Food Lion Frugal Cookoff – giveaway

This giveaway can’t wait any longer!

In case you’re short on time, here’s what you need to know: Food Lion hosted a super fun Frugal Cookoff and I had the privilege of being one of the contestants! (If you’ve read this, I promise I have not turned into Pinocchio.) As a result, I get to give away a $250 gift card to one of my readers. Hooray! Who wouldn’t want free groceries? Please enter the giveaway! Scroll down to the portion in bold and follow the directions for your chance to win!

Now for the story! = )

Out of the blue one night, I received a message from my friend Malise at Carolina Mama. She has a “fun idea/event opportunity for me.” After talking to her I found out about the Food Lion Frugal Cookoff. A chance to participate in a cooking contest – mystery meat ingredient, fifteen dollar budget of Food Lion essential brand products, forty-five minutes to prepare a main course and two sides – what could be more fun than that? At this point I have to tell you that my husband and I watched Chopped for a loooooong time; and I always wanted to try it. I was so happy it worked out to participate!! Thanks, Malise, for thinking of me!

My emotions took turns being excited, being nervous, being mad at myself for getting into something where I would probably make a fool of myself, and being completely uninvolved as I went about the daily tasks of taking care of my five girls.

I found out that we would be on teams… and Malise would be my partner – yay!!

We also found out that our meat for the main dish would be one of these four choices, boneless chicken breast, ground turkey, boneless pork chop, or tilapia.

I’ve used all of these except ground turkey so I decided to “research” a little. (Ahem, Pinterest.) The only things that looked good were turkey burgers or turkey meatballs, but turkey meatballs seemed a little too risky. I looked up ideas for the other meats, emailed Malise all my ideas and thoughts and then said, “Whatever you want to do is fine with me because you’ve been cooking way longer than I have!” = )

On the night of the cookoff we were given ground turkey! Our menu consisted of Southern Surprise Turkey Burgers, Parmesan Buttercup Squash Fries, and Simple Apples and Onions. Later I will share recipes and more about the competition – it was so fun!!

And… drumroll please… we won!!!

Can you believe it??? I sure couldn’t!!!

Actually, I was looking around at everyone else’s plates thinking they looked so good, so pretty and yummy. But, when I tasted ours, I thought, Hmmm…. we might have a chance!

It was all so yummy! You’ll have to check back for the recipes!! = )

Before I finish talking your ear off about this, I have to say that Food Lion was such a great sponsor! They explained their effort to provide fresh produce, fresh meat, and quality staples, all at their very lowest prices. They have even have new lines of organic and natural products – and, they gave us a goody bag that sampled these products – yum!! You should try them!

Now for the good part: I have one $250 Food Lion gift card to give away to one of my readers – yay!!

Here’s how to enter: Leave a comment here, like the blog on facebook, or share the giveaway via facebook, or all three for three chances to win!! 

Let me know in your comments what you’ve done! I will announce the winner a week from today – next Tuesday!

A huge thanks to Food Lion for the opportunity to participate in the Frugal Cookoff! Thanks also to Malise of Carolina Mama for letting me know about the event and for being such a great teammate!

I can’t wait to tell you more of the story, show you more pictures; for now here’s the youtube clip!












A little good morning hello

Hello dear readers.

Just wanted to say that we are still alive and well in spite of all blogging appearances. Life is clicking along as Paul heads toward graduation and we come to the home stretch of our first homeschooling year.

A few weeks ago we took a family ride on the coughs-colds-fevers wagon, and though we all feel much better, Dad and Mom are still going to bed quite early trying to fully regain our energy. = )

I’ve missed posting, and hope to start again soon. Just one more good night’s sleep. = )

Until then, here’s just one of the pictures waiting to be shared. There’s a lot more coming!

We took another family trip...
We took another family trip…

Love to all,


What in the world is going on around here anyway?


Well hello, dear readers. I felt like before jumping head first into the week that I would stop and talk about what is going on with this blog.

Expect no chronological order, sense or sensibility. I’m just chatting about what is going on.

You may have noticed that the appearance of the blog has changed. I warn you, it may keep changing. I’m not really content with the look, but currently lack the skills or time to make it something I would be permanently happy with. Every now and then I go to WordPress and try out different themes; sometimes I change it to see how I like it for awhile. If this bothers you, in all seriousness, would you mind telling me? I have in my mind that it doesn’t really matter, but I certainly don’t want to irritate anyone if that is not the case.

Next, I have not been blogging as much, which is kind of a good and bad thing. Bad, because I dearly love and enjoy it; good, because I am trying to be more productive at night, because I’m able to spend more time with Paul, and because I’m trying to go to bed earlier.

The content I have almost ready to go right now is short, practical thoughts about pregnancy. Not very exciting, but rather what’s in my brain right now. Also, not written yet, but I have a few ideas about spring and spring cleaning.

The posts that I most want to work on or publish are longer ones about topics I think about often or am personally working through. I often don’t even start to write these because the inspiration for the right words isn’t there, or it will be annoying to be interrupted, or I wonder what’s the point of me writing stuff like that anyway. I read an article last night that I thought was really encouraging. (read it here) Anyways, based on that, I am going to try writing more even it’s just a few sentences here and there and still doesn’t become final for months. I would love to be able to publish one of these of month???

I need to write a post about the Edith Schaeffer book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking. Another thing I keep putting off because it feels like it will take a long time to write.

Of complete unimportance, sometimes I think about trying to monetize this blog. I was planning on trying to get an amazon affiliate link when I read somewhere that it was no longer available in my state. So I have not checked into it further. Although I’ve read about how to make money with blogs and thought about it, I just don’t have the space in my brain or the desire in my heart to make it happen right now. Though I want this blog to be a blessing to my extended family and friends and hope that it will be an encouragement to those who read, it’s primarily just an outlet for me. I would say creative outlet, but that feels like a stretch. I enjoy writing about what’s going on and having to produce content or manage any kind of finances regarding the blog would be a stress I don’t need right now. Along with that is the motives of my heart. My husband works really hard to provide for our family and I find a lot of security in trusting my provisions to be given by God through him. At a different time it might be wise or good to use this blog for other things, but for right now I’m happy with how things are.

One thing I want to get better at is taking pictures consistently of the girls to post for family and friends.

That’s all I can think of for now. I would love to hear if you have any questions or comments.

Oh, one more thing. WordPress now has something worked out with Getty Images where we can use their photos for non-commercial purposes. The easiest way for me to use it currently ends up with a big Getty Images label under the picture which I really don’t love. I’m trying to decide if I should keep using them anyway or find something else or use my own shots (not the greatest quality). Anyways, just a heads up if you see newer pictures around here.

Thanks so much for reading whether this was your first visit or your one-hundredth. Every comment or “like” is so encouraging and so fun. I’d love to hear what’s going on with you!


And the winner is…

imageHey everybody!

It’s time to announce the winner from last week’s giveaway!

The prize is the Botanical Notebook Collection from the Rifle Paper Co. I love these notebooks so much! Actually, I still need to get some of my own. = )

Okay, without further ado: the winner is…

*June* from facebook! Yay!! I’m so excited!!

June, you’ll be hearing from me soon!

Thanks to all who entered, and even to those who meant to enter but fell asleep early and woke up after midnight on Saturday. = )

Hope you’re having a lovely and loving week!!


P.S. The winner was chosen by some mathematical process on

Where to begin

Even though I’m ready to begin blogging again, I’m having some difficulty figuring out where to begin. It’s been so long and everything I have ready just doesn’t feel right. The funny things seem too foolish; the serious things seem too heavy.

So I just decided to talk.

Believe it or not, I really enjoyed some time away from the Internet. It’s so easy as a busy mom or wife to feel so exhausted at the end of the day that anything but mindlessly enjoying the Internet feels like too much of a strain. But that’s really just a trick our mind plays on us. I found that reading books, working on small projects, or even picking up and folding laundry worked just as well in helping me to unwind.

Books remain wonderful. I’m so thankful for some friends who read. They probably don’t realize how they have wordlessly inspired me.

In other news, Mckayla is climbing on everything! She daily gives me a scare of some sort. One Sunday morning I found her on the floor of the kitchen with two unwrapped dum-dums in her hands. She had climbed up the cabinets enough to reach my purse, empty the contents, and enjoy her finds. It was too cute to be mad about. Life doesn’t get much better than a lollipop in each hand when you’re one.

Well, I’ve officially started back. Oh, and I’m really going to try to only do three posts a week for a few months and see how that goes. Haha, with summer schedules that might even be an overestimation. Thanks so much for reading even while I was gone.

Hope you’re having a lovely and hope-filled day,


What’s on my mind

photo credit
photo credit

I had thought about sharing a fun home tour from a blogger I admire today, but what I wanted to do yesterday didn’t happen, so I’m going to put that off for later. (i.e. what I wanted to do for yesterday, I’m attempting to do today… or rather last night)

Most of my posts are pre-written (obviously, I don’t have time during the day to just sit down, pound out something worth reading, and then hit “publish”). So I thought it’d be fun to hammer out something personal and unplanned just to see how it goes.

Ready? I’m glad you are, because I’m not!


I was going to cook a rutabaga tonight for dinner, but was spared by my father-in-law coming to town. Don’t worry, I’m still excited to cook it; today just wasn’t the day, I was trying to accomplish too much and it would have been a disaster.

Why a rutabaga? Well, if you follow me on pinterest, you might have seen that I pinned a rutabaga recipe with a caption something like this, “When your children start reading Winnie the Pooh on their own, you will find yourself buying a rutabaga while you’re at the store (thank you, Rabbit).”

Okay, you know me, my sense of adventure; I’m all for trying a rutabaga. Kind of always wanted to.


Mckayla was quite difficult to feed today. It seems to me that parenting is not about the one and done’s as it is the consistent exercises. We have worked with her so much and seen a lot of progress, but every now and then she’ll throw something out like she did today, and it feels like the whole day is rearranged to deal with it.

While I  was content, but not super happy with where we ended this afternoon, she behaved and ate really well while we were out with Pop tonight, so I was thankful for that.


I want to do a giveaway here on the blog, but have no idea where to start. Actually, I don’t know what to give. I’m sort of one of those gift-givers that actually ends up giving things that I want (oops!), so I’m trying to decide if my ideas are good ones or just a weird sense of revenge on all those giveaways that I never won.


Actually, I don’t really enter many giveaways, do you? I’d say I’ve entered way less than ten in my whole “blogging” history. And of course, never won. But that’s okay. Something about seeing 400 comments on a post that normally has 20 just makes me not want to enter. Weird.


Paul bought me flowers on Mother’s Day. Not like florist flowers, but like plant flowers that you could keep in your house or your yard to be beautiful forever (if you knew which they belonged in). It’s sort of a yearly tradition. He buys me those kinds of flowers, and I kill them. The ones from this year are already looking quite sad. I had put them outside for several days before realizing that they were supposed to be indoors. But I can’t figure out if they need to be repotted or just cared for? There wasn’t any information with them and the website suggested was super unhelpful.

I really want to put them in the car and drive to Lowe’s and say, “Hey, what can I do to make these live?”

But is that worth it? What if I do everything I’m supposed to and they still die? What if they die because I never tried?

There they sit, up on the fridge, hating their life.


I enjoy blogging. I have about ten ideas every day for new posts. Lately, I’ve been trying to just buckle down and finish some that have been hanging around forever. It’s so hard to push through when you’re writing and a new idea comes or you think, “I wonder if so and so posted anything today? Maybe I should check.” Anyways, some ideas that are in my head right now are either titled or generally about, “The file marked ‘Gospel’,” “Personal Style-Words,” “When choosing between brown and black…” “Mckayla’s vocabulary,” “Ways to entertain your children at doctor’s appointments,” “Pre-potty training Mckayla,” “Potty training: What not to do,” “Chasing Triumph,” “An Older, Wiser Couponer,” and “Make your own jello playdough.”


I need to go to bed. Maybe next time, I’ll ask you what’s on your mind. Actually that’s another idea I have; a fun, “Ask the Audience” day. Well, I do hope you have a good night, or day, or whatever you’re having while you’re reading this.

Thanks for reading,


Hello February

2007-2009 334Hello February… a week and a half late.

Hello shortest month of the year.

Hello my husband’s birthday month.

Hello busy month.

Hello month that I’ve decided to not read blogs.

What? Screeeeeech!!! Slow down, and say that again.

Hello month that I’ve decided to not read blogs.

This was a hard and easy decision for me. I began reading blogs about two years ago; it’s been a constant source of inspiration, entertainment and relaxation ever since. But the truth is, I’m not that purposeful with it anymore. One leads to another, to another, to another; before I know it, it’s way past my bedtime. And what do I have to show for it? Not much. The thought crossed my mind that for a month I should not read any, and right away I knew it would be a good thing to do.

I’ve been feeling a definite pull in my heart away from devotion to Jesus, a disconnectedness to my children, and an apathy toward my marriage.

Are blogs causing this? No! My heart is the cause of this. I love myself so much that I’m willing to sacrifice what’s best for me (sleep, preparation, prayer) for the temporal pleasure of reading interesting posts or looking at pretty pictures of decor.

So, in honor of the month of love, I’m casting something away with the hopes of learning again to love Jesus supremely.

So far, honestly, it’s been a little rough. I find myself during the day thinking about it or looking for an excuse to check my email or something. It’s amazing how quickly we can set ourselves on mommy-autopilot without even realizing it.

I was sort of on the fence about whether to cut out Pinterest or not, but am pretty sure that at least for now it needs to go, too.

There’s no official plan of action besides just cutting out my nighttime pastime for right now. I’m not expecting instant results or trying to go about it in a A.B.C. no-fail manner. Just saying no to my desire for “down time” which inevitably leads to “wasted time.”

So… we’ll see what happens.

Hello February.

It’s official: the Israel trip is on

Really, Bud? Israel? Right now?

You know there’s rockets and stuff; talk of a ground invasion. Mmm….life never can just be a smooth road, can it?

The seminary is really having to make a major decision here. They’ve been working on this trip for so long; it would be a huge disappointment to cancel. But on the other hand (insert Toppel’s voice from Fiddler on the Roof), it’d be pretty bad PR to send your students over there and have them get stuck or something worse.



…the trip is on!!!

All right, I’m not a worrier. And I was truly hoping that he would get to go, and he is!! I’m beyond excited for him.

And you all get to enjoy my running commentary on taking care of the girlies alone.

Series coming soon!

(In case you all were wondering, this series is past tense. But just forget that while you’re reading.)

Series coming soon: Taking care of four little girls alone (while my husband goes on an amazing study trip to Israel)


1. We have four little girls ages 4,3,2, and 1.

2. I take care of them all day while my husband works full-time to support us and attends seminary classes at night.

3. You could say this is somewhat taxing.

4. I do get relief when my husband comes home at night and I get to exercise my mind with the theological concepts he relays.

5. But it’s all going to end… for two whole weeks.

6. Because he’s going to Israel.

7. And I’m staying here.

you better believe I’ll be blogging about this one