Yay for Menu planning! I really got off the bandwagon of this for awhile, but I recently got back on it. It has helped us so much and I'm spending way less money at the grocery store, which for us right now, is a necessity. I know not many people care, but it's helping me get in the right direction as far as organization, so you're just going to have to get used to me doing this weekly.
Here is the plan for this week.
*As a note, breakfasts and lunches are all the same. Oatmeal or eggs for breakfast, and sandwiches for lunch*
Monday- Leftover salad and garlic bread (we had our Bible study over last night for a lasagna dinner and I was planning on having leftovers of lasagna, but alas, there was non left to be had)
Tuesday- Sloppy Joes (or, for the PC people, Untidy Josephs) and steamed veggies
Thursday- Christmas ham dinner at my brother's
Friday- Mac and Cheese with chicken tenders
Saturday- Christmas lunch at dinner at the cousin's
Sunday- Taco soup
I didn't do the family favorites addition this time, since I'm not really making a family favorite. Maybe next time!
I'm such a horrible blogger. I think about posting something, but then I never get around to it. I am so envious of the other bloggers that have something great to write nearly every day, while I struggle to put out a single post. I don't know how many readers I have, but I don't want to lose any, simply because I don't post that often.
That being said, I think I going to try to make this more of a fun journal. I may post something serious, I will probably post about what's going on in my life and my ever evolving walk with God, but I will mostly post things I'm finding interesting at the moment. It may be something from another blog I read, it may be a fun You Tube video, or it may be some lyrics to a song that is speaking to me at the moment. I'm just thinking about this as a journal, so some day I can look back and see what I found entertaining or thought provoking at the moment.
That being said, this post will be about what happened this past week. "What happened?" You ask? Well, Let me just show you:
Oh my lucky stars! It's snow!! In the desert!!! Yes folks, it snowed in the desert. I woke up Wednesday morning at 6:30 and thought it looked whiter than normal outside, so I got out of bed and peeked through the blinds and there it was. In all it's wet and cold glory. SNOW!!!!!
I opened all the blinds in the house and just stared. I figured it would all be gone by 9am, so I was soaking it all in. I also went out and took tons of pictures, just to capture the magical moment.
Here are a few of them:
Down the street
Come rain, sleet or snow, USPS will always deliver
Earlier in the morning
Our front yard
By 11am, the snow was not slowing down. It was actually coming down more! Eric wanted to go drive in it, so I bundled up, grabbed a blanket and off we went. The main roads were pretty bad. Desert people just don't know how to deal with snow, so Eric went down some side streets. He had fun testing out our TCS and anti lock breaks on our car. After about an hour, we went home to go sit by the fire. By 2 in the afternoon, it was STILL snowing, so we decided to go to my aunt and uncles house to watch the snow from their picture windows. It took twice as long to get there, but we made it and my dad took some pictures of us by the snowman my cousins made earlier that day.
When we got home that evening, we couldn't even pull all the way in the driveway, because there was too much snow. I couldn't believe it. This is the most snow I have seen. Ever. By the time we went to bed that evening, we had 10 inches of snow, and it was still coming down.
Our car stuck in the driveway
Our poor tree. Three branches broke off
The front of our house from across the street
The snow lined up with the sidewalk10 inches!!
The last of the snow melted today, but I will never forget the fun we had last Wednesday. I'm still hoping and praying we can have another day like it soon!
Our family has a yearly tradition that dates back to when I when I was in high school and before all the kids were born (except for Katie and Maggie). Every Thanksgiving weekend, the cousins trek up the mountain to spend the weekend at a cabin in Big Bear. I wasn't allowed until I was out of high school, but ever since then, it's been a tradition I always look forward to. We've been to three different cabins in the past, but the current one we stay at is our all time favorite. It has 4 bedrooms and two good sized living spaces. It fits perfectly with our growing bunch.
Below are some photos from this past weekend. I miss it already!
"Serious" Eric, on the way up the mountain
The view once we got up there
Here is our home away from home, Coulter Lodge.
A trip to the cabin isn't complete without playing a bunch of games.
I'm almost out!!
Poker is a must during Big Bear weekend
I'm preparing to deal
My brothers, Dave (who is camera shy) and Jon
My cousin, Tom, is the big winner!
Whatcha drinkin' Dave? Amanda takes in the action Karen's Big Bear tradition is to work on her scrap booking
Usually after spending lots of time sitting and watching movies, or playing games, we like to go out and get some fresh air by taking a walk.
My niece and nephew, Mia and Nick
My nephews, Justin and Joshua Joshua is all bundled up! Good grief is he ever cute!
Me and the hubster. Sorry it's so blurry! This one is a bit too dark, but at least it isn't blurry! We are in the same spot as above too. Jon and Amanda Dave and Karen A random shot of the roaring fire we always had going
I can't believe Big Bear weekend has already come and gone. We always have so much fun and I'm already looking forward to next year!
I love this time of year. I love baking Christmas cookies, putting up my decorations and listening to fun Christmas music. As Andy Williams sings, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!"
Since this is the year of homemade Christmas gifts, I've been busy putting everything together for my Christmas gift baskets. It's been so nice not to be stressed out about what to get people. I love shopping, but sometimes trying to figure out the perfect gift can be quite the challenge. This year, everyone is getting the same thing, so it makes my life so much easier!
I'm looking forward to posting some of the pictures of what I have been making, but since some of my readers may get said gifts, I won't show them until after Christmas. However, I also have a boat load of pictures from our Big Bear trip this past weekend, so I will be posting those soon. Hopefully I can get them up tonight.
I hope everyone has a wonderful time this Christmas season and for your viewing pleasure, here is a fun acapella group doing the 12 Days of Christmas!
I love this group because I can just see AndyBernard singing in a group like this at, you know, Cornell.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It's the fun holiday get together with the family without stressing over buying presents. As Thanksgiving approaches, I've been thinking over these past couple of months. In the world's eyes, I don't have much to be thankful for. We lost our jobs and money has been extremely tight. I could be sitting and moaning about our situation, but instead, I choose to be thankful. Instead, I choose to count my blessings . Instead, I choose to think about God's sovereignty and His ultimate knowledge and I choose rest in Him.
I could go on and on about what I am thankful for, but I will just put down a select few.
I am thankful that God continually supplies our needs. Miraculously our bills are paid and we have enough money to put food on the table. I mentioned to Eric the other day that his unemployment check and my paycheck is the exact amount of our monthly bills. I don't think that's a coincidence.
I am thankful for my wonderful family that has supported us with gift cards, money and copious amounts of prayer. I am blessed to have them and I am humbled by their generosity. I can only hope we can give back someday.
I'm thankful for my new job. I don't make as much as I did before, but it's a great job and I have a wonderful Christian man as a boss. It's kind of nice not hating my job.
I'm thankful for our church. It's wonderful to have a place to go to and just rest. We are starting to build some wonderful relationships and I'm looking forward to what God has in store for us and for the church.
Lastly, I'm thankful that it's almost Thanksgiving. I love this time of year and this year I can really see that I have much to be thankful for.
I got a job as a part time office manager at an insurance company. The hours are great and I will still be able to take care of my home and still get some income for our bills. I'm so stoked! I will also be working for an awesome Christian man who treats his employees really well.
At first I wasn't sure if I should take the job. When we got laid off I really thought that this was God's way of getting me home. I was convinced I would not ever be returning to work. Eric however, didn't feel this was the time. He feels I will be home someday, but not now. He didn't want to crush my hopes, but after much praying and searching God's word, he still wasn't convinced.
We met with one of our pastors on Monday to get some direction. This pastor also happens to own the insurance company I will be working for. He prefaced the meeting by saying he has a job for me if I wanted it, but to not let that sway our decision. He told us to look over and pray over our budget. If we could really live on one income, he would understand if I didn't take the job. He had other people he could hire, but he wanted to give me the opportunity first, since I have 8 years office experience. He gave us a couple days to pray over it and get back to him.
Eric and I went home and looked over our budget. Even if Eric got a great paying job, it would be tight. We have already cut many things out of our budget (cable, Netflix, cutting back the cell phone plan to the bare minimum) and it would still be tight. We prayed over it and the more we prayed, the more we felt that I should take the job. For one, it will pay more than unemployment and two, if Eric did get a great paying job, we could use my income to pay off our debt in half the time. I called the pastor the next day to tell him I would take the job and he wants me to start my training on Monday!! That job is such a blessing.
I had mentioned to Eric that I have never looked for a job. Every job I have had has come to me. I know this is a God thing. There is no other explination!
I thought I would post some scriptures that I have been meditating on since last week. They have brought great comfort and peace in a time of uncertainty. All I can say is that I regret not being this enamored with God before the layoff. If the layoff was God getting our attention, it certainly worked and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Isaiah 12:2- Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
Romans 8:28- And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Jeremiah 29:11-13- For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Isaiah 49:13- Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
Philippians 4:6-7- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
James 1:2-4- Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Eric and I were talking this morning and we are thinking that this forced time off is a blessing is disguise. We aren't as stressed as we have been since we aren't rushing off to work and we have been spending so much time together it's been wonderful. We have also been able to work on some big cleaning projects around the house.
Yesterday I tackled our guest room (aka room of doom) and threw away a bunch of stuff that we kept for whatever reason. I was also able to vacuum, since I could see the floor after throwing stuff away and dust the furniture in there. I washed the bed linens and made the bed. Now our guest room is ready for guests!
Today I'm working on the cat room/office area. The floor needs to be vacuumed and then it's off tot he hard work of scrubbing the carpet and steam cleaning it. We have a cat that will pee on one specific area when he's mad at us. Little brat. I usually only have time to spray it with some carpet cleaner and wipe the area down, but not scrub it like I should. I'm planning on really going to town on that in just a few minutes!
We also will be working on our filing and shredding of this past years financial papers and re-organize our book shelves and desk areas. I'm dreading that actual work, but I'm looking forward to the end results! I'll reward myself later with a slice of the apple pie that is in my oven now!
We are really calm about this whole situation now. The first couple of days were hard, but we are resting in Him right now and it's the best place to be. On Tuesday we will be working on our resumes with my cousin and then Eric is going to hit the job hunt hard. He has a small lead already and we are praying that God will direct the job search.
We have decided I will get my resume ready for if I need it, but Eric will be the main one focusing on the job search. If he can't find anything great for right now, we will work on my finding a job. We are both satisfied with that direction.
God has been amazing through all of this and we could not be doing this alone. Our hope is in Him and I'm really happy about that.
Eric and I were laid off yesterday. To say we were surprised is the understatement of the year. It was more like we were blindsided.
I'm still in shock. If I'm not crying, I'm walking around like a zombie. Eric is doing well. He said it hasn't really hit him yet, however, he feels that God has something bigger and better for us in store. I'm so thankful for him right now, because he is my rock.
I'm scared, confused and overwhelmed and yet, I know God is there. This didn't surprise God at all. He knew it was going to happen and He knows what will happen in the future. I'm just holding onto Him with all my might as He leads us down this new path. Who knows, maybe we were given this forced time off to help us strengthen our marriage. Maybe there is an even better job out there for Eric that he never would have found if he hadn't been laid off. I'm just trusting (well, trying to trust) and praying that God will work in wondrous ways through this storm.
Since we got the news yesterday, the Casting Crowns' song Praise You in this Storm has been running through my head and today I heard it twice on the radio within 30 minutes (I was channel surfing). This will be my theme song for awhile.
I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down and wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day. But once again, I say amen and it's still raining as the thunder rolls I barely hear You whisper through the rain, "I'm with you" and as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.
Chorus: And I'll praise you in this storm and I will lift my hands for You are who You are no matter where I am and every tear I've cried You hold in your hand You never left my side and though my heart is torn I will praise You in this storm
I remember when I stumbled in the wind You heard my cry to You and raised me up again my strength is almost gone how can I carry on if I can't find You and as the thunder rolls I barely hear You whisper through the rain "I'm with you" and as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away
I lift my eyes onto the hills where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth I lift my eyes onto the hills where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
One of the blogs I adore hosts a little meme called "Feminine Friday". It's a way for us gals to show how many different ways we can include some femininity in our lives. I usually don't participate because in all honesty, I'm not that feminine. Sure, I love pretty things as much as the next girl, but in reality, I 'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal.This week she is asking us to share our favorite scripture that we use in times of tribulation. This week, a good friend of Kelly's lost her daughter. Even though I am not yet a mother, I can't help but feel sadness for this family as they go through this time of grief. The verse that immediately came to mind is:
Romans 8:28:And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
It is just a great reminder that no matter what the trial may be, God is constantly working in our lives and even though we can't see the "calm through the storm", HE is there working through us and in the end, we will look back at God's great mercy and go "why did I ever doubt Him?"
My thoughts and prayers are definately with this family.
Even though it's still 90 degrees outside, I felt like decorating for fall today! It may as well feel like fall inside, even though it still feels like summer outside! I dug out my box of decorations and got to work and I must say, it looks nice and cozy now!
Here is the overview of the living room. Don't mind the giant fan in the corner. It may be ugly, but that thing really make a difference in the coolness of the room.
Here is a close up of the mantel.
A close up of our coffee table
Here is my dining room table
I haven't even lit any of my candles and already my house smells like pumpkins and cinnamon. I love this time of year!
While my freshly mopped floors dry, I thought I would take this chance to post about the apple pie I made! I was pretty proud of myself, since this was my first pie ever.
Since we bought some nice apples at Oak Glen, I thought I would use some up by making a pie. I used this recipe and the only thing I would change is the type of apples (I used the Spartans I picked, but I would rather use Granny Smith) I used and maybe I will add a little more sugar and cinnamon. Other than that, this recipe is great!