Wednesday, February 29, 2012

psalm 112 for 2012

I am also guest posting today over at Small Bird Studios about not giving up on God.

I re-discovered this Psalm last week. I've read it before, probably several times, but it didn't ever resignate with me like it did this go-round. I have decided that it is my favorite.

It has now become my Psalm for 2012.

Psalm 112

1 Praise the LORD.
Blessed are those who fear the LORD,
who find great delight in his commands.

2 Their children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.

6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
7 They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn will be lifted high in honor.

10 The wicked will see and be vexed,
they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

I could probably write an entire post on each individual verse, but I won't.
Instead, can we just focus two of them for now?

v. 7a They [the righteous, aka the saints, aka the children of God, aka you and me!] will have no fear of bad news;

Please don't misunderstand this verse. The author is not saying here that we will never have bad news. You and I know very well that is not the case; not here on earth where sin has made a mess of everything.

Bad news comes. And for some, it comes all too often.

But as children of God, as His righteousness, we have no need to fear it.
Why? How?

Source: tumblr.com via Jessi on Pinterest



Scripture tells us that the Lord is in control of it all. It also tells us that His ways and His thoughts are higher than our own. Even when everything seems out of control, even when we can't understand our circumstances, God is there. He is working it all out according to His will. But we can't see the ending. We can't see the whole story. Which is why we need to trust Him...

v. 7b their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

stead*fast adj \ˈsted-ˌfast also -fəst\
a : firmly fixed in place : immovable source:merriam-webster

Anchor
source

In God, we are immovable. We are firmly fixed, in Him.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

Notice also, that this portion of the verse is written in the present tense. It's stating what is, not what will be. We are steadfast. We are trusting God; currently, presently, right now.

Is that how you are living right now? As children of God, we can be steadfast in Him and trust Him right now. There is no need to wait.

v. 8a Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear

Because our hearts are secure in God, we should have no fear. There is no need to fear because our hope is in Him. You see, if your hope is in you, in how you can handle the situation, your strength and knowledge, then you have every reason to fear. But with God, we do not need to fear.



My prayer today is that we would be a people who would not fear the bad news; that we would be a people who are so firmly fixed in God, in His love, that we don't worry about what will come our way; that we would trust His plan and His working and that we would allow Him to do the work that needs to be done in us.

Can you imagine what life would be like if you stopped worrying and started trusting?


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

alternatives to the birth control pill and our view of children

Let me being by saying: Keep in mind that I know this issue is a sensitive one for many reasons. There are those of you who don't want kids. There are those of you who desperately want kids, but until now, that hasn't happened. There are those of you who want kids and have faced loss, miscarriage after miscarriage. There are those of you who have kids and feel that you can't handle anymore.
We live in a broken world, destroyed by sin and death. Things are not they way they were meant to be. But I know full well, that God has a plan for each and every one of you and each and every one of your families. He is faithful. But He also asks that we trust Him; that we follow Him; that we allow His Holy Spirit to shape our hearts and minds and to conform them to the way He sees the world. This is one of those areas.


Last week I wrote about how the pill works and why we need to know.

This week I need to address what the other options are. It's one thing to know the truth, it's another thing to live it, but it's something else altogether to have the right tools and know how to live it.

While I know none of these options are popular or even easy, some are uncomfortable and inconvenient, perhaps we need to consider why that is our attitude? For most of us, it's because hormonal birth control has changed our perspective of children altogether. Hormonal birth control has made it easy to ignore what our bodies are made to do. It's made it easy to ignore the fact that God wants children. He wants you to have children.

"Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring." ~Malachi 2:15 (emphasis mine)

Stop and think: why are you trying not to have children?
Don't you know what scripture says?:

Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them
. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Of course I'm not suggesting we all adopt the Quiverfull lifestyle and become like the Duggars. But I am suggesting that our attitude toward children, particularly our own children and our future children, needs to change.

Children are a blessing, not a burden.

If you truly believed that, how long would you really wait before you started your family? How many kids, then, would you plan to have? Who's plan would you want to follow, yours or God's? (I guarantee His is better; so much better!)

"Opportunities are easily lost while waiting for perfect conditions." ~ Gary Ryan Blair

With all of that said, let's take a look at the alternatives to hormonal birth control. We need to begin with a simple lesson in contraception methods. There are 5 basic categories of birth control:

source

1. Sterilization. This method is commonly know as "getting your tubes tied" for women or a vasectomy for men. While I personally don't agree with these methods because of their permanence, this is something that I would urge any couple to very seriously and prayerfully consider before making a decision. Seek out wise counsel on the issue. And know that just because you have made a decision doesn't mean that it is God's plan for you (that is the case in all areas of life!)

2. Hormonal. This refers to the pill, the patch, the shot, the ring, the IUD (there is actually a hormonal IUD and a copper IUD, but both work in the same way), implants and the morning after pill. All of these methods work in almost the same way. You can read about how they work here. These methods can be abortive.

when those 2 methods are not an option, you are left with...

3. Abstinence. This means that you abstain from sex. While I of course do not recommend this for married couples, I do recommend it for everyone else. God has called us all to purity and chastity- we should be pure in all of our conduct and intentions and be able to practice restraint. It guarantees that you will not get pregnant. 100% of the time, it works every single time. No other method offers that kind of success rate.

4. Barrier. These methods are anything used to block sperm from entering the cervix and eventually the uterus. Devices such as condoms, diaphragms, a sponge, or cervical cap, often times used in conjunction with spermicide, create a barrier through which the sperm cannot travel; thus preventing it from fertilizing an egg. These methods are never abortive.

5. Fertility Awareness. There are several names for this method like the rhythm method, the calender method, natural family planning, charting and basal body temperature. This method can be one of the most misunderstood, intimidating and seemingly daunting and involved methods. But of all the methods, it is the one where you have to learn your own body, understand your cycle and how it works and work with how God made you. I ask all women to at least consider learning about your own fertility. Knowing your body and how it works is empowering. When you know your body and your cycle, there is less worrying, guessing, wondering and stress involved.

Comparing Charts on FertilityFlower.com
source

There are many options in this area. Learn a few of them. Read about them. Discuss with your doctor and friends who have done it. Take a class. Here are a few resources to look into:
*Web MD: Fertility Awareness
*Creighton Mondel
*Taking Charge of Your Fertility
*Couple to Couple League
*basal body temperature

more information on all birth control methods here

You have more options than just "the pill". You are worth more than just doing what everyone else is doing or following a doctor's advice because it's their protocol. Be different. Ask questions. Do the research.

You owe it to yourself to learn and live by the truth.

Again, as I have stated before: My intention is not to be legalistic on this issue. I encourage everyone to do their own research, pray, search the scriptures, discuss it with your husband and other wise counsel and make a decision for yourself.

"If the desire to bear children depended on such philosophizing, the race would have long become extinct." ~ Dr. Leon Kass


Recommended/Related Reading:
*Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies
*Taking Charge of Your Fertility
*Natural Progesterone vs. Synthetic Progesterins
*Pam Stenzel- abstinence speaker

Thursday, February 23, 2012

12 in 2012: crib side into a blanket rack

I'm so happy to report that I have comleted my second project on my 12 in 2012 list. You can see a few of the planned projects on my Pinterest board here.

This project has been swirling around in my brain for years. I don't know where I initially saw the idea. But I immediately knew I wanted to do it. For a while now I've been looking for a crib side. It's pretty hard to find just one side at a thrift store though. I didn't need a whole crib and I certainy wasn't going to pay for one.

Then, one night, as Ben and I were driving home from somewhere, we drove past a whole crib, disassembled, laying in someone's trash pile. I told him to "stop!!" We grabbed two pieces from it. (Earlier that same day I also found this awesome mirror in someone else's trash pile).
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I had Ben saw off the two of the edges sticking out. I left the other two to act as "feet". Then I spray painted the entire thing. It is now in Isaac's room with all of his baby quilts hanging up.
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I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with the other crib side. I'm thinking about using it in the living room to hang blankets? I'll be sure to let you know when I decide.

blankets- thrifted or gifted. glider- thrifted. white shelf and drawers- Target.

You can see more of Isaac's nursery here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

the pill: ya I'm just gonna say it

My opinion on the HHS contraception mandate is this: it doesn't matter what the mandate is, it's a violation of the First Ammendment to the United States Constitution. As one writer says, "Contraception is not a right. The ability of a church to uphold its doctrine–that’s a right."

If you haven't heard about President Obama's recent gross violation of our religious liberty in the form of a contraception mandate, you can read about it here and here.

The situation in a nut shell is this: the president has now mandated that all employers purchase healthcare coverage for their employers that covers all FDA approved contraception (birth control)- that includes Plan-B and IUDs as well as forms of sterilization. The Catholic Church, among others, are entirely morally opposed to such methods and are outraged about the mandate. As well all should be!

But why is the Catholic Church so upset?
Why do they oppose these methods of birth control?

The Lord laid it on my heart years ago to stop using the birth control pill. I was on it for several years at the beginning of our marriage. It's what you do. You get married, you are having sex, your doctor gives you a perscription for "the pill".

We don't think twice about it. We certainly don't ask any questions. And if we do, we get very generic responses. They don't tell you that it's on the list of Class 1 carcinogens. They don't tell you that blood clots are a serious risk when you take birth control. They don't test you for blood clotting disorders that have no syptoms (so you wouldn't know you had it until it was too late) before putting you on a pill that will increase your chance of clotting.

Birth Control
source

And they don't tell you how they work.

But you need to know how the pill works.

As Christians, we don't ever have the luxury of claiming ingnorance. We are held accountable for our actions. We are called to know the truth and to live it. But as with many truths, knowing it will cost you something:

But the trouble with deep belief is that it costs something. And there is something inside me, some selfish beast of a subtle thing that doesn't like the truth at all because it carries responsibility, and if I actually believe these things I have to do something about them. ~Blue Like Jazz

Are you ready to learn the truth?
Here is how hormonal birth control works:

1. It inhibits ovulation. The levels of progesterin in the pill sort of "trick" your body into thinking it's already pregnant. Therefore it doesn't relsease a new ovum at the time in your cycle when you would normaly ovulate.

if that doesn't work

2. It thickens your cervical mucus. This inhibits sperm from making it's way up the vagina, into the cervix, through the uterus and to the ovum.

if that doesn't work

3. It thins the endometrial lining in your uterus. This inhibits an embryo, a newly formed human life, from attaching itself to the uteran wall. When the sperm fertilizes the egg, life begins. This newly formed embryo travels down from the filopian tube into the uterus where it will implant itself into the wall. In order for the embryo to "stick", the lining has to be thick and full. If it isn't, then the embryo won't attach and will be expelled. What I just described, is an abortion.
It's impossible to know how often the 3rd occurence actually happens, but it's safe to say that it does happen. And we cannot ignore that fact. We cannot claim ignorance.

We have to err on the side of life, always.

Fetus week 9-10 source

It's kinda like saying, "I'm going to demolish that building over there. It's old and unused so it's going to be imploded. There is a chance that someone may be in that building because I haven't checked. But I'm pretty sure there isn't because it's old and who would go there? But, like I said, someone could be in there. Either way, I'm going to implode it anyways, because I'm pretty sure." (example from 180 movie)

If someone said this to you, would you stop that person? Would you tell them to investigate further? If you weren't 100% positive, would you still take the risk?

No. And we cannot take the risk in this area either.


Let me just say this: My intention is not to be legalistic on this issue. I encourage everyone to do their own research, pray, search the scriptures, discuss it with your husband and other wise counsel and make a decision for yourself.

My intention is, however, to get you to think about the implications. As Christians, we don't have the luxury of making decisions without consequences. I know of too many Christian women who are on the pill because it's just what you do. But have you actually looked at the facts? Do you know what the Bible says about life? Do you know when life begins? Do you know prenatal development?

My desire is for you to know the truth and to live it outThe responsibility is now your's.

Further Reading:
Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?
How birth control is used to sell abortion

For alternatives to the birth control pill and other hormonal contraceptions, you can read this post.

Monday, February 20, 2012

project life: week 6

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Our week was pretty normal. I did some prep cooking: pinto beans, navy beans and rice. I took Isaac to his 12 month well baby check up. He got a lollipop! I wrote down the verse that has been on my heart lately on a folded card. On the inside I journaled a bit about what God is doing in our lives.

This week included a day in the life documentation along with the usual stuff. I used two 8 1/2 x 11 page inserts for that. For the photos from that day, I just had a collage printed. I used Ali's daily sheets to document the details of the day. Behind the collage of photos, I added a few scraps from the day: an appt card for Isaac's Dr appt, a recipet from dinner, an info sheet on the vaccine he got.
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This week also included a lot of reading. I am really enjoying Blue Like Jazz. I was able to snap a shot of a sunset one night from our front patio. And Sunday night was haircut night in our home. It was Isaac's very first haircut! Ben cut his own hair.

The Mom Creative

Sunday, February 19, 2012

living in grace, alone

grace: getting something you don't deserve

If you are a Christian, if you have called on the name of Christ, if you have repented and given your life to the Lord, then you are saved by grace, alone.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8

To live any other way is arrogant.

Cross at sunsetsource

God saves sinners. Sinners cannot save themselves. There is nothing that we can do to earn redemption. It is something that is freely given and humbly received.

Stop trying to be a good Christian.
Stop your feeble attempts at cleaning up your sins.
Stop making lists of righteous acts and stop checking them off.
Stop reading your Bible because you're supposed to.
Stop going to church just because it's Sunday.

None of those things will make you cleaner. None of those things will put you in a better standing before God. None of things will get you into a higher level of heaven. None of those things will bring you joy.

"This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!" Isaiah 25:9

Church from the Distancesource

Instead, live in grace. Live humbly, but boldly and in confidence. Allow God to transform your heart and your mind. Let him cleanse you and make you pure. He will take away your sins. Delight in Him. Enjoy His word.

Know that you are saved, not because of anything you do or will do, but because of the work of Christ on the cross. Allow that knowledge to move from your head to your heart. And then live like it.

There is freedom in Christ. There is freedom because of His grace.

Freedom !source

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36

I need this reminder today, and everyday.

FindingBeautyintheOrdinary.com

Friday, February 17, 2012

Maddie's thrift tip: try!

Hey Party People -

Maddie here... from Thriftary!

I am so excited to be here today, at the ever lovely, Jessi's blog. A true honor.
When Jessi first asked me to chime in on her ongoing conversation of tips on how to be super thrifty, I drew a blank. Uuuuuuuuuuuhh... Put into words what I blog about every day? It sounds simple. Almost too simple.. But proved to be really difficult.

So, I thought back onto some of my favorite thrifty projects, and I came to realize that the ones that REALLY stand out in my mind are the one's that I honestly didn't know what the outcome was going to be when I started. I couldn't perfectly envision the process. I couldn't define what the end result would be. But along the way, I picked up some ideas, and then I found a need, so I tried to merge them together and VOILA! Thriftary!

So... What is my tip.... you may ask??




It's the most important tip! You will never know what your thrifty capabilities are, unless you try them out.

Here's a good example...

A while back my husband (I call him "Burley") gave me an ultimatum. He told me that "all of the magazines have to be off our coffee table or I'm throwing them out!"
It sounds so much more stern when I type it out... But you get the picture.
Let's be honest... It needed to be done... He was right.

So, I had some resources in the house:
  • Sewing machine I had barely used...

  • Some off-white fabric left over from my wedding... 

  • Some burlap that I had purchased on sale with no purpose at all...

  • Some VERY basic knowledge on how to sew squares and turn them inside out to make them look clean...

And that was about it!

Oh yea... and a spice rack from IKEA that I had no where to hang... So I used the hardware from that.

And I just.... Tried!!!

I started sewing squares together and flipping them inside out to make them look clean... Just like Mom had taught me.




Then I sewed one LONG rectangle and flipped THAT inside out to make it look clean.... Easy enough.

So I started to pin it all together, and see if all those squares and rectangles could fit together....






And they did!!!! So very exciting.
Then I stuck it on the extra hardware that was laying around, in non-use.... And it all came together!



No real plan.
No end vision.
Just the simple act of trying...
And I got to add this gorgeous, thrifty keepsake to my wall AND keep my magazines. Win! Win! Win!

You can check out the real tutorial HERE.

Well folks... Thanks for reading today. I hope that you are instantly inspired to go try your true thrifty capabilities on for size... and Suprise yourself!

And thanks again Jessi, for letting me crash your party!
TTFN,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

thrifted curtains, 2 ways!

My two favorite sets of curtains in our house were both made from thrifted items. I don't believe in paying full price for anything curtains because the good ones are too pricey and the cheap ones are, well, cheap. So, I rarely buy premade curtains.

Plus, it's so much more fun to make your own. That way they match exactly how you want them to and you can add your own personal touch!

thrift tip: make your own curtains

Way 1: Use old sheets
The curtains in our bedroom are made from an old sheet we don't use anymore. It's the same sheet set that we used to make our headboard. I'm also using scraps of it for the quilt I'm currently working on. The other sheet is one that I picked up from the thrift store.

before:
2011-06-08_17-34-27_286

To begin, I took measurements of our window, decided what the dimensions of the curtains would need to be and drew a sketch. Then I cut the pieces I needed from each sheet, pinned the fabrics together, sewed and hemmed.

after:
curtainsIMG_2176IMG_2177IMG_2179IMG_2180


-----------------------------------------------


Way 2: Reinvent old curtains
For the curtains in the living room, I cut up an old set of curtains I had (the off-white) and used some canvas fabric that I found at the thrift store ($2 for yards and yards of amazing canvas is the best deal ever!). I did the same thing as with the other curtains, but flipped them (longer fabric on top). Here is the final product:

IMG_1303_MG_1312_MG_1310

It's much easer to sew to big giant rectangle panels and attach them to the curtain rods with hooks. However, if you wanted to run the curtain rod through the fabric itself, you would simply make your panels a bit longer, fold one end over several inches and sew it together. Then slide the curtain rod through and you're done!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jen's thrift tip: how to make money selling clothes!


Hi y'all! I'm Jen and I blog over at The Arizona Russums! I am so excited to be on Jessi's blog today...


I have been selling my clothes for cash for years. Since I love shopping and update my wardrobe frequently, I try to sell my old or unwanted clothing to fund the cycle. Over the years, I have learned quite a few tips about selling used clothing and I am excited to share them with you!




1 – Clean out your closet often. I have written about how I manage my closet before, but basically it’s important to sell clothes when they are most current. Many people let a shirt that they never wear hang in their closet for a year or two before they finally get rid of it. By that time, it’s out of style and no one wants to buy it. If something stops fitting correctly {it shrinks, you lose/gain weight, you realize you got the wrong size/style but can’t return it}, get rid of it as soon as possible, when it’s still a trendy purchase for someone else. If you notice you haven’t worn an item in six months or if you make it through the winter or summer season without wearing some of your seasonal clothes, get rid of them ASAP. The newer the clothes, the more likely you are to get cash for them.

*Remember, you can also sell accessories and gently used shoes.*




{clean it out!}

2 – Cut out tags. I’ll let you in on a secret. If you are getting rid of clothing from GAP, Banana Republic or Old Navy, you need to cut out the season tag. If you look UNDER the main tag on any GAP Inc. item, you will find a smaller tag that says the season the item was sold {ex: Spring ’08 or Holiday ‘10}. The people at the store who assess your clothes and give you cash look for these tags. If the item is too old according to the tag {more than a year or two usually} they will NOT buy the item from you, even if the item is still in style and in great condition. If you cut these season tags out, they will buy the item based on the quality and not on the year it was produced.


3 – Make sure clothes are washed, pressed {if needed} and folded nicely. You don’t have to iron every single thing, but make sure clothes look clean and neat. Iron out any big wrinkles or spritz items with a wrinkle release spray. Fold them very nicely in a box or a bag. I think bags with handles from reputable clothing stores {Banana, Ann Taylor, Old Navy, Abercrombie, etc.} are more appealing when you drop off your clothes at the store than big garbage bags. It’s also a nice touch if you tuck a dryer sheet into the bag to give all your clothes the same fresh scent.  This is especially important if you have pets or live in a house with smoke. Just try to remember to remove the dryer sheet before you take the bags into the store.

4 – Sell at the start of the season. Resale stores sell by season just like any other clothing store. If you would like to sell your fall/winter clothes, you should drop them off in August, September or October. The stores I sell at start taking winter inventory at the very end of July. If you are selling spring/summer clothing, the best months to drop off clothes are January, February and March. You are more likely to sell your clothes if you sell at the start of each season. I save out of season clothes until the right time of year. For example, if I have a really nice sweater to sell, but it’s March, I will save it in a bag in my closet until August and try to sell it then.




{via}


6 – Take clothing to two stores. Find two different stores where you can sell your clothing. Some stores, such as Plato’s Closet, Crossroads Trading Co., and Buffalo Exchange, pay cash for clothes on the spot. If you choose to take the money, you will usually get 35% of what the item’s selling price will be. You can also choose to take an in-store credit, which means you will receive credit to shop in that store for 50% of the selling price of your items. Other stores run as traditional consignment stores, where you drop your items off at the store {they still choose which ones to accept} and you only get money if they sell. Depending on the store, your items will be on the sales floor for 30-90 days and you can go in and pick up your cash at a later date.


I usually take my clothes to a big, upscale consignment store chain in Phoenix called MySister’s Closet FIRST. Their customers are mostly middle class women, so they are more likely to take my higher end brands – such as Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Banana Republic, J.Crew, designer jeans, etc. I then take everything they don’t accept down the road to Plato’s Closet where they are more likely to accept “younger” brands such as Forever 21, H&M, etc. because their main customers are teenagers and young adults. By selling at both these stores, since they appeal to different customers, I am able to sell more of my items and earn more money than if I just went to one store.


*If you have time, try to sell on weekdays, instead of weekends, when stores are less busy.






7 – Goodwill it! After I sell my clothes at these two different stores, I immediately take whatever was rejected to the Goodwill to be found by happy thrifters. The whole process of selling at both stores and dropping the remainders at Goodwill takes me about an hour and half total.


If you go through this process twice a year, once for the summer season and once for the winter season, you will benefit from a clean, manageable closet and have some extra cash in your pocket as well! Happy closet cleaning!


Come visit me – I’d love to meet you!


Blog // Facebook // Twitter

xoxo,


Jen

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

project life: week 5 and thrift tip

Here we are, week 6 and I'm still a week behind. I have a feeling I won't ever be able to have the week done by Tuesday so I think I'm going to settle for just sharing the previous week's pages each Tuesday. With that said, here is week 5:

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Isaac helped his daddy put together his new bike seat and then we took it for a spin!

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Dinner at BJ's. Isaac sat in a booster seat and his daddy helped him color the kids menu.

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I've been trying more vegetarian recipes lately. This is one of my own creations, inspired by the awesome baked potatoes at BJ's. It's a baked potato stuffed with steamed veggies and covered in homemade alfredo sauce. It was super delicious. Be on the look out for that recipe on the blog.

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I baked bread this week using the spent grain left over from Ben's homebrew (beer). I used this recipe. Ben loved it. I thought it was a little dry. I'll probably make a few adjustments next time. When the beer is done, I'm planning to make a loaf of this beer bread. Yum yum, right?

For both of the food photos I just added a white label sticker right on top. It just makes it easy to add a short caption.

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Isaac got his first pair of brand new shoes this week. All be it they are from Walmart. But I finally found a pair of shoes that slip right on and aren't too big. We brought them home, put them on and he could not stop walking around and around and around. He loves shuffling around outside in the backyard. And now he walks himself all the way from the house to the car. I think he would climb in if he could. But we're not quite there yet.

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These two have been best buds this week. For this caption I just wrote a note on a white card, added an arrow sticker and stapled it to the photo. Simple and cute.

The Mom Creative

And onto today's thrift tip. This one won't save you a ton of money, but it is fun.

My husband has been talking about homebrewing for a couple years now. At first it was just an idea. Then it was an idea for further down the road. And then it became an idea for a hobby he wanted to start, like now.

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For Christmas, I researched beer brewing kits, types, costs, etc. I found a class on our city's deal saver (half price) and bought him the basic starter kit. Ladies, don't know what to get your husband for birthday or Christmas? Beer brewing kit. He'll love you forever.

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thrift tip: brew your own beer

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Let's say the average case of Sam Adam's is about $35. Ben is currently brewing a beer that is similar. He paid $40 for the kit. It made 52 beers. In the end we saved about $10. Plus, according to the beer connoisseur to which I'm married, it tastes way better. And it's a fun hobby to boot!