Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fun Taeya Faces

Hello world!

Okay Mom, can I be done!?

Colorado Weather

I looked out the window last week and noticed that the weather would be changing soon. Here's what I saw.

The sun was shining and it was bright and warm.

There's some clouds moving our way.
Getting darker.
The storm was coming.

Within a short time, the storm came and moved past us. I love how the weather changes so fast and yet the storms never seem to stay for long. Just enough to enjoy the lighting and thunder they bring.

Money Saving Tips

I would like to share some of the little things I do around the house and as I'm shopping to save money (or to spend less of it). If you have any suggestions that you'd like to share, I'd LOVE to hear them. Please also feel free to share any websites that you use that have good deals, tell you how to save money etc. I'm looking for a website where I can find coupons for things I'll be buying. So far, I haven't found one that I like. Any suggestions?

1. MEAL PLANNING. The biggest thing I've started doing lately is monthly meal planning (I wrote about it awhile back and I still love it). This has probably cut our monthly grocery bill nearly in half and it's made it SO much easier to plan and cook meals.

2. DRIER SETTING. When drying my clothes, I always used to turn the heat on for the full cycle (More dry). I thought it needed that long to get dry. My dad suggested that I try "Less dry" and see if my clothes got dry. I always set the setting to "less dry" now and my clothes are almost always completely dry. Sometimes a load with jeans or thick towels might need a little longer, but usually they don't when I use it with tip number 3.

3. DRIER BALLS. I purchased the blue spikey drier balls at Bed, Bath & Beyond and love them. I don't have to buy drier sheets (which I don't like using anyways) and it fluffs the clothes and dries them faster. *Save all your Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons because they never expire (even though they have an expiration date) and you can use up to five at a time if you buy at least 5 things. That's great savings!

4. BABY FOOD. I've made all of Taeya's baby food except for when we traveled to CA. It is SO fast and cheap to make baby food. Not to mention it has better flavor and is better for them. Although she's not really eating baby food any longer, I'm still buying sweet potatoes and squash that I cut up, cook, puree and freeze. Think of the savings. I just bought 8lbs of squash last night at .58/lb. That means I spent about $4.64 on 8 lbs of squash that will last for probably a month. If you puchase baby food in containers, two 2 oz containers cost $1.00! That's 4 oz for a dollar vs. nearly 2 lbs of food for $1.00. It works well to freeze the baby food in icecube trays and then store in plastic bags in the freezer or sometimes I use old yogurt containers and just dethaw one at a time in the fridge.

5. SOAP DISPENSER. I saw a suggestion last year to purchase a foaming soap dispenser and when it is gone, you just fill it with water and a small squirt of dish soap. If you use too much soap it will clog the pump and not work correctly. I use this in my kitchen for both washing dishes and my hands. It really saves how much soap you go through and you waste so much less. Small savings but they add up.

6. BUY IN BULK. Although many people wouldn't want to buy in bulk for just two people and a baby, I think the savings are worth it. I take a trip to Costco about 1 time every two months to stock up on household items and food. I buy things like toilet paper, paper towels, toothbrushes, toilet cleaner, flour, sugar, pizza ingredients (we make pizza once/week), and other things that I can either store or freeze.

7. INSULATE YOUR HOME. I live in an rented condo so I'm not going out and putting better doors and windows on my home. However, there are still some ways I can save energy and insulate my home. In our living room, we have 3 glass sliding doors that let in a lot of heat in the summer and cold in the winter. This past summer, I invested in insulated curtains that help us save on air conditioning/heating bills. They really do make a dramatic difference in the temperature of the house throughout the day. Also, Taeya's room is the coldest room in the house as it's on the corner of the building so it's more exposed to the elements than other rooms are. I have yet to try it, but I just purchased a roll-on window kit for her room to help keep some of the cold out by insulating her window. I don't think I'd do this to every window in our place because I think it would probably look a little tacky. However, it's important for Taeya to stay warm at night and it's not in a place that we'll constantly notice the plastic so I'm giving it a try.
EDIT: I put up the plastic and it looks great. You can't even tell it's there unless you look closely around the edges. Wasn't too difficult to do by myself either. I'm hoping the doublesided tape comes off easily at the end of the winter season. It wasn't super cold last night so I couldn't tell if Taeya's room stayed warmer or not.

8. BUY USED and COMPARE PRICES. Living in a rural area, I don't have many choices of where to shop. We pretty-much have a Target and two Wal-Marts within a 30 mile radius. These stores are often picked over and don't always have what I need/want anyways. I end up buying many items at local thrift stores or online at amazon, craigslist or ebay. Freecycle is also a great place to get used items for free or give away what you don't want anymore. (It doesn't work all the great where I'm at just because there's not a lot of people using it in this rural area.)

9. HOME HAIRCUTS. I started cutting Phil's hair in college when he didn't have the money to afford to go to a salon. This saves us $20/month in hair cutting costs. I'd let him cut my hair but he won't touch it. :)

10. WASH MY CAR BY HAND. Phil and I don't always do this (especially in the winter when we need to wash our car but it's 15 degrees outside) but it's fun to do as a couple and it looks so much better than a drive-through carwash. We just keep all the supplies on hand and on some Saturdays when the weather's nice we give a good detailed wash and sometimes wax to both of our vehicles.

11. CRAIGSLIST TIP. This works best if you're looking for something small that can easily be shipped. If you want to search craigslist for more areas than just your own, go to google and on the bar type in "craigslist." You should get a little box on the google page where you can search ALL of craigslist for what you're looking for. This is how I got Taeya 30 pairs of shoes for less than $30 (including shipping...they're 7 different sizes so they'll last her for a few years). There is more risk on your end because you have to pay for the item and hope the person ships it. I did get burned once. Try to pay with Paypal if you do it this way because it does help protect you but there's still risk involved.

Websites that I like:

Please remember, I'd love to hear suggestions from YOU!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This Boy Needs Our Help

Earlier tonight I was reading "Second Touch" by Bodie & Brock Thoene. In it I read the following passage. It is a hypothetical conversation between Jesus and the blind man He healed. They are speaking about the poor, blind, crippled and lame.

"Who am I to do anything?"
"It's not who you are."
"So many...all around."
"Seeing requires something, eh? That's all the Law and the Prophets. Summed up?"
"So many men know the Scriptures. And still there's the viaduct. The rubbish heap. People who exist in the long, dreary waiting, like animals locked up and forgotten."
"Easy not to be bothered. Easy to follow the letter of the Law. Make a great show of keeping the Law. But men forget the true intention of the Law. By turning away from those who suffer, they miss great blessings from heaven. Maybe the one they refused to help was an angel in disguise."

I was convicted because so often, I'm willing to turn away from those in need. I often place myself in a position above them and choose to do nothing to help the people I see in need even though I have so much and am commanded in Scripture to help those same people.

A religion that is pure and stainless according to God the Father is this:
to take care of orphans and widows
who are suffering...
James 1:27

Right after I put my book down, the first blog I read was this: (It can be found here)

Hello Friends,I received an email from a friend a few days ago, letting me know about a young orphan boy who needs our help. I know ... there are hundreds of thousands of orphans who need our help ... but, this story touched me deeply.Misha is a 15 year old from Russia. Several weeks ago he was flown to the U.S. for life-changing surgery ... the amputation of both legs. Misha was born with a severe deformity of his legs and arms. In Russia, it is known as the "throw-away" disease. Despite the deformities, Misha is a very well-adjusted and intelligent young man, with much hope for the future. A wonderful, large, homeschooling family on the East Coast welcomed Misha into their home for the surgery, and immediately fell so in love with him that it was determined that he should become part of their forever family. However ... next May Misha will turn 16 ... an age where he is no longer able to be adopted into the U.S. ... also an age where he will be turned out of his orphanage in Russia, and moved to an insane asylum. Seriously ... this boy is not insane, but he will be "thrown away".This wonderful family believes with all their heart that Misha is to become their son. However, they have no idea how the Lord will raise up the $27,000 needed in the next few months. The funds must be raised before February, so that the adoption can be completed before Misha's birthday in May.I hope you will visit their family blog to find out how you can best support this precious family, and Misha. As Melissa, the mom, says ... "If 2,700 people donated just $10, the money would be raised." I, certainly, want to be a part of that 2,700 people ... how about you?My blog, alone, gets about 500 visitors per week. Obviously, many of those are repeat visitors. But, my blog reaches quite a few people. If 100 of my readers gave just $10, and then posted the information on their blogs, I truly believe that the money could be raised very quickly. It would only take 27 blogs, with 100 readers, giving $10 each ... to save the life of Misha.

If you have a moment, please pray about helping this young boy. Visit the blog for video and pictures of him. If you choose not to help financially, then please pray for his heavenly adoption as well as his earthly adoption.

Surprise Visit

As I mentioned two posts ago, Phil's Aunt Kay and Uncle David came to CO for their 20th wedding anniversary. They decided they couldn't come that far and not come visit us and meet Taeya for the first time. They arrived Wednesday night and left Thursday morning.

We had such a wonderful time visiting with them. We stayed up until almost midnight looking at pictures and talking about the past, family and just catching up.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fall Walk

Here are many of the pictures I took on our walk in the canyon. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fun, Family & The Doctor

CO FUN: On Sunday, I went down to the canyon nearbye and went rollerblading. It was SO beautiful and I had a great time pushing Taeya in her stroller. She had a ball as well. I gave her a few leaves and she loved holding them, eating them and sharing them. I'll try to post more pics from the day tomorrow.

VISITORS: On Monday, Phil and I got a nice surprise. Phil's Aunt Kay called me and said she and her husband David were in CO for their 20th anniversary. They'd driven all the way from Texas and she said they'd love to come see us and meet Taeya. They ended up coming on Wednesday late afternoon and left late morning today. We wish they could have stayed longer. We had such a nice time catching up with them. We stayed up chatting until nearly midnight. They almost didn't make it through the mountains as a cold front/storm came through the night before and made the roads pretty slick and icy through the passes. We're glad they persevered and came the distance. More pics from their visit later as well.

THE DOCTOR'S: Taeya has been pretty grumpy since Saturday/Sunday. She just wasn't her normal self. I didn't know if it was because of the 4 top teeth she's been cutting, her cold, just developmental changes or what... Phil suggested I take her into the doctor which I had been considering. I ended up getting an appointment for her Wednesday. We found out she does have an ear infection and the other ear doesn't look great either. The doctor said the constant runny nose from the teething can often lead to a bacterial infection. She's now on antibiotics and is acting so much happier. PTL.

What surprised me most at the appointment were her stats. We'd had her weighed and measured on Oct 1. Check out the change.

Oct 1
Weight: 15 lbs 8.9 oz
Height: 26 1/4 in.

Oct 22
Weight: 16 lbs 1.3 oz
Height: 27 1/2 in.

She supposedly grew 1 1/4 inches in 22 days!! (That's if they didn't measure incorrectly at either appointment). Shows she IS growing though.

Today, I was returning something at Target and I commented on a lady's four children in front of me. She turned to me and asked if Taeya was my first. I said "yes" and then she guessed, "Is she almost 5 months?" Hahaha almost 5 months!! I kindly informed her that she was actually 10 months (she will be on Sunday). She then said, "She'll start getting some teeth soon." I let her know that Taeya currently has 6 teeth. It was pretty funny.