Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Grocery Advice Needed

I just got home from another depressing trip to the grocery store. Yep, definitely in the red again this week. I just can't seem to make it on the $100 per week we budget for food. I know of others who make it on less, so what am I doing wrong?

Here's what I think I do right so far: I shop first for sale items, basing my week's meals around whatever's on sale. I shop at multiple stores for food to get the best prices: Econo (good sales), County Market, Sam's, and sometimes Walmart or Target. We don't waste much. I try to buy the lowest cost per ounce possible. We don't eat a lot of junk food and hardly any pop.

Here are our trouble areas: We eat a ton of dairy--yogurt, milk, cheese--and some kind of meat in every dinner. My kids mow through 5 lbs. of apples in less than a week, as well as a lot of other fruit. We like to get a Papa Murphy's pizza once a week ($8 or less).

Does anyone have any great wisdom and/or tips for me? I'd love to know how others are making it work. Maybe we can all learn a new idea from this.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Arte d' Spaghettio

I usually don't sit down long enough to chew, let alone play with my food, but I guess I just couldn't resist this time.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Rising Cost of Gas

OK, this isn't about what you think it is, so go ahead and read on--even if you're tired of hearing about the price of petroleum.

Back in mid-June we had one of those uniquely hilarious parental experiences; and of course, it centered around E...

He had apparently picked up a tummy bug right around his 4th birthday, because the next day he wouldn't even touch the birthday cake his gramma had made for him (per his specific instructions). A few minutes later as he played with his grandparents in the living room he suddenly turned around with a very non-E expression on his face. It was "the look". I flew into action, directing him to the bathroom as quickly as possible. He just made it before he erupted like a sick little volcano. Blech! After his episode he was fine. We thought it was over.

Four or five days later was J's final soccer game. We had a good time watching the "Tan Rockets" get stomped yet again, got home late, and put the kids to bed. Lindsay was staying with us that week after returning from Turkey, so the three of us were talking downstairs, enjoying the quiet, when suddenly there was a large thud! upstairs. Brian went to investigate. Soon I heard him yell those wonderful words that every mom longs to hear... "we got a puker!" As we dried off poor little E after a quick bath we noticed that his tummy was quite distended. He said it still hurt badly and it was rather hard to the touch. A call to the pediatrician convinced us we should take him to the ER with the nurse's concerns being that he might have an obstruction of some type. Lindsay stayed back as the other two kiddos slept.

So there we are, heading to the hospital at 11:30 at night, visions of exploding bowels running through our minds (ok, probably just mine--I'm the paranoid one).

The doctor examined him in just a few minutes and then stood back with a confident smile. He told us E was fine and merely had some tummy bug that was making his stomach very upset. He assured us there was no obstruction--in fact, he said the phone triage nurse really didn't know what she was talking about (great!). Ever the thorough mommy, I asked why his tummy was so distended. "Probably just excess fluid or gas from the bug," he replied. Then he left to get our discharge papers.

We breathed a sigh of relief and told E he was fine, to which he protested and looked like he would perhaps barf again. Then it happened. Out of that 4 year old's body came the most rank what-died-in-your-intestine smell you can just about imagine. I was the first to detect it, being the pregnant hyper-smell-sensitive one, and my hand flew up to cover my face. At first B didn't understand why I was groaning, but then he too caught a whiff. Words cannot describe that smell. E, obviously feeling a bit better, laughed at his impressive accomplishment. Then, over the next few minutes he ripped a couple more.

The "crisis" was clearly over and our little boy was fine, but we had just dropped almost $300 on our kid's case of the farts. In between protecting ourselves from E's emissions, all we could do was laugh together about this experience. It was actually a really neat moment--I was so glad B and I were together for this hilarious sequence of events. And what else can you do in moments like these but laugh?

Relieved and still chuckling on our way out, we informed the doctor that it might be a good idea to light a candle in exam room #2.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Good Times Watchin' Softball

Just got home from the FCC game in RF. In Kristy's words, we got "spanked". But what a fun time anyway! Some of the highlights...

...the huge grasshopper crawling on Kristy's backside (told ya I was going to blog it!)...K playing in piles of dirt until she was coated with it up to her pirates running around pillaging and plundering with eye patches and cool homemade hunk of a hubby getting a 3 run in-field homerun and an amazing horizontal center-field catch...E walking up with a piece of ABC gum (found on the ground) exclaiming, "look what I found!"...E pointing at a friend when I told him he shouldn't eat the gum saying, "but she ate some"...

Oh the sweet and funny things that happen at an ordinary softball game!

Martha Needs a Blog!

Sweet Farf and I got to go out for some girl time last night--yippee!! We ate at the cheapest place we could think of, drove to Como Park and walked around the lake (1.6 m. in flip-flops, thank-you very much!), went to the cheapest theater we could find, saw X-Men 3 for $2, and finished off the night with delightful conversation at Starbucks with not so delightful coffee. What a great time! Thanks, babe!

So at Taco Bell what do we start talking about right away? Everyone's blog-recorded lives! Turns out little Miss Martha is something of a blog addict, but you'd never know it because she doesn't leave comments. I told her she needs to start her own, or at least get a screen name so she can comment. She shook her head and gave me her excuses. No computer at home. OK, pretty good reason. But the way I figure it, there are plenty of good reasons to start one...

1. she reads all of our blogs every morning at work
2. she communicates most thoroughly and thoughtfully via computer
3. she has heart-felt opinions about perfect blog-fodder (such as naughty kids getting bitten by meerkats in a zoo exhibit)
4. 'cuz we all love her!

Can I get a second here, people? Give your reason for why she needs to join the club. Or just your favorite thing about her. Believe me, she'll be reading this tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


God's been working on me lately.

A couple of weeks ago I was laid low one night after a difficult evening with the kids. I knew I needed to talk with the Lord, so I resisted the urge to turn on the TV and vegginate. Sure enough, I was soon convicted about my attitude that has marked my role as a mom for a long, long time. Resentment. Complaining. Poor me, I deserve better than this whole lowly mom-thing. Really feeling like I was given one of the world's worst jobs listed on Kristi's blog, just short of pork-rind maker. The constant demands, no sick time, no paycheck, no freetime. Only exhaustion and more demands.

A portion of my journal:

Lord, I confess my heart is not in the right place. So very often I find myself irritated, angry, and resentful of the tasks of motherhood. I roll my eyes at their unending demands and complain in my head (and sometimes out loud) about the inconveniences they heap on me.

My attitude needs an adjustment, Lord. I need to see my charge as their mom through your eyes. I need my pride and selfishness dealt with. I need a renewal of vision and understanding of the worth of my post. I need your Word on this.

So I started to look up verses about serving Christ in the little things...
  • "He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.'" (Matt.18:2-5)
  • "'...anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it...And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.'" (Matt. 10:38-39, 42)

Suddenly I saw what my attitude was...pride. Deep down I was resentful of the charge Christ had given me, thinking I deserved something better, something more comfortable and, But reading the Matt. 10 passage blatantly confronted this perspective..."where have I ever gotten the notion that my service for Christ would be anything less than losing my life for his sake?"...And, "who am I to resent the place that the living God has given me to serve him?"

Yikes. Amazing how deep our human depravity goes. The truth hurts sometimes and the truth is that I am an ungrateful and prideful speck of gloriously-loved dust. The word mercy took on greater meaning that night. My journal concluded:

Lord, I lay this sin at the foot of the cross. Forgive me of my pride, my self-centeredness, my resentment, my complaining spirit. Wash me clean and grant me a humble heart that is willing to serve my children...and therefore you.

Oh, what a dreadful sinner I am. Who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, who has covered me by his grace through Jesus Christ!

I am so grateful for his sweet and freeing conviction! Of course it is still a battle. But now when I am tempted to roll my eyes and grumble about doing yet another menial task for my children I am more likely to remember that I am actually serving Christ himself. And that's good enough for me. God be praised!

Chocolate Covered Totty

Again, Joe's Ice Cream Shop. Our little Lady Tottington (nicknamed for the carrot-topped, 4-toothed character in Wallace and Grommit's Curse of the Were-rabbit) digs into her very own bowl of chocolate ice-cream.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Indiana Dos

This is one of my favorite pics from vacation, taken at our favorite treat hangout, Joe's Ice Cream. And if you look really close, you'll see what E is showing off... a set of candy eyeballs in his ice cream.

How cool is that? (For a 4 year old!)

p.s. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to post multiple photos at once...any suggestions?

I Luuuuuv VBS!

Can I just say, "thank you, Lord, for VBS!"?

All this week my 2 hugely-active, constantly-bickering boys are being taken care of and taught and entertained and fed and worn out... and I--their wiped out mommy--am getting a break. I've been more or less a single parent the last week and a half, with B gone on retreats, events, or camp. I've cared for my 3--almost 4--chitlins day-in and day-out through 5 hour car trips, a nasty cold, and pregnancy-induced exhaustion. To say the least, it is a beautiful thing to have those precious 2.5 hours four times this week!

So thanks to all you mighty women who are working so hard this week (Carla, what the heck--you have 4, too!) Thank you for the bit of rest and calm and productivity that I am enjoying every minute of. Many are blessed by your efforts! And not just the kiddos.