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Archive for July, 2008

WfmwbannerThis will be my first post for Works For Me Wednesday.  After reading through the awesome ideas for the last few months, I thought I would give it a try.  So……. here goes…..

This may be a “duh” idea, but for me as a mother of 3 small boys I crave alone time and don’t get much of it.  And I mean alone…. not alone with kiddos playing in the next room or with kids in bed and hubby and I watching tv, but really alone.   

To create this time for myself, I have found that getting up a 1/2 hour earlier everyday (my kids get up early) and going for a walk is just what I need.  I get to start out my day ALONE in a quiet, prayerful way, I get excercise, and I get to think about and plan my day.  My husband and I have worked out that he will get up with the kids, change diapers, etc. and I can have that time to get out and go for a walk.  I love this time and while some mornings I am tired and don’t want to get out of bed, all I have to do is remember how much better I feel physically, emotionally and spiritually after spending that time alone and with my Father and I am out the door in a flash.  I keep my clothes in a convenient, easy access spot, a waterbottle full next to the sink, and sleep with my watch on so I don’t have to think about anything.  I usually go for about 45 minutes and come back refreshed and ready to go.  It also helps with the extra pounds those boys have given me.

So that’s what works for me.  For more great ideas check out Works For Me Wednesdays at Rocks In My Dryer.

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In my quest to become less wasteful, I have stumbled upon frugality and it seems that these two actually go hand in hand.  Dictionary.com describes being frugal as being economical in use or expenditure, prudently saving or sparing…. wait for it…… not wasteful.  I am learning that when you make a decision or commitment to be less wasteful, you also make the decision to be more frugal. 

The first area that I am working on is being frugal with my money and that has led me on an interesting journey into the world of “frugal mommy blogs” and couponing.  So let me just say, I never thought I would EVER clip a coupon let alone use one, but I tell you what ….now that I have started, I almost can’t stop…. the deals are actually quite fun to find. 

 I am also realizing that deal hunting and couponing take some planning and a little work, especially when you are new at it like I am.  But by checking out blogs of women who coupon and doing the “deals” that they do, I am beginning to catch on and I am really enjoying myself.  It is becoming a hobby, it is also causing me to make menus, grocery lists, and to keep track of where my money is going… because I really want to see how little I can spend. 

One of the important things about couponing that I have had to learn is that stockpiling is key… no not planning for the end of the world, but creating a storehouse of supplies so that you are not forced to by products that you need at the store when they are high priced, but actually buying them when they are as cheap as you can get them, even when you may not need them at the time and saving them until you do.  I had never thought about this before but grocery stores make their money when you come into them without a list, looking for that one thing that you “need” and walk out with 50 dollars of stuff you may or may not need just because you saw it.  Usually that thing you needed isn’t on sale when you need it, so not only do you pay full price for it, you also pay full price for the impulse buys you made while in the store to get that one item. I did that so much before.  It is vital to purchase things you may not need at the time for rock bottom prices so that you aren’t paying top dollar later.  I struggled with this at first, especially because I was trying to eliminate “stuff” and wasn’t really sure how that all tied together.  However, as I started to see the concept written out on other peoples blogs and read about their successes in fugality, I have become a believer.  Buying things that you don’t need yet at low prices frees up money to spend on things that aren’t as easy to find a coupon for; things like fruit and veggies.  Understand?

The other thing that I have learned is the importance of planning my meals out of the food I already have and to actually make a menu and a list.  This takes a little more time, but eliminates those wasteful trips to the grocery store two hours before dinner because you forgot one ingredient and end up coming home with a trunk full of stuff.  I don’t know about you but when three o’clock rolls around and I don’t have anything planned for dinner and I am already tired from a day with the boys, I am so tempted to just eat out or just run to the store for something “fast.” 

I could go on and on, but I think I will let some of the blogs that I have come across speak for themselves. The first blog I found was Freebies4mom.  She has lists of things you can get for free, sweepstakes to enter, product reviews, etc.  From there I found, MoneySavingMom.  She also lists out things you can get for free, deals that she has found at grocery or drugstores.  She has a great description or how-to on the drugstore game (more on that in another post).  MoneySavingMom also has a lot of good advice about being frugal in general.  The next blogs that I found are other deal making blogs… The”Cents”ibleSawyer, SisterlySavings, and MommySnacks.  I check these alot for suggestions on what coupons to use and where.  If you are interested in all of this start with some of these sites.  Look around at what they offer and follow their blogrolls to other people who have advise on couponing and being frugal.

  All of the items pictured here were part of one of the first, big frugal shopping trips I took.  I had a list of stores to hit and what to get and what coupons to use.  Everything you see here was either free or under 50 cents.  Yes, it is a lot of non- perishables and not a lot of food, but remember stocking up on things you will need at low low prices allows you to have cash free to buy the things that you need that you really can’t stock up on.  Literally, I paid pennies for this stuff.  All stuff I will use.  Bring on the M&Ms.

  Total out of pocket for this…2.48.  Without coupons I would have paid 16.78.  A few of the items actually made me money.

Ok… so… lots of info.  Check out the blogs and keep checking back here as I detail more in upcoming posts.

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You know how when you are at the beach or on a lake all the houses have names, The Smith Shack or the Wilson’s Hide-a-way, etc….????  You know?  Well, we landed directly into a place like that.

So we left Utah last Wednesday (see post below) fully expecting to move directly into this older farmhouse that our friends were able to get us into for a month.  We new we were going to have to move at the beginning of August and while I was thankful that we had a place for at least that long, I was dreading yet another move, that and unpacking for 4 weeks was not really something I was looking forward to.  So we reached Oregon on Thursday and on Friday my mom called with a great offer from their friends.. our families friends… friends who own the above house and view.  They offered us rooms in their house for as long as we need.  This is an fabulous house and an amazing gift to us.  The older boys have beds in a huge playroom (I didn’t need to bring in their toys) with a bathroom, we have our own room and bath and Eyob has his own bed and bath (not sure what he is going to use it for), and those are only half the rooms.  We have more than we need to be totally comfortable.  It is such a blessing to us.  Did I mention that it is right on a lake?  We have spent a couple of mornings/afternoons playing in the water and on the beach… what a great opportunity for the boys, especially after not having a yard in Utah. 

In what felt like the eleventh hour, God came through and gave me what I needed.  It isn’t my own house, but maybe for this time it is even better. It is a divine placement.  God moved us out of our own plans (pretty obviously) and into his… I have no idea what he is doing, what he has planned, why we are here (in Washington that is) other than the job, but I have no doubt that if I can cling to the Father, relax and let go of the need to know, the need to plan, and to have it all under control, then He my Father will lead us.

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The Trip West

So we left South Jordan around 9:30 am on Wednesday.  Stopped by SMCC to pick up some papers from Kelly and so I could say good-bye to my Bible study friends and then we hit the road.  Our goal was to make it to Baker City, Oregon by that night.  We had reservations at the Best Western there.  We really like that hotel and have stayed there a few times before.  The drive was uneventful…. the boys are pretty awesome in the car.  Eyob can get a little sketchy when he is tired and can’t get to sleep so the end of the day I drove into Baker City with Eyob screaming and the other two boys fuzzing at me but that was only the last hour.  I was so tired that day of driving from the intense packing and moving and negotiating children that I ate a whole bag of sunflower seeds that day.  THey are now my favorite thing for keeping me awake.

Boys in the hotel room that first night.  Their jammies say, “Handsome as my Daddy!”  Amazing… all day in the car and they were still happy.

 

Portland is the key town to catch on the sign.  The second day on the road was a little more difficult so I was anticipating seeing Portland on the road sign.  Our destination for the second day was Brandon’s parents house in McMinnville, Oregon about an hour south of Portland.  That day was fraught with lots of wet diapers and frustrated children, but all in all they did great and we made it to grandma and granpas safe and sound.  The boys and I stayed there from Thursday until Tuesday and Brandon left on Saturday to unload the truck and get ready to start work on Monday.  I will post some pics of our stay in oregon and then some great news about our new digs.  Keep checking back.  Thanks for praying for us on this adventure.

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So we are outta here.  Brandon is driving the Budget truck loaded with out boxes and pulling his Honda, packed to the gills.  I am driving the Mazda full of the boys and toys and snacks.  Yesterday was an exhausting day, but with the help of Susan and Cassie, who watched the boys all day, the Trostruds and a couple of wonderful high-school boys who helped us load the truck, and Aggie and Suku who made us a wonderful dinner we were able to go to bed by 10:30 and have little enough to do this AM that I can post. 

Funny thing… we put our house on the market at the beginning of July and left for Oklahoma.  While we were there we had a showing every other day (about 8 or so).  When we got home I prayed a quick prayer that God would give us one weekend without showing the house so that we could pack without interruption… I guess he wanted to give us two weeks… So since we have been home, not one call.  Well my wonderful friend and Realtor, Kelly, called last night and said we have a showing today at 4:30.  Can you believe how perfect God’s timing is.  Pray with us that our house would sell.  Remember we only have a place to stay for a month….

Pray for us as we drive… peace and safety would be nice.

I will be off line for a few days.. maybe a week.  Love to you all!  See you in Washington.

Bye UTAH!!! and FRIENDS!

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I can still remember, like it was yesterday, the day I loaded up our suburban (with the help of my parents) said goodbye to a house we had just built, my best friends, and a town I had lived in for 17 years, the place I had spent the first 10 years of my marriage and had my first two babies… a place I never really thought I would leave.. and set off down the road on a “great adventure” to Utah, a place I had only driven through, where my husband had been for the last three months, and what would be my new home.  I never expected to like it here, but I knew that I was going to give it a good shot.  I had a chance to “reinvent” myself, a new start and I wanted to make the most of it, even though my heart felt like it was going to break and I couldn’t imagine ever feeling better.

We new that we were supossed to come here.  We needed to get away and to make it on our own as a family.  Utah has been a refuge for us. After an intense time of struggle with our church back home, it was been a safe haven for us. A place to rest, refresh, and transform.  I have learned so much being out here on “my own” away from family and all I had known for 17 years.  God has changed me, molded me and refined me into a person that is much more what I should have been and want to be.  I am so thankful for the people who have come along side me here.  Who have been my family for the last two years and who have allowed me to be who God wants me to be… so it is with much sadness (two years ago I never would have believed I would say this) I say good-bye.

Looking back on my time here, I can see how God has strategically placed people and events in my life that have radically changed who I am today.  I remember my friend Jenn told me when I left Shelton that in the first two weeks of being in Utah, I had to find a MOPs group and join.  So I did and there I met a wonderful girl named Heather (as well as lots of other great friends) who invited me to the Draper MOMS club and there I made some wonderful friends who invited me over, introduced me to fun places around the valley, had a wonderful baby shower for Eyob, brought us dinners when we got home from Ethiopia, and who continue to be a source of encouragement to me.

Who knew that that first visit would lead to me becoming one of the coordinators for our churches two MOPS groups and meeting some of my truly favorite people here in Utah.  Women who have walked beside me these last 6 months encouraging me and praying for me all while we served together. Thank you MOPS friends.  I am truly going to miss you this coming year and you will be in my prayers.

Through South Mountain Community Church, I have gone on a wonderful women’s “wild” weekend, participated in 4 life changing Bible studies and made some wonderful life long friends.  Friends who have challenged me.  Cassie and Susan I am so thankful that God brought us together that first study.  I am going to miss you sisters.

Driving away from Shelton two years ago, I never would have imagined that I would connect to a place and to the people so much in such a short amount of time, but I have and I will always be greatful for this stop in Utah along the path the Father has laid out before us.

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