Sunday, January 30, 2011

I thought I was a SUPER grocery shopper...

Until I read this book.
To be honest, I read the first chapter, took a 'how savvy of a shopper are you?' quiz, received a horrible score (making me an 'impulse shopper'!) and hated Erin Chase for implying that.

But then I became slightly intrigued.

Once I started reading, I realized that I have some things to learn! Her whole book is made up of how to plan meals, shop wisely, coupon (something I think I'll try), and then a ton of $5 dinner recipes. Now, in my defense, we usually eat supper for less than $5. But the reason is that I purposely make our meals last two nights. Once the kids begin eating more--that won't always work. But she has some really good ideas in this book.

And the coupon-ing thing? I'm hoping that I can figure out a way to make that work. To me--it seems like a lot of detail work. But through Erin's ideas (and some help from another coupon-crazy friend) I'm hoping I'll be able to save even more money and prepare healthier meals for my family.

I received my first Sunday edition of the Wichita eagle today, clipped all the coupons, and then stared at them wondering how in the world I'll do this.

Oh's a new challenge, right?

Thursday, January 27, 2011


That's right! We are hosting an open house for our house WHICH IS FOR SALE this Sunday. (See sidebar--"Our House For Sale") Come anytime from 2-4pm--and send your needing-a-new-house friends!

Also, check out house pictures here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Building Stuff

The other day, Oliver decided to build a shovel to scoop all the snow:

"Mom, I'm going to make a shovel with this piece of wood. How can I cut it?"

"Here! I'll use my saw."

", this isn't really working very well. Maybe I'll do it harder."

"Maybe I'll just color it."

"There mom! See? It's a piece of wood that I colored!"

Monday, January 24, 2011

My New Favorite Song

Disclaimer: {I admit that I usually DON'T listen to songs that people post on their I totally understand if you skip this one!}

This is my new favorite song.
(He's Always Been Faithful... by Sara Groves) My cousin Karmyn sang it at my grandpa's funeral--and although it was so fitting for that, it is such an incredible song.

"This is my anthem, this is my song
The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Grandpa Epp

(Grandpa and Grandma Epp a few years ago)

Last Friday morning we received news that my Grandpa Epp had passed away early that morning. Even though he had been hospitalized and very sick over Christmas--it was still hard to hear.
My sister, dad and I decided to make the drive up to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada for the funeral. We really wanted to be there. (My mom flew up early Saturday morning)

We departed on our road trip Sunday after church, and drove all the way to Fargo. In true 'great-white-north' style, it began to get snowy, windy and VERY cold.
(This really fuzzy picture shows the temperatures the night we drove in. Believe it or not, this was the WARM day.)

We met my brother and his family in Fargo, ND where we stayed the night. Early the next morning, we left again. Monday we drove up to Saskatoon and arrived just in time to make an awkward appearance (We're HE-RE!) at the viewing...we missed out on hearing some fun stories of my grandpa, but luckily, we heard many more over the next couple of days...

The next day we had grandpa's burial (in -25 temperatures) and then his funeral service. Wednesday, we hung out with grandma for a little bit before heading out again. It was a good thing we didn't stay too late--as we met up with pretty bad roads in North Dakota! We FINALLY drove out of the bitter cold in South Dakota, and saw the sun again. Canadian cousins: stop reading here: {How can ANYONE live in that cold?????} :-)
(our view for MUCH of the trip--there's a reason they call it the 'Great White North'!)

I was so glad I was able to go on the trip (and that Joel was okay for 4 days alone with the kids!)
It was so bittersweet to hear stories about grandpa from daughters, siblings, nieces and nephews, and us grandchildren. There were LOTS of laughs, and quite a few tears, too. He was such a sweet man.

The thing I loved most was hearing from everyone how devoted he was with his time with the Lord each day. He read through the Bible yearly. I still remember hearing he and grandma pray each night (for each of us!) and listening to them have devotions each morning. He was a quiet, loving patient (except when driving, I hear!) and kind. My cousin Karmyn read 1 Cor. 13 during her tribute to him, and it was amazing to hear how much he was characterized by love. I am so thankful for Grandpa's life and legacy--and that he is now finally free from pain and weakness, sickness and death. And I can't wait to see him again someday!

(our cousin pic--only Dallas, Joel and Adrian were missing!)

(thought this was fitting)

(Addilyn kept me company in the backseat for a few hours on the way up...she read "Green Eggs and Ham" in it's entirety!)

(Me and Grandma after the funeral)

(Grandpa and my siblings a LONG time ago...)

(Grandpa and my mom on her wedding day--1979)

(Grandpa and Grandma on THEIR wedding day--1949?)

Friday, January 21, 2011

New House...Model #2

Here is another view of our new house: the Lego version.

Friday, January 14, 2011

So...we finally found a HOUSE!!!!!

And this is what it looks like. (According to Oliver) I'll be posting more pics (the before's--it's a foreclosure, mind you!) once we take possession of it in February. But we are VERY excited!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lily's Cake and party

Lily had her two party with my family this last week. Since her birthday is the beginning of January--she'll forever be celebrating with 'winter' themes. This year--it was a snowman.

We celebrated with my parents (my sister was sick--boo!!!) and had a lot of fun. Lily opened gifts, and we watched highlights from the Veggie Tales movie, "The Wonderful Wizard of Hah's". Funny movie. Oh, and Joel made the most amazing brisket. VERY yummy.

(Aunt NeeNee--we missed you! Before naps, Lily said, "Neenee come to my house?")

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

a one-word vision for 2011

Yesterday on the radio, I heard an idea for the New Year: Instead of making New Year's Resolutions (which I really don't like), have a one-word vision for the year--something you'll focus on. That sounded much more do-able for me. And actually, last year that's what ended up happening.

In January 2010 I remember writing in my journal that I felt like the focus for that year was 'surrender'. God had been working on my heart in a lot of different ways--breaking, softening, changing...and I really wanted to LET Him do that. I wanted to surrender everything to His work in my life. Obviously that didn't mean that it was a perfect year and that I became perfect...:-)...but it was a good way for me to have a focus.

This year, I decided that my focus is 'praise'. I think I too often try to take all the attention for myself. I like to be liked, and I like to be praised. But I have seen what an incredibly beautiful thing it is when God receives the glory through people's lives and situations--and I want that to be more true in my life. I want to point people to Him...not try to take the credit and glory for myself. This year, in my words and actions, attitudes and thoughts, I want God to be praised.

*oh, and as a sidenote- that takes a HECK of a lot of pressure off of me. I think I'll feel much lighter this year. :-)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas {Joel's Family}

Christmas Day we left and drove to Springfield, Illinois for the night. Thankfully, the weather was WAY better than last year's drive! We stayed in a hotel which is ALWAYS exciting...(especially since Joel and I hole ourselves up in the bathroom and entertain ourselves while our kids slowly fall asleep in the main room...

Sunday we arrived in Indiana after an easy morning drive. There was lots of snow there, so we enjoyed LOTS of sledding on our trip!

Ollie played games with Grandpa...

Grandpa and Lily were buds. They loved playing with the people toys together.

Drew was so sweet and had a tea party with Lily one afternoon...

All the kids in one picture--8 grandkids now!

Lily had her 2 party in Indiana and blew out a candle on a whoopie pie! (Her first one, I'm sure!)

Lily helped Grandma make supper one night...
Oliver, Drew, Joel, Mitch and Abi made fun race tracks with Hot Wheels...

One morning we even had a band!!! We had a guitar...


And a kazoo. (Plus other singers and kazoo players) It was SO much fun!

Uncle Mitch finally made his way into Lily's heart. It was a long time coming...but I think she tolerates him now. :-)

The last night we were there we had a fight: two power rangers against a princess. Not sure really who won that one...

Our holidays with the Smith's are FULL of people and FULL of energy--but always SO much fun!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lily's Playhouse

I hadn't even HEARD of these things until I saw Debby's that she made...and then found TONS of super-cute ones on Etsy. It was NOT hard to make...but as always, don't look TOO closely...I'm not a professional sew-er. (That's the weirdest word ever--'sew' becomes 'sewer'. I guess I'm not a professional 'sewer' either...)

The front (with a mailbox and letters

Side #1 (with removable apples)

Side #2

The back (with removable dog, kitty, and two birdies)

The birthday girl!