Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Freezer jam anyone?

Strawberries, strawberries, strawberries...

Me and my Mattie picked 26 pounds of them this morning and a little jam making is going to take place tomorrow:) The rest will be frozen for smoothies or angel food cake...if my lovely family doesn't consume them all before they make it to the freezer. Luckily, two of them are at school today and the husband is at work because, usually, they eat them as fast as I can hull them.

So why do I post this...well, because I've been wanting to do some posts for awhile now on how I get lots of FREEBIES and discounts on some pretty cool stuff, but I just haven't had the time to sit at the computer and share all my "freebie info" with you. So here are a few pics to give you an idea of some stuff I've gotten TOTALLY FREE, just to get you super excited about the possibility of you being able to do it too...

Okay...the New Balance Shoes weren't free but I'll get to that story another time:)

Interested yet? I'll try to post about it soon...(well, as soon as I take care of those 26 lbs. of strawberries:)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday...on Friday:)

Okay, so, I was planning on doing a Gratitude Tuesday post and then following it up with a Thrifty Thursday post...and well, it's now Friday and, clearly, I did not get to either of those posts as I had planned. Busy week...go figure:)

Anyway, we are full swing into baseball season (despite all the rain we've been having here) and Hank is LOVING it! He has loved baseball since he was a toddler and he is having a blast...and so is his father, who is the assistant coach for the team! Needless to say, we are a bit busy with practices and now games, trying to squeeze that in between our church activities and piano lessons...you get the idea.

So here is Gratitude Tuesday (which turned into Thankful Thursday)...on Friday:)

My 1000 gifts list continues like this...

16. Praise and Worship on my iPod that helps the chores go faster

17. My "bloggy" ideas that keep my mind working

18. Celebrating the true meaning of Easter

19. An unexpected opportunity to serve others with a simple meal (twice this week!)

20. Surprising my kiddos with treats

21. My son's giggle

22. A spring day with family

23. Finding a "back-up" bottle of Hershey's syrup in the cupboard

24. Children showing enthusiasm while writing down God's gifts in notebooks
amidst gooey syrup and the chewing and chomping of pancakes

25. Beautiful hydrangeas and purple pansies--both gifts from mysterious anonymous givers

26. Dance Your Shoes Off video on YouTube

27. An awesome new Praise and Worship song that makes me want to dance!

28. An easy freezer meal from "cooking day"

29. A cheerful "hello"

30. Sharing a laugh with a friend

May you spend some time this holiday weekend giving thanks for God's amazing gifts:) Blessings to you until you return!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pour some sugar on me...

Note to self:

Never let husband go to a dessert auction alone.

Praise the Lord that I was there to "advise" him at the fundraiser dessert auction at church. He had his eye on the peanut butter pies, not to mention several other desserts. And let me tell you, there was some fierce bidding going on between the young husbands in the group. There were some seriously hungry men in need of desserts, my husband being one of them apparently. I "encouraged" him to stop bidding on several of the items. But I can only do so much...before I knew it his stomach took control and Bam! we end up with a fudgy chocolate cream pie. I'm not even gonna tell you how much we paid for this scrumptious dessert--I'll just say, I've savored every bite. I gotta hand it to him though, he knows how to pick 'em. I'm not usually a pie lover, but I must say, it's the most delicious pie I've ever tasted. I would have posted a picture but there is nothing left to photograph. He bought it yesterday, and there is not a morsel left in the pie tin tonight.

Lessons learned:
1. ALWAYS accompany husband to a dessert auction
2. Make sure he ends up buying something I won't help him devour in a mere 24 hours:)

And yes, I think I WILL make it a goal of mine to see just how many 80's and 90's songs I can incorporate into my blog titles:) That's just the kinda gal I am:)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gratitude Tuesday

My one thousand gifts list begins like this...

1. Two part harmony accompanied by an acoustic guitar (I'm hooked on the acoustic version of "Your Great Name" by Natalie Grant)

2. A child willing to help--unprompted

3. A smooth cup of coffee in a favorite mug on a brisk morning while swinging on our front porch swing

4. A machine that makes our ice for us:)

5. An hour uninterrupted for bible study and reading

6. A little girl's voice singing songs of His praise

7. Dancing in the kitchen with "the littles"

8. A Bible verse posted on my kitchen cupboard that catches my eye and reassures me of God's love for me (Zephaniah 3:17)

9. My oldest daughter's hand full of tiny purple flowers amongst bright yellow dandelions that she picked from our yard

10. Three rowdy boys that have a passion for playing ball coursing through their veins--it seems to be in their blood at a very young age.

11. Lots of rain for our growing flower bed of perennials

12. A weekly opportunity to serve others in a way that can include my children

13. My husband's determination and work ethic

14. The story of David and Goliath, when my son has an "I can't" attitude

15. An evening out for dinner at a restaurant...with well-behaving children

The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. -Zephaniah 3:17

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It all started with a duck...(Part 3)

You might know from previous posts, on Avoiding the Gimmies, that nurturing an attitude of gratitude in my children is something of utmost importance to me and my husband. But, unfortunately, I guess I needed a little lesson on that myself. So it's no surprise that a book about living a lifestyle of gratitude and thaksgiving would really touch my heart.

In the book, One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp explains that a dear friend of hers challenged her to write down a list of 1,000 gifts from God. Her writing is artsy, almost poetic. Lovely is a good word to describe it. And, although I was not totally comfortable with one chapter of the book, I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a book to reach deep inside of you and stir up some serious perspective changing gratitude for every moment that God has given us here on earth.

Yes, I know what you are thinking...you've heard of gratitude journals. But this is different. Way different. I've had a gratitude journal before and, yes, it was great and helpful but, well, it's hard to explain other than to retell you the whole book--which I won't. But I do want you to watch this...

It all started with a duck... but through this series of events, God has opened my eyes to the moments that have been passing me by. Things get clouded by the rush of life, the hurry of getting things the way they are "supposed" to be, and allowing myself to get lost in focusing on all the struggles of this world for me and loved ones. Where is the joy in that? Can you find something for which you are not really looking? Sometimes, yes. But most of the time, the joy that I'm looking for is staring me right in the face, like that lost container of jam that is top shelf center in the refrigerator, but I'm in such a hurry...I don't see it.
So anyway, like I said, this book has been all a buzz on the internet and now I know why. And even though our duck has left its nest and we never even got to see any ducklings, I'm so grateful she was here long enough to be a part of how God is answering my prayers for contentment. Who would have thought that a simple duck and her nest could lead to all this?

Preparing for our celebration of Easter. What better time to stir up some serious gratitude to God for the gifts He's given us, big and small? So off to Target I go...on a mission to find each member of the Seven Shoes a unique, new notebook to start their own list of 1,000 gifts (and a little bit of chocolate). In hopes to teach my children that all the chocolate bunnies in the world could not rival a gift as special as a notebook full of joy-filled moments captured in the handwriting of a child on wide-ruled paper.

So, amongst the fake plastic grass and a little bit of chocolate, tucked in each Shoe Easter basket was a new notebook and a bright color pen to record their own 1,000 gifts. And so they have...

What a gift in itself to see my children and their excitement for keeping count as a way to acknowledge the precious gifts we receive from God each day. A blessing to me from God to help them in their "quest" to one thousand.

And since I (and a jillion other bloggers/people who have read this book) have started my own 1000 gifts list, I'd like to try once a week to share some of my list (and maybe some of the children's, if they don't mind) with you. I invite you to join me in capturing the joy by starting your own list. If you have your own list (or decide to start one) and would like to share your list with others, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments section below.

May your eyes be opened to the gifts God surrounds you with today.

Psalm 118:29 (NIV)

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.