Monday, December 27, 2010

A Meal Plan Is A Must

I realize that without a meal plan each week, we end up blowing our entertainment budget pretty quick.  We both realize it and agree that it’s an important area to focus on.  The Christmas smorgasbord is over.  It’s time to regroup.  I did some impromptu grocery shopping after work tonight.  I had no coupons, but most of what I bought were not coupon items anyway, and… I bought mostly store-brand items to score a 10% discount.


So, the meals we look forward to this week will include:

  • Chili (already in the pot)
  • Left-over chili over baked potato
  • Grilled ham & cheese on health-nut multi-grain bread
  • Salad – we have enough salad to have it every day
  • Pork with a side of rice and peas
  • Beef stir-fry

I’m thinking about making a quiche next week… Hmmm… something different.  Yumma. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lingering Christmas Spirit 2010

Church was lovely this morning, pews even in the balcony full of the Body joyously praising God together.  The music ministry was awesome this morning.  Two solos sung by men whose sweet voices I could listen to all day long.  They sure are blessed.  It was also great to see the abundance of youth participating in the service today.  Reminders about the birth of Christ, Mary’s journey, and of Peace, Love and Joy. 


I’m disappointed that Keith had to work this afternoon, so missing the Blair family Christmas celebration.   The amount of food was overwhelming, yet delicious!  I ate too much, as is custom for such celebrations.  Wrapping paper flung to and fro as joyous children discovered new toys and treasures with squeals of excitement.  How fun.  The children retreated to the spare room to piece together puzzles of legos into spectacular masterpieces, while the adults (and Joyce – soon to be adult) played Apples to Apples in the living room.  We busted some serious gut over that game.  I honestly think that was the longest we’ve sat together as a family in a long long time.  It was great fun. 


I’m sad to feel the end of the holiday quickly approaching.  Tomorrow morning will come soon enough and it will be back to the grind for me.  For tonight, I shall turn-in with a thankful heart, appreciating so many blessings, and praising God for his perfect plan. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

This Week’s Favorite Photo








A Christmas Toast… our own little tradition, and a photo to remember it. 

Christmas Day 2010

This is probably the longest holiday weekend we’ve ever had.  We celebrated our own little Vulhop-Christmas last evening.  Today we went to Rene’e’s house for her annual feast and festivities.  Tomorrow we are slated to celebrate with the Blair-family @ my parents home. 


Rene’e puts on quite a spread.  She cooked TWO turkeys and a ham plus the usual mashed potatoes, gravy, beans, stuffing, and then everyone brought more like cheesy potatoes, coleslaw, salad, and the like.  It was GRAND!  We stuffed ourselves!!!  YUMMA!!!  I wish I would have taken pictures of her tree.  It was really unique this year, and gorgeous as usual. 


Rene’e and Lee got me a Farmall A t-shirt and Keith got a hat.  We played the White-Elephant gift exchanged and scored an enormous plate of cookies, an eye mask, and a bucket of mojito mix (SCORE!).  We also got a tray of homemade cookies from Rhonda and some fudge too.  YUMMA!!!


It was nice to visit with extended family and to make ourselves useful in helping Rene’e in the barn.  It was great fun!  Now Keith’s off to a whopping 2-hour shift at work and then we’ll do it all over again tomorrow.   YAY!!!  Can’t wait to see the Blair kids!  

Christmas Eve 2010

It was Christmas Eve.  I had spent a few hours out with Mom doing some last minute shopping.  When I got home I wrapped my heart out until Wizzy got into a bag full of shopping bags and ended up scattering them throughout the spare room.  Silly cat!  I put together one of my most favorite gifts for Keith, something I knew he’d treasure.  As the clock ticked, I was getting more and more anxious for Christmas.  I baked a cheesecake and then proceeded to clean the living room and dining room.  I put a sparkly table cloth on the dining room table and moved the tree there where we could stash the gifts.  I turned down the lights, put on some Christmas music, and got out some Champagne.  Why not!?!? 


When Keith got home I insisted that he change into his jammies.  If we were going to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, we were going to do it in true style… in our jammies!  Next he popped the cork on the champagne and we had a Christmas toast. We took turns giving each other gifts, hugs, and kisses.  I got him cool jeans, shoes, a couple games, a movie, and two frames with very heartfelt pictures in them.  He got me pink fuzzy slippers (love love love), a necklace with a Cross that has chip diamonds in it.  (love love love some more)  He got me some stuff to make my own jewelry… something I had said I wanted to try.  He also got me the jewelry box I wanted.  I gets mounted on the wall, holds 9 photos on the cover, and is large enough for lots of jewelry.  YAY!!!  I LOVE IT!!!  I love ALL of it!!!!


I found cat-beds for cheap at Ross.  I was so delighted to have a gift for the kitties.  He played some games while I read the booklet that came with the jewelry stuff.  When I looked up, there was Crystal, curled up in Wizzy’s camo-bed.  Grrrr…. I got her the frilly pink bed.  Soon enough she was in her bed, with a little convincing from me.  It was too cute.  We, ourselves, eventually climbed into our own bed with thankful hearts for special moments with one another and the multitude of blessings on the day we celebrate our Lord’s birth.  I think every Christmas is a little bit better than the last for us. 


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Biblical Example

The Bible is a reflection of present day… in so many ways.  It’s full of stupid people that frustrate God.  The commit the same sins over and over, find them selves distant from the Lord, suffer consequences, and then cry out to the Lord for help.  The Lord’s grace covers over their sinful ways and his mercy saves them from Hell.  Why?  Because of Love!!!! 

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Slightly Festive





We have a small tree, but it sparkles just right. 

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tuesdays With Jen… My Memoirs

I walked into one of the upstairs bedrooms where Amanda was burning a candle.  I told her that her candles stink.  She said that my candles stink.  In sisterly fun we sparred… she kicked at me and I blocked it with my hand.  She broke my middle finger on my left hand!  “IIIIIIIIIIIIIICE!!!!” I screamed.  She got me some ice.  She was apologetic.  It hurt BAD!!!!  The next day I had it x-rayed.  Yes, it was broken.


She was really sorry to hurt me so badly.  She helped me many days with my farm-chores because she was ‘sorry.’ 


A few weeks later it was time to unload a wagon full of hay.  She helped until it was done.  Then she sat on a bale of hay and said “J.J. you’ve used up all your sorry.”  It was very funny… I don’t think she’s been in the barn much since!


What can I say???? I love her, but her candles STILL stink!!!!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Blessings Monday

This morning I’m counting the blessing of gainful employment.  Let us not take for granted the fact that we have jobs and get regular paychecks.  For the past year Keith has been driving approximately an hour each way to and from his job.  Along that way he would spend $13/week in Turnpike tolls.  He drives a nice big 4x4 truck a good 200 miles/week and only a small portion of it was highway miles.  He was spending a mint on gas. 


As it goes he has undergone a change with his employment.  He is no longer the Assistant Manager at the Rochester store.  He is now a Team Leader at the Gibsonia store.  This all comes to fruition on our first real day of snow this winter!  His commute is a measly 3.25 miles from home.   Via Yahoo Map directions it should take him approximately 8 minutes each way.  He’s looking forward to working a regular 40 hour week instead of the 50+ hour week he’s been working for the past year.  I’m so delighted!  I will actually be able to see him more!  He was off at 10PM the other night and he was home by 10:15PM and I think he even took time to fuel up that night too.  Yay!!!!!


I’m happy to also be gainfully employed.  I’ve worked in the same office for going on 10 years now.  I have a fantastic boss, which I am very thankful for.  I think I make a fair wage.  I enjoy my job most of the time. 


We are so blessed to have jobs that are fairly secure.  We are better equipped to keep a budget than in years past.  That feels so good.  Thank you Lord for these blessings!

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Tree is up with the help of my Handy Hubby!


Almost all of the gifts on hand are wrapped. 


Living room is swept. Thanks to HH. 


One load of laundry is done… more to be done. 


Christmas cards mostly all written-out.  Just need mailed. 


Did some work-work…  need to get ahead!  Don’t want to have to do that tomorrow!


Researched some gift ideas online. 


All in all, not bad.  Still a few things to do, but definitely feel like I accomplished something today.  Yay!

I need a plan…

So much to do… never enough time.  I’m about 3/4 done with Christmas shopping.  Haven’t put up a tree yet.  I’d like to do that WITH the Handy-Hubby if possible.  I ordered one gift for him, but need to finish with something else.  I need to mail some money for our nephew’s gift and buy two more presents for nieces.  There are gifts that need mailed to persons afar.  Each year I say the postage cost is enough to make you just send a gift-card or money next time, but it’s so much more fun to send presents in a big box and really… it’s probably worth it to do so.  I just regret that it’s rarely ever on time from us.  


I need to find the ads for this week and plan our weekly meals and grocery needs.  I admit I have not done any grocery runs for a couple of weeks.  I have not been making wholesome meals as much the last couple of weeks.  We’ve had a few dinners out with friends or family and other than that we’ve been fending for ourselves, mostly left-overs and quick easy grabs like soup.  We MUST get back to reality before we fall off the wagon and start eating out too much.  Got to keep the budget in check, especially this time of year! 


Speaking of budget, we’ll need to revisit that soon too.  Keith’s new job title comes with a new expectation for his paycheck.  We’ll soon be into a new year as well so managing that budget will be at the forefront anyway.  It’s good to start fresh and to be deliberate about discussing the budget at least once or twice a year (at minimum).  We should probably do that more often.  He asks me often “is this in the budget?”  I’m thinking, why doesn’t he know what the budget is?  Communication is the key.  Time to get creative.  I was thinking of getting a white-board and mapping out the budget either via week or month on it and then crossing off when we have emptied that expenditure allowance.  I haven’t fully developed this concept yet.  I’m just looking for something visible that we can share and that will be easy to see.  Hmmmm… 


There is housework to be done here, which I’ve really neglected lately.  There is a blanket to make for my sweet niece who will be collecting them for someone less fortunate to keep warm.  There are gifts to wrap and pack and mail.  I finally have tape again.  I had run out last weekend.  Not because I’ve gone overboard with gifts.  Not because I’ve wasted it.  Just because I’ve been using the same tape for so long that I cannot even remember when we bought it.  Laundry needs washed, dried, and folded…


Wait a sec… Haven’t seen my hubby much lately.  Wrapping it up here as time with him is more important than this…   

Friday, December 03, 2010

Favorite Shot of the Week

This is my favorite photo of the week… Taken last Sunday at McConnell’s Mills.  It’s my Handy-Hubby lookin lika gangsta!  LOVE IT!

Thursday’s Thankful Heart

Thursdays Thankfulness


Ok – December is a NEW month.  I love newness.  There’s just something FRESH about a new day, a new week, a new month, and very soon… a new YEAR!!!  I’m going to start a new spreadsheet in 2011.  In case you don’t know how this works, I’m keeping a daily journal of things I’m thankful for… things in general and also things specifically about my husband.  I’m devoted to keeping a thankful heart and thank God each and every day for all the blessings and provisions in my life.  Here’s a few examples from the week past:


  • Family time
  • Sunshine
  • Worshipful heart/Song
  • Prayerfully keeping my attitude in check
  • New month
  • New found trails clearly marked
  • Furnace = warm heat
  • Leftover soup compliments of my Mom
  • Gainful employment
  • Sweet pets that enjoy my company

About my husband:

  • He went hiking with me
  • He gave special attention to making sure I had good footing while out hiking
  • He kissed my forehead
  • He didn’t get angry when I was on the brink of a mental melt-down
  • He has a job change that should lend itself to better hours which is good for us
  • He took my car and had the winter tires put on and had the oil changed too… well winterized now
  • He let me drive his truck for a day
  • He called me from work to check in
  • He loves me and he shows it (he’s so precious)


If you’d like to join me in quest of deliberate thankfulness, feel free to copy and paste my logo, but please leave a comment and link back to my blog. 

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wednesday’s C.O.W. (Coupon of Wisdom)



Here are a few random thoughts on my mind of late…

  • Don’t live in fear.  Trust in the Lord.
  • Replace discontent with praise and thankfulness.
  • Joy is the product of righteousness…. strive for it!
  • Peace is the reward for faith.
  • Tithing is just the very beginning of giving and may involve more than just money… we can offer a tithe of our time and talents too!
  • Church isn’t about being fed/taught but about worshipping with the Body

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Tuesdays With Jen… My Memoirs

Monday was the start of deer season, rifle anyway.  It brings back memories.  When I was in my late teens early 20s I had the itch to hunt.  I met a guy who had that same itch.  We left in my truck at 530am for his favorite hunting spot.  On the way we hit a deer, a doe.  The words from my mouth were “Ohhhh MARTHA!”  (not expletives) We pushed her a good ways and when the truck came to a screeching stop she did somersaults down the road in front of us.  She busted out the grill.  The fender was pushed back into my door.  I said “Get out and bring your gun.”  I think that was a shock to this guy.  She was dead so we tossed her off the road.  The radiator was leaking pretty bad, so we went back home.  I didn’t get to finish that hunt, but he did.  He got a doe behind the house.  Her name was Martha too… of course. 

Dan-Dan & Martha 1992

Fun times!