Wednesday, November 17, 2010

T-8 days to T-Day

I love Thanksgiving. I love the promise of turkey, mashed potatoes covered in gravy, sweet potatoes, and all the other sides that threaten to touch each other on my plate. (That part I don't like). Which brings me to one thing, and one thing only. Cranberry sauce. I have seen a million recipes for homemeade cranberry sauce lately. I am all about making things from scratch, but I have NO, count it, NO interest in homemade lumpy, chunky, citrusy, winey, or any other homemade variation of cranberry sauce. Give me the smooth texture of the kind that plops onto a plate, out of a can, complete with those lovely ridges that tell you where to slice it. I've tried other cranberry sauce, and for some reason, I always come back to this staple. Its not just for Thanksgiving either. I eat it with TONS of stuff, and its amazing on a turkey sandwhich post-holiday. Maybe this makes me white trash. Maybe this makes me stupid. I am who I am, but I LOVE CANNED CRANBERRY SAUCE.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Predisposition to Love

With all the discussion of bullying taking place, and the attention focusing on gay/lesbian teens and their struggle in the world today, I feel as though I must say something.

As a parent, I feel that I am predisposed to LOVE my children. There are many things they do that might annoy me in my weakest moments. How they yell and demand, as I'm hunched over the toilet praying for the end of morning sickness. But I am built to love them, no matter what. I find the parents that torture and demean their children repugnant, and purely disgusting. There is no excuse to dismiss your child, be they 2 years old, or 22 years old.

All the more though, as a Christ follower, I am predisposed to love all people. It is beyond my right and responsibility as a such, to judge, demean, criticize, and push any gay or lesbian person into that feeling of desparation that so many find themselves. It is my joy and my responsibility to love wrecklessly, each person, for who they are. It is my honor to support and spend time in community with all of the children God loves, and He does love them all.

I ache for anyone who feels lost and alone, and yearn for the souls that find themselves questioning the value of life, and whether theirs is worth living at all. It tears me up inside to think that people could even wonder that at all. While I myself, despite the circumstances I have been thrown into, have never even thought of suicide as an option, I break for those who do. When will we as Christ followers see that it is our responsibility to stop the hate and promote love?

Monday, September 27, 2010

I am a sentimental (wo)man

Ok, I'm not generally a sentimental woman, but there are 2 things that get the sentiment flowing in this lady's heart.
1. Fall
2. Being pregnant

I am not sure why it is, but fall stirs something inside me. It makes me reminiscent. Being pregnant makes me weepy and sappy, so this fall in particular, I am a sentimental mess. In my current state you will find me missing many things:
1. Cherry Cola Now 'n Laters, a fall candy that is no longer produced. Its not fair to be pregnant and crave the impossible.
2. Home. I miss Joliet, and the crummy old house on Campbell St.
3. Dan's caramel apples
4. Linda's Pizza
5. Joliet Central football
6. My mom being around for my birthday
7. Being around for my mom's birthday
8. Mom's comfort food
9. Regular Now n Laters
10. CYC
11. The crappy old minivan I drove around in high school with the door that would fall off. So fun!
12. I was lovingly reminded today by my cube-mate at work how good Merichka's is. . . thanks Matt. Now I miss that too.
13. So many people that I care about spread out all over the country. If I could gather you up in one place for one night to wear jammies, stay up late talking, and watch stupid girl movies sans, you know I would. I hope you know who you are.

Things I am sentimental about and am currently enjoying
1. Joe Purdy's CD - 4th of July. If you don't have it, get it. Its perfect open the windows and let the cool breeze blow kind of music. Even though its entitled 4th of July, its all fall to me baby.
2. Watching my daughter marvel at the changing leaves and fall.
3. Chasing Miles around in his fake leather jacket from Target that makes him look like such a stud. Yes I spent too much money on it, but every guy needs a cool jacket. Lucas Motley would agree, and he would be proud. I'll post pictures soon.
4. Being on, hopefully the tale end of this pregnancy sickness, and being able to cook dinner occasionally.
5. All my shows being back on TV.
6. All the possibilities of life.
7. God always changing my heart.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I may not be a smart woman, but I know what exhaustion is. I am beginning to question my own sanity, and this post will be one that allows me to vent. I am sure I will look back on it and say, "Oh Sam, it wasn't THAT bad."

Let me begin by saying that I love my children dearly! I really do. This combination of head cold, pregnancy sickness and hormones, exhaustion due to sick children not sleeping, and still trying to keep up at home and work is NOT a flattering combination for me. I look terrible. I feel slightly worse than I look, and I have no patience.

My daughter has told me several times that I am mean. I expect this. Parents are always mean at some point. One night she prayed that God would give me a better day tomorrow and just make me really really really happy. I take that as an indication of that day. Not a good sign right? She woke up from a nap the other day, and kept looking at me funny. When I asked why, she merely said, "I love you mommy. You are sweet." When I replied that she did not think I was sweet early that day, she explained, using both hands like her father, that not only did a nap replace her energy and make her in a better mood, but nap time and night time makes mommies in a better mood too. I was deemed no longer sour, but sweet. So for as much as my children drain me during this time, they also encourage me.

I truly am beginning to wonder what I was thinking about a third. We really had gotten to a point of ease and comfort and now who knows what we are in for? Am I crazy? Is it normal to jump into a stage of serious doubt when weeks ago I would have told you exactly how SURE I was about a 3rd baby? I'm overwhelmed and not feeling well and my children are too smart for me. I'm not sure how they stay just one step ahead of me. With the throwing of spaghettios on the floor just before I get to them, or needing a bath on the off night due to yogurt in the hair, or the washing sheets in the middle night due to a cough induced barfing incident. I am worn OUT! And this third one hasn't really even done anything yet. We have so much to look forward to and so much to fear. Someone reassure me. I'm scared.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Today is what Jeremy and I like to call our fake anniversary. For those who don't know, we got married twice. Shortly after my mom died, living arrangements had to change suddenly, and with Jeremy living in the church parsonage, my choices were somewhat limited. We consulted with the pastor, and all agreed that it would be totally fine for us to marry 2 months early. And so our adventure began. We went and got the marriage license, and waited for Friday to come. That Friday, Jeremy took a half day at work, and so did I! A half day to go get married. We dressed up, and drove to the Dupage County Courthouse, where we were given a number and told to wait. Couple number 19 sat (that was us), and watched the room full of other couples. Some of them were obviously pregnant, doing the shot gun wedding thing, with a bridal party in full dress. Some were dressed in jeans and shirts, looking like they were out at Applebee's. We were dressed up, with Melanie there to be our witness. They called our name, and we went into a bland court room, where a judge married us. When we came out, a cute little old lady volunteer was there to take our picture. Post wedding, we headed for a fancy lunch to celebrate, at the Olive Garden. What a great day. 6 years ago today I married my wonderful husband. I love him more every day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

6 years

Yesterday marked the 6th year anniversary of my mother's tragic death, and I can hardly believe all that time has past. To say that the past 6 years have been eventful is an understatement. They have been packed to the gills with change, love, friends, and family. I truly couldn't be more blessed in that respect. I have such an appreciation of all that I have gained in these 6 years. Perspective has been given to me that I might not have attained if things had gone differently. For all that I have gained though, its hard not to acknowledge what I have been missing all this time.

Things that I miss:
1. Her laugh. I miss that Jeremy and I could always set her laughing, without being able to stop.
2. Her calling me to say Happy Birthday. I remember that my senior year of college, she waited until 10:30 to call me because she thought I'd be busy. Little did she know I was very upset, and crying because I thought she'd forgot. I guess I didn't realize that would be the last birthday wish I would get.
3. I missed getting to see the look on her face when she saw my kids. They are beautiful, and there is no doubt in my mind that she would have loved them dearly, and they would have loved her just as much, if not more.
4. The way she smelled. I actually grew up not really liking the perfume she wore, but sometimes I catch the scent of her in the grocery store, and it nearly brings me to my knees. Knowing full well that its probably some other lady wearing her perfume or using patchouli oil, I can't help but think she's brushed past me.
5. Her loyalty and love of people. She was one of the most accepting and loving people I've known. Though she could be quick to anger, she was just as quick to reconcile and forgive. I'm so thankful that I inherited that quality from her.
6. Her reminders of what is important in life, and money definitely never was.

I hope to dance, bake, craft, and play with my children the way she did. I hope that someday, my children will like being around me so much that they fake a tummy ache to spend a solitary day in my company, as I did with her.

Its funny, that in passing a comment on my status of 6 years since her death struck me. It said, "Six years and you are still dealing with stuff." I am. In so many ways. I don't think there will be a certain number of years that will past and I will reach the finish line of dealing with what has happened. I think you forever reprocess and rethink such an event. It changes you forever, and I think it keeps changing you.

I miss my mom, and I aspire to be the person she would have wanted me to be. I hope that I can make her proud.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


There are those few times, far between, when God makes things abundantly clear. Where He shows you without a doubt exactly what you should be doing, and he directs your path by providing exactly what you need to get where you are going. I haven't had many of those moments of clarity in my own life, but I am always inspired to see those around me blessed by such opportunities. I got to watch one of those moments happen tonight, and I feel extremely blessed by the people that God has placed not only in my life, but the lives of my family members. God has surrounded us with an unbelievable community and friends. I'm grateful for their presence in our lives, and I truly see people living God's love ever day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I've got peace like a river. Peace like a river. Peace like a river in my soul.

While my heart has been a tumultuous mess lately, trying to figure out the who, what, when and wheres of my life, I've been slowing down, or speeding up, not sure which, to appreciate the people in my life. Letting the kids stay up a bit later to enjoy the friends around us, and I've been loving it.

Maggie is playing T-Ball on Monday evenings with tons of families and friends from our neighborhood and church, and its amazing to see the big kids mentor the little ones and show them what to do.

I love meeting with the people around me to plan a 3rd of July bike parade for our neighborhood to give people the opportunity to build relationships and find a place in their community.

I loved loved loved going shopping with a good friend and towing our four cumulative kids to the mall, and then eating at BD's Mongolian barbecue. We got asked more than once if our boys were twins or the girls were, or whether all four kids were one of ours. I bet few people realize that piling a bunch of veggies and meat into a bowl and watching guys cook it with sticks that they toss up in the air, makes new foods good, and 2 and 3 year olds adventurous eaters. I bet you also didn't know that teaching your children to use their words to tell people how they feel, can lead to them using their sad faces to manipulate the kids around them.

I loved going out for Father's Day with the family even though we sat at a table for an hour before our food actually arrived. I love to see the people that got has provided in my life, old and new, and I look forward to the chance to spend time with both. No matter what happens with work or money, the things that really matter, people, will always be a joy to me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Know when to hold'em, know when to fold'em

I am doing a whole lot of soul searching lately. I've found myself in a distressing place of transition. I think with all the drama that has plagued my life since I was small, I've gone out of my way to create an environment of stability and comfort for myself and for my family. I try to keep us financially a step above where I was growing up, all the while allowing myself enough time at home with the kiddos to make us all happy. I try to keep my house neat, but also allow myself the freedom to leave a mess here and there, knowing I can clean it up tomorrow or after the kids go to bed. I like balance in my home and professional life. All of these things make it so much harder to deal with what is going on in my life now.

Currently things have to change, and for the moment, I am not sure how. Faced with the possibility of losing my current arrangement that allows me to bring my kids with me to work, I find myself faced with the possibility of having to pay for child care on the same salary and budget that had never factored in that option. My current budget does not have room for that cost, and my pay is not enough to really consider it. And yet it looms over me. So, I am not sure what to do, or where God is leading me. Do I work out an arrangement to pay someone to watch the kids and continue where I am? Do I look for something else to do? Do I try and find someone to watch my kids for free, even though the sheer thought of imposing on someone makes me sick to my stomach? What do I do when my current tithe is almost exactly the amount my childcare would cost through my employer? What about the fact that one of my childcare options may not be open in 6 months? What about the fact that I may lose all of my benefits at work if different changes happen instead? I am currently faced with so many uncertainties. I am scared and overwhelmed.

These are the moments that are hardest for me. Being a such an independent and self-reliant person for so long has made it even more difficult to let go and trust. I have to rely completely on God now, to guide me. I need to trust that regardless of what happens, He is there, seeing me through this tough patch. I am sad and discouraged. I know that deep down things will work out, but I toss and turn at the thought of it.

I only wish it didn't make me dream of zombies every night, intermingled with the occasional teeth falling out dream.

In all things God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to his purpose. On bumpy trails, God's spirit never fails. - Mike Holt
(A day camp song Mike wrote to teach Bible verses to the kids.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Working out

So I have come to enjoy the 30-60 minutes I would like to spend each day exercising. But now I have a problem. BUM FEET! Ugh. I started working out about 6 weeks ago. It sucked to start, but now I want to run everyday. Its an awesome way to begin the day. Until. . .PLANTERS FACIAITIS. Its painful. It hurts your foot, and all you can do to make it feel better is ice and stretch, but that doesn't always work, so there is Aleve. Just when that foot is feeling better, I went and injured my other foot in Austin. So now I have 2 bad feet, and I can't run or walk without aching. I guess its time for a trip back to the doctor, but I'm just so frustrated. How am I supposed to get healthy and leaner if I can do anything physical? I am not about starving myself. The thing I like about a good jog is I can just head right out the door. No driving to the gym and spending an extra 20 minutes total in the car. I really don't have much spare time, so I'm super annoyed. Anyone have any suggestions? I'm gonna give my bike a try this afternoon, but I'm thinking it might hurt my injured foot since driving makes it ache, but I have to find some means of staying active even with these foot injuries. Pray for me.

Friday, May 14, 2010


When I don't measure up to much in this life, I'm a treasure in the arms of Christ.

- Sanctus Real

I've been struggling with issues of character and trying to figure out and define myself. Who am I in Christ? How do I keep those around me from crushing my spirit, or demeaning my character? The truth is, I don't know. Though some may not realize it, and though I may not always present myself as such, I am a sensitive person. I am empathetic in ways that I wish I was not. Sometimes when I am reading a book or watching one of my shows, I can't separate myself from the characters. My emotions as I watch their tragedies unfold, are very real to me. Sometimes I carry a particularly stressful or sad show or book around with me for days. So imagine what it does to me when I am hurt in real life. I think in general I come off as a no nonsense, sarcastic, take no crap kind of girl, and in a way I am, but I am my biggest critic. I over analyze everything I do or say, and it has happened many times, that I let someone talk me into believing something about myself that I know to be false. I question myself daily. And it saddens me that I let myself forget my worth and the real me, at the hands of people who are no more figured out than I am.

My goal is to remember that, while it matters what others think. It is important who I am to myself, my family, and my dearest friends, and I hope it can only continue to flow into other areas of my life. I just hope to be true and decent. God give me grace and mercy.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Today was one of those days. . .

It really was. It started off nice enough. There was a slow rumble of thunder and smidge of rain, but then it cleared up. And when I looked at the clock, expecting it to be 6:40, it was 7:40. 7:40 is when I usually arrive to work. I didn't sweat it though, because I knew I was working late. So I arrived closer t0 8:30. But then the sheer craziness began. Meetings, phone calls, running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Back to the house to download a song for a presentation for our staff at the staff meeting tonight. Back to the office to continue doing work. Back to my house to grab the camcorder, which has been designated to video the presentation, as it will prove to be humorous and worth taping. Grab the laptoop while I'm there to add the CD playlist that will be used for background music. Back to the office. Out to a school that normally takes 20 minutes to get to. How long today? 1 hour and 15 minutes. Thanks to 2 car accidents, 2 people pulled over for some sort of infraction, and a bunch of fire trucks at Naper Settlement. Then any number of things went not as planned for the remainder of the day. Enter Sam's arrival at the location for the meeting at which this super ultra special presentation is to be presented. I am to push the button on the IPOD and hold the camera steady to catch the action. . .drum roll please. Wait, stop, no, change of plans. Hand off the camera, delegate the IPOD duty to someone else, learn the re-written lyrics to the Superbowl Shuffle in 5 minutes and sing it to a crowd of 50+ people. And that is what I did. Call my BFF in Austin for our friend date. Five minutes into the conversation the girl child begins crying and I have to hang up and deal with her. Do you ever have a day where you feel like every single thing you do, even going to the bathroom feels like its for someone else? Today was one of those days.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I watched Precious based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. It was dark and disturbing. It made me thankful for the life I have. But it made my stomach turn for what some people have to endure. Its relentless. I want to go wake up my babies and snuggle them. So sad.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


How often do you stop to take a moment to ponder the impact others have made on your life? Who has helped you fulfill your destiny? Who has pointed you the direction you should go, to bring you to where you are? We all have those people. I remember one particularly well, as I mourn his loss this morning.

There was a moment in my life, where I was young, insecure, and searching for my place in life. I found myself at the Christian Youth Center in Joliet, IL. I was nervous and dejected about being there, but quickly found my place. Throughout my time there, my life was touched by many, but it was there I found my calling. Working with children was what I was meant to do, as I fell into a new place at day camp. My director pushed me, challenged me, and inspired me to be the very best I could be at what I did. Because of the work he did, I found my day camp voice and never looked back. Because of him, I found my stage presence, and I danced my way through new characters, with a new found confidence. I am broken hearted by his loss, despite the length of time that has passed since we were friends. I wish I had taken the time to consider the immense and profound effect he had on me before this morning. More importantly, I wish I had shared that thought with him.

He has touched many people, and I can only imagine the rejoicing in heaven as he walked through those gates. Thank you God for the gift you gave me through him. Please take care of him until we all see him again. Please take care of his family as the miss him.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In this life

I know I shared a couple posts back that I had recently come upon the blog Someone shared it with me. It is probably one of the saddest and most uplifting things you will ever read. Layla Grace is a little girl who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma just after turning 15 months old. Her blog was an avenue for her family to share their journey with many people, and her following grew large. Sadly enough, little Layla Grace met God yesterday. I have to say, that I am feeling some anger and injustice at this. I'm glad that she is resting peacefully in Jesus' arms, but am broken yet again by the suffering and unfairness of it all. I'm truly inspired by her family's faith and strength through such troubling times, but I ache for them too. Which brings me to a question that I discussed with a friend at work yesterday. Anger at God. I have found myself in a terrible place in the past, a place of anger and resentment at God because of what I have had to endure. I have come full circle to a place of appreciation for everything I have come through, and the strength and support of myself and those I am close to.

When I lost my mother to domestic violence, I was devastated and angry. Due to peripheral circumstances connected to her death, I questioned her salvation and ached at the thought of the truest kind of loss. A loss of a loved one to the place no one talks about. I still have my moments of wondering, moments of questioning, but for about a year after her death, I stopped talking to God. I stopped going to church. I huddled in my house on Sunday morning and watched Food Network. I barely looked up as Jeremy left the house for the early service. I refused to be a part of something that would be fake for me. Now let me clarify a point. I never for a second denied God's existence, or my need for his salvation, I simply had a huge fight with God. I was angry for losing my mother, and in a way for losing my step-father. I lost 2 parents the day my mother passed, and that was a huge loss for me. What I have come to realize though, is that anger is a normal part of desperate human existence. We mourn, we ache, we long for what we cannot have. We are a reflection of God, and I think that He understands that anger. He doesn't want it to last forever, but He longs for us to turn to him in our times of sorrow. Sometimes it feels nearly impossible, but I don't think He experiences the bitterness we feel when others are angry with us. He waits patiently, knowing that in time we will return, perhaps a little more worn, perhaps even broken. He waits there for us, ready to heal, ready to right us one more time.

I'm thankful for what I have been through. I have become far more compassionate than I ever could have been, for what I have been through showed me the true meanings of love and loss. I am also thankful for God's enduring patience. He waits for us. He is there no matter what. Which reminds me of a song that takes me back to that place of being left with nothing to give.

Thank you God for continuing to wait patiently for us to return. Please be with little Layla Grace's family as they endure this difficult time.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Life and things

I haven't blogged in awhile. Time for a quick catch up.

One thing that has been keeping me from blogging is that I don't have anything uplifting or encouraging to say right now. I have always been one of those people that is affected by the things that I read and see. Lately, all that I read and see is sad news and hard times. I'm very discouraged by it all, and am desparately searching for the good in things. I know that it is there. "He makes everything Glorious."

I just don't understand why things have to be like this or I am broken by what I see in the economy. The people in need that don't get help. The American debt that would require every single person in the country to pay 300,000 dollars to get us out. I am waiting, albeit impatiently to see God make things good.

For those wondering how my coupon adventure is going, I saved 70 something on Sunday. Once again saving more than 50 percent off of my purchases. I can't really complain about that, so yes I will continue at this point. I've develped a lovely system, inspired by one I had seen on

That about sums up where I am at right now. I probably won't blog for a bit. I'm lost in my own mind and when I find my way out of the rabbit hole, I'll try and stay on top of blogging a bit more.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Watcha Gonna do With a Cowboy Casserole

Ok, so everyone has commented on my facebook about wanting the recipe for cowboy casserole. Here you are. It is easy PEASY.

First step, dust off your crock pot!


1 Medium Onion (peeled and diced)
7 Medium Potatoes (peeled and sliced, i usually cut the potatoe in half lengthwise and then slice them into half inch thick disks, if you cut it too thin all the potatoes will turn into mush)
2 Cloves Garlic (I use more because I like garlic)
1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 can of kidney beans drained
1 can diced tomatoes + 2 tbl flour or instead a can of tomato soup
salt and pepper


Dump everything in the crock pot and stir. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Monday, February 15, 2010

To Breath or Not to Breathe

2 Quick tips for those savvy savers out there. First of all, if you don't mind using generic over the counter meds, Walgreens has all of their store brand meds buy1 get1 free. You can stock up now and not have to buy for awhile. I saved about 25 bucks by buying 1 each of the children's Wal-Dryl, grown up Ibuprofen, baby Ibuprofen, and kids Acetemetaphin.

Also, if any of you use Advair Diskus, you can print out one $10 off coupon per month to save on whatever your insurance doesn't cover. Since for me it costs $75 bucks after insurance, every little bit helps.

Am I obsessed, maybe slightly. This is sort of like a fun game. Figuring out the cheapest way to get things done, and it pays off in the long run.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

First Big Couponing Adventure

So I think I would call my first big couponing adventure a success. I saved $19.31 at Jewel alone. Check out what I got.

First of all they had select Kellog's cereals for $1.88 per box. Luckily I had a manufacturer coupon for $1.00 off 2 boxes. Walking away with 2 boxes of cereal for $1.38 per box. For those of you who buy cereal, you know thats super duper cheap. Cereal usually runs about $3 per box.

Then they had Red Gold canned tomatoes for $10.00 for 10 cans. I had a coupon for $1.00 off 3 cans. So I got 6 cans for $4. Normally they are $1.75 a can. I got them for $.67 a can.

Danactive was on sale for $2.00 a pack, and I had a coupon for $.75 off.

Pampers wipes were on sale for $1.99 and I had a $.50 coupon. I bought 2 and used 2 MC.

Lastly I bought a package of Jewel Diapers which were $7.99 with a $4.00 coupon. $3.99 for a pack of diapers? That's right. Apparently the cashier's son did a science project testing the absorbency of different brands of diapers. Apparently, Jewel had the best absorbency. I win.

What I spent, before tax: $16.29
Savings with preferred card and coupons:$19.31

I saved more than I spent. I call that a success.

Plus I stopped at Meijer and grabbed deodorant that was on sale and used a B1G1 coupon.

I also got dogfood at Petsmart on sale for $28 dollars and they had one of those peel and stick coupons for another $3 dollars off.

This morning I used 3 bucks register rewards at Walgreens to buy 3 newspapers. I spent $1.99 on 3 sunday papers.

I'd say for my first weekend, that is not too shabby at all.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A New Challenge

So, here I go being the suburban housewife/mom, but I'm going to make a new challenge for myself. I recently attended the Community Christian Church Generosity Conference, where I learned some basics on couponing, stockpiling, and just generally saving money at the store. I am going to give couponing a real shot for 6 months. If in 6 months, my savings are significant, I will carry it forward. If not, I will revert to my previous habits.

One thing I do have to say about couponing in general, is that start up is time consuming. I followed some of the tips from the conference, which was Saturday, and am still in the process of clipping and organizing. Today is Friday. I will throw out there, that I have 2 sicklings to care for, and one little boy that is extremely clingy and needy. I am still developing the best form of organization for myself, but I know that once I have it solidified, the clipping and putting away will be easier.

For those of you interested in starting, I learned some valuable tips from Laura Webber, whose blog can be found at She is also the great lady that spoke at the conference. Here are a couple of tips she gave us that never occurred to me.

1.The rules of coupons are one coupon per item. This means that if you have 5 coupons, and buy 5 items, you can use one coupon on each of these. Meaning, if there is a great sale, STOCK UP while the stuff is cheap.

2.Get one paper per person in your family on Sunday to get multiples of the coupons you will use most for your stock up items.

3.Read other couponer blogs for deals. One local to Illinois that she shared was (This one is great as it shows the good deals and coupons that are hot around here.)

4.Walgreens and CVS are GREAT places to shop. I know what you are thinking, expensive, but both of them have frequent sales and reward programs that let you earn store dollars to spend at a later date. This means you may get things for free, plus you save money using your coupons.

I'm sure I'll be posting on my adventure, once we have all been cured of the funk, as I lovingly call it, or as Jeremy calls in the scourge. I am laying in bed as I type this, home from work due to this mess that is infiltrating our immune systems. Hoping to feel better soon and to share some of my successes with this coupon adventure.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I thought I'd Never. . .

I've come to realize in recent days that my life is filled with things I never thought I'd do. Though embaressing, to keep myself accountable, I thought I'd share a few.

I thought I'd never drive a minvan. (I bought a Freestyle because its a wagon, but according to the state of IL its a van.)

I thought I would never let my kids sleep in my bed. (It doesn't happen frequently, but Miles was a bit more spoiled when I brought him home from the hospital, and I was a bit more tired chasing 2.)

I thought I would never own a dog.

I thought I would never work while my kids were small, but have come to enjoy the grownup time outside my house.

I thought I would never yell at my daughter.

I thought I would never leave my kids in the car for 30 seconds while I ran back into a building. (Only once and never again. Maggie left Link her snuggly security monster in my office and both kids were already snuggled and strapped in on a cold and rainy day.)

I thought I would never have to raise my kids without my mom around.

I thought I would never watch the movie Twilight.

I thought I would never see the day there would be an African American president. (I'm so glad I did.)

I thought I would never tire of my love of cooking. (Something about feeding picky toddlers makes it seem hopeless.)

I thought I would never smoke a cigarette. (Thank you Austin, TX.)

I thought I would never dance in front of other people in my adulthood. (Thank you martini night.)

I thought I would never do one of those side businesses that people do like Scentsy or Mary Kay, etc. I now sell Tupperware and am looking for clients willing to host parties or have a book party. (You know how to reach me.)

I thought I would never be the one with the tantruming kid in public. (Now I may end up throwing myself down on the floor along side her.)

I thought I would never be as happy and fulfilled and loved as I am now. And here I am.

Feel free to share some things you thought you would never do. Life is full of them, and rarely to they end up being the regrets we previously imagined them to be. I love my minivan. ;)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Self doubt

I am often plagued with self doubt. I try my best to fight it off, and for the most part it is very much self inflicted, and self-induced. It is hardest to deal with though, when you let something someone else said make you feel that way. I won't go into details about the situation that pushed me there this morning, but I feel completely discouraged. Why is it, that you can be so confident with so many things, but constantly and consistently question your ability as a parent? I adore my children, and feel as though they are smart,lovable and fairly well behaved kids. They are lively, for sure, but that is what a child is supposed to be, full of curiousity and excitement. But when I get one comment from some other parent, whether it be a suggestion or observation, I begin to rethink myself, and my kids. So how do you get around that? My daughter, imp that she is, is driven and passionate, and not easily wrangled, but she says please, and thank you, and is almost always sweet to her brother. When she sets her mind to something though, she can hardly be dissuaded and the end result is a giant tantrum, remedied quickly by a timeout. Once the time out is over, the fit is too. This is a success right? Isn't it? Then why do I feel like such a failure when I have to deal with these tantrums in front of peers or co-workers or worst of all friends without kids? I'm sad that people judge my parenting skills, and sadder still that I let their comments influence my thoughts on my own children. I guess that just leaves me right where I am for the moment, which is sad.

Friday, January 22, 2010

HELP! I need Somebody!

Picture by
Juan Barreto, AFP, Getty Images c/o The Canadian National Post.

With everything going on in Haiti, and all the work that God has given us to do there, I struggle deeply with the people here in America, so against helping. The thing that saddens me to the core is that the people I know that are the most against helping the Hatian people are Christians?! They are CHRISTIANS?!?! Their argument, help our own first. But if we are all God's children, aren't they our own too? It seems that alot of American Christians have really lost their way. I keep hearing this argument to help America first, then Haiti. When did God begin to value Americans above all the rest of the world's citizens? What has happened to America that we believe this? Now, if you want to say that you are unable to help because you don't have extra money right now, that is understandable. It is a hard time economically, but if your argument is that we have a responsibility to American people over other people, well I think you are wrong. Also, this argument that people should take the $10 they are giving to Haiti and give it to the U.S., well you may have just convinced them not to help Haiti, but I doubt they stopped what they were doing and researched where else to give that $10. Let's also not blame the Haitian citizens for their government. We can judge how they misused their funds originally, but the poor crying baby whose parents were killed in the earthquake had nothing to do with the misappropriation of government funds. Does she deserve to be ingnored because she isn't American? I think that Americanism is sick and pervaded, and to find ourselves superior over others merely because they are in a third world country whose government corruptly devestated a people financially, well that's the worst kind of pride. God calls us to be a light and a city on a hill. Well, if we just stay on that hill, protecting our own skins, we are nothing like the Jesus we claim to follow. My heart is sickened this morning by "healthy debate." I am broken by what I see around me. It is disheartening to see that the most generous people in these times often turn out to be those that claim no faith at all, but help in the name of humanity. How much greater would the help of spirituality be in a time like this? Shame on those of us who think that helping here and helping there are mutually exclusive.

"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:17-18

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Its So Hard to Say Goodbye

Actually it isn't. It isn't hard at all in certain cases. For me, saying goodbye to Tivo and HELLO LOVELY, to ATT Uverse was not hard at all. For the most part it wasn't hard. What was hard, was continuing to pay for Tivo service despite having rid ourselves of the Tivo box 7 months ago. I called today, because I couldn't remember when the contract ended, turns out not until April. Don't worry your little head though, the very nice customer service rep helped me out by cancelling but charging me the lump sum of those last couple of months now, to avoid me forgetting to call and cancel. Thanks so much TIVO for charging me for 10 months of service, even though you keep telling me how you can see I haven't connected in 7 months. And I won't before April either, seeing as we don't even own the box anymore. TIVO is worse than a cell phone company. I couldn't even pay an exorbitant termination fee. I would have had to pay for all the remaining months of service in full. See ya TIVO, I won't be recommending you to anyone. I will be sleeping with my Uverse remote by my bedside, happy with everything they have to offer. Especially the fact that there is no contract.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

There is no better time than now

By now everyone is aware of the devestating situation in Haiti. I myself, have a special place in my heart for the people there. While I have never been there to see the poverty myself, a dear friend of mine was so in love with the people and the culture there, that she gave her life helping those less fortunate. Five years ago, Mironda Heston contracted Dengue fever while working withe the people in Haiti, and ever since, I've known that one day I would do something to help those people too. There has never been a better time to do so. Before the earthquake, 80% of the people there lived on less than a dollar a day. Right now, there is nowhere for them to go. The poor quality of the structures there has led to horrible devestation. People are wandering the streets among collapsed buildings. These are the moments God calls us to. These are the times for those that call themselves Christ followers to follow. If you are interested in helping, our church is in the process of trying to get an ER doctor down there to assist with medical relief. They have already secured a place to stay. The doctor is willing to give 10 days of his time. Now is the time to secure the funds to get him there. If you would like to give, please send checks made out to Tim Sutherland and send them to

Tim Sutherland
1512 warbler drive
naperville, il 60565