Thursday, November 6, 2014

Once a Month Grocery Shopping 1

Well, today I did my first once a month grocery shopping trip!!
I didn't come home with quite as much stuff as I imagined, but that has somewhat to do with the fact that I had sort of stocked up last month for the hunters we had come at the end of last month. Anyway, I had a fair amount of stuff left over from that. Also, I didn't need to buy any meat because we still have some beef from a cow we bought a while back and deer meat from the deer my husband shot last year. I also still have some chicken I got on sale a while ago and some from Sam's that is a good deal.
There were several items in the pantry that I needed for meals this month that I already had from before. So all in all, I already had quite a bit of stuff. To off set that though I did need some odds and ends for the house, such as laundry detergent, toilet paper, some other paper goods and things like that.
 
So here is the picture of my major grocery stock up for the month!
Not pictured are 5 more gallons of milk and 4 loaves of bread, they had all already found their way into the freezer as soon as we got home.
 
In case you are wondering how on earth we drink 6 gallons of milk before it goes bad, we don't. I always freeze milk anyway, since I never know if I will be going to town when we need it or not.
 
 
Now for the grand total for this shopping trip: $191.68. I shopped at Sam's for the milk, laundry detergent, cheerios, flour, noodles, mozzarella cheese and granola bars.
I got everything else at Wal-Mart.
That comes out to $47.92 a week for groceries for this month. Now I will probably run into a few things I will still need along the way, but this realistically should mostly get us through the month!
I forgot to mention, we have been eating a lot of potatoes, since we still have a BUNCH from our garden and I still have corn that we froze from our garden and some other frozen vegetables that I had gotten for the above mentioned hunters.
Other months might not come out quite as cheaply since I had quite a bit of stuff on hand already, but I'm excited to see how this comes out.
I did have 5 coupons that I used at Wal-Mart, but I think they were all worth $.50 so that was not a huge savings, but worth it all the same. 
 
So here is to seeing how the once a month grocery shopping works out for us!!! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Real Meaning of halloween

I have posted this post every year since I've wrote it, I believe, but every time Halloween comes around, I just can not say nothing. So here it is again.
 
 

Halloween.
 
It's such an innocent holiday right? I mean the kids dress up as their favorite character and are more than happy to go around getting loads of candy. But where did the skeletons, evil, demonic faces and ghosts come from? Is it just a silly coincidence that they are used as decorations for halloween?
No, they come from the superstitious beginnings of halloween.
It started as the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st, as it was the end of summer and the time of harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter; which was a time that was associated with death. They believed that on October 31 the worlds of the living and the dead crossed. The souls of the dead were believed to return to their homes in hopes of food and shelter, if these were not provided the evil spirits were believed to cast spells on those who did not give them what they wanted. The spirits caused crop damage and were thought to be able to make predictions of the future.
To celebrate the event, they would build bonfires and burn crops and make animal sacrifices to the Celtic deities. They would also dress up in costumes made of animal heads and skins and then try to predict each others futures.
It was widely believed that at death, the good spirits took the good people to paradise, but the wicked men were banished to the unseen world. These spirits were known to haunt the living and in order to exorcise these spirits, people had to offer them food and shelter during the night and if they were satisfied they would leave you alone, but if not they would cast a spell on you.
Today, Satanism and Witchcraft say this is the day that Satan comes to fellowship with his followers.
In 609 A.D. the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church and later included all saints as well as martyrs. It was celebrated on November 1. By the 9th Century Christian influence would spread into the Celtic lands and the church called November 2nd All Souls Day, to honor the dead.  The All Saints Day celebration was called All-hallows or All-hallowmas and October 31st began to be called All-hallows Eve, which eventually turned into Halloween. It appears that the church was trying to replace the evil Celtic festival with a church-sanctioned holiday, but without making the pagans drop their evil practices and accept Christianity, it just made it easier to miss the real meaning of halloween.
 
Did you know that Jack o' Lanterns were used to ward off evil spirits? That was their intended purpose.  To read the whole story, go here.
 
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
- I Peter 5:8
 
"reject every kind of evil."
- I Thessalonians 5:22
 
"Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead."
- Deuteronomy 18:10
 
 
 

This year, my oldest son is 4. Every store we go into has some kind of nasty, evil looking costumes, decorations or something along those lines. I don't want him seeing that junk, so I have been reminded over and over again how seemingly no one thinks about what Halloween really stands for. I hope you take this post as a jump start to thinking about how you and your family want to treat Halloween.
 
I know that this post is likely to not be very popular. It will likely step on toes and it is often a subject that people are totally for or against. I am simply hoping that through this post, that you will do some research of your own and see what the Bible has to say about such subjects. Then let God give you the conviction for how you are to treat halloween.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Downfall of our society

I wrote this post shortly after starting to do foster care, so it has obviously been sitting on the virtual book shelf for awhile since we have not even had the girls for 4 months now. So take into account that that is where this thought process was coming from...

It's no secret that our society as a whole has become a complete mess! Since starting to do foster care, I've come to a new realization of just how messed up it really is. Children go into foster care for all kinds of different things. Often times, these children have faced and endured things that NO child should ever have to go through. THEN, once they are in foster care, it is only half the battle. When working on reintegration, the children are passed back and forth from the foster family to the parents and back again. Rules are different, parenting techniques are different, and the emotional side effects on the children are heart breaking. Do you know what the saddest part of it all is?!
The children had NOTHING to do with getting themselves into such a mess. They just happened to have parents that couldn't keep it together enough to keep their children.
 
Seeing all of that first hand has gotten my husband and I to discuss such things quite frequently. There is another scenario where children pay a high price for the parents decisions. That scenario is divorce. When parents, for whatever reason decide that it is "best" to get a divorce, they have basically said that what they want is more important than what their children will have to endure after the divorce is finalized. Why is this such a bad situation you may ask? Well, because it is essentially the same concept as foster care except that the parents enter into it willingly. Parents willingly say, lets split our time with the kids. You take them this week, I'll take them next. Never one place to call home, never one set of rules, never an ounce of stability. Then the parents often, willingly bring in a new spouse that can complicate the whole thing for the children even more!
(Now I must say that in a case of infidelity, there may be grounds for divorce. The Bible even says so, but still I think a person must first think about how a divorce would affect their family before taking such a huge step.)
 
Now my last scenario, is going to be the stickiest of all. I'm sure plenty of people will think I'm going just a bit too far, but I'm going to go ahead and say it. If you've stuck around here for long, you must have some of the same thoughts and beliefs as I and I think you'll be able to handle this. The last scenario is daycare. How many perfectly happy married couples, send their children to daycare on a daily basis so that mommy can go to work? At least in this case, the children have interaction with their parents on a daily basis, sleep under ONE roof and have the stability of ONE home and TWO loving parents working together. In reality though, everyday those parents are sending their children off to be raised by someone else, with different rules and different beliefs.
(I do realize that in some cases mother's do indeed have to work and I'm not saying that you are a bad person if that is the case. I also realize that in some cases, people are able to find a daycare that has the same basic rules and beliefs as their own, but that is a rare thing to treasure if you are one of those lucky few.)
 
What all three of these scenarios boil down to is that, they all leave the children with multiple people in their lives acting as care giver, provider and nurturer. These children live by different rules depending on which place they are currently in, go back and forth from here and there, and are given less time to be trained and brought up in the way that God intended. I believe the emotional side effects of such things, are very high for children since they never have the stability of ONE home where they daily know what the schedule will be and know that their mommy will be the one taking the main roll of care giver.
 
In conclusion then, these are all things that contribute to the downfall of our society as a whole. Children are never given the chance to have a set of parents who are the TWO people they look to for all their basic needs and in the end don't get to see what a real working family looks like day in and day out. This in turn means that when those children have children of their own, they simply don't know how to be parents and the cycle is just begun again. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away...

I'm not sure this post will have a point or make any sense, for that matter.
 
 
 
 
Today as I was watching my little baby boy make his cute little faces, I realized that I've been on both sides of this life so to speak. I've sat with my mother, literally on her death bed and said good-bye to her within minutes of her death. I've also held two perfect baby boys seconds after they were born.
For some reason the thought of that is hard for me to comprehend.
 
 
"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." Job 1:21b

 
Just let that sink in for a moment.
 
 
I don't think most people ever see the last moments of someone before they leave this earth. Most people do experience the birth of a child. I never expected I'd experience both of these things within months of each other.
My year has been a roller coaster of emotions and for whatever reason, this thought occurred to me today.
One of these events was terribly sad. I watched the last moments of life on this earth for the woman who God used to make it possible for me to have life. The woman who loved and cared for me for years.
The other event was one of great joy and that we had waited nearly 3 years for. I realized that all the pain of labor and delivering a baby were completely and totally worth it as I held a little person that I had never met, in my arms, yet love more than my own life.
Life is a crazy journey.
We waited nearly 3 years to have our second baby. In those 3 years, there were months and months of waiting for 2 lines to show up on a stick. There were two babies, I will never meet on this earth.
One day my Mom told me she had cancer. She had some tests done and was told she had 2 weeks to 2 months to live. It's frightening what the end stages of cancer can do in 7 weeks. Four months before I had my baby, we buried my mother.
 
 
It's just the cycle of life, but for some reason, it's hard for me to wrap my head around right now.
While still being sad and missing my Mom, we were overjoyed by the birth of that little boy! It's amazing how God made us to be able to process so many emotions all at once.
 
Well, I'm done rambling for today and like I said, I don't know if this post made any sense or had any kind of point, but this is a glimpse inside my head...
 
 






Thursday, October 2, 2014

Trying Again

I have a confession.
I haven't been doing a very good job of making sure I get the best deal on the things we need.
For a while I was doing great with the whole couponing thing, but I completely fell off that bandwagon. I don't know if I was burned out or just felt like I didn't  have the time. We had two foster daughters for a year (ages 1 and 4) plus our four year old son. I think that was a good excuse for me to think I couldn't fit in going to look for coupons at our recycling center and clipping them. In all honestly, I could have done it, but it was easier not too.
Well, fast forward to now.
 
 
We are no longer doing foster care, we just had our sweet baby boy a month ago and I'm realizing I need to and could be doing better with saving money on groceries especially.
Part of the groceries costing more is out of my hands. Our small town (which is the closest at 25 miles away and think mom and pop, not Wal-Mart type of stores) went from two grocery stores to one. When this happened I was so, so afraid that the prices would take a hike. And while I can't quite notice the hike when walking down the aisles picking up my items, when I get to the checkout and pay $40.00 no matter if I'm buying a weeks worth of groceries or just stocking up on a few sale items, I realized that somewhere the prices must of gone up.
So my plan, which I've said I should do for at least a year now, is to make one big grocery shopping trip a month to the bigger town an hour away.
Here I can go to Wal-Mart, Sam's and Dillon's just to name the main grocery type stores. If I can figure out just what we need to get through a month, with pantry and freezer safe items, then I can go to our smaller town grocery store just for fresh items that won't keep for a month and in the end save a bunch of money.
At Sam's I can't use coupons, but if I pick and choose what I get there, just buying things in bulk can save me a ton! At Wal-Mart and Dillon's I can use coupons and often times, Wal-Mart just has great prices, especially if you get the store brand (coupons can't be used on the store brand, but most of the time, the price is about the same as getting the brand name and using a coupon). It will take a little work to figure out what we need for a whole month and to figure out when to use coupons on the brand name items and when to just buy the store brand, but I think I can figure this out and cut our grocery bill way back!
So I'm telling you all of my plan, so that hopefully I will stick to it and actually do it this time!
Here's to saving money!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cold thoughts on Frozen

There is a lot of excitement about the Disney movie Frozen. I must say that when I saw the previews and saw that adorable little snowman, I was quite excited to see it myself. We rented it and watched it and all I can say is that I was extremely disappointed. There was not one part of the movie that I liked. Sure the 5 seconds of the snowman were cute, but that was about it.
From beginning to end, the whole movie was about magic and sorcery.
I'm not sure how that makes this movie so irresistibly good. By Christian standards, I'm not sure how any Christian would want to see it a second time let alone over and over and also have "Frozen" parties, which I've seen all over Pinterest and various blogs. I just cannot see how people don't see that everything about this movie has evil undertones.
My son saw it once with my husband and I and I'm afraid he's seen it several times at a friend's house. For awhile there, my husband would tell me that he heard Pumpkin singing a song from the movie and I'd just cringe. In his little mind, he just thought it was all fun and games, but little does he know that the movie is a stepping stone to all kinds of evil, nasty things.
 
Okay, okay, I hear you all out there yelling at your screen going, how is it a stepping stone to evil, nasty things? Isn't that a little harsh for a cute kids movie?
Well, first of all, the Bible tells us to abstain from the appearance of evil and is pretty clear about steering clear of magic and sorcery. Yes, the movie may seem like a cute kids movie and our kids may not even know what all the magic really means. Some parents are even good about telling their kids that it is just make believe, but where do we draw the line? Where is the line between make believe and evil?
Let me leave you with one question.
Can evil be disguised as a cute, harmless little movie?
 
 
"Abstain from all appearance of evil."
1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV)
 
"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
 Galatians 5:19-21 ESV

“A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.”
Leviticus 20:27 ESV
 
 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

A journey's end

If you've been around this blog for a while you may remember that we became licensed foster parents a little over a year ago. We also had two adorable little girls come to live with us a little over a year ago. A year ago in May we were so excited to start this journey and see where it would lead us. I never dreamt this is where we'd be today.
Let me start out by saying that the foster care system is far more of a mess than I ever realized. I have learned that lesson time and time again in the past year. For one, there is barely any sense of organization or plan. Also, and this may not be true of every case, but in ours it seems that there are not any legal grounds for these girls to have been taken away. Now in the past 2 months they were supposed to go home 2 different times and one person who had limited involvement in the case kept them from being able to go home.
The more and more my husband and I have talked about our situation, we have decided that 1)foster care is not for us and 2) in this particular case we wouldn't feel right adopting, even if the girls came up for adoption.
 
As for number 1, foster care is not for us in the way that, we aren't the type of people that deal well with being told what to do. Most of the regulations and such that you have to follow to be in compliance for your license are not that big of a deal, but it is still a pain in our side. We also are the type of people that like to be able and pick up and go at a moments notice if we so choose. We have also gotten fed up with all the last minute notice of what is going on with the girls and having to literally be a "pain in the butt" to find anything out in a timely manner from the workers.
Now for number 2, we may or may not have all the facts, but from what we do know we doubt the reasons the girls were taken away in the first place and therefore would always have that in the back of our mind if we were to adopt. If I'm going to adopt, I want to know that the children were taken away for good reason or else were given up freely for adoption.
 
So all of that to say that we are closing our license. At this time my desire to adopt is not strong, I feel that God has led us down this road to show us a little what it is like to raise a child who is not biologically ours. We aren't sure if adoption is for us or not at this point. I also had come to the decision not more than 2 weeks before I found out I was pregnant, that I needed to be happy with my ONE child. God has blessed us with a happy, healthy, smart little boy and in December it hit me that there are all kinds of people out there just wishing they had just that and all I could do was wish for more. I believe that started me on the road to not being fully committed to adoption (not right now anyway). Then a couple of weeks later I found out I was pregnant...CRAZY!
So, since we do not feel led to adopt at this time, we see no reason to continue on in our foster care journey. Especially since we don't agree with the way the foster care system works and operates anyway. If we ever feel led to adopt again, I believe we will find another avenue.
 
There is a need for foster parents, but if you are feeling led to get involved with foster care, I highly recommend you talk to someone who has been there and done that before you jump in. We were required to take special foster parenting classes in order to get our license and they by no means painted a rosy picture of foster care, but they also did not tell us how corrupt the system was. I was completely unprepared for that. (Again, this may be more for our local system than overall, but in the case we've been involved in the only word that comes to mind is corrupt!)

So all this to say that we have come to the end of a journey and right now we are just a little family of 3, anxiously awaiting our journey down the road of being a family of four!