Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Praises- A Pictoral Review!

Last Thursday, we took Coralynn to the ENT because of her speech delays.  The ENT discovered that Coralynn had chronic fluid in her middle ear.  She was given two medicines, got x-rays and an appointment to see an audiologist.  Proving God isn't too big to care about our concerns, Tony found out that the audiologist went to the University of Illinois and worked in our hometown.  (It's a town of 20K people in the middle of an Illinois cornfield.)  I was touched beyond measure that the Lord cared enough about my little worries to send us to someone from "home."

Yesterday, we saw the audiologist.  She ran 4 hearing tests on Coralynn and concluded that she has no hearing issues beyond the fluid, and even those losses are mild.  Praise God!!  We're now praying and believing that the medicine will clear up the fluid so surgery won't be necessary.  But, if surgery is necessary, the audiologist assured me that the ENT we are seeing is highly competent.

Yesterday, we were supposed to spend the afternoon cleaning up for company we were having that evening.  About 15 minutes after geting home from school, Chloe's Georgia bff skyped.  They hadn't talked in weeks so we decided that catching up with our friend is far more important than catching up on the laundry!

Tony's boss from Illinois was in Panama yesterday, and it just so happened that a new CAT store was having it's grand opening.  So, we headed out to the festivities.  It was unbelievable.  There were appetizers and drinks, freebies, and discount cards being handed out.  They were definitely drawing a crowd.

Although I don't bleed CAT yellow like my husband does, I was quite proud to see how well the store was being received.  (And it's a hoot to go these functions with accountants.  They just look at the world differently- more cheaply!)

They even cut a yellow CAT ribbon with yellow-ribboned scissors!   
(Felt like I was with dignitaries!) 

 After we left the grand opening, we headed out to dinner with Tony's boss, Bill.  It was a wonderful time getting to have grown-up conversation.  I thanked Bill for not making me cut his meat!  Bill and his family spent several years overseas about a decade ago, so he is a great mentor and encourager to us.  My life is easier when Tony has a good supervisor, and Bill might be the greatest boss ever.  I count him among our blessings!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Money Monday!

I haven't updated in quite a while about how the housing fund is going. In this case, no news is good news.  We've been able to save our goal amount every month.  That's a testament to God's goodness in our lives.  Assuming we are here for the next 2-3 years, we should be able to buy a house that meets our needs with no mortgage!

Weird thing has happened, though.  The house the meets our needs may be getting smaller.  We have 4 kids and a three-bedroom apartment.  Also, currently, we have four children sleeping in one room.  Why?  Because they want to, and why not?  They sleep well together so I like letting them.  Chloe and Camilla sleep together.  Coralynn sleeps in her crib even though her sisters are campaigning to have her moved into their bed.  Carson sleeps on the floor.  And they sleep this way by choice.

Something about this seems off to lots of people, especially in my generation.  There seems to be an idea that people above a certain income group shouldn't have children sharing rooms, let alone beds.  And brothers and sisters in the same room?  That's just wrong for so many.  Why?  Because.  There is no reason outside of because.  (I understand that some people's children don't sleep well in the same room, but that isn't the case for us, and it isn't the point of this conversation.)

Somewhere along the line, we've bought into this lie that space is a need.  Houses are getting bigger and farther apart.  Cars are getting huge.  (And tiny.  An interesting juxtaposition.)  We believe, for whatever reason, that each child needs a certain square footage of their own to be happy and productive human beings.  I've been told by lots of people that Chloe needs her space.  Chloe needed her space for 6 weeks, and then she decided she like being with her sisters more.

 I can hear y'all arguing with me.

"But, Lisa, once Chloe is a teenager, she'll want more privacy!"  Yes, she will.  I want a Louis Vuitton handbag.  When Chloe gets to be teenager will somebody buy me the purse?  I think dealing with a teenager should earn me the purse!  Is it my responsibility to buy more house than we need because Chloe, or one of the others, wants more space?  Why does her want of space mean she has to have her own bedroom?  Maybe the space she'll want isn't physical, but space to be who she is? Or maybe, as a teenager, she'll need to learn to deal with people in her space?  Perhaps what she'll need, after realizing that boys are dumb, girls are mean, and parents are clueless, is a sister she can trust and talk to late at night.

I have no idea what my children's futures' hold.   I am convinced, however, that an extra 1000 square feet won't determine their place in this world.  I'm equally confident that teaching them to truly decipher between needs and wants will bring them more peace than their own bedroom every could.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weight Update!

It's Saturday night (Happy 60th Birthday, Mom!), and we just returned from Family Fun Night.  I had purchased a coupon for Yogen Fruz so we headed to the mall for an early dinner and frozen yogurt.  And I was nervous.  It's been a tough dietary week with late dinners and too much emotion.  We got to the mall, and I made a decision.  I'm not going to be one of those people who can't partake in her family's fun because she's "on a diet."  

We ordered two meals to split between the 6 of us.  And got two yogurts and two icees.  Family Fun Night, including ride on the Carousel, was under $30.  I have no idea, however, if it was under my 1200 calories.  I do know it was yummy and fun!

Trying to Share

Eating it Alone

Sharing Nicely

Carousel Ride
(And she is not chunky at all- not sure what's up with this photo)

Good to the Last Drop!

Because I did decide to splurge at the mall, I also decided I needed to work out this evening.  Again, I didn't want to miss out on Family Fun Night so I came up with a plan: Turn my workout into a competition.  I challenged Chloe to a Wii Disney Dance Revolution Dance Off.  90 minutes later, we'd both worked up a sweat, and I retained my crown as Dance Master.

Well, in just 10 hours, I'll weigh in again, and we'll all see how successful my week was.  What I already know is that a night of carefree fun with my family was well worth whatever the scale says!

Here we are.  Sunday morning.  And the scale says...

151.  No change.  3.5 pounds down in 3 weeks.

Obviously, that's not the number I was hoping for, but at least there was no gain.  I'm confident that I'll be down next week, and I'm still on track for more than a pound a week.  And I think that's pretty good!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sort Report!

Monday night, Tony and I had the need to clean and organize so we decided to attack the bookshelves.  It took longer than 30 minutes.  It took longer than the 90 minutes I set aside for the week's sorting.  About 2 hours in, I stopped counting.  But, at 9:45, we were done, and I'm thrilled with the results.  (Of course, I didn't take any before shots!)

Camilla's books

Baby's books

Running out of steam

Coralynn's bookshelf is done!

Big Kids' bookshelf is done!



Trash: 23.5 lbs
Donations: 18 lbs
Cumulative Total:  185 pounds

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Getting Over Myself.

So, I feel like a fool.

I came onto the blog to post my blessings for the week, and the blog's host location was having issues.  I pressed the wrong button, and everything went crazy.

Including me.

I started crying, calling Tony, and acting like a fool.  Get a grip, Lisa.  It's only a blog.

The new get-a-grip blessings list:

~My biggest issue today is the blog isn't working!

~My 9 year-old is currently reading her Bible and doing devotions.  And she asked me if it was okay for her to do them!

~I was $6 under budget at Price Smart today!

~Tony had yesterday off from work because it was a Panamanian holiday.  Y'all know that I love Tonytime!

~The kids have no school this week so I'm getting lots of C-time, too!

~We did a serious decluttering of the playroom Monday night.  I cannot wait to show you the results on Saturday!

~I've made some sweet friendships here in Panama.  They look nothing like the ones I had in Georgia, but I'm so thankful for these new relationships!


This is a test.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Breakfast Cookies.

Okay.  I was unclear about the breakfast cookies' recipes so I'm going to devote a post to them.  There are two recipes with different ingredients and different caloric values.  These are BOTH different from the original allrecipe recipe.  Both versions are yummy and would freeze well.  Recipe 1 is slightly sweeter and denser than Recipe 2.  Hope this clears up any confusion!!

Lisa's Breakfast Cookie (Recipe 1)
Each cookie has 199 calories.
Breakfast cookies (Yield 25  1/4 cup cookies.)

1 small container of plain yogurt
1 cup peanut butter (I'm looking for healthier options that I can also afford!)
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/8 cup of honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk (I used whole milk, but others would likely work.)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cup oats
1/2 cup of wheat germ
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chips (or raisins or craisins or white choc chips)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Beat first 5 ingredients together until creamy.
3.  Beat in eggs and milk.
4.  Add in flour, oats, wheat germ. salt, cinnamon, baking soda.  Combine well.  (And, to be honest, I totally forget I left my mixer on, so it beat a good long time with no ill effects.)
5.  Add in chocolate chips.
6.  Drop on greased cookie sheet.  (I used my 1/4 cup measure.)
7.  Bake for 15-18 minutes. (depending on your oven)

Lisa's Spin on Meghan's Take on the Lisa's Breakfast Cookies.  (Recipe 2)
Each cookie has 176 calories.
Breakfast cookies (Yield 22  1/4 cup cookies.)

1 small container of plain yogurt
1 cup peanut butter (I'm looking for healthier options that I can also afford!)
1 medium banana
not quite 1/3 cup of honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk (I used whole milk, but others would likely work.)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cup oats
1/2 cup of wheat germ
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chips (or raisins or craisins or white choc chips)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Beat first 5 ingredients together until creamy.
3.  Beat in eggs and milk.
4.  Add in flour, oats, wheat germ. salt, cinnamon, baking soda.  Combine well.  (And, to be honest, I totally forget I left my mixer on, so it beat a good long time with no ill effects.)
5.  Add in chocolate chips.
6.  Drop on greased cookie sheet.  (I used my 1/4 cup measure.)
7.  Bake for 15-18 minutes. (depending on your oven)

Money Monday!

I failed.  I'd determined at the beginning of the year to not buy anything we didn't need- with the full knowledge that 'needs' is a relative term.  This week I bought school shoes for the Middles and a new backpack for Chloe.  I consider those needs.  But, I bought a definite not need.  And I knew I was doing it when I bought it.

Isn't he cute!  We went to the grocery store Friday after Valentine's Day, and, for the first time ever, Coralynn didn't scream in the cart the whole time.  So, she got a clearance-priced reward. $2.00 for the bear down from $7.  A bargain.  And it was so worth the $2 to see the happy Bits.

(I know the picture is fuzzy, but the face is still priceless!)

Lovin' her bear!

How did your week go?  Are you on track?  Did you decide on a splurge (unnecessary purchase)?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Weekly Weight Update.

This week has been a fairly good one for my diet (the food I eat- not "diet" in the sense of being on a diet) and exercise.  I am pleased by the improvements I'm feeling in my health.  The headaches and dizziness are virtually gone.  As are the overall feelings of yuckiness.  I like the food I am eating and have settled into a routine for breakfast and lunch.  Not having to think about what I'm going to eat makes all the difference!  The kids also seem to be coming around to the idea of being healthier.  Carson, my personal trainer, even took a turn on the treadmill!  I made it to the gym 2 times for a total of 2 hours of exercise time.  Tony and I are working on a plan to allow me more time in the gym.

I did want to update concerning the breakfast cookies.  I made a few mistakes when I originally posted the recipe, so please make sure you have the correct version.  Also, I decided to try a few of the suggestions that my friend, Meghan, offered to lower the sugar content.  Yesterday, I made the cookies substituting a banana for the 3/4 cup of sugar, and I upped the honey to just under 1/3 cup.  I had intended to use the full 1/3, but I couldn't handle pouring that much expensive honey into the recipe so I cut it short.  The kids like the new recipe much better, and the changes cut the calories down to 176 per cookie!

So, without further ado, the weigh in.  Last week, I weighed in at 152.5 pounds.  Today, I weigh...

151 pounds- for a loss of 1.5 pounds!!

Wow.  I'm so excited.  3.5 pounds in 2 weeks is much better than I thought it would go.  I decided that this week, there were 2 tips that worked for me.

1.  Live in a no-fail environment.  We have no chips.  No normal cookies.  No ice cream.  Nothing that would be splurge worthy.  We went out to dinner last night, and it was kind of a mess.  We didn't get what I thought we ordered, and the baby was screaming, and I didn't leave full.  By the time we got home, I was starving.  And not in the mood for cucumbers.  I decided to have a 176-calories breakfast cookie.  I love them because they have tons of filling protein without the fake sugar that tricks you into believing you need to eat more.  One cookie and a huge glass of water, and I was satisified for the night.  (Hard-boiled eggs are my other go-to snack, and have you ever heard of a hard-boiled egg binge?)

2.  As I was running on the treadmill yesterday, (quick aside:  I don't like running.  Unless I'm escaping danger, I'm not happily going to run.) I thought I was going to die.  Don't laugh, but I was hoping to run for a 90-second spurt.  Yes, my dad has run marathons, and I'm trying not to die at the 72 second mark.  That's reality.  So, as I was running, the voices in my head were telling me to just stop and take a break.  But then, I realized something.  I've taken a break for 30 years.  I didn't need or deserve a break.  What I needed to do was make the better choice to help myself overcome all ths breaks I have taken.  So, I made it.  Ran for 90 seconds.  Might be insginifcant to you, but it's huge to me! 

(And don't think for a second, that I don't see a money parallel in that.  If you're in debt because of years of indulging, don't be discouraged because you don't get a break anymore.  You need to overcome all those years of choices, and get back where you need to be.  Then, the opportunities for splurges will return.  You just have to balance the scale first!!)

Me.  Today.  With the cute reason for my weight-loss needs.
(And clearly, I need to work on my red-carpet poses.  Also, Tony and I both think this picture makes me look bigger than I am.  Need to learn the Hollywood twist!)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sort Report!

Today, I gave the kids the task of going through all the playroom toys.



Pretty good work- don't you think??

Today's Total: 10 lbs
Cumulative Total:  143.5 lbs

Friday, February 17, 2012

Funsy Friday!

The blog has been a little Coralynn heavy recently so I thought I'd share some Camilla pictures.  These were taken at the wedding we went to a few weeks ago.  Tony, obviously didn't take them, and I have no recollection of taking them.  My best guess is this was Carson's work.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


~We had water all day yesterday!  That was the first time in 4 days.  It was out this morning, but it appears to be back on today!

~The weather is beautiful.  Nice breezes, blue skies, temperatures in the 80s.   Quite livable!

~I found someone to carpool with on Monday and Tuesday afternoons.  It's nice to not have to run to the school the extra time, but my favorite part is listening to Chloe and her Panama bff talk about school.  Love them!

~I had an appointment with a type of Christian counselor yesterday.  It was a wonderful time, and I feel so blessed to be here in this place where I could have the opportunity to meet with him!  (And let me be super clear- I have no BIG issues.  This is about resetting your brain to heal the wounds of life.  And everyone has wounds.  Everyone.)

~Tony and I are feeling better from our colds.  We feel like we should feel better than we do, but at least we aren't going through near the tissues we were.

~Fortunately, the kids haven't gotten our colds!

~I received a phone call from the mother of another boy in Carson's class.  She called, in part, to ask a favor of me because her son believed Carson to be the kindest boy in the class.  I needed to hear that.  Sometimes, in the heat of parenting, I forget that my kids are more than just their at-home battles.  I'm thankful that Carson is loving to others!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Read One, Get One Free!

So, I had another money-related thought, and it couldn't wait until next Monday.

I'm going to be super bottom-shelf honest.  I don't struggle very much with money issues.  I have my ups and downs, but my variances are minor (the girls' dresses being the major exception).  I was raised in a home without major money struggles, and my own home has never seen serious financial hardships.  Ultimately, I couldn't possibly understand- deeply understand- what it is like to overcome huge financial situations.  I simply haven't lived it.  And I apologize if I've ever come across as condescending in the things I've said.  Truly.  I am sorry.

I had a bit of an epiphany about 3 minutes ago, and I want to share it with y'all.  In its context, it has nothing to do with money, but the application is there.

I'm in the middle of a no-good, very bad day.  I don't feel good.  The water has been out most of the day.  The kids are moody.  And Tony is on my nerves.  It's a day that makes me want to go to bed, but more than that, it's a day that makes me want to eat.  Cookies.  Frosting.  Chips.  Steak and baked potato.  I'm an equal opportunity snacker.  But you know what hit me? 

Those foods are only going to help for a moment.   Then, tomorrow, I'm going to start my day in a lousy mood because I've gained weight.  Am I going to eat because I'm discouraged then, too?  What good is that going to do me?  Or I am going to have to kill myself at the gym working double time to make up for the binge?  Time to stop.  Now.  Before I go any deeper than I already have.

Same works for finances. Sometimes the frustrations of life can build up, and we believe that a new x,y, or z will make us feel better.  And it does.  For a moment.  Unfortunately, though, that feeling passes, and we're left with more issues than we started with. So, I am giving me, and you, permission to say "no" to all the voices saying that we must fill our need for immediate satisfaction.  And I'm praying that you, and I, make the CHOICE to deal with the actual frustrations.

Temporal solutions don't fix issues of the heart.  Cookies aren't going to make my day better.  And a new purse isn't going to help your hurt.   Time for us deal with the issues head on.  And saving the food and the shopping for when it's a need.  We can do this.  One moment at a time.

Money Monday!

So far, this month, we have been doing pretty well with the grocery budget.  Instead of looking at the budget for the whole month, I've been focusing at each week.  Knowing the exact amount I have to spend each week makes it easier for me to stay on budget.  I'm able to plan over the month all the "big things" that I'll need to buy and spread them out.  I'm hoping to figure out a number each week to spend on once-a-month kinds of purchases like diapers, flour, and cleaners.  Then, I'll have the exact number I can spend on food.  I've determined how much most of the meals I prepare cost to help to stay on track financially.

I've also set a weekly dining amount instead of looking at it as a monthly amount to subtract from.  Knowing that we have $56.25 a week helps because it gives us a real number to meet instead of trying to stay under $225 for the month.  By making that simple change, we are well under this month for dining!

We made one questionable non-need purchase.  The kids have been wanting to take water bottles to school, and we have a hodge podge of freebie water bottles they have been taking.  We decided that we wanted them to have better quality and easier to use bottles so I bought a BPA-free Rubbermaid water bottle for each of them.  I also purcashed a smaller ice pack to fit in Camilla's lunch box.  So, what do you think?  Needs?  Total was just under $15.

Also this past week, I received my quarterly check from ebates.  For those who aren't already familiar with ebates, it is an online preshopping site.  You go their webpage before you shop online.  They have hundreds of stores that offer cash back simply by going through ebates. Decide which store you want, and click on its link.  A new page will open that will take you directly to the store's website.  Shop as normal.  Once a quarter a cash back bonus will be mailed to you (or placed in your paypal account).  It's that simple, and it is free. And it's available to people outside the US as long as you use US currency! From the last quarter, I had $33.42 in cash-back bonuses.  Now, that isn't enough for Tony to retire, but it would easily be a dinner out for Tony and me!  (The links in this paragraph are my referral links.  If you make a purchase through ebates, I will receive a onetime $5 credit for referring you to the company.  This is paid to me by the company and doesn't cost you anything.)

My favorite savings tip that I haven't seen published on every other blog is Lands'End On The Counter.  Every Saturday, Lands' End. com places about 90 items on sale.  On Monday, the price reduces by 25%.  On Wednesday, it's 50% off, and on Friday the price is 75% off.  The prices are good as long as the merchandise lasts.  Once the item is gone, it is gone!!  Most items don't make it past Thursday, but this is Lands' End's high quality merchandise at drastically reduced prices.  The company also offers the full return policy even with the On The Counter items!  I've purchased all of my bathing suits there, and have never spent more than $10 for a one-piece suit, and never more than $4.50 for a top or bottom.  They are currently offering lots of winter clothes at reduced prices.  I'm hoping that school uniforms are on sale soon!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Big Changes at Our House!

(I'm not pregnant, and we are not moving.)

Tony and I have made the decision that our family needs to be moving toward healthier lifestyles.  It started with my continual off-feeling.  Then I started getting heart palpitations, headaches, dizziness, and exhaustion. (Tony would like me to add moodiness, but that's just who I am.  ha!) I made the commitment to my friend, Becky, that I would try harder to eat better.  Only a couple of days of half-hearted trying, I saw an improvement.  And 7 days of proper eating, I feel fabulous, and we are all on the healthy-living train.  We're also hoping that a shift to more natural foods will help some behavior issues that have recently emerged.

The first thing we did, a few weeks ago, was get rid of all packaged sweets.  This is mostly cookies and cereal.  I now make all desserts from scratch so I can control the ingredients.  I also make most of the breakfast options with the exception of whole wheat bread (which I could do, but don't wanna) and oatmeal.  We also eliminated all juices from the house for everyone but Coralynn.  The kids were allowed one 100% juice box in their lunch each day, but we bought reusable water bottles yesterday, so juice is going to be gone for a while.  Oh, and we've ended the days of microwave popcorn.

Next, we bought the cooler packs I showed you last week, and the children are now required to pack lunches that require refrigeration instead of the majority of their food being shelf stable.  (I'm hoping to get my hands on some thermos products so they can have hot lunches, too.)  I'm making whole-grain spaghetti and grilled chicken strips for them to take in their lunches.

The next change was initiated by Tony.  We've eliminated 90% of our microwave usage.  Tony's goal is for it to be completely eliminated immediately, but it's going to take a little time because it means that reheating has to be done in the oven or the stove, and the kids need to be trained on those appliances.

Personally, I am trying to lose some weight.  Before my mom panics that I'm going to start starving myself again, no worries.  My weight (mid 150s) is within the healthy range for my height (6ft).  That weight has been maintained through terrible eating habits and no exercise.  My goal is, through better eating habits and exercise, to lose the remainder of the baby weight.  I would like to fall in the middle of the 140s.  (Okay- that's not true.  I'd like to be 135, but my body starts to shut down at 132 so I need to grow up and find a healthier number.)  Each Sunday, I'm going to weigh in and post my weight- it's harder to lie on Sundays!  We will see what happens with the scale!

If you'd like to take this journey with us, I encourage you to come on!  I have a team of 10 ladies who are encouraging me, and I'd love to encourage you!  Let me know your goals, and we can keep each other on track!

I thought I would share a new recipe that I just tried yesterday that received thumbs up from everybody in the family!  (and my Middles are PICKY eaters!)  I originally found it on allrecipes, but we have changed it a fair amount  It isn't low calorie, but it is yummy, filling, and healthful.  And it's for breakfast, my nemesis!

Breakfast cookies (Yield 25  1/4 cup cookies.  These could certainly be made smaller!)

1 small container of plain yogurt
1 cup peanut butter (I'm looking for healthier options that I can also afford!)
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/8 cup of honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk (I used whole milk, but others would likely work.)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cup oats
1/2 cup of wheat germ
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chips (or raisins or craisins or white choc chips)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Beat first 5 ingredients together until creamy.
3.  Beat in eggs and milk.
4.  Add in flour, oats, wheat germ. salt, cinnamon, baking soda.  Combine well.  (And, to be honest, I totally forget I left my mixer on, so it beat a good long time with no ill effects.)
5.  Add in chocolate chips.
6.  Drop on greased cookie sheet.  (I used my 1/4 cup measure.)
7.  Bake for 15-18 minutes. (depending on your oven)

Each cookie has 199 calories.  (I figured this out using so this isn't perfectly accurate, but it's close.)  Now, I know that isn't low calorie, but it fits within a reasonable breakfast.  I told my kids they may have 1 cookie with either a banana or a piece of turkey bacon.

(Clearly the chocolate chips weren't evenly distributed, but that's okay because Carson and I prefer fewer chocolate chips anyway.)

Oh- I almost forgot.  Today's weigh-in.  7 days ago, I weighed 154.5 pounds.  Today, (drumroll, please) I weigh:

152.5 for a loss of  2 pounds!!

This proves that I was retaining a lot of water from all the junk I was eating!  In no way do I expect this to be the norm for my weight journey.  (I do lose and gain weight fairly easily, though.)  I am very happy!  My week of calorie counting, good choices, and 1 trip to the gym did do some good.  Yay!  Only time will tell if this encourages me to keep it up or gives me permission to slack off...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sort Report- so excited!

This week I decided that I wanted to go through the kitchen cabinets and deal with the excess in those.  I slotted 45 minutes for the first attack, planning on at least one more.  I made it through all 36 cabinet doors in 15 minutes!!!

Here's everything I got rid of:

Yep, that is everything!  Before we moved to Panama, my bff and I did a hardcore purge of the kitchen.  And, now, 11 months later, I've added no new excess.  The only things I needed to sort out where things that Coralynn had outgrown.  That is sweet sorting victory!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Funsy Friday!

4 days a week, Coralynn and I trek on out to the school to get the kids.  This means we get to sit in car-rider line.  Car-rider line is one of the circles of hell.  No different than it is in the United States.  In order to keep the Bits occupied, we play games, sing songs, take pictures, and make videos!

Our car-rider line photo shoot from the other day:

Looking for birds.

Found a bird.

Tired of birds.

Looking for Chloe.

Missing her shoes.

Losing patience with waiting.

"Give me Chloe, now!"

After the stellar photo shoot, I decided I was going to get her to talk and record it.  She's clearly less willing to be on video than some of the other people in the family.  Finally, at 1:15, I get her to say her first word for the camera...

Belly button.  Belly button?  Yes, she loves to say belly button. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


~After a few lonely weeks, the Lord sweetly allowed me to have some fun times with other ladies.  I was able to have a family over for dinner on Monday, lunch with another lady on Tuesday, a mom came over to chat on Tuesday, and we've got a playdate planned for next Wednesday!! 

~I get to hold twin baby girls tonight!!  (and my amazing friend delivered- naturally- twin baby girls who each weighed more than Coralynn did at birth.  Clare is a rock star!)

~All the kids continue to do well at school.  I can't begin to describe how thankful I am that they each have friends!!

~In Bible study, we're reading through the books of the New Testament.  This week's assignment was Mark.  Perhaps my favorite passage in the Bible is in Mark.  (And yes, I know that every week I have a  new favorite passage.  There's some good stuff in there!)  A father is coming to Jesus for healing for his child.  He asks Jesus "if" you can do something, please do it.  And Jesus tells him, "Everything is possible for one who believers."  The father immediately comes back with what might be my favorite line in all the Scriptures.  "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"  (Mark 9) And Jesus heals the child.  I'm so thankful that by faith I am healed of my wounds, and that Jesus loves me in spite of my times of unbelief.

~I ate breakfast this morning!  I've been saying for years that I'm going to start eating breakfast.  Today, I did.

~I am so thankful for the blessing that internet service is.  It's certainly my lifeline to the States, and our service has been having serious problems.  So relieved it's back!

~Coralynn Mae is thriving.  She's finally consistently eating well.  She's beginning to talk more.  Monday afternoon she told the workmen, "Gracias!" when they left!  She has such a happy and FUN personality!  I'm so thankful for the Bits.  (Who is now entirely too big to be the "Bits," but she'll always be the Bits to us!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Money Money Money!

Random Thoughts for Monday Money:

~If you haven't already filed your taxes, you will be soon.  Many of you will be receiving tax returns.  Before you buy that item you've been "needing," I challenge you to stop and think.  Do you have debt that money could go against?  Do you have an emergency fund set up for those surprises life throws you?  Is the item you "need" really a need? 

~I was looking online at homes the other day, and I was astounded by the size difference in the closets in the various homes depending on what year the houses were built.  We have the same number of hours in a day and days in a year as there have always been, but closets in new construction homes continue to be bigger.  Why?  Because we "need" the space?

~One of the most quoted verses of Scripture is Philippians 4:13  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  It is also, quite possibly, the most misapplied verse in the entire Bible.  That verse has been ripped out of its context to become a rally cry, of sorts.  What's the actual context of the verse?  What is Paul talking about?  He's directly addressing Christ's ability to help him to live on his income no matter how high or low.  Seriously, folks.  That's the context.   It tells me 2 things. 
1-God understands the temptation to live beyond your means. 
2-And, through Him, it's totally possible to live within your means.
Pretty encouraging.  Don't you think!?!

~My goal for the year continues to be buying nothing we don't need.  (And I totally understand that "need" means different things to different people.  My kids decided they "needed" a boogie board so they bought one, after their mother quashed the thought that they "needed" 2 of them.)  So far, I feel like I'm doing well keeping the unnecessary shopping to a minimum.  I spent about $20.00 on non-food items last week.  I bought Chloe's school shoes for next year on LandsEnd's clearance.  They were less than $14.00 shipped, and the quality is such they will last her all year (plus I'll get 2% back).  Also, I made a Do-It Center purchase for under $6.00. 

I bought 2 ice packs for the kids' lunchboxes.
Yogurt that isn't cottage cheese by lunch is a need!
(posing next to boo-boo bunny)

~Finally, if you are feeling that "need" to shop after "behaving" so well with your budgetary goals, I encourage you to give.  One thing I learned several decades ago is that the satisfaction of giving lasts much longer than the thrill of a deal, and it allows more people to enjoy the experience!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday!!

Pick your team!!

Tony, Lisa, and Carson are Giants' fans for the day!

Chloe, Camilla, and Coralynn are cheering for the Patriots!

Football Food:

Brats and Hot Dogs!

French Fries!

Mommy's famous Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn!

1/3 cup popcorn kernels, popped
3 T butter
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips

Over low heat, melt butter, peanut butter, and chocolate chips.  When combined, turn off heat and add popcorn- be careful not to add unpopped kernels.  Spread coated popcorn onto a wax-paper lined cookie sheet.  Put in freezer to cool.  (We store ours in the freezer.)