January 23, 2012
Sunday morning snowfall
Last week Sunday we awoke to a fresh coat of snow on the ground. It is like Christmas for our children when this happens. Boots were strapped on, mittens fit snugly on hands, and coats fastened all before 8:00 AM. Which is necessary in our corner of the Pacific Northwest as most of our snow melts by the afternoon.
Monday was Martin Luther King Day and the schools were closed. We enjoyed a quiet day at home watching fresh snow flurries start and then stop throughout the day.
Snow on Tuesday
Tuesday brought wet slushy snow remnant of my Midwest childhood. School was cancelled and a large snowman was built in the backyard. As the day continued, the snow was replaced with rain. Constant pouring rain.
Our flooded backyard
We awoke to this on Thursday. Our whole backyard was a lake. The boots were pulled out again.
Even with all the rain we get in Oregon, I have never seen our yard this flooded. And the rain kept falling. We had to pick up our daughter from school after lunch as all the schools were closing.
Our side yard was completely underwater and thankfully did not seep into the garage.
Another view of our side yard. I managed to go for a short run and there were dump trucks and pick ups carrying sand bags everywhere.
And we had it mild compared to others! This school bus turned over on its side about two miles from our house. There were six middle school students in the bus and thankfully no one was killed or injured. School was cancelled on Friday as the waters were still receding.
This is a picture my friend posted on facebook. The little town of Turner was completely flooded and shut down. The Red Cross had to set up an emergency shelter in a church.
Needless to say it was a very unusual week. I went for a run today by some of the areas in our neighborhood that were underwater on Thursday. Although the creeks are still high, roads and bridges are open. Sandbags are beginning to be put away. I think everyone is ready for a normal week.
January 22, 2012
Have you ever been in the following situation? You anticipate the beginning of your Bible Study meeting when the women share their heart-felt prayer requests. You recall that you wanted to ask for prayer for your two-year old who has been having marathon long temper tantrums. After a meltdown in the middle of the dollar store yesterday, you almost lost it. The lady next to shares her prayer request. Her husband lost his job. She does not know what they are going to do. Then the woman next to her shares about her father being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As the tears begin to flow and some of the other ladies embrace her, your struggle seems embarrassingly minor. You question whether or not you should mention it.
As moms we sometimes tell ourselves we should not fret about our daily battles with spilled orange juice, fights over toys, toilet training accidents, or meltdowns in the store because there is always someone who has it worse. There is always someone who is watching over a sick child in the hospital or searching for their missing son or daughter, or a mom struggling with infertility. We need to remember all these moms.
But suffering is suffering. Struggle in any form is still painful. Sometimes denying the pain makes it more devastating. Beth Moore in her Bible Study, “Breaking Free” talks about different losses such as a death, a friend moving away, or watching your children go off to school. She shares:
My good friend Shirley says we can’t compare losses. Anything that breaks the heart is a legitimate reason for seeking the only healing only Christ can bring. (121)
I remember crying out to the Lord when my oldest was potty training. I felt like all my patience ran out. I prayed fervently the one hour and a half process of getting my baby son to go down at night would be reduced. I asked the Lord that he would provide me with an authentic “mom friend.” Someone who would be quick to listen and slow to offer advice.
The Lord hears our prayers and gives us His undivided attention no matter how large or small we or others measure the request. Psalm 55:22 says: Cast all your burdens on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. Do you see that? Cast ALL your burdens–not just the big ones.
January 21, 2012
This is a very simple craft you can do with young preschoolers. My oldest and I made this together when she was three years old. It is the only craft I have ever done that uses dryer lint!
Take an old sock and fill it with fiberfill or cotton balls. Depending on the size of sock, you can tie the end in a knot or simply sew it closed. Stapling or fabric glue would work as well. Glue two craft eyes on each side. Use colored pom poms for ears and a nose. You could use a gray or silver permanent marker for whiskers. Spread fabric glue on the back of your homemade guinea pig. Let your kids stick dryer lint to its back.
There you go–a pet guinea pig.
January 19, 2012
Valentines took on a whole new meaning as my children entered school. Last year we spent a wintery afternoon handwriting cards, tucking little gifts inside, and baking treats. Last year we made homemade Oreos with pink frosting.
The recipe is simple and only requires seven ingredients. It is very easy to make them gluten free. Use gluten free devil’s cake mix. The gluten free batch turned out just as good as the regular batch. We added a few drops of food coloring to the icing.
For my daughter’s Valentine party at school we made hand dipped Rice Krispy treats. Follow the directions to make Rice Krispy treats. Then use a heart shaped cookie cutter to make into shapes. Dip into melted chocolate and add red hots, sprinkles, candy hearts or M&Ms.
For melting chocolate my husband (who loves to make candy, truffles, and chocolate) suggests putting a pot of boiling water on the stove. Then melt your chocolate in a metal bowl resting on top of the boiling pot. My chocolate has melted better this way and is less likely to burn versus melting directly on the stove.
We also sold some dipped Rice Krispy treats for a “treat sale” my mom’s group does every year. A simple heart shaped package and pink ribbon makes a nice presentation when you are a busy mom short on time.
January 17, 2012
I went on Weight Watchers after I had my third child with the intent to lose that extra baby weight. This was one of my favorite lunches. It’s only four points and it’s inexpensive too. It is filling enough so you will not be tempted to raid the snack cupboards one hour later. It’s approximately 251 calories. To reduce the calories and the fat, take the cheese out or use low-fat cheese.
Egg and tuna salad
Here’s how I make it…
Fill the bottom of your salad bowl with lettuce. Add one half of canned tuna, drained. Add hard-boiled egg, sliced. (I usually boil them the day before and keep them in the fridge). Sprinkle with cheddar cheese (about 1/8 cup). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle on fat free raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I sometimes add bacon bits.
There you go–a healthy frugal lunch!
I’m linking this on the Frugal Tuesday Tip.
January 10, 2012
Everyone seems to be on “a eat less and exercise more” kick right now including myself. I am utilizing My Fitness Pal to keep track of everything I eat down to the last snack–and it is helping me tremendously. I have been trying to increase my fruit and veggie intake.
Buying fresh produce can be time consuming. I never make it through a whole head of lettuce without brown edges. Plus it takes effort to bundle up three kids and head to the grocery store to buy produce every few days.
My friend Jana was sharing with me that she and her husband (who are also watching their weight) have been eating smoothies on a regular basis.
She says, “One thing I appreciate about the smoothies, though, is that very little produce goes to waste in our home now – bruised apples, over-ripe fruit, wilted lettuce, old grapes, etc. They all get added to the smoothies.”
Jana also recommends freezing greens and berries. We have a bunch of marion berries in our deep freezer. Thawing them out is a sticky liquidy mess if you freeze them in baggies. It’s easy (and delicious) to add the contents to a smoothie.
I also put our fruit bowl in a high traffic area. If I see it, I am more likely to eat it.
And I find when I am eating healthier like this, I am less likely to buy a grande mocha with whip cream or a candy bar or a fast food lunch when I am out and around. My body naturally craves an orange or a salad. If I intentionally keep this at home, I am less likely to eat out at fast food restaurants. So I end up saving money in the long run.
I am linking this is on Learning the Frugal Life’s Tuesday Tip