"Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." ~Andy Stanley

March 26, 2011

Cheap dates

My blogging friend shared this recipe awhile ago and I tried it this weekend. It tastes just like the dip at Carrabbas! (just add a little balsamic vinegar) It is a yummy treat to add to any pasta night.

Speaking of Carrabbas, I'm reminded of the cheap date night strategy we had when the kids were little. It wasn't in our budget to eat-in and have a babysitter for four kiddos, so we came up with this plan:
We would order one Chicken Bryan to go (car side) which we would split. (it was plenty of food because it comes with bread/the dip (above) and salad)

While hubby was off picking it up, the kids got excited and helped put candles on the table and watched me set it with the china. Then I put them to bed early and got dressed up.
They didn't fuss too much about going to bed early because they were happy for us and because they knew they didn't have to actually go to sleep yet. They could lay in bed and talk all they wanted, they just couldn't come out and interrupt our evening. (that took some self control and eventually they got the hang of it)
We would usually watch a movie after dinner. -Years later, I found out that the mirror in our living room reflected whatever movie we were watching off of the TV and they were often sitting with the door cracked open, watching along with us. lol -Good thing it was all PG.
So, that is how we accomplished our fun nights for only $18.00 plus a tip!

Everyone always said 'before you know it they will be old enough to babysit themselves.' Well, if I had a dollar for all the times people told me that, I could've afforded the babysitting. LOL Just kidding. But they were right, and it wasn't that long until the going rate for babysitting was a thing of the past. Hooray! We didn't pay our kids to watch their siblings, we just made sure it was a fun night for all with yummy dinner, good snacks and a movie.

We still love/need cheap dates to this day, because a houseful of teens make life expensive. : )
The one we do a lot is Steak N Shake. We order off the four dollar menu and then take our buy one get one coupons in for a free shake! That's even less than our Carrabbas dates, but of course, not as tasty. We also use restaurant gift cards that we earn with our reward points on the credit card. (which we always pay off on the due date) Can't beat FREE dates!
The newest plan we came up with recently was for doing Outback cheap! My hubby was given a $50 gift card for his birthday and we are determined to go there 3 times for next to nothing. : )
Here's how:
We order water. (I never finish a whole glass of anything anyway)
I get an appetizer! A wonderful quesadilla that has cheese, chicken, bacon, mushrooms and comes with honey mustard and my hubby orders a burger plate. We bring $5.00 with us for the generous tip and voila! Another cheap date!

Love to hear about yours!

March 22, 2011

During school...

these things made me laugh today:

Me: "Andrew, can you please pay attention?"
Him: "No, I don't have any money." (corny!) ; )

Joy to me: "I just want to say right now, that I'm not having any daughters. Girls are whiny, 'know it alls.' " Spending a day with lots of girls recently, made her appreciate her brothers. Yay!

Nathan to me: "You don't believe in reincarnation but look at Joy! -She's you all over again." (LOL! He doesn't believe in it either but apparently we are a lot a like )


March 17, 2011

Spring Break

It has been a relaxing spring break!
Not too much going on here and that is just the way we need it to be.
With all the fine arts practices and worship band practices that take place nightly as it is, we seem to be pretty much always on the go. In fact, we are rather out of balance at the moment.

So, we've been enjoying the down time and sleeping in.
I've been taking each of the kids out on a little spring break date with mom. (nothing major but some nice one on one time to chat) I think I'll make this a spring break tradition.
A couple of the boys went to the beach with the youth group and had a good time.
Andrew isn't here, he was blessed with a ticket to the junior high retreat this weekend so he is in Orlando hearing some good preaching and then headed to Islands of Adventure tomorrow. Awesome!

When Uncle P comes to stay (see previous post) Joy is giving up her bedroom for him and moving in with her brothers. She decided she needed to start cleaning THAT room now if she was going to have to live in it. LOL! (even thought it is 3 weeks early) That kept her busy for one full day this week. I told her she'll be the best roommate Zac has ever had. (he's our wonderful neat freak) : )

Today we found her a used glove at Play it Again Sports for a good price and I'd say softball is in her genes. As much as we love watching Joy play soccer, neither my hubby or I ever played soccer, so we grew into our passion for it through her. Then our boys played football and that was a whole new kind of fun for my hubby...Especially when he got to do the coaching.
-Now one of our kids will finally be playing MY favorite sport. Softball, hooray! I can't wait.

Tomorrow I'll be wishing I was in San Diego and attending my oldest niece's wedding! But since that wasn't in the budget, I'll be thinking of her and hoping my friends and family get some pictures of it posted on Facebook, ASAP! Hint hint!!! -Gotta love Facebook!

So, that is about it. Hope you had a lovely spring break!


March 15, 2011

Company is coming!!!

Last year, my 49 yr. old brother-in-law suffered a stroke while skiing with his buddies from the ski patrol. If it wasn't for those guys, he wouldn't be alive today. After getting out of the hospital last summer, he went to live with my hubby's other brother and his wife. They turned their home into a hospital type atmosphere and have cared for him in amazing ways.)

In April, he is coming to stay with us for two months and we are excited. He's such a sweet, sweet man. We are looking forward to having him in our home. We are really glad that he'll be here to get to attend Zachary's high school graduation!

So, I'm not exactly sure what caring for a stroke victim entails but I know that I serve a God who can make me more than able (to do "all things") if I trust Him. : )

If I'm not an avid blogger during April and May, then you'll know why.


March 10, 2011

Pizza Wednesdays part 2

Because 'necessity is the mother of invention,' I tried something new on our homemade pizza last nigth! We grown ups thought it was AMAZING! ; ) (and the teens steered clear and kept to the pepperoni) lol

It was goat cheese, purple onions and red grapes! It was sooo yummy! -Planning to perfect it with a little olive oil and rosemary in the future.

Next week, I think I'll do a spinach, feta one since I've never tried that.

Here is Pizza Wednesday part 1 if you want a dough recipe and a link for to-die-for BBQ pizza!


March 9, 2011

Wednesdays in the Word

He's the God of....
all kinds of things that I need.

Take a look at some verses from Romans chapter 15 and 16.

"Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another..." (15:5)

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope..." (15:13)

"Now may the God of peace be with you all." (15:33)

I love that Paul's prayer for the Romans includes all those NOWS.
How many of us can use patience and we want it NOW? lol!
Anyway, right now is always my favorite. : )

Here is one I love:
"And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly." (16:20)


March 5, 2011

Hats of Hope Party

Joy and I gave our knitting group a party for our last day of class.

In a crazy turn of events, I thought we were cancelling it since no one RSVP'd.
But right before the party, I found out that I wasn't getting the messages via the website and 17 had signed up. The problem was, I was still without my van! So, after renting a car, shopping at a late hour and coming home to make these:

The party was on!

We finished them at 11:00 pm the night before. Crazy night, but fun!

These pots say "Thank You" and "He who gives to the poor will lack nothing." Prov. 27:28
Our way of thanking them for all the hats they knitted for missionaries doing a Christmas outreach in South Dakota and the homeless in our city.

We made these to end our first Hats of Hope group and the girls got such a big kick out them that we decided it would be fun to end this group the same way.

First step is to wash all the pots! : ) Thankfully, I bought some with 40% off coupons at Michael's and then the rest when they went on sale for 25 % off. Yay!

We took a mason jar lid and used it to cut pound cake into circles to place in
the bottom of each pot. (not homemade pound cake, mind you) ; )
Then we poked a straw into the cake and cut the straw to be level with the rim of the pots.

After that we filled them with ice-cream!

Then came the crushed Oreos that look like potting soil.

Then we placed them in the freezer over night. When we arrived at the class, we put in the fresh cut flowers in the straws.

Here are the finished products! : )

These cute little girls were actually really hesitant to eat them. I guess our 'potting soil' looked a little too convincing. lol They really had a hard time believing us when we told them that there was ice cream inside!
They eventually gave them a try and before we knew it they were gone. ; )

Because I always like a theme, and this is a knitting club, I decided all activities at the party would have to do with YARN!
We played a fun game making a giant spiders web in which we tied yarn around our waists and then tossed our skeins to someone else in the circle. It was fun and we had a hug web. Then we attempted to untangle the web and re-roll our skeins, which sounded easier on paper then it really was. ; ) We ended up cutting ourselves free!

Then we made octopuses (or is it octopi) out of yarn.
They turned out really cute. I got the idea from here.

I got really excited to hear that one of the families that went with us to hand out our hats to the homeless, had a great idea for continuing to bless those in need with hats. They are continuing to knit hats and putting a bottle of water, pack of crackers and some typed out scriptures inside the hat and handing them to those on the corners holding signs.
Isn't that a great idea?! I love it.


March 3, 2011

Could be worse

So, the other night while taking the boys to band and drama practice, our car started violently shaking on the interstate...

Which led to:
lots of prayer, pulling over and waiting for my knight in shining armor to rescue me and then a call for a tow truck.
Not too fun.

The tow truck came into the strip mall we were parked in and then drove back out and away...
Rather odd, so I called the company.
Apparently, they were called away to an accident where a car was flipped over and people were trapped inside.
Amazing the thankful perspective that can follow news like that. More prayers followed...


March 2, 2011

Wednesdays in the Word

My hubby and I were discussing Rev. 22:12 this morning:

"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work."

Do you have a Jesus Rewards card? ; )