Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Weekend Recap

We're back from advnetures in baby sitting and I'm here to report that it went well. Honestly, I was never really too worried that it wouldn't. But it was super easy for me because all I really needed to do was be there. 10 and 14 year old boys don't really have a need in their lives for a 27 year old female. I'm not really fun to play with and there's not much they really want to talk about. But Derek on the other hand, could play basketball with them, teach them wrestling moves and add fun to any situation. So the weekend was basically him hanging out with the boys while I studied for my test.

The other good thing about baby-sitting for this particular family was that because the boys were the youngest 2 of 4, they were pretty self sufficient. I think when you are part of a bigger family you don't rely on your parents as much because there are 4 kids and only 2 parents, so the kids learn to do things on their own. Ben, who was 10 and the youngest came home from hanging out with one of his friends on Saturday night and just put himself to bed. There was nothing that had to be done on our part. Derek woke him up in the morning, and he got dressed and made himself breakfast, turned on cartoons and was ready to go.

Now I don't baby sit very often, but for a 10 year old, I was pretty impressed. He just did his thing. We were really just there to keep track of where he was and in case anything went wrong.

Nick, who is 14, and his friends hung out with Derek pretty much all of Saturday and then spent th night at one of the friends houses. This was great because we know the mom of that friend pretty well and we didn't have to worry about them sneaking out on our watch. Because lets be honest, 8th grade is prime age for sneaking out with your friends at night.

So, all in all, a pretty easy weekend, and I was able to get some studying done, which was much needed.  On the studying note - will you all pray for the test I have coming up? It's October 29, which I know sounds far away, but when I think of all I still need to study, it is a bit overwhelming. Especially when you throw a 40 hour a week job, young life stuff and just other life stuff like feeding my husband and keeping my house sanitary (notice I didn't say clean).  I need prayer that I would pass the test and have the discipline to spend my time studying instead of doing other things that I would much rather do.

I am also definitely feeling like I am missing out. I love fall and I feel like there are lots of fun things I would like to do that I know I just won't have time for this fall. And I feel like I don't get to see my friends much, but I know that I really need to be spending that time studying. I know that the sacrifices I make in the short term will definitely be worth it in the long run, but its definitely a struggle. Ok, this post is getting real long, so I'll stop now :)

Friday, September 24, 2010


Oh how I love Fridays! Even on days like today when I have to work it's still great because I work 8 hours instead of 9, which makes the day seem to go by much quicker and I have the whole weekend ahead of me.

I'm thinking this weekend is going to fly by. Tonight we are cooking out a friends house then heading to an LCA football game. Tomorrow from 8-12 I have a review course for the PE exam. A 4 hour class on Saturday mornings is kind of rough, especially when you work all week, but the class is totally worth it. It has been so helpful in remembering how to do all this stuff I learned in college but haven't done since. And there is only one class left after tomorrow. But I still have so much to study, so once class is over I need to start waking up early on Saturdays and spending that 4 hours actually studying.

The rest of the weekend will be spent babysitting. Kind of. I say kind of because its really just making sure the kids get fed and go to sleep at some point. One of the boys is in 8th grade, the other is in 5th or 6th. So they should be pretty easy. They really just need someone who can take them where they need to go and make sure they eat and sleep. So its really just hanging out with them. Their older brother is a senior at LCA so we'll probably get to hangout with him and his friends too (all of whom we are pretty close to) which will be fun. I'm looking forward to it.

Besides that I will probably spend the rest of the weekend studying. I know, my life is so exciting. But it will all be worth it when I pass this test and never have to take a test again!

Also, on a completely unrelated note, there was a really good post on Stuff Christians Like this week. Its about having a near life experience. Its not long, so I really recommend clicking over and reading it real quick. You won't regret it. Promise.

You know how Jesus says whoever loses their life will gain it, but whoever saves their life will lose it? The post talks about how rather than completely losing our life we hold onto it, and because of that never really live. Its about not surrendering everything. I think God has been convicting me a lot of that recently. Really been opening my eyes to some idols and things that I still hold onto. I am trying to let those go, and praying he would keep revealing them to me, so I can let them go. I haven't written a post on it yet, because honestly I haven't had the time to sit down and process it all and put it into words. But hopefully I will soon. Until then, go read that post and ask God to show you if you're having a near life experience.

Ok, that's all for today. Hope you have a great weekend! I'll be back to report on the babysitting experience :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What I've Been Up to in the Kitchen

Recently I've felt the need to add some variety to our meals. Usually I just grill up some chicken or pork chops and add some veggies and pasta or rice or some sort of carbohudrate on the side. So in the interest of trying to spice it up a bit, I have tried a few new recipes that have been pretty good, so I thought I would share. Last night I made Pasta with Smoked Bacon, Butternut Squash and Spinach. It looks something like this:

And it was quite delicious. I have never cooked anything with a butternut squash before, but  liked it, and I love using seasonal ingredients. The recipe calls for 4 cups of sliced and peeled butternut squash. I got a large one from Krogers, got 4 cups out of it and it only cost $0.69. Slicing it up took a little time, mostly because you have to peel it and its an awkward shape (and I thught the skin might be too thick for a vegetable peeler, but maybe its not, I don't know) but aside from having to cut up veggies, it was really easy to make.

I also made these Spinach and Three Cheese Crepes. Except I added some bacon to mine because Derek needs meat in his meals. But if you just cook up a couple strips of bacon and throw it in the mix he's a happy camper. He really liked this meal.

I also made some Simple Sesame Noodles and added in some sliced grilled chicken. (Again, I must incorporate meat into all meals.) It too was pretty tasty and fairly easy to make.

So there are a few suggestions if you need some new, relatively easy meals to try. I think I might try these Wanna-Be P.F. Changs Lettuce Wraps next. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shopping with D

One thing you may not know about my husband: he likes to shop. As in sometimes he will suggest that we go to the mall or go shopping just because. So Friday night, we went out to eat and afterwards we had some time before the movie we were going to see started. Another thing you should know about Derek is that he likes crafts. He likes making things like homemade Christmas ornaments and decorations. So, after dinner Derek suggested we go to Michaels, because he would really like us to make a memo board to put up in our hallway. 

We walk into Michaels and Derek is looking around in awe at everything. We head to the back where the bulletin boards are, but unfortunately they don't have one that is as big as we would like. So Derek takes off looking aroud the other aisles at all the stuff. He found a wooden letter D and got all excited. He saw a wood bookshelf and suggested we get it and paint it. He found Christmas ornament making kits that he wanted. It was really funny. Since Michaels sends out ads every week with 40% off coupons I told him that I would save the next coupon and we would come back.

Next to Michaels, is Marshalls. Derek had never been to Marshalls and asked what it was. I told him, and he said that he needed socks and asked if they sold socks there. I told him they did, so we headed over there. We walked in the store, and Derek takes a deep breath and says, "Ahhhh, the smell of savings!" What?!?!?! I don't know where he comes up with this stuff. We took the long way around the store to the socks where he thoroughly evaluated all of his sock options and selected the ones he wanted. But he didn't want to leave before looking at all the clothes. He had to go to the bathroom first, so he gave me his socks to hold and told me that I could pick out anything in the store for him to try on. Lucky me. So I picked out a graphic tee, a vest and a fancy pair of jeans. Kind of trendy, not really his style. But he did try them on and I thought he looked good. I think he kind of liked the vest too. Anyways, we both ended up trying lots of things on, and we even ended up buying a few things. We both couldn't resist the cheap prices and we never buy clothes so we figued we were probably a bit overdue for a couple new things. I love having a husband who loves to shop with me.

Also - after shopping we went to see the movie Grown Ups at the dollar movies with a few friends. It was actually really funny and I would definitely recommend renting it or seeing at the dollar movies.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Heart of It All

First of all, thanks for all your congratulations and your thoughts from my debt free Friday post. It gave me lots to think about. God has also spoken some to me on the subject so I thought I would share.

First of all, I am reading a book called Revoluation in World Missions. Its by the guy who started Gospel for Asia. Its a really good book, and you can actually get a free copy here. Anyways, as I was reading this past weekend he talked about how social programs, even while done in the name of Christ, will not have the same world changing effects that sharing the gospel will. And so, while I can and should strive to give more, the most important thing I can do is spread the gospel. Because contained in the message of the gospel is to care for the needy. So as more people come to know Jesus, more people will want to care for the needy, therefore more can be done than my giving alone could do. Also, I believe the more people that truly follow after Jesus, the better place this world will be. (I know that there are a lot of people that make this world a worse place "in the name of Jesus" which is why I say truly following after Christ.)

Also, I read this blog  post. While there is lots of good stuff in it, one thing that really resonated with me is the fact that I would much rather have a list of boxes I can check so that I can feel like my relationship with God is good. And how I handle money is one of those things that I would love to have laid out before me so I can follow a formula and check the box and know that I am doing good. This probably has something to do with the fact that I am an engineer, I love cause and effect and formulas. But the truth is, what following after Jesus looks like with respect to how you handle your money is going to look different for everyone. And I think the reason is because God wants our hearts to be humble and for us to acknowledge that we need him. Here is a quote from that post that I think says it well:

"I can become so sure I'm right with God because of external lifestyle decisions, only to be completely separated from God because I have never been humble and contrite in heart."

It is easier for me to do a bunch of things externally (again including handling finances but for sure not limited to that) so that I can feel like I have it together and am doing a great in life. But these things just lead to self reliance and pride. God doesn't want someone who has it all together, he just wants our hearts.

So I can't say that I have it all figured out. The only thing I know is that I can't fix the world's problems. (My mom also sent me a great e-mail on the subject and that was her advice - that you can't fix all the problems on your own, you need to figure out what you can focus on and do it well - great advice mom!) I need to trust God with that. But God has placed me where I am to do good works that he has prepared for me to do. And so even though God has blessed us in a huge way, we are still dependent on Him to know how to be good stewards of what He has given us.

It's cool how in such a short time God has really taught me a lot about this. And I really do appreciate all of you weighed in your opinions. One thing I can feel confident of is that God cares a lot more about our hearts than our finances, but I obviously believe it is true that where you treasure is, there your heart will be also ;)

Friday, September 10, 2010

We're Debt Free!!!!!!!

That was for all you Dave Ramsey fans :) If you listen to Dave you know that Fridays are debt free Fridays, when people call into the show to scream that they are debt free. And on this Friday, we count as people who could call in and do just that.

I won't call in though for 2 reasons.

1. Dave always asks how much debt you paid off, how long it took and how much money you were making while paying off the debt. And if I answered those questions honestly he would probably ask me why it took so long. People that call in usually sacrifice a lot to pay off their debt. We didn't sacrifice a whole lot. We stuck to a budget but if we hadn't bought a new car and had really cut back we probably could have done this much sooner.

2. I have already called into the show once and talked to Dave and so I don't really feel the need to do it again.

Mostly its just reason number 1 why I don't want to.

But I have this here blog where I can announce it to the world that yours truly no longer has any debt. With the exception of our house, but Dave lets people celebrate after paying off everything but the house, so we're celebrating.  We paid off 2 cars and just this week sent in a check to get rid of the student loans.

Now comes the very difficult question of what to do next. Making the decision to pay off debt was easy. But now comes a much grayer shade of money management. How much money do you save? How much goes into an emergency fund? How much do you put into your 401k? How aggressively do you try to pay off your house? How much should you give over and above tithing?

Dave Ramsey has it all laid out in his book The Total Money Makeover. (If you haven't read it you really should, it is a great motivator to get your finances in order.)

Dave would say we should now start saving up until we have 3-6 months of expenses in an emergency fund. Next we should put away 15% of our income towards retirement. After that we should pay off the house (this is skipping the step of saving for college for kids since we don't have any) and finally we can give like crazy. And I like this approach. Except I don't really like the idea of having 3-6 months of expenses in an emergency fund. There are people starving to death today. Is that not an emergency? And do I really need to retire at 65 and have a multi million dollar nest egg so I can live out the rest of my life comfortably? What about giving sacrificially instead of out of our excess?

On the flip side, if we do follow this plan and get our house paid off and save for retirement, then down the road we will have way more money to give away than if we just gave it all away now. If we paid off our house and invested our money, we could have millions to give in the future. 

I'm not sure there is a right answer. But now that the debt is paid off it is something we are forced to wrestle with and figure out. But I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Which camp do you fall into or are you somewhere in the middle?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Loving You is Easy because Your Beautiful

The other night Derek and I were laying in bed and he starts singing this song:

Loving you, is easy because your beautiful.
root-en-toot-en-doo dum
la la la la
ahh-ahhh-a-ahhhhhhhhhh!!!! (really high pitched noise)

Now if you know Derek, you know that he makes up songs all the time. So I honeslty thought he made this up. Also, if you know Derek, you know that singing is not the thing he is best at. So I am cracking up at this song that I think that he made up, but he tells me that it is an actual song from Vegas Vacation and cannot believe that I didn't recognize it.

Back story: Growing up we didn't get cable til I was in 6th grade and Derek blames this for my lack of knowledge when it comes to old shows and movies. Sometimes I use this is my excuse as to why I don't know some reference that I really should. Sooooooo, we decided to call my sister and see if she knew what he was talking about, and this would settle whether or not I was out of my mind for thinking he had made this up.

Julie didn't answer her phone, apparently she doesn't get good reception at her new house. Crazy Rocky Mountains. So Derek leaves her a message and sings the song for her exactly as I have written above. And the next morning I get a text from her saying she has heard this song and thought I would have too. Dang it.

So I decided to You Tube it, because it wouldn't surprise me if I actually had heard it but that Derek's rendition was off which is why I didn't recognize it.  So I thought I would share the You Tube video with you all because this morning I was reading Pioneer Woman's 10 blogging tips and she said you should blog regularly, and I realized I have not been doing that and this was the only thing I could think of to blog today. So here it is for you!

After watching the video, I feel like I have probably seen this scene before, and therefore have probably heard the song before, but probably only once which is why I don't remember it. And Derek's version is not very similar.

The End.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Weekend Highlights

Happy Tuesday everyone! Hope you all had a great labor day weekend. We had a wonderful time hanging out with family. Of course I forgot my camera, so I have no new pics of my adorable nephews :(  I really need to do a better job of taking pictures.

Anyways, I had Friday off, making this a 4 day weekend, which I was super pumped about. I spent Friday doing some much needed studying, and Friday evening we headed up to Northern Kentucky. On Saturday we went to Brookeville Lake. My sister in law Kayla's family and a whole bunch of other families (including Derek's best friend Bryan's family, our friend Andrea's family and about a million other families) all go camping at this lake every year for Labor Day weekend. We did not join in on the weekend full of camping, but we did join in the fun Saturday for their annual cornhole tournament. This tournament is serious business. There were a little over 70 people that participated (girls and guys put their name in a hat and random partners are drawn) with probably around 10 cornhole sets and it lasted hours. I was paired with a guy I had never met before and we actually managed to make it to the final four teams in the winners bracket. While I would have loved to win the $140 prize, I was pretty satisfied with our performance. Mostly it was just fun to enjoy the beautiful day outside with friends and family. This picture pretty much sums up the cornhole tournament (stolen from Kyle Dorsey's facebook photos).

Sunday was spent at Derek's parents house with all the brothers, wives, nephews, etc. Oliver is definitely getting bigger, and he is such a sweetheart. I could just hold him forever. And Henry is developing such a little personality. He cracks me up. Henry is in the beginning stages of potty training, so whenever it looks like he might need to use the restroom we all try to encourage him to use the "big boy potty". So Sunday we are all sitting around on the porch and its looking like he might be trying to go #2. So we ask him if he needs to use the potty. At first he assures us that he does not. But everyone keeps telling him how great it would be if he did use the big boy potty. So Henry stands up, throws his hands up in the air and says, "Come on everybody! I'm gonna poop in the potty!" and proceeded to head in the house, wanting us all to follow him and be supportive of him going the bathroom. He really is hilarious.

We celebrated my birthday on Sunday as well (since I haven't been up to NKY in a while) and I got some more gift cards to put towards a new computer that we hope to purchase soon.

Everyone came back over for lunch on Monday before we headed back to Lexington. Derek's younger brother Kevin and his wife Kayla are getting ready to move to Indiana, Pennsylvania in a couple weeks, where Kevin will be going on Young Life staff. So this was the last chance for all of us to get together before they move 6+ hours away, which is extra sad since Kayla will be having a little baby boy in December. We feel like we don't get to see Henry and Oliver nearly enough and they are only an hour and a half away, so it will be hard not getting to see our newest nephew very often. But we are very excited for them and know the Lord has big things in store for them.

So that was pretty much my weekend. Got another busy week ahead. It seems like they are all busy weeks these days. Hope you all have a great week. I may not have much chance to update my blog, but I will definitely keep up with yours!

Friday, September 3, 2010


Happy Friday everyone! Today is my friday off, which means a 4 day weekend for me. Holla! I'm hoping to spend some time studying today and then we are heading up to Northern Kentucky for the weekend to spend some time with Derek's family.

It's been a while since I have seen my nephews, and I haven't seen Kayla since the middle of July, and she was just beginning to look pregnant. I'm excited to see her baby bump :)

 In other news last night we had dinner with our friend Nate. Nate graduated from LCA last year and over the summer his family moved to Atlanta. For the last 3 years it was not uncommon to find Nate at our house, so his absence over the last half of the summer has been weird.

Nate is the one in the green shirt

Nate is going to Indiana Wesleyan for College, so last night him and his mom drove through Lexington on their way up to Indiana and we got to have dinner with them. So many things I could say about Nate. He is one of the most faithful people and I don't think that young life at LCA would be what it is without him. We already miss him lots, but know that he will do great things in college and life. It was great getting to see him last night.

Well, I think I'll wrap it up here. Hope everyone enjoys their labor day weekend. Yay for 3 (or in my case 4) day weekends!