is very adaptable (translation: FRUGAL), so use whatever you have around. It's also good if you have fruit you need to use up before it gets too ripe (translation: headed for the compost pile)
I didn't have any honey on hand and thought I was really going to miss it, especially since I'm not a big fan of cantaloupe. Surprisingly, the smoothies were really sweet and I didn't need the honey after all!

After breakfast the day was such a whirlwind of projects. Spring cleaning to say the least! I've gotten my side of the closet cleaned out and we tackled some gardening, hubby hung some shelves in our dining room. Grass was mowed and children were filthy from playing in the dirt all day. It was great!

Sunday was Mother's Day! After church we had lunch with my mom at Celebrity's. We tried a couple other places but decided we couldn't wait half an hour for brunch to almost 2 hours for a "nicer" restaurant. We spent some time with her that afternoon and got her kitchen all taped up with painters tape. We're painting hopefully this week. I'll have to do a before/after post of that project. 

The beautiful flowers my mom bought for me for Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!

I love chocolate.

I especially love chocolate if I can come up with some kind of excuse to have it for breakfast....

I had such an excuse this morning...we had pancakes yesterday morning, there wasn't enough cereal for the kids, and we'd eaten eggs twice this week already... soooo....

 I surprised the kids this morning with MoneySavingMom's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins! I found these on her website a year or so ago and they've become a treat the kids LOVE!

As you can see my little took no hesitation to diving right into one!

I think they came out beautiful!

I did tweak the recipe a little bit in hopes it would end up a little healthier. Here's my version (ingredients only) (See original recipe in link above):

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 3 eggs + 1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 (16 oz.) can pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cups oil
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package chocolate chips
My batter came out a little too thick for my liking, so I also added 1/2 cup skim milk  to thin it out a little.  The flax seed I found at Sam's Club and was planning on using it in recipes like this.

Helps make me feel a little less guilty about feeding my kids (and myself) chocolate for breakfast...

But only a little.

This recipe also makes me feel Pioneer Woman-ish because I use my own pumpkin puree, grown from my own pumpkins in my garden last year...it's the circle of life for my pumpkins...

This recipe is freezer friendly too!

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, May 2, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow? Backyard Edition

If you know me, you know I'm big into gardening. I love it for so many reasons. It's what my dad used to do when we were little, my grandpa gardened as well, as did my great-grandpa. I guess it's just in my blood! I get so anxious every late winter to get outside and do something to make the dreary days seem not so bleak.

The season seems to be getting off to a good, but slightly late start.

Today I needed to get Marigolds planted. These are going to line our raised vegetable garden bed. Supposedly, Marigolds keep rabbits and other critters away. It seemed to work well last year!

I've had some things planted for quite a while now. So far we've got:


NuMex Centennials
I won't bore you with details, but these little ones I'm very excited about. They are ornamental peppers that when mature will have tiny purple and red peppers, significant because I love purple and red together! It's such an odd color combination to find in one plant. I tried these last year, but they never got much bigger than this. Crossing my fingers that this year will be successful!
These are basil babies! Green basil on the left, and purple on the right (do you see a trend growing here?)

Below is another newbie to our garden! This is the first year we're growing Cilantro! I figured I'd need it with all the peppers and tomatoes we'll be planting. Salsa time!

These are our most mature tomatoes! So far we've got 12 plants, 2 of which are Isabel's. She's growing Purple Cherry Tomatoes this year! In total we'll have over 30 tomato plants when we transplant into the garden!

On to the fruit! We've got 10 strawberry plants, but only one which will produce berries this year. So far it's set out 3!

This is our blueberry plant. It's a special variety that is compact enough to fit in a container and is self pollinating.

Now onto the actual garden bed!
Not much happening in there right now, as it's a little early to plant the tomatoes/peppers in the ground. But so far we have:

Potatoes in a tire! Potato plants grow up, so this is an easy way to mound dirt around the plants to get it to produce more potatoes! By the way, the potatoes are purple too :D


Lettuce (2 kinds) and spinach wayyy in the back

Any guesses??

Cosmic Purple.....CARROTS! Isabel fell in love with them in early winter and has been talking non stop about how we're planting purple carrots this year! These are two teeny tiny carrot babies :D

The last variety of lettuce - Buttercrunch! YUMMY!

As far as flowers, there's not much but we do have:

Hydrangeas! These will go on the south side of the house.
Pansys! One of my favorite spring flowers!
And another favorite, English Irises. This was the first flower Dylan bought me when we were dating! I promised myself when we got married I would have them in our garden!

Goodness, that was long! Anyways, that's all I'm up to for the time being! I love springtime!