Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We did it!

For well over a year I have vowed never to grocery shop with my kids. The last time scarred me for some reason that I'm sure was related to Wal-Mart(it's gigantic and I always need something that's on the other side of the store when I'm on the opposite side), nursing and going potty. Just too much for a mother to handle sometimes. Now that hasn't meant that I don't ever run in quick and get stuff with them but the BIG grocery trip has been done in the late evenings when the little ones are in bed and on a rare occasion or two before they wake up. I decided, that I needed to try it again because for one reason or another I wasn't able to go in the evenings anymore and then we end up feasting on cheap fast food or throwing together a meal of randomness made of whatever we could find in the fridge and pantry.

Now you may be thinking "what's so hard about grocery shopping with kids?" For me, I don't just grocery shop. It's a process. First I spend time evaluating the sales and planning meals (through the help of some great websites couponmom.com, southernsavers.com, e-mealz.com) cutting my coupons and then I'm off. Today I was armed with nearly 20 coupons going to the store. So when I get there I have to spend time comparing the deal I'm getting with my coupons on national brands versus just buying the generic. Children do not understand why I'm closing my eyes and doing the math while they are begging for Apple Jacks or the Orange Juice in the pretty container. I mean I can't blame them there. However, I've heard time and time again that kids will do what they are trained to do so let the training begin...again!

So today was pretty successful day. Other than Jude saying "owwt, owwt (out) every 3 aisles followed by him pulling Ellison's hair just to get a reaction, we all survived. Here are some things that made it work today. If you have any other tips to add, please feel free to post them. This will be a weekly adventure and the more prepared I am the better it'll be...I hope.

Winning Tips of the Day:
1. I tried to be organized. I organized the list according to the locations in the store to make it as quick as possible. I also tried to make notes on my list about the value of the coupon so that I didn't have to search through my envelope to figure out what is the best deal.
2. I hyped up our trip to Ellison big time. I told her we were going on an adventure and equipped her with her camera to take pictures.
3. I shopped at Publix which is right across the street from our complex. This makes for a very quick commute which seems to be a winner. Also, I LOVE PUBLIX. I know they are more expensive but for our basic needs (excluding meat) I go there. They unload my cart, bag my stuff and load it in the car. All I have to do is swipe the card and hand over the coupons. At the end of our trip today a very nice old man gave Ellison and Jude a dollar each. He also told us that he'd be singing on Friday at 12 if we'd like to come and hear him. They also know our family and are always so nice to our kids. I really love the neighborhood feel in a huge suburb where you can feel one of the numbers.
4. I gave the kids a snack and drink right before we left the house and they seemed to be content in the food department.
5. I prayed. Yep! I am a firm believer in prayer and although there were some tantrums, hitting and hair pulling I found that I was able to handle them better.

So there you have it. A grocery trip without too many tears AND I saved 70 dollars my favorite.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

You are Captivating

It is with great pleasure that I announce that I have finished the book Captivating!! Can I just say that I LOVED IT! I have owned this book for a few years and had never gotten around to reading it. In fact, I gave it to a friend of mine to read because I just couldn't seem to carve out the time to make it happen. As I've thought about it, however, our God is not a God of chance but he is a divine God who appointed this as the time to read the book. Let me explain a little bit...

At the end of last year one of my friends told me about a young mother's group that she had been a part of. She often told stories and it seemed to be a real encouragement to her. Back in January I got the chance to be a part of the group. I signed up hoping to gain some more wisdom on parenting only to find that the focus of the spring study was on the Hope curriculum. I was a little bit like "man I really needed some advice about parenting, but ok Lord you brought me here for a reason." As soon as I left the first meeting the reason became clear. As the leader told us (forgive the paraphrase), we cannot be all that God wants us to be as mothers until we are all that we are all that He wants us to be in Him. Hope is a program at our church that helps people deal with times of crisis. The curriculum leads you through a course of digging out what's in your past, identifying those things and replacing them with truth. I can sum it up by saying that it teaches you to have freedom in Christ through abiding in His spirit daily. It has transformed the way I look at things. Anytime I find an emotion rising up in me I start asking and digging as to why it's there and the Lord has been so faithful to reveal it.

So our time together came to a close and the mom's group is taking a break for the summer. I found myself in a conversation back at the beginning of May. In fact it was May 3rd. I was talking about keeping the idea of boys (chasing them, boyfriends etc.) away from my daughter as long as possible (yes I know she's only 4). I wondered though how far was too far. No princess movies included?? A single friend at church heard me talking and asked if I'd read Captivating and I told her that I owned it but never read it. She encouraged me to blow off the dust and read it :-) in light of what she'd just heard me talking about. She had just returned from a Captivating retreat and felt that it would be a great read for me. She, in fact, reads it every year and now I know why!

Off I go to my house to start the book and I can't find it anywhere! Well I remembered that I had given it to a friend which left me without a book. As you've read, I love a bargain and I was struggling to pay 16 bucks for the book again. The next morning I remembered that a volunteer had given me a gift card to Borders for 5 dollars. The funny part is that she gave it to me 2 Christmases ago and I hadn't used it because there isn't a Borders close to my house. So I pulled out the card and on the back I see that I can use it at Waldenbooks which is in the mall only 5 minutes away from me! I called them and guess what!!?? The clerk told me we have 2 soft copies for 16 dollars but we also have 2 hard copies of the book for 4.95 in the bargain bin. Our God is so personal isn't he! So off I went to get my book for FREE.

I couldn't wait to dive into this book! Reading through that book was a spiritual peak for me. It hit me right where I needed. I don't want to give much more detail than this: You, as a woman, are captivating. God thinks you are captivating and He designed you to show His beauty to the world. What an awesome responsibility we have!! To show his beauty to our husbands, friends, children, ministry, work etc. The cool thing is the book nearly parallels the Hope curriculum that I went through. My last point about the book is this: When I read the final pages I cried, nearly sobbed. I was filled with so much hope and purpose. My husband looked over at me and asked if everything was ok. I just smiled and said..it's the book again (I practically read it to him).

Please please please read this book. It has the power to transform your life if you are willing to do the work. I pray that it will cross your path at just the appointed time. Our sweet, personal and loving Heavenly Father has a way of doing just that.

Friday, June 12, 2009


A week ago today my hubby and I were on our way to a weekend without our children. That is HUGE because we've never spent more than 1 night together away from them. We have been richly blessed with a wonderful set of friends who have become like family to us. They were up to the challenge of keeping the kids which allowed us a chance to get away.

So...off we went to Nashville. Why Nashville, well my husband planned all of it over a month ago. He just randomly asked me if I'd like to go to Nashville the first weekend in June. Since we celebrated our 7 year anniversary on the 25th of May it was great timing. The week before the trip I felt myself getting giddy as I shopped around for a cute date night dress and other accessories to dress up for Ian.

We arrived on Friday to a very nice hotel in downtown Nashville. Ian had arranged for us to get the room for nearly 50% off of the price. As we pulled up all of the luxury cars were parking for vallet. We politely pulled in in our 12 year old Accord and asked where we could park ourselves :-). After checking in to our room I started getting ready for our big date night. Ian had arranged reservations for us at a local restaurant. When we arrived we were greeted by name and congratulated on our 7 year anniversary. After seating us we even had personlized menus. They took our picture and put it in a frame before the night was done. It wa such a special way to celebrate.

On Saturday we slept in, relaxed by the pool and met a friend for an afternoon coffee. During that meeting the real reason for our trip to Nashville was unvieled and confirmed! COLDPLAY WAS IN TOWN!!! So later on that evening we got to go see Coldplay one of my favorite bands. I was going crazy it was so fun and really felt like we were just two twenty year olds living it up.

We woke up on Sunday morning feeling refreshed and ready to resume the role of parents.

It truly was such a wonderful weekend. I'm so grateful for all that Ian did to make it all happen. Lots of sneaking around, planning and organization. Thanks Ian for making it possible. It was a great celebration of 7 years!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Celebrating Sean

Today Ian and I attended a memorial service for Sean Strickland. Sean was my bosses boss during my first job at the church. When he first came to work I remember that he brought an excitement and futuristic look at things. He was a great leader! We heard that over and over again today.

Ian was in a small group with him 2 years ago. Sadly this is the second death among that group of young men! There were only 8 of them in the group and now 6 remain. It's been tough for the men in that group to go through this 2 years in a row.

Today at the service we also heard over and over about how much fun Sean had with his family. Their family values spelled out FIESTA!! So today we decided to have a random pool party with our kids. We wore party hats and Ellison picked the menu. We enjoyed hotdogs, chips, baked beans and frosted oranges (the homemade version). It was spontaneous and so much fun. When I told Ellison that we could wear the party hats to the pool she screamed "This is so much fun!!!"

Today felt like a day filled with purpose. In some small way our family wanted to give honor to the life that Sean led.

Sean, thank you for the example of never taking yourself too seriously, loving and pursing God with all you had and loving your family with passion. You will be missed.

Here is his obituary if you'd like to read it. http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/obits/stories//2009/06/07/sean_strickland_obit.html

Jude enjoying a frosted orange.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

You Hold Me Now

A friend of our died yesterday in a head on collision. He leaves behind a 7 year old daughter and a wife. I am listening to this song and thinking of him and the promise that we have.

So sad for this loss but glad that he is truly dancing with our King for eternity this morning. I'm wondering what that is like and in a sense longing for that as well. A day with no more sadness, no hurt no pain. An eternity bringing glory to our King!


Monday, June 1, 2009

Ballet Camp

Today Ellison started Ballet Camp!! She woke up at 6:30 in the morning very excited to go. We went out on Saturday for some one on one time and got her some new ballet shoes and tights as well.

She is taking ballet at Perimeter Church's Academy of the Arts. Their tag line is "Dancing with a Pointe."

We've waited for a while to get Ellison involved with extra curricular activities for a number of reasons but her love of ballet has been so consistent that we wanted to give her a try at it. I fell in love with this program 2 springs ago when her cousin went through it. I love the empasis that they put on godly values in addition to teaching the girls the fundamentals of ballet. She hasn't been old enough to do it, but this fall she will be enrolled in their full time program.