Monday, December 27, 2010

Meal Planning & Budgets

Recently, we were told we have a very low food budget for the three of us. In all honesty, it would be a high food budget in terms of couponers. We are right at $350 a month for three of us, and that doesn't account for FishPapa's allowance that he eats lunch off of most days. We still enjoy convenience foods some of the time, but there have been two things that have truly changed that budget. Once upon a time, FishPapa and I sometimes spent $700 on dining out and groceries. JUST the 2 of us.

Probably the biggest thing was sitting down and limiting ourselves to a cash based budget. I'm not always good about it, but we usually stay really close to our budget.

But there are two other things that have made a huge difference. A deep freeze in our garage, and taking the time to plan our meals. Some people plan a week at a time, but that seems like a lot of extra work for me. I plan a month at a time, and write it on a calendar that I post on the fridge. I look up, and see what our game plan is, shop once a pay period, and then only run to the store for fresh produce and milk as we run out. I spend less time shopping when I do this, and am tempted less to spend money on extras.

I discovered freezer cooking last spring, which has helped TONS during the week that I have to really focus on work each month. Either Fishpapa or I can go out to the freezer, grab the meal and set it cooking, and know we will have a wonderful meal to eat later that evening. :)

I really do wish that I had learned to value being frugal when we were younger and made more money, but I'm grateful that even though i came to the party a little late, there is always time to learn these wonderful habits!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Dinner

Once upon a time, I lived in one of those families. You know, the one where the kids get shuttled back and forth for holidays. Christmas was always especially crazy. We would spend the week before Christmas with our Dad and Stepmom, then on Christmas Eve we would have THREE celebrations. One in the morning with just family, one in the afternoon with Stepmom's family, then one later in the evening with Dad's family. (Dad's family is HUGE!)

We would then go to a late night Christmas service with Mom (and usually her parents). We'd go to bed, wake up and do ANOTHER round of presents, and then settle in and have a big meal for Christmas dinner.

You can see why even as a child I thought Christmas was fun but exhausting. Everyone was stressed and I hated that feeling.

The first Christmas that Fisherpapa and I spent together was the one we got engaged. It took years, but eventually we got the running around to a minimum, in part due to Fisherpapa having to work every Christmas eve (working for a church is like that).

I was usually so exhausted by the time Christmas dinner rolled around (and having some rather traumatic memories of Christmas dinners I made as a 12 and 13 year old that turned out HORRIBLE) I just didn't want to stress about it. SO Christmas is our no-stress day. We wake up and have cinnamon rolls (I made these this year, and OH MY are they good!) and then hang out. And somehow in the last 10 years our tradition as become having chicken nuggets and tater tots for Christmas dinner. It's really funny - others have come and shared this holiday tradition with us and love it too - because it takes the pressure off the holiday.

This year with Fisherpapa and I watching our waistlines, we'll make chicken strips from scratch and have sweet potato fries. But ti's still our funny, weird tradition, and I love it!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

No Room?

I've been very affected by the idea of simplifying recent. I bought a FABULOUS book called "Organized Simplicity" that I would recommend to anyone, and checked a book called "Simplicity Parenting" out of the local library.

I started by putting into practice some of the things from the first book - and by that I mean, I'm going through the house and doing the ultimate de-clutter. I started the day after Thanksgiving, clearing 7 outdoor garbage bags of clothing and other stuff from our room. Most of it went to charity, though I am also prepping a garage sale once the weather turns a bit nicer.

What I didn't expect was how emotional it was for me to remove all those items. I'm a saver by nature. Sentimental, soft, I love things that remind me of the past. But when I have bins and bins of things that don't fit and are not useful to me, it all becomes overwhelming to hold onto. I was shaking and near tears when I realized the massive amount of waste and time and money and energy all of that stuff represented.

The rest of the house has not been anywhere close to as emotional, but this week I will begin on my office. I'm positive that this room will also be hard for me. I'm trying to clear out as much as possible, especially trying to make the room somewhere that BabyFish (though I probably should be calling him ToddlerFish) can hang with with me while I work. All he wants is to be with me, and because my office is too cluttered I have to keep him out.

I wonder how many other things I am keeping out by having too much clutter in my life? How much I miss out on because of the emotional and spiritual clutter?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Letting Go

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I handle stuff, and how my reactions set the tone for how my day goes.

Yesterday was a prime example. I woke up, did dishes, made breakfast for my family, and then tried to get some stuff done around the house. But I was stressed the whole time, and I can't say I was that pleasant to be around. I felt there was too much to get done, too little time, and I was already tired from not getting enough sleep the night before.

But then I shifted my thinking. I got to have a meal with my guys, and I did get some stuff done. Yes, I wasn't going to be getting the nap I wanted, but I could get some things done and enjoy my time with my little one.

I realized that trying to over-manage the people I love most was not only driving them crazy, but it was causing me stress. And I was allowing that stress to ruin my day. So, now that I see a problem, how do I fix it?

simplify my life.
weight things as they truly matter.
stop and breathe, and look around to enjoy what I have.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Deep Tired Feeling

The last few months have been really hard. There's not much I can point to and say "that's what made it hard". It's been this slow build of running myself into the ground for far too long. My work was too much, the stuff around the house was too much... It's been a tiring season.

But, through God's hand I have a smaller client load. It made us step back and realize I was trying to do too much. I'm trying to look at other areas of my life where I'm trying to do too much and not focusing on the things that matter most.

Tonight I turned off the TV and BabyFish and I played together. It had been a great morning at the Pumpkin Patch, and there was great fun had by all. But Saturday nights are always just the two of us. I like to think of it as Mommy Son Date Night. So I sat on the floor and played trains and firetrucks with him. I loved watching his little face as he learned new ways to play with things, and thinking about how his little mind is processing all the things he learns as he plays.

I'm tired and I can't way I wanted to sit on the floor and play with toys, but I'm glad I did. I'm hoping that this deep tired feeling will go away but even if it doesn't, I'll stop to play on the floor with my little one and enjoy him.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Traditions in the Making

Family traditions are a funny thing. There are some that we don't really want to become a part of our families, some that don't excite us, and some that can be redeemed.

When I was really young, my mom instituted Pizza night. Every Friday we ordered a pizza from Dominos, and ate in the living room together, gathered around whatever tv show wanted to watch. (I had seen Gone with the Wind in it's entirety by the time I was 10.) It was the only night of the week my sister and I didn't have to cook for ourselves.

On a blog I read, they have Friday night pizza and movie night with their whole family. They have several kids, at least one of which is BabyFish's age. But they do it a lot differently.

She makes her pizza from scratch. It's a big deal to start off with that, because it allows the pizza to be MUCH healthier. Then they sit down and watch a movie together as a family.

When you have a very active almost 2 year old, it's hard to imagine them sitting for any length of time. He spends most of his time running and climbing. (indoors, outdoors, it's all the same to him.) He also normally eats 6 or 7 times a day, which makes getting him to eat with us hard. (We always make him sit in his chair and hang out with us while we are eating.)

But last night the stars aligned, and BabyFish hadn't eaten, so we all ate dinner together. Then, we popped in the movie, cause I had been wanting to experiment with Movie Night. He sat on the couch, transfixed. He yelled OH NO, OH NO at some parts, and told the main character to GO, GO, Go, GOGO in the suspenseful parts. Overall, it was adorable, and awesome! I'm so excited to see what movies he will like and pay attention to, and which ones he won't.

But most of all, I'm excited that this tradition have been renewed and redeemed in my life.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Signs of Life

Once I got my garden beds in, I couldn't wait to plant. I'm worried about LittleFish getting into the plants and ripping my hard work to shreds, but I'm trying to make sure I can always see those garden beds when he's outside. He's still managed to climb into them a couple times. We'll see how it goes.

But it's been just over a week, and I've been good about watering them (After losing half our front lawn to the unexpected sunny warmth, but that's another story). Today, I got a few happy surprises. They are a little hard to see, so I put little blue circles around them.

Those are my lettuce and Snap peas making an appearance!

And my front porch held a different surprise: Some already nearly ripe strawberries!

I can't wait to pick them and share with LittleFish!

Friday, May 7, 2010


I've been MIA for a little over a month now. Things just got so hectic that I couldn't stop to think, or write, or be creative. It was overwhelming, and though that feeling isn't over, it's subsided enough to allow me to write a little.

Mostly, I wanted to show you pictures. Pictures of part of what was taking so much time and energy - Our Yard.

It's been a source of yucky feelings for years now. The swamp that was the backyard. The huge flowerbeds that I no longer had time to weed. The grass that was uneven, and usually a source of more weeds. The small mismatched pieces of patio. It all just made me not want to go outside.

But this last month has been the change of all that. It took a longer than any of us anticipated, and of course took more money than we expected. But overall, we have a fabulous new yard and patio. I have garden beds to raise my veggies. Most importantly, my son has an amazing new playspace, and thanks to my sister's spring cleaning, a bunch of new outdoor toys!

Here are the pictures. The before pictures were actually when the yard was looking pretty good - it had been long enough without rain that the yard had mostly dried, leaving everything very green and long, but still too muddy to mow.

The Side yard:

What you may not be able to see is that the landscape now gently rolls, instead of having dips and potholes all over. I'm no longer worried about twisting my ankle walking through it.

The Back Yard:

We moved the hot tub, added bench seating across the new larger back patio, and made the back yard level. It's still a work in progress, because I want to add a table and chairs, lighting, and more plants... But for now, I'm reveling in the fact that I can just open the back door and let LittleFish go play to his heart's desire.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

$5 dress

So, last month, our BBQ went kaput. FisherPapa went outside to find the knobs on the ground in front of the grill, and the front of it was on fire. BAD.

So we started checking out new grills. He had been using that one for 5 years, so it was probably time anyway. We generally don't pay more than $200 for a grill, so that was our budget. (I'm sure at some point we'll need to adjust for inflation, but it's worked for the last 10 years).

After checking everything out that we could, we stopped by Sears one day. 3 burner gas grill on sale from $249 to $199... we were excited by the price, and even more so about the quality. This Kenmore brand grill seemed heavier duty than any other one we had looked at within the price range. And even better, I had a MK sale that covered nearly all of the price of the grill.

So we went to go get it on Monday night. But then realized it wouldn't fit in our car. That's ok, we'll head back the next morning to get it in the SUV. This decision led to the $5 dress.

Since we had some time, we shopped around a bit. I stopped into Romy, and headed toward the clearance racks. The weird thing was, they had DOZENS of the same dress in a bunch of sizes. I tried on a few until I found the perfect fit, while chatting with the sales girl. The most interesting thing she told me was that when things go on clearance, they get shipped to the Lloyd center mall store, because the stores in the nicer areas (Looking at you Bridgeport Village) have trouble selling the items once they go on clearance.

Seriously, once it goes on SALE they have trouble selling it? I'm not complaining...I got a cute dress for $4.99, and the tip that if there is something I want, go to Lloyd center to look. It might have better selection and better sales!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A little under the weather and a little overwhelmed

So, the last week and a half as been a little off, and I had so much running through my head that I couldn't put it into words. I still really can't, except to say that I still really haven't made much progress in my thoughts about all of it.

This weekend I was fortunate enough to lead worship for a friend at Living Hope's Camas/Washougal campus. Those people LOVE to worship! I had to adjust what I was doing because they were singing so loud it actually drowned me out at times, and I had a monitor! :)
I love leading worship for passionate people. It reminds me why I do what I do, and it inspires me. It makes me feel more passionate, and isn't draining at al - it's life-giving.

That said, one of the things I realized in the last couple weeks was that I need to step back and take some time where I am being led in ministry, and not just pouring myself out. It's so much fun to lead a small group, and to lead worship. But this week I really wrestled with a couple things, and what would have greatly helped was having a group where I could go and be refreshed. It's what I desperately miss about my women's group. So I am working on that...

Anyway, as I unbury myself from my beginning of the month workload, I'll be able to find more time to write and track down awesome deals!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Freebie Friday!

Yesterday was a day for free stuff!

FisherPapa had a Health Fair going on at work, with LOADS of people giving away samples, including a Whole Foods booth giving away yummy fresh apples, Pirate's Booty, reusable bags, dish soap, Cliff Mojo bars, and bottles of Tea. I went to a pediatric dentist booth and got a free toothbrush for BabyFish. It was fun and a great time to see friends. We even ran into our neighbors who have a chiropractic practice!

Yesterday I made a box of Fiber One muffin mix that I had gotten last month. I was amazed at how good they were, and how incredibly filling they are! It also made my whole house smell like blueberry muffins! So I realized that my paper coupon for another box was expiring, so we stopped off so I could use it. I knew they were kind of expensive, but I figured the extra dollar (.50 coupon, plus double at Safeway) would make a difference, and I was willing to pay a little bit since they were so yummy.

I grabbed the box, double checked the clearance meat sections (You never know what AWESOME deals you will find there!), and then went to the self checkout. I scanned my box of muffin mix, and then my club card, and waited to see how many e-coupons I had. (I didn't check before I left the house, and I am too cheap to buy a phone with a data plan that would let me check on the fly.) 6 E-COUPONS later, I owed $ .99! Plus my paper coupon for .50, and the checked could only double it for the amount left (You can't get money back). So I walked out without paying ANYTHING out of Pocket with muffin mix that is tasty and filling.

FisherPapa was pretty darn excited, and so was I. I LOVE freebies!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Counting Up Savings

OK, So I just got an email from that told me how much I have saved using their service. So I decided to add together the amounts I have saved since I started using e-coupons ( and

Between these 2 sites, I have saved $46.40. That doesn't include paper coupons and sales that I now watch for. Splitting that out over 2 months, I saved an average of 23.20 a month...I have gotten things free and I have gotten overage, which I then use to take the overall price of my groceries down.

It makes me so happy to know that my newest hobby is allowing me to purchase MORE than I would have otherwise been able to, and has enabled us to share more freely, and go out to eat more often (with food budget overage!).

Sweet Scores!

I've had a pretty good week with the sales and coupons!

At Target this week I got 2 packages of my Dove Ultra Deodorant each with a little body mist sample for 1.29 each. Not bad when they are normally 3.64 each, without the free sample.

But probably my best score at Target this week was toilet paper. They are clearancing out their January Stock up and save items. I found a couple packages of Quilted Northern for 7.98 (50% off). These each had 36 Big rolls, which they equate to 72 rolls of normal tp. BUT, I had coupons, making each of these guys 6.98. So for less than the cost of 1 of those large packs, I got 2...and I shouldn't have to buy tp for a month or two. :)

It makes me really happy when I can pair a really good sale with coupons!

At Walgreens, I had to use up a $3 Register Reward that was going to expire. I knew there was a $2 Register Reward for buying a Goody Hair Accessory, but even cooler was that they were being clearanced out. I thought I was paying about $1.25 for a pack of Hair Bands and then I also got a couple clips since mine have been been breaking (they were also on clearance for $2.29). I was wrong about the Hair Bands though...they were actually ringing up .75. So together, my Out of pocket was .29, PLUS I got another $2 in Register Rewards to use later!

At Safeway I got 2 of those little 8 packs of coke bottles for $1 each. We had been out of cola for a week or two, and around here, that's not good. We don't drink it all the time, but heaven help us if we want it and we're out :)

Today, I went to New Seasons Market. They are having an anniversary sale that made this trip so fun! They are giving away a smart car and tomorrow will have cake. I mostly went because they have some pretty good meat prices. The meat I bought from them today isn't treated with hormones or antibiotics, and is semi-local, which if I can get a good deal on, I'll take any day of the week. PLUS, they will wrap it up in small portions so you have meal sized amounts to pull out of your freezer.
Anyway, their Natural Beef Ground Sirloin (5% fat) is $2.99/lb and their Pacific Village Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast is on sale $3.99/lb.

I didn't stock up as much as I would have liked, but I may be headed back there tomorrow. :)

I also got 4 bags of Kettle Chips for .50 each, Organic Navel Oranges for .59/lb, and Organic Fuji Apples for .99/lb (holy smoke were their apples HUGE).

But the best thing is that they have the Chinook Book on sale for $13 (normally $20), and with coupons from that I was able to combine with sales and got:
Organic Pumpkin Flax seed Granola (YUMMY) & Organic Kids cereal for $1 each
Cage Free Eggs (2 dozen) for $2 = $1/dozen!
Free Handmade Sausage
Free Organic French Baguette
3 Sunshine Yogurts (Normally .69 each) for .36 each.
2 Pacific Natural Organic soups for $1 each

Now, I saved about $8 using the Chinook Book, BUT, this was something I had already been thinking about buying, since it features coupons for local businesses. I got even more excited when I realized that upon my first trip to Burgerville, I would definitely make up the rest of the $5 I spent on the Chinook book.

So overall, it's been a good week for deals in our household!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

That WAS Easy

So, Nolan has taken to his toddler bed in his own room better than I could have hoped. He happily stays in bed at night, and even stays there most of the time when I put him down for his nap. We've only had one bad night where he had to sleep in the Pack N Play for part of the night.

Our current problem is that he's getting up really early in mornings. We think it's because there's so much more light in his room than in our room.

So we're shopping for a way to make his room much darker. I bought the blackout curtains, and honestly they don't make the room any darker than his old curtains did, and they are stiff and won't pull to the sides to open them to let light in during the day. We bought a roller blackout shade, but the stupid thing is worthless and won't stay rolled up at all.

I'm an avid Dave Ramsey fan, and have been listening to his podcasts almost exclusively in the car for a few months. One of his main advertisers is I decided to price them on cordless blackout cellular shades, and they truly are less money than anywhere else I have found. So we've ordered some samples to choose a nice neutral color, and then we'll suck it up and spend the money on his window treatments - cause our sleep is worth it! :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sleep and Growing Up

So, my little boy has slept in our room pretty much since he was born. He doesn't sleep in bed with us, he sleeps in a pack n play next to my side of the bed. It's been easier because he still nurses at night some of the time, and I don't love the idea of getting out of my cozy bed at night to go down the hall to feed him.

We've been considering moving him to his own room, but weren't sure how to make that happen. We'd wondered if a toddler bed was right or if we should just start him on a mattress on the floor. Whether we do it in small transitions or one big one... He solved the problems for us tonight on his own, though it could very well be a fluke.

Tonight I set him down in his toddler bed (Converted crib that he has been able to climb out of since he was 14 months old). He liked it and laid there for a few minutes. We went back to our normal bed time routine, but then he pointed at the bed and said nigh-nigh. So we decided to read the bedtime stories while laying down in the bed.

We got to the last story, and I asked him if he wanted to sleep in his bed in his room tonight, and he said yes. So while I read the last book Daddy made the room ready for him to sleep in (Rocket lamp night light, baby monitor, closed the curtains). I stayed with him and helped him lay back down a couple times. Then I asked him if he wanted me to go, and he said yes.

I kissed him good night, and walked out the door, closing it behind me. He cried for maybe a minute, and has been quiet ever since.

If this lasts, it would be the easiest transition ever. It also supports my thought that kids will let you know when they are ready for the next stage. It took him a long time to sleep through the night (He was over a year before the first time it happened) but I felt like he would do it in his own time - and he did.

But I also know that toddlers change their minds about everything - so in 20 minutes he could decide that it's too scary and never want to be left in there alone again. We'll see, but it's fun while it lasts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Celebrate the Ones You Love

Happy Valentines Day!

It's been a good day for me and I'm enjoying a nice quiet day waiting for Hubby to get home from work. I'm also debating the merits of cooking what was scheduled for dinner or getting a Papa Murphy's heart shaped pizza instead.

Poor FisherPapa had a hard morning. At least, it started out rough. (Not sure how his day has been since then.) I woke up and my lovely son had slept until 9! I woke up to him crawling into bed with me, and usually I can get him to cuddle for a few minutes. Then I looked over and realized FisherPapa was still there. Confused, I asked him "Roy, isn't it Sunday?".

He shot out of bed and was half dressed before he got to the door. (I guess that's the advantage of having your clothes next to your side of the bed!) The services were starting and they got it covered, but it was a hard start for him. The last time I remember him really oversleeping was SEVEN years ago when he missed a flight to go work with a band out on the road.

I'm excited for him to get home, because our son (with the help of his wonderful teachers) made us a Valentine's card - the first one from him! And, FisherPapa doesn't know that I have his favorite cupcake and a card for him from BabyFish and I.

I LOVE to get to do little things for the ones I love - things that make them feel special and loved. I love making them smile. BabyFish is still too young to understand that today has ANY kind of meaning, and we understand that it's a greeting card holiday, but I rarely pass up the opportunity to celebrate the people who are most important to me. I remember what it was like to not be able to have my wonderful husband with me on holidays. I remember the frustration of wanting to be together, and the stress of money keeping us apart. Now, I have everything I ever wanted - my wonderful family and fabulous friends. I am unbelievably blessed. Simply being together makes my Valentine's day special.

What is your favorite Valentine's memory?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Powells Code

One of my many passions are books! I LOVE them!

Today, posted one of my favorite deals ever - a $5 code from Powells is the most amazing book store ever, covering a whole city block in Portland, OR.
And even better You can score a FREE book from Powell’s Books! Just go on over here and add any book priced at $1 or under to your cart. Start the checkout process and on the payment page enter coupon code WELU2 –which will take an additional $5 off your order (covering the cost of shipping)! Then at the bottom of the page, click “Save and Continue” and then click on the “Place Order” button. That’s it, and now you’ve scored yourself a FREE book!

I bought a book for BabyFish - I love sharing my love of reading with him!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love for the Local

Today was a day that reminded me what I love about local businesses.

We went to lunch at The Good Pizza Company. We LOVE this place cause the food is GREAT, they have a very inexpensive lunch, and it's super close to where we live. But not only is the pizza awesome, they really want to create loyal customers. So when we came in and ordered 5 slices of pizza (Lunch is by the slice, starting $1 a slice/$0.25 each extra topping) they tossed in a couple cans of soda. SCORE! But then, when they brought the pizza to us, the 5 slices that made up almost an entire pizza themselves were joined by some wings! They were yummy, and it's just something the owner does sometimes for his customers.

Then tonight, FisherPapa took me to this frozen custard place out in Battle Ground Village called Frozen Alchemy. The owner was very sweet and let us try as many flavors as it took to find what we wanted. (They have a flavor called "Blue Moon" that is the flavor of Fruit Loops!) I loved the Birthday Cake and FisherPapa got a Cocoa flavor that when eaten with the birthday cake tasted like chocolate frosting! It was SO good!

But then, BabyFish was asking for a cupcake (He was giving me the sign for please). See, they also have cupcakes and a lady who makes VERY cool cakes. It was getting to be closing time, and I decided we'd get a cupcake for Babyfish. The very sweet cake lady thought we should get a Thomas cupcake for tomorrow, and I thought I should grab a mini one for tonight. The Owner asked how much to ring up, and she said not to worry about it!
So BabyFish and I shared a mini, and we have this beautiful Thomas the Train cupcake for tomorrow.

These are the things local businesses do to get customers and gain loyalty. And it's why I LOVE local!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why Passion is Important to Me

I made a late night drive to a friends house to pick up my camera tonight, and it gave me some great time to think. I turned on an album I hadn't listened to in a long time: Sara Grove's "Add to the Beauty".

I LOVE this album, in part because when I first heard it, I was in a season of my life that was really hard, but this album reminded me of why I was going through it. There's a particular song on that album called "Just Showed Up For My Own Life" that spoke to me loud and clear from the first line. In a way, this song is an alter, a place of remembrance for me, every time I hear it.

I spent a long time trying to be numb and letting my life live me. I wasn't fully alive, and I wasn't truly happy. I was worried about how things looked on the outside, but the inside of me was so broken I could barely function.

Here are the lyrics to the song, but I HIGHLY recommend listening to the whole album.

Spending my time sleep walking
Moving my mouth but not saying a thing
Hoping the changes would take by working their way from the outside in
I was in love with an idea
Preoccupied with how a life should appear
Spending my time at the surface repairing the holes in the shiny veneer

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

I'm going to live my life inspired
Look for the holy in the common place
Open the windows and feel all that's honest and real until I'm truly amazed
I'm going to feel all my emotions
I'm going to look you in the eyes
I'm going to listen and hear until it's finally clear and it changes our lives

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

Oh the glory of God is man fully alive
Oh the glory of God is man fully alive

I love that this song made me want to live my life in a memorable way, to be present in my own life. And even more importantly, it's what God wants for me!

This is the reason passion is important to me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fabulous Target Shopping

So, all the time and effort that I have spent looking at coupon blogs and learning how to put together deals has PAID OFF!
Today, the whole family took a trip to Target. (FisherPapa hangs out with Little Fish and they do their own thing while I do the deal shopping.)

I split it between 3 transactions to best use the $5 gift cards that Target was offering for purchasing 5 Quaker items and for purchasing Gillette 2 razors. (I did the 2 razors twice.)

Out of pocket, I spent $24.20 (Those socks that LittleFish needed were $4.99 plus tax!) Once you factor in the $5 Gift card that I still have, my net will be $19.20. I saved 39.18 in coupons alone, not including the sale prices!

About a month ago, I handed FisherPapa a coupon and a catalina to go pick something up at the store for me. He was confused by the catalina, and my response was to use it first, because it's like money. He told me to other day that he likes my new hobby, because it truly is like I'm clipping money.

I do this because it's thrilling to find great prices, and even more wonderful to be able to be generous!

A busy week...

It's been a good but very hectic week!
We went to the coast on Sunday night and came back on Tuesday in time to go and enjoy the happy hour at Buffalo Wild Wings with our wonderful friends. I had a nice quiet day on Wednesday and Thursday, catching up on my in-between time work. Friday I took LittleFish on a fun outing where he got to play with LOTS of other toddlers, and then came home to work while he slept. Saturday and Sunday were more working, the gym, church, and a Superbowl party.

I'm excited to start this new week because I'm right on track with my newsletters for the month and have FisherPapa's help with LittleFish for the next two days since he's off work.

What I think I took away from this last week that really surprised me was how much more alive and mentally sharp I felt, how efficient I felt, and how balanced my life felt this last week. Normally when my newsletter cycle starts, I feel completely out of sorts and that my work is overtaking my life. This time it's been pretty easy, especially considering how heavy my work load is. I remember feeling this way when I was working, going to school, and volunteering at church. It's almost like I need the pressure of deadlines to make me take it up a notch and MAKE it work.

Am I the only one who feels they feels they get better with deadlines, or do they cause too much stress to be helpful to you?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Project Management

I LOVE projects. All kinds of projects. Cooking projects, cleaning projects, creative projects. Things with a specific goal in mind. I'm not so good at the day to day things. I load and unload the dishwasher because if I didn't there wouldn't be clean dishes, and that gets inconvenient fast. But projects give me a specific way to handle something that I want done.

Even better is when my creative projects help me with other projects I'm doing.

Nolan has been in our room since we brought him home from the hospital, and we're wanting to move him to his own room by his birthday (in June). Since he's been in there when he sleeps, which is also when I am best at getting things accomplished, our bedroom is lacking in organization. So, one of my on-going projects is to sort through the piles of clutter in our room. As I was going through the piles I realized why I never wear my jewelry - I can't ever FIND it! It's everywhere. Big boxes, little boxes, no boxes. Scattered through the room, our walk in closet, and the bathroom.

See, one of the reasons we have piles of clutter throughout the house is because I'm one of those people who does best when they can see what they have. If something gets put away in a drawer or closet, I don't think to look for it. Mostly, it ceases to exist. (You can ask Fisherpapa about when he came home from touring and kept putting my coats in the front closet. I was sure they were vanishing!)

So I decided that a creative solution would be best. I needed to have my jewelry where I could easily see what I have and what best fits what I'm wearing. So jewelry boxes were out, as well as armoires. I was thumbing through a magazine and found the perfect solution!

A corkboard. With pins.

It is pretty and fits all my criteria for organizational purposes, but is also a kind of art. It makes me happy.

Plus, it was a really easy project to check off my list!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

FINALLY Transferring Photos

So, one of my biggest problems with all the things I want to do is how busy I constantly feel. Partly because my work schedule runs weird and partly because I have a toddler, I feel like I never have time to get the things done that I want to.

One of those things is moving photos from my digital cameras to my hard drives for backup. I have more than a year's worth of photos on my DSLR. Thousands of photos that sit on my camera waiting to be moved to my hard drive and then sorted for which photos will be used for projects and albums.

So I gave myself a little challenge this year. I found out about Becky Higgins' wonderful project 365 album. As awesome as that it, in reality, I can't keep up with that much. So i will be using her album and doing at least a monthly spread. At least 7 pictures from each month, with cards journaling about our life. A reminder about how life was when Nolan was little, about the blessings of my life, and about how we are growing and changing.

I'm super excited to get my album (it's being shipped here as we speak) and get to start on the first month. But as I was considering a nap today I realized that I could do some of the prep work, and move those photos. So here I sit, moving and backing up my photos to give my poor camera memory card a break.

What in your life would you want to look back on?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Webster says this about Passion:
4 a (1) : emotion (2) plural : the emotions as distinguished from reason b : intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction c : an outbreak of anger
5 a : ardent affection : love b : a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept c : sexual desire d : an object of desire or deep interest

When I hit upon something that I am passionate about, I have intense driving feeling or conviction about it. Where there is injustice, that passion comes out as an outbreak of anger. I have great affection, love, devotion to and am deeply interested by the things I am passionate about.

And my passion tends to sway others toward those things.

Recently, my passion for running (though I am currently battling a knee injury) has gotten several people interested in running a 5k with me. But had I not been passionate about it, greatly desiring the experience, I never would have told others about it and gotten them excited by the prospect of sharing that experience with me.

My passion for saving money through coupons and rebates and any way I can extend our budget has been inspiring others around us to want to do the same. It's helping them make their budgets go farther than they though possible.

Being a passionate person to me also means being a person who influences others. I hope that my passion influences others to live their lives with more purpose and allows them to really love and enjoy their lives in ways they never though possible.

Right now, my favorite blogs (the ones that are influencing me) are,, and These wonderful ladies are all Moms like me sharing their lives and their passions. I hope you can enjoy them too.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fisher Mama Beginings

I wasn't always a Fisher. I married into this life.

I couldn't have imagined the life I lead if I tried. As a little girl, I dreamed of being a dancer. Later, as social pressures came, it was more "prestigious" careers like Lawyer or Botanist. As a teen, I took on the desires of those around me. (At one point I wanted to live on a ranch in Montana - anyone who knows me knows this life path would have been disastrous considering how social I am!)

But the truth is that my greatest loves are not any of those things. I love my heavenly father, my amazing and wonderful (and patient, kind, loving, stable) husband, my adorable and precocious little boy, and music. I also love creating, though I would not label myself an artist.

I currently am a work at home mom, a worship leader, domestic engineer, and toddler wrangler.

I also have this passionate streak that shows up at odd times. I will completely immerse myself into whatever I am doing wholeheartedly. I read books with a passion, love to travel, and at the moment, am learning everything possible about couponing.

So that's me, at least right now. I will share my amazing finds, the things that make me passionate, and try to keep the mundane out as much as possible - since we have too much of that in our own everyday lives!