Friday, July 31, 2009

Bargain hunting or exercising? Both!

This morning I had to make a choice between going garage-saling or taking a walk to get some early exercise in. I knew I needed the exercise more-so I packed up the toddler in the Ergo and off we went (grandma was watching O). Halfway through the walk what did we see? A garage sale right on our path! I didn't find anything, but it was still fun -and I felt blessed to have done what I should but still got to do what I wanted!

I should mention that I have scored some sweet bargains in the past week-we picked up a full sized metal swingset in good condition for FREE at a sale, some perfect condition books for M for $0.25 and I got 2 full outfits and a pair of shoes from old navy for $20 total (which I needed fairly badly since my old size doesn't fit yet!)

Adorable clowny smile

Is it bad to say that my daughter has a "clowny" smile? That's what comes to mind when I think of her full-on biggest smile:) It sure is adorable though.

Her little ears stick out a little too so that makes her all the cuter;)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Burn-out on home ownership

Daniel and I are both close to total burn-out on this homeownership business-and we haven't even moved in yet!:) After lots of delays and setbacks it again looks like we can't move in when we planned. For once though, I am trying to surrender our plans to the Lord and trust that His plan is best.

It has been easy for me to give into discouragement and anxiety at times. But more than ever I need to put aside those thoughts and words and encourage Daniel since I think he feels the weight of the world on his shoulders in getting a place ready for our family to live. The last thing he needs is for me to be putting extra pressure or trying to ease my fears along with his own.

Most of all we miss being together as a family. This morning I was encouraged by these words in Romans 12: "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality."

And a reminder to cry out to Him when I don't know what to do in Psalm 22 "But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!'

Also I must remember that this is only a season and will soon pass.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Auntie G & Esme come for a visit

M's very own punkin' patch at Gramie Kathy's house

Cousin Esme (well she's MY cousin anyway) and M at the soda fountain

Gramie and M downing some creamy goodness!

Cooking with just a crockpot challenge

Like I've said so many times before, I love my crockpot! Next week I will be borrowing my mom's medium sized crockpot-and that will be my only heat source for cooking in our new house for a week (or two or three?). I am brainstorming ways I can make simple meals with very little prep with only a crockpot.

Breakfasts will be cold cereal or zucchini muffins from the freezer. Lunches will be various types of sandwiches (tuna, chicken salad, cheese or PB & J) with crackers, carrot sticks and fruit. Dinners are the tricky part. So I need your help if you have any to give! I will have little if any counter to chop things-so minimal prep is essential and my pantry full of normal staples will still be packed away for awhile. So I will be starting from scratch with my menus for the most part.

Here's what I've come up with so far:

1. Roast with potatoes and zucchini (all in the crockpot)
2. Use leftovers to make beef noodle soup (cut all up and add beef stock and noodles)
3. Make Salsa Chicken in the crockpot and use as a filling for tacos (will buy shredded cheese, sourcream and pre-cut lettuce at the store)
4. Crockpot Chili with a loaf of french bread from the store and leftover salad from the previous night
5. Crockpot Perfect baked potatoes with leftover chili, carrot sticks & ranch

That's as far as I've gotten. Any ideas for me?

Monday, July 27, 2009

No shortage of veggie eating here!

There is strong motivation to eat lots of veggies in my life now! We keep getting bags of zucchini from the neighbors so I've been eating zucchini in bread for breakfast, zucchini every lunch and lots of other veggies! I am hoping that translates into some weight loss along with the exercise (3 days in a row now!) I've been doing!

I really like exercise in general but its always harder when I am starting out with extra weight and it doesn't feel good. But you gotta love those endorphins when you finally start working out.

I was telling my dad that the best I ever felt while exercising was right before i met Daniel-I was running 50 minutes a day and it felt awesome! I want to get there again someday. But the best kind of exercise EVER?!?! Ultimate frisbee!! Someday I'll find a team to play with again;)

Menu Plan Monday July 27th 2009

We're still at my parents' house this week! We're into a better routine now though, and both girls just about slept through the night the last two nights! I had to re-arrange sleeping arrangements though-my toddler is now sleeping in my room and O is in the other room so I don't wake up for every little snort;)

Monday: Leftovers made into a sausage rice and zucchini frittata with green beans on the side (it was so good-even my super picky dad liked it:)

Tuesday: Steak and burgers on the grill, rice pilaf, breaded zucchini

Wednesday: Out to eat with gift cert. (mom requested no cooking so she can help me with making curtains for our new house)

Thursday: Lasagna (and making a zucchini lasagne to take home with us)

Friday: eat out again

Saturday: Frozen Pizza

Sunday: God willing, we'll be heading over the mountains to live in our new house! I am praying for everything to go well with floor installation the next couple days and the toilet/sink/shower to get in the bathroom!

Lunches are sandwiches, leftovers, breakfast is cold cereal, zucchini bread

What's on your menu plan this week?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Healthy, tasty and easy-my kind of food

Since I mentioned earlier I would talk a little bit about what I am eating to work on losing my baby weight-here's a little snapshot of two good meals.

For breakfast today I wanted to use up some fat free cottage cheese. I found out after I bought it that I don't like fat free cottage cheese at all-its not like fat free sour cream or yogurt that tastes okay compared to light in my opinion. So it has sat in our fridge for several days. I wanted pancakes but they are a no-no on core for the most part. Then I remembered that some pancake recipes for core blend in stuff like fat free cottage cheese to give them more staying power!

Here's the basic recipe

Throw all the following in the blender
4 eggs
1 cup oats
splenda to taste
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese

I had to add more liquid to get them to blend but the blender here is lame. The second batch I made used banana chunks in place of a couple eggs and the splenda and it worked out okay. These were yummy and super filling. My toddler ate several.

For lunch I am having a little leftover whole grain pasta heated in a skillet with a whole diced zucchini, some onion, a little canola oil, a handful of cooked pinto beans, sprinkled with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a tiny bit of parm. Also good and filling-very frugal too:)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Loves me some bargains July 21st, 2009

Well these aren't complete grocery trips for the week by any means, but they are some awesome deals so I thought I would share.

We did the Rite Aid rebate deal for buy $50 worth of certain products, get a $25 gift card back. I also got a baby bottle so that my mom can feed baby O when I get my tooth looked at on Monday. Since I might not have a washing machine at first when we move into our new house in a week and a half, I thought I should stick to disposables a little while longer. Oh, I will also get a coupon for a free pack of diapers with this deal. I spent (yikes!) right over $50 for the following, but with the free pack of dipes and gift card its still a good deal for me.

Also, this is so crazy but somehow I got all pictured below at Albies for $0.55. 2 packs of playtex gloves, 2 6packs of angel soft tp, 2 rolls of sparkle paper towels and sugar. They were having problems with ringing it up and couldn't take my debit or gift card because it was offline. So I was digging for cash and they told me not to worry about it-so my real oop was actually $0! Crazy, I know.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Baby O's VBAC Birth Story: Part 1

On May 20th (O's due date) I got test results back from one of the group health midwives. Although my urine sample was clean, she wanted me to start bed rest asap to keep it from developing to another case of PIH. I was super uncomfortable and more than that was worried about not going into labor on my own before 42 weeks. I drank RR leaf tea, walked all around Lowes with my family (and was having some serious braxton hicks that night-but nothing real different from before). I woke up in labor before 5am on Thursday morning. I wasn't sure it was the real thing for about 4-5 hours because the contractions weren't super intense and felt more like terrible menstrual cramps. I called Daniel at his break at work at about 10:00am and asked him to come home. M was already staying with a friend so we got ready but didn't leave for the hospital until 1:15pm or so (we live over an hour away though). I was still having enough time between contractions to enjoy life but the contractions got more intense on the 1 1/2 hour ride to the hospital. In Seattle, we met our doula and walked around the neighborhoods near the hospital for 2 1/2 hours. We got some food after awhile and when the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart we headed in to get checked in. I couldn't talk or walk through them at this point.

The doula and I both thought active labor had been progressing well for a number of hours and that we'd see something (I was anticipating at least a 5-6 dilation). Getting checked was SO disappointing when we found out I was only a 3! I began to labor in the hospital and labored through most of the night. I was on my feet walking around, then leaning on the bed or on Daniel, then in the labor tub and again. Around 4am or so they checked me and I hadn't made any progress. We decided on something to help me rest and relax as I was starting to get exhausted. My husband was exhausted as well and starting to get discouraged.

The midwife suggested that we try to get some rest and that maybe morphine would allow for some sleep. I did that and did get sleep between contractions. After I woke up I was checked and had made progress to a 4-5 and was officially in active labor.

To be continued...

Monday, July 20, 2009

WVBC summer outreach pics

Thanks to Cathy for posting a couple pics on Facebook. I borrowed them since I have no pictures uploaded to share with you! This was on Saturday in Wenatchee. It was HOT! And fun.

Menu Plan Monday -another cooking for the Gregory's edition

Another Monday, another menu plan. But because I am dorky, I love to do it:)

We're at my parent's house for another few weeks like I mentioned earlier so I am cooking with/for them. My mom hates cooking so usually it works out well for us. My dad won't eat much that doesn't have a huge side of meat so I cook differently here than at home (where I have a much different budget to work with!)

Monday: Burgers and Veggie Burgers, home fries, salad

Tuesday: Chili, cornbread (I am teaching my brother who is getting married next summer how to cook on the cheap-he's interested in learning how to make stuff with beans)

Wednesday: Pasta Carbonara, salad, whole wheat sourdough from the bakery down the street-gotta love small towns

Thursday: BBQ-ed chicken, brown rice, grilled zucchini
*we marinated some chicken tenders in vinegar this weekend and then in some italian dressing and grilled it on the BBQ-so moist and tender-yum!

Friday: eat out

Saturday: Steaks, mashed potatoes, salad

Sunday: Pot Luck at church-bring leftover frozen chili or make tex-mex casserole (Texas theme for our beloved worship leader and family who are heading to seminary in Texas)

Lunches are sandwiches, leftovers, breakfast is cold cereal (my friend Rebecca encouraged me to do the Kelloggs' rebate so we have 10 boxes to eat through:) or zucchini or blueberry muffins

What's on your menu plan this week?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Back on the Eastside, Baby:)

Our last housesitting job ended almost a week early so the girls and I are back in the middle of the state again. It was a bit of a scramble to get everything moved out and packed again, so I apologize for my lack of posting!

Since we'll be here for 2 weeks or more, we are trying to get more settled in this time. Delays on our house being ready have happened before so I've decided to just settle in and not put undue pressure on Daniel to finish. Poor guy has enough pressure as it is and is putting in 40+ hour weeks on the house in addition to his normal day job and other responsibilities. I guess in this game setbacks are the norm.

My parents have been great in allowing us to come over and stay with them multiple times this summer. If it weren't for missing Daniel it would be almost a vacation over here:)

I'll be back to regular posting this week and the next, then when we move in I'll take another break since we won't have internet at the new house for a little while. But hopefully I can post before and after pictures of our house-its dramatic even now without anything but the walls up!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

She lives a life of danger...

I never knew how wild and crazy toddler life would be. Big sis, who is 21 1/2 months old now has had a wild couple of days. She danced so hard last night (which consists of spinning in circles as fast as she can!) that she got dizzy and slammed her upper nose into a wooden chair. She looks like she got punched.

Today her kitten wars produced a nice bloody gash where she got scratched on her cheek. M also has bruised knees after falling multiple times chasing the dogs outside -which previously she was too afraid of to get near-today she played with them for over an hour by herself(as I watched from inside). How she will survive to her second birthday is beyond me!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Menu Plan for the week of 7/13/09

This is my favorite time of day-right after putting M down for bed. This and from 11-1 in the afternoon-M's nap time! I sometimes get to take a nap with O at that time, depending on her level of cooperation with actually falling asleep and staying asleep! So...I get to spend a rare few minutes on the computer now! That is until O starts fussing which should happen soon:) So here's what's on the menu this week, which will be a heavy planned leftovers week so that Daniel will have food next week when I am away from him once again;(

This menu plan is interrupted by the nasty flu-and my inability to keep anything down all night long last night.

So Monday's dinner will be only for the toddler-probably Mac N Cheese instead:)

Monday: Italian Scrambled Eggs or another dish that uses lots of eggs, salad

Tuesday: BBQ chicken and sweet potatoes (on the menu for three weeks now!)

Wednesday: Hamburger Tator Tot Casserole-to use up some stuff

Thursday: Probably monday's egg dish

Friday: Teriyaki Chicken or the like with Brown rice and broccoli

After that I will be moving back with my parents again for a week or so until the floors and bathroom are done and our water/power is on in the new house. The rest of the work will be done while living there-fun times;)

So...back to the flu of death again. Going to lay down with baby O, drink apple juice with lots of ice and wait to die. Just joking:)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Loves me some grocery bargains 7/11/09

Here is my Albertson's haul this week: Less than $10 bucks after doubles and catalinas! Thanks to several friends who pointed me to the stores in our area that were stocked with tuna and to Marie my coupon supplier! Oh, the Dove chocolate was from Walgreens-used up a few expiring register rewards to get a treat:)
What was free? The lunchmeat, dressing and starbucks drinks. Baby wipes, trim juices, high quality ground beef, natural peanut butter were all $0.50 or less a piece after twice the value coupons. The tuna worked out to be like $0.10/packet after sales/coupons/catalinas and we use it a ton here when we have it-yay!

I am so thankful for weeks like these where I can spend very little on groceries (I did buy some produce on another trip for another $10 or so though) since we have been over budget on other areas such as gas due to our house renovation trips.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Quit Whining Already!

Yes, I have had a difficult few months in the physical and emotional sense with moving 4 times and having a difficult labor and delivery with our second child. But alright already, this article reminded me I need to quit whining! I really truly have a lot to be thankful for and things could be a whole lot worse. My husband has a job, we have a car and a roof (or several as we move from place to place:) over our heads. Plus plenty of food, great friends and family etc.

I needed this reminder after an incredibly trying day with my sweet toddler who wasn't so sweet. I lost my patience many times today and yelled at her. Convicted- oh yes I am.

Thanks to Amy's Humble Musings for the link.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Still housesitting...

We are blessed to be house-sitting. But I am SO ready to be in my own house! Trying trying to be patient and content in the meantime:)

Here are some recent pictures of our family:

Grandpa Blake and baby O

Snuggling with baby O

More mama snuggles

Grampa and the flying game

Daddy and M-story time

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

This dish is quick, easy, and so healthy. Versatile too if you want to add ingredients or make it different ways. Make it budget-friendly by stocking up on cheap boneless skinless chicken when on sale (mine was $1.79/lb) and buying the salsa in bulk, using coupons/sales or making your own with garden tomato abundance.

Its only four ingredients, too!

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
32 oz. salsa (any kind, be creative!)
2 cups frozen or 2 cans corn (add a little extra water if using frozen)
1 can black beans

Put all ingredients except for beans in the crockpot for 8 hours on low. (or 4 hours on high should work too). Add beans when chicken is done. Serve over rice or in tortillas if desired. I've read variations on this recipe adding sour cream or cream cheese to make it creamier, but I am doing the old weight watcher's core program so not so much for me:)

(this is the ready to be cooked picture)

This recipe is very forgiving on amounts, so using less salsa or less chicken or whatever is not going to ruin it. You may want to shred the chicken before adding the beans if using on tacos or in another mexi-dish. Yum!

URS is here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Big Baby O

Here's a picture of me and girls at our church's fourth of July picnic. Thanks Shari!

Just weighed my baby girl (6 weeks old already!) and she's 13 lbs! At least by the digital scale at the house here-no wonder I feel like I am always nursing. Now if only she'd stay asleep for longer than 2 seconds after I put her down:)

Twice the Value-double the fun

My energy and motivation for deal hunting are still not back up to normal, but I did get some deals with the Albertson's Twice the Value coupons yesterday. Daniel was sick most of the day but he felt well enough to go to the store with me by late evening. We only had our 6 week old with us so it almost felt like a date!;)

We each did one transaction with three doublers. After using the $6 in catalinas from my tuna mac trip, we spent about $5 for all this and got $3 back to spend next time. Plus I got several things I was looking to buy whether a good deal or not-the pickles, splenda, baby wipes and diced tomatoes for chili.

By the way, if anyone knows an Albertson's on the kitsap penninsula with more tuna packets today let me know-we've already eating almost half the packets we bought (9 of them!) so we're going through the tuna deal much quicker than I thought.

So here's what I bought for $5 (and my picture didn't turn out for some reason:(

Nalley's Pickles $0.89 after doubles
2 Starbucks frappacino bottled drinks $0.39 each after doubles
Huggies Wipes $0.50 after doubles
Hunts tomatoes $1 after sale
2 Skippy Natural's PB $0.99 each after store coupon (and got $1 oyno too)
10 boxes kraft mac n cheese $1 total after oyno catalina from last time and B3G1
Splenda tablets $0.69 after doubles
Oscar Meyer bologna free after doubles
1 2 liter albertson's diet lemon lime (for sore tummy) $1

Grocery Cart Challenge is the place to be for more shopping trips!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I see lots of tuna mac in our future...

My recent Albertson's trip-10 boxes Mac N Cheese, 20 packets tuna, 1 box instant decaff for $10 AND I have $6 to spend on my next order (thanks to great coupons and sales and a kind friend sharing coupons--thanks Marie!)

I got this great deal courtesy of the sweltering heat and two babies that needed to get out of the house- so we went to the nice air conditioned albertson's:)

Bits and Pieces

Two cute girls and one 52 pound cat.

Friday, July 3, 2009

My little bro just got engaged!

My one and only sibling, Jon(athan) just got engaged tonight at Ohme Gardens in Wenatchee! He and his now fiancee Nicole have known eachother since they were literally rugrats in elementary school together. He's been scheming ways to propose for months now but he finally got permission from his future father-in-law and popped the question!

I will post pictures of the cute future Mr. and Mrs. Jon G... as soon as I can. I believe they are planning to wed next summer.

Congrats you two!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Free Starbucks Ice Cream at Safeway! (and why I am not eating it:)

Safeway has individual servings of Starbucks icecream for $1 right now and if you buy two and use the recent $2 off starbucks icecream coupon it works to get you free icecream! I thought that was pretty sweet.

But! Sadly I have stopped losing pregnancy weight (for the last oh...4 weeks;) so no starbuck's icecream goodness for me. But I have an active hubby with an amazing metabolism, so he enjoyed two starbuck's cups for me tonight:)

Which brings me to what I have decided to do for that dreaded weight loss. I am going to ease back into the Core plan from Weight watchers. I followed it about half the day today, but am going to ease my dinners into it slowly so I don't spend a bunch of money right away. I love the variety and the fact that you don't count points or calories or anything-just eat until you are comfortable and satisfied.