Monday, December 31, 2018

Family Pictures 2018

It has been a crazy wild year but here we are at the close. Happy New Years!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


I have come to realize that Brian and I have completely different desires for the weekend. I, worn out from my long lonely sojourn mothering small children, am completely touched out and crave time alone. He, after being closeted with coworkers from 8-6, wants to spend time with his wife and family.

The ignorance of this revelation has previously been the foundation of countless misunderstandings and hurt feelings. I, thinking my husband must need time alone would try to watch both kids and give him a free hour or two. He finally told me, after months and months, that this makes him feel isolated and bored and lonely. Isolated and bored?! Lonely?! I would give anything for some time alone! I thought he needed it because I needed it; that after a solid work week around other people he would want to be alone and I should help supply that. Turns out I was all wrong and my sacrifice was for naught! He misses his family while he is at work and wants to spend the weekends actively engaged with us. Whereas I spend the week more or less actively engaged with the kids and crave time away.

He also has come to slowly comprehend my need for space. He used to plan all these exciting adventures for the weekends, dragging us here and there in search of “fun” and wearing me out. I need space, not treks through Target! At first my desire for alone time hurt his feelings. He didn't understand why I wanted to be by myself. Of course I love spending time with my husband, but after a solid week with two kids climbing all over me and badgering me for attention and expending all my focus I need time to recharge and calm myself. It isn't that I want to be away from my family, it's that I need time to fill up my empty fuel tanks to be with my family!

I would say this is the biggest thing Brian and I have realized in our marriage in 2018. He has learned to give me space and I am learning to draw near to him, and thus our marriage grows. I wonder what 2019 will bring? Maybe a new baby? Hopefully more sleep.

Friday, December 14, 2018

How to Save Money on Groceries

I have read lots of posts about how to save money on groceries and they usually suck. I don't coupon and I don't buy in bulk. We eat organic due to our allergies and gut issues, and I have to be dairy and gluten free. But saving money is still possible. Here are my tips.

  1. Give up snacks
Adults don't need snacks. Unless you have a health issue that requires eating more than 3 times a day, snacks are unnecessary. I save around $100 a month by giving up snacks between meals. My blood sugar also regulates better without snacks, as the “fasting” period between meals helps keep my numbers normal. My toddler still eats snacks and I either serve him what he didn't finish for lunch, or a banana.
  1. Give up desserts
You knew that was the next point, didn't you? We have not fully given up desserts, but I make about one dessert a week from scratch to keep costs as low as possible. If my flesh wasn't so weak, I would give it up completely, but sometimes a girl just needs chocolate brownies after dinner.
  1. Eat the same thing
This helps me keep it simple. Not only do I waste less food when I eat the same meal for lunch every day of the week but it also reduces my stress considerably. I eat a salad, a piece of fruit and a type of sandwich for lunch almost every day. This ensures we use all the salad and all the veggies, as I just top the salad with whatever veggies we have on hand.
  1. Eat vegan
I am not vegan, but it is a universal truth that meat is expensive. We eat meat for dinners and that helps us save the cost of meat for breakfast and lunch. Like I said above, I eat a salad for lunch almost every day. I usually put avocado, tomato, bell pepper, sauerkraut, toasted hemp seeds, onion, and carrot on my salad. We are %100 dairy free, and I do red wine vinegar usually for a dressing, or some dairy free ranch or caesar dressing. For a sandwich, I alternate PBJ or hummus, or (vegan) cheese toasties if I am feeling extravagant. Fruit is whatever is on sale at the grocery store that week. If I am super hungry I just make my salad bigger. Breakfast we do bagels with vegan cream cheese and fruit or oatmeal with fruit, or something from my favorite cookbook, Nourishing Meals. Sometimes we do have bacon and sausage on the weekends, but really only when daddy is around to hold Rebekah so I can man (or woman) the stove.

We also don't go out to eat anymore, maybe once a month. Eating out is super expensive and I can make better food at home. I save all my toddlers leftovers and either eat it myself or feed it to him the next time he is hungry. We shop at Aldi every week and only go to Kroger once a month. Being dairy and gluten free we need certain things at Krogers like brown rice flour and teff flour and coconut milk that they just don't have at Aldi. Buying them monthly helps me not overspend. If we run out before the next shopping trip comes up, I make do until the next month rolls around. I either make whatever I planned without said ingredient or make a substitution, or change what I am making by looking at things I have on hand.

We took our grocery budget from over 1,000 dollars a month to 500-600 a month for a family of four, eating mostly organic foods and always dairy and gluten free. We spend anywhere from 50-100 a week at Aldi and 200-300 a month at Kroger.

Monday, December 10, 2018


A simple crochet scarf for Reuben. He requested orange, so orange we did!

Hopefully it will keep his neck warm for years to come.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


Several times this week I have been at the absolute end of my rope. I have thought to myself I can't do this anymore. I can't get up and make breakfast when I feel so wretched. I can't listen to another whine when I am worn out to the absolute threads. I can't think another thought or plan another plan when the shroud of misery is suffocating me. Life can be so disparaging at times.

My chair is my refuge. In it I curl up, listing all the reasons that I can't go on. I'm alone. Brian is working late, again. My mother is busy working and barely able to visit me. When she does, I know she is unhappy and worried. My sister is a single mother of four, she has no time to help. My friends are all exhausted mothers like myself. I am alone.

I don't know what I need. That thought further annoys me. Not only am I grasping at proverbial threads and running on fumes, but I don't know what I need. I don't know what kind of rope could pull me out of this pit. I don't know what to ask for even if I knew who to ask. I'm lost, adrift in a churning sea whose dark waters will soon engulf me.

Motherhood is so hard. Marriage is hard. Life is hard. 

I'm glad I have God with me. If I didn't have Him I know I would give up. My strength runs out, His endures. My nature is full of pompous self worth, but He is truth incarnate.

Whenever I am at the end of my rope I always read Luke 17:7-10. Nothing puts me in my place more than those few short red sentences.

“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and recline at table'? Will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterwards you will eat and drink'? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'”

Three things stick out to me. First, “serve me”. My goal on this earth is to serve God. Through tantrums and marital fights. Through sleepless nights. Though housework and drugery.

Through cancer or blindness come my way, still my ever present thought should serve God. Even through the loss of a child, or the loss of a loved one. Serve. God. Not complain. Not give up. Get up and do the purpose I was created for. Serve.

Second thing that sticks out to me is my own inflated self worth and how important my own comfort is. I am an unworthy servant. It's so true. Nothing I did secured me a place in heaven. I can do no good without Christ. Jesus shed his blood and God wrote my name in the book of life. Those things cause me to go to heaven. If my own life were of any weight it would only condemn me to hell. Jesus paid the price for my sin and only by that act can I be redeemed. Yet how quickly I sneer when my comfort is jeopardized. I must don the mantle of servant and contemplate my own unworthiness. Only then can I truly know what it is to be the bride of Christ.

The last thing that grabs at my heart are the last two words. “Our duty.” What is my duty? I like to remind myself of my duty when I get lost. Pointing myself in the right direction helps clear the mist and re-orientate my wandering compass. My duty is to Christ and Christ alone. My job here on earth is to glorify him. And that means wiping poopy bottoms, making meals, disciplining my children and loving my husband. It also might mean dying of cancer or dying in a car wreck. It may mean loosing my sight or the use of my arms. But it does not ever mean giving up my joy or forsaking my community with Christ. I am here to do his duty, but my flesh is weak. God knows what is best for my life and dishes out his will to us. But I so often, in my humanness, think I know better than God. And that is where the problem begins. That is the very foundation to my frustration: I, the servant, at times, try to usurp my master's will. And there is no peace, no joy, no fulfillment in a life run by own measures.

Tomorrow I will wake up, and upon my lips will not be the curse of drudgery or a sigh of discontent. But the beat behind my steps and the melody of my head will burst forth only one mantra: “Serve God. Do my duty. Be a servant.”