Saturday, October 27, 2012

Childbirth Isn't Bad At All

This was too much for a facebook post so you get a hurried - very hurried - blog post.

My husband likes to tease....alllllllllllllllll the time.

One of the many things he teases about regularly is childbirth.

He get's a sliver and says, "It's worse than childbirth!"

I glare.

The boys giggle because Daddy is getting "the mean mama" look.

But today?

Today S1 is hanging out outside with his Daddy as they work on plow trucks, a very manly thing to do.  They came in to wash hands and brought up a time Daddy had burnt his hand pretty badly.

"THAT," Jake said, "Was worse than childbirth."

I glared.

S1 paused then said seriously - very seriously - "I bet it was.  I mean, women want to go through childbirth again but you never are going to burn your hand like that again so it must have been worse than childbirth."


My husband is as proud as can be at this statement.

"Good point! Good point!" he laughs as he slaps my son on the back.

I don't know who to disown.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DownEast Basics

When I visited Becca in Arizona (a moment while I lament how much I miss her......), she took me to this adorable store called Downeast Basics.

Because Becca is brilliant, truly really brilliant, she told me it was a great thing that I was buying the stack of clothes I had to shove into my carry on because then I would know what sizes I would need when I reordered something.

Brilliant, that Becca.

These cami's were on sale.  I really wanted one in red, but it wasn't in my size.  So I purchased one in a light brownish color (it's not really brown, not really tan).

I thought it would be cute layered under clothes because this cami is loooooooong.

What I did not expect was loving how this cami dressed everything I wear up so much that I am literally washing it a few times a week just to keep wearing it.

So I was pretty excited when I received an email from Downeast Basics letting me know that they were having a big ol' Happy 21st birthday sale.

I squealed a little.

And quickly ordered two more cami's.

They only have them in black and in white but I am happy with anything at this point.  And I hope they make them for forever and ever and ever amen.

If lace isn't your thing (I know, it's hard to see white on white but that is lace at the bottom), they have plain colored cami's too.  Just as long.  I have one of those too.

In the lace cami I needed to order x-large.  I usually wear a size medium.  So, I'll mention it again, Becca was brilliant to tell me to buy it so I knew what size to order later.

Studio Jewel recently mentioned them in a blog as well.

I'm telling you, these are such a great addition to your wardrobe.

So, don't miss the sale!

(This blog post is my own thoughts.  Downeast Basic's doesn't even know I exist.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Can NOT Wait For Monday

Those who know me well know that I do not like Monday's at all.  Not. At. All.

Those who know me really well know I do not like Sunday's much either.  Not much at all.

But this week?

I can not wait for Monday.

Saturday was our last football game.  S2 stormed onto the field, played the game and lost.

It was tough.

It was also as windy as could be.  We have battled rain, enjoyed sunshine, had our eyeballs frozen and everything in between.  But now it is over.

That won't seem real until I am not driving to school every evening for practice.

I couldn't wait for Saturday night.  I had dinner on the grill all planned.  A movie to curl up with my honey over.  I could see popcorn in my near future.  A "hooray! we can slow down now that football is over" night if ever there was one.  I had been looking forward to this night for about eight weeks or so.

As it was, my husband made plans without consulting me.  Our good friends we haven't gotten together with in forever and ever called to see if we wanted to see a movie their church was playing. A movie we have already watched called Monumental. It's a great movie, I was happy to watch it again, just not THAT night, not THAT far from my snug little farmhouse.  Jake told me we had not watched the movie before until I reiterated to him the entire movie, what we were doing before we went to the movie, where we watched the movie at (our church) and mentioned the fact that S4 had been covered in dirt and barefoot that night we watched Monumental at our church during the summer.

He could hardly remember this and so he had made the plans and didn't want to back out of them.

And I, being the mature person I am, did something out of character.  Something low.  I looked at my husband and said to him, "How is it I married you?  I would be happily snug at home tonight as my introvert self but oh no, I had to marry YOU, Mr. Social!!!"

He gave me a loud kiss.  "I'm good for you."

He is.

But not on this day.

We hurried through dinner.  I suffered the pain that MSU lost their game agains U of M and S2 cheered - how as a mother have a raised a son who cannot cheer the great MSU team?  It's like a mom failure or something - and went to the unfamiliar church to watch a movie my husband than remembered and then joined them for ice cream.

We arrived home exhausted and still my husband needed to give the boys haircuts.

I curled up into bed and fell asleep.  Oh, sleep, how I miss you!

Sunday I awoke to the smell of coffee.  Fresh brewed coffee is such a wonderful smell when you didn't brew it yourself.  My husband had picked up these amazing cinnamon rolls at Weicks the day before and I could hear him opening the package and warming up a roll.

I smiled in complete blissful love.  My darling husband was making me breakfast in bed.

How was I ever so blessed to marry such a wonderful guy?

I didn't want to ruin the surprise so I snuggled in bed and closed my eyes when I heard him headed my way.  He entered the bedroom, that love of my life.  It was so difficult to act asleep when all I wanted to do was grin or throw my arms around him and tell him how wonderful he is.  But if I did either of those things I would startle him and he would spill my coffee and we cannot spill coffee.

My husband walked around the bed and...grabbed his phone.

Grabbed his phone and walked away to the dining room where I heard the fork hit the plate of his warmed up cinnamon roll.

I figured he was just being sweet and didn't want to wake me up, just let me sleep in.  I mean, I didn't even know I wanted breakfast in bed until I was apparently not getting any.  I couldn't resist texting him though.  "You would rather spend your morning with youtube than with me?"

He ended up bringing me coffee to bed.

When we got up all we did was run.  We ran to church where we rushed out as soon as our pastor said "You are dismissed."  We drove like the wind to arrive home and quickly grab some clothes to change into that somehow we forgot as we ran back out the door.  Time home?  Five minutes.

We pushed a little past the speed limit to arrive at my husband's mom's home where we had one hour to eat dinner and then make ourselves look great because we were getting family photos taken.  We have never ever had family photos taken and the photographer was great and cheery so we really can't wait to see how the photos turned out.

We had half an hour after pictures to visit before we had to run to Jake's office, grab his paperwork, hurry to the dollar store to pick something up we had forgotten we needed for church and then hurry home where I had fifteen minutes.

In fifteen minutes I made a pot of coffee and loaded the dishwasher.  As i was headed out the door, I spilled my entire cup of coffee all over the stove.

We jumped in the suburban and hurried off to church.  Jake had left with S1 to make sure he got him to youth group on time.  It was then I realized we had forgotten a child.

Yes, you read that correctly.

We hadn't even made it a mile down the road when my call to double check with my husband that he did in fact have S2 with him only to hear he did not.  S2?  He heard me holler.  He heard me leave.  He knew I would be back for him.

Grrrr.  What a stinker.

We arrived to church where we had our Dave Ramsey class while the boys battled a real live bat.

Yes, you read that correctly too.

They thought it was so cool.  They hope the bat continues to live in the church.

My husband stayed at church for a meeting.  I took four boys boys home, three of which were so exhausted they were fighting and crying.

The smell of a dead mouse hidden somewhere in the house greeted me as I walked in the door at eight fifteen at night.

Monday the boys get to sit at school.  I get to sit at work.

Monday night we get to stay home all night for the first time in about eight weeks with no practice to run to.

i can't wait for Monday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Call For Mrs. Dykstra

I don't get very many phone calls.  And, no, my phone doesn't look like this but wouldn't a phone like this be so cool?  Especially if it were turquoise.


As I was saying, I don't get phone calls very often.  I'm just not much of a chat on the phone sort of gal. Unless I am chatting with the Farmer's Wife.  But lately, my phone rings in the morning and I know exactly who it is.

I get a sick feeling in my stomach.

I carefully pick up the phone, I cringe at the name, my face wrinkles in pain as I tentatively answer, "Hello?"

And it's the school, the office gals, whom I love.

These are the conversations I have had with them....

"Um, Denise, you need to come over to the school.  Your son's toe...yah, you just need to come over and see it."  S3 had kicked the soccer ball with his summer shoes on and literally tore the top layer of the bottom of his big toe right off.  It was just flapping in the wind.  I asked for bandages and got it taken care of in no time flat.  

"We're sorry to call," they said, "But we knew you were right across the road and would want to see it."

They are right, I did want to see it and I was glad they called me.

Another call...

"Denise? Your son just threw up."

S4 had a cough and I am quite certain that his cough that morning was the cause of his throw up because I ran to pick him up (this was the day I was unshowered and looking "rough" was a nice way to describe my appearance) and he then proceeded to eat a huge plate of macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes.

Another call...

"This is the office.  Uh, your son has poison ivy all over his leg.  We just need to know if we can put something on it so it doesn't itch so much."

As it turned out, they didn't have calamine lotion so I ran to the store, got that and anti itch lotion and dropped it off at school.  I had a little ivy dry and we poured that over his leg, the leg that hadn't been mentioned at all all weekend.  The added bonus of the ivy dry?  It looked like his skin was peeling off his leg and it was So. Cool.  Or so I hear.

The craziest call was this...

"Denise? The school.  Somehow your son has had an accident.  He is going to need all new clothes."

I couldn't hardly believe this one.  And on this particular day, I was at work all alone so I couldn't just leave the library open and run home and get clothes and return.

But I did have the suburban and we have been pretty much living in it with football season and all.  I quick climbed all over the seats (in a dress, mind you) and found enough half eaten food and half drinken water bottles to live on for a week as well as numerous shirts, a pair of clean folded socks (we don't even have those at home!) and, oddly enough, a pull up.

As it turns out, this son of mine had an apple and brought it in the bathroom when he had to go pee.  Why, I don't know.  He doesn't know.  Anyhow, he didn't want to put the apple down in the bathroom (thank goodness he thought that much through) but he couldn't just undo his pants so he just unzipped his pants like big boys do and pulled out his "pee-er thing" (as he calls it) but his pee-er thing didn't get out far enough and pee went  e v e r y w h e r e.  

I don't think that word "everywhere" is even strong enough.

Daddy happend to be getting out of work early so I frantically called him, grabbed my son from the school sick room, had him run for the suburban in his long tshirt he got from someone at school, got him into the library and a movie turned on for him with one minute to spare before opening time.

Daddy arrived a few minutes later and saved the day with new pants and underware.

I tell ya, I never know what the school is going to call for.

I am just thankful they always do call me, and I am so thankful I have those office women to help me out this school season. 

But just once, I'd love a call like this...

"Denise? It's the school.  You're boys have no injuries or sickness today.  We just thought you'd like to celebrate that."

Of course, then we would probably jinx ourselves. 

(Thank you Chris and Regina for taking such good care of us!)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Praise and Coffee Fall Magazine is HERE!

We are sooooo excited for this magazine issue.

Perhaps you have been at that place where you are not sure just what God is telling you.  Perhaps you have just had to let it all go.

Because that's where we were.

I sat on Sue's back deck and said, "I'll miss it terribly, but if we need to leave the magazine behind for a little while, I'll do that."

From that conversation came a rebirth of the magazine.  And not really the magazine, but the movement of Praise and Coffee.

Perfectly timed was a visit from our dear friend, Ronel.

Ronel writes a blog called Chosen For More and she is the National Director for Praise and Coffee.  She can spout out all sorts of information about Praise and Coffee at any given moment.  That is cool, but what rocks is her heart.  Her heart is with her family, her country and helping women.

And...get this...she likes to write curriculum.  I did not know this.  Sitting at the same table you see in this picture, she wrote out an entire study.  Amazing.

While we were all together out for lunch meeting some really great women (Check out their site Circle of Friends), Ronel gave a "mini resume".  I was blown away.  I looked over at her and thought, "And here I loved you because I loved your heart....But holy wow!"

Sue, Ronel and I sat around the table and from our heart flowed words — and Ronel then looked up the words to make sure the words we used were exactly what our hearts were saying.  It was an intense two day pow wow, and it was a God moment in so many ways.

What we were willing to give up was reborn and the excitement we have — spectacular.  Our vision is clear, and we know that had to have come totally from God.  His fingerprints are all over this.

Thrilled?  That would be an understatement.  We poured our heats out here, and thrilled we are with the end result. 

So look over our magazine, tell us what you think.  

I mean, really tell us!

We want to know what you think.  Check out our Facebook links, they are a way to stay even more connected and join the conversation.

Connect. Encourage, Inspire.

It's not a ministry, it's a movement.

Won't you join us?

My article on the football phase of my life and the friends I have — a post from the heart. HERE.

Korene's amazing fall craft is EASY and found HERE.

Friday, October 12, 2012

They Lost - But He Won

Today was S1's furthest away game.

While I sat behind the desk at the library, everyone walked in telling us how cold it was.
How it was a great night for cocoa and a book.

And I had to head out in it.

After school I picked up all the boys, returned to the library so they could eat a snack and get dressed for the game.  My lovely youngest son was in shorts and a tshirt and nothing more to wear.

Alicia called her husband, who ran us over a pair of too small pants that their youngest son had and with a glance of the clock, we flew out and dropped S1 off at the bus right at 3:30, their take off time.

As I drove off to Subway for our sandwiches, I thought how great S1 handles this.  He was ready in time for the game, but getting three brothers ready on time can be...challenging.  Especially when you have less than half an hour.

Our local Subway has been awesome to us.  Because doesn't everyone love to hear, "Hi...we need six subs.  And can you write our names on them for us?"  My cell phone ringing.  "Um, we are going to need to make that nine subs."  And they just smile and get the job done.

Korene met Nancy and I slightly later than we planned to take off, it's called real life, people - so coffee before the game was not going to happen.

And I knew right where we were going for coffee....Uncommon Grounds.

Kor and I bundled up and headed to the game.

Do we look like football moms of boys or what?

Special thanks to Kellyn for my hat.  I tell you, my ears and head were NOT cold during the game.  Honest.

And the wind was blowing approxemetaly 500 miles per hour and there were seriously (no joke on this) snow flakes in the air.  Earlier it had been raining ice.  Lovely weather.

Here is Max, Kor's littlest guy, S4 who was just moving from one screaming disaster to another today, S2 who was happy to not be water boy tonight and S3 who was happy to play some football with his buddies - because we were at a football game, right?

It didn't take us long to realize we were going to need warmth.

I was severly suffering without my coffee.

So Kor headed off for hot cocoa.

We needed the cocoa.  We were nearly frozen and our boys were loosing.

Big time.

The cocoa?  Lukewarm at best.

The usual cost?  Fifty cents.  This? $1.50.

But we grinned about it anyhow.

But then I realized Kor didn't have her hood up.  And with her hood up and my hat, we are hard to miss.

This also is one of my new most favorite photos.


I am ever so thankful for Kor's friendship.

I asked Nancy and her honey to smile and look warm.

Well, at least they look happy.

Our boys lost.  They lost huge. 36 to 0.

At the very end, one of our boys broke free and ran it in for a touchdown.  We cheered.  We were the first team of the entire season to score against them.  And we were loosing so badly that they were just running the clock to end the game for us - and them.

There was a flag on the play and it didn't count.

The coach, a new coach who was filling in for their coach who couldn't be there, was furious with them at half time. The coach told them to do something that my son didn't think was right.

"He's the coach and all, but it's just a game," my son said with a shrug.

My son got it.

My heart soared.  It didn't matter that they lost and we froze, it was all worth it to hear my son's take on the game.

We left the game and scarfed down our Subway.  We headed for coffee...saw the coffee shop and saw the line to get in and drove on.  All that build up for coffee and we didn't get any.  You all must know how this pained me. We drove like the wind to get to the school, taking back roads and saying over and over again, "It's so beautiful out" with the fall colors and the changing sky with the setting of the sun...but the school bus apparently knew a much faster way.

Our boys were waiting for us.

And was waiting with our boys?  The Coach who signed on to help later in the season because our coaches needed help due to their other work schedules.  This coach I cannot speak highly enough of.  He cares for these boys and it's obvious.  I am thankful for him.

Our football season is nearly over, two more games for S2, one more for S1.

And I am as proud as can be of my boys.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ugh! Computer Frustration...

With my new job at the Women's Lifestyle Magazine of Greater Kalamazoo, which I love, I was given an official email.

I don't know why, but this made me all giddy and official feeling.

It's the little things in my life that do this.

Except, I could not log in to my email for anything.

I set up emails at the library.  I help people continually on the computer.  I know enough to know I don't know much but I like to learn new things.  I am one of those weird people who would actually enjoy taking computer classes at the Apple store.  Seriously.

So I was frustrated I could not log on to the web page.  When I could log onto the web page, I could not log into my email.  I sheepishly had to ask my editor for help.  I received a password different then the one I had been using.

I finally logged in.

I cheered. Literally.

Because I have been swamped busy (hugest understatement, those words there), I went in early to work at the library to get a feel of my new email host and work on my signature and screen look - you know, fun things like that.

I am one of those crazy change passwords type people too.  So I changed the password of the new email.

And promptly was locked out of my email.

The photo I used in this post - not emotional enough.  There was no "if you forgot your password link" or anything.  When Alicia arrived at work and I had to put my computer away after typing in my password any way I could have thought I would have ever miss-typed it - twice, because you have to type it twice - I was very near tears and rattled off my problem to Alicia who, of course, could not help me but was sympathetic.

When Alicia asked me to help someone on the computers, I groaned in pain.  My computer had had to be rebooted twice already and my frustration at not getting into my own email was a heavy pit in my stomach.  But I felt a little more genius like when I figured out the patron's issue had got it fixed in no time flat.

Late that night, I pulled out my computer again and attempted to log into my work email.  I read up on the system to see that the administrator had to correct my mistake.  Unable to do more, I began an apology email to my editor.

I was trying to figure out the best way to portray my embarrassing situation, along with feeling the guilt over knowing one of those who help me was trying to be away from work on an extra special family time when I decided to try to log on...just one more time.

I used my originally given password...and it logged me on.

To say I was joyful would be an understatement.

My husband, who had just arrived home from Bible Study, took one look at me and said, "You figured out your email, didn't you?"

Yes, yes I did.

I don't know how it worked, I am nervous I'll lock myself out again, but sheesh, in this moment, it sure feels great.

And yes, I have logged on to it about five times today just to make sure I can. 

Anything like this happen to you before?  How did you handle it?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wait...You Are NOT Pregnant???

Yesterday, while at my job at the library, a woman needed help finding a book.  She regularly visits the library and while I have not had a heart to heart with her, I try to make small talk whenever she visits.

I asked her about a certain author she had just read and suddenly she turned to me and was chatty.  "How have you been, dear?"

"Fine and dandy," I replied.

"Now, when is your due date?"


Then I stuttered over my words a bit..."Um, well, no baby for us."

She turned her full attention to me and comfortingly grabbed my wrist.  "Oh, my dear, what happened?"

"Well,"I began, touched by her concern for me, "I wasn't ever pregnant."

I will add that as this conversation had gone on, I had gone from lazily leaning against a book shelf to standing tall and maybe perhaps - okay, totally - sucking in my tummy.

The poor lady.  She blushed red.  "Oh, I m so sorry!  Why did I think you were pregnant?  I was sure you were!"

I didn't know.  I could not help her there.  Had I been smart aleck-y and quick on my feet I would have initially said, "I thought you said you were giving me a baby shower?" back when this conversation had begun.

I am not quick on my feet.

That's why I like to toss those bits in a blog post.

Anyhow, this poor lady remembered then that I had been making a big deal out of my birthday and she had just somehow switched that to think I was talking about giving birth.  As in, about to give birth.  Thus being pregnant.

And I was thinking, "I am so walking the track the entire time football practice is going on tonight.  And doing sit-up's.  And never eating food again."

Except immediately following this conversation with this lady we had book club and we had so many good foods to eat and I couldn't not eat the food - that would be rude!  I couldn't be rude.  I had to eat the soup, chicken pot pie, cream puff dessert, pumpkin bar, scone and ham salad sandwich.

Today I am wearing an outfit that makes me look thin - I think.  I hope.  I did not wear my spanx though so...well, I probably look like I am about to give birth.

The poor lady.  The thing that touched me though is she was so concerned about me.  I went from just being the library girl who isn't as good at the job as the head librarian but okay to being a girl she was willing to help and truly cared about.  That touched me.

I need to keep that in mind.  Putting your foot in your mouth isn't a bad thing - totally - when you sincerely care for the person.

But I am really wishing I had worn my spanx today.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Women's Lifestyle Magazine of Great Kalamazoo

While you are our and about this weekend in west Michigan, stop to pick up the latest FREE Women's LifeStyle of Great Kalamazoo magazine that is out JUST this week. 

I am really loving their cover this month.

When you get it, you will flip through the magazine and see some fun articles on documenting your life through facebook, style, getting your home de-cluttered, getting prepared for fall, etc.  It's a fun read!

On page 18 you can read about Salt of the Earth restaurant in downtown Fennville.  I can't wait to try to glaze my carrots in honey, I'm a huge glazed carrots fan.  This place was really cool and the back story of all the work they put into the food is amazing.  The food smelled so incredibly mouth watering yummy.

But I can't tell you how the food tasted.

They made the food, plated the food, our photographer took photos of the food and then we Never. Got. To. Eat. The. Food.  So wen you read the article, I can't tell you what the food tasted like.  They did send us each home with a loaf of bread that we ate for dinner.  The bread tasted good, but with fancy breads, it wasn't a hit with the boys who couldn't even begin to chew the crust. 

When I left Salt of the Earth, I drove to Crane's and bought myself blueberry strudel pie and two dozen donuts.  THAT place has AMAZING pie.  And when S1 bit into a donut, his eyes got big.  "Have you tried one?" he asked me.  "No," I said, not letting on I had just eaten pie before picking him and his brothers up from school.  "You need to," he told me.  And so I did.  And they were amazing.  Have I mentioned Crane's is amazing?????

On page 24, you will read my article on the Schreiber Caregiver Conference. That was tough to write.  It's a deep subject and honestly, dementia scares me.  It always has, then I read the Notebook and then it really really scared me.  Over this winter, my grandma had a stroke that effected both sides of her brain and my mom and aunt have been her caregivers since.  Writing this article made me think of them.  Jennifer Howard's heart is with this organization and this is a conference anyone should check out. 

On page 30, I get to introduce Kalamazoo to Mom's in Tow. I really do not think I could tout how wonderful I think Mom's in Tow is.  Seriously.  Jenny is a blast to talk to.  They have organizations all over West Michigan (Grand Rapids and Holland originally).  Because they are mom's, they care about children's safety but they work hard to organize get together's for mom's.  And their cards that you get for being part of their group give you amazing discounts at store's mom's visit regularly.  The whole idea on Mom's in Tow simply fascinates me.  Jenny sums it up best when she says, "Mom's in Tow, in a nutshell, is moms connecting to other moms and saving money while doing it.  Moms are looking for community.  Moms in Tow helps bring us together so we are not so lonely and can help each other in the new world of motherhood."

I absolutely loved talking with Jenny White and I really cannot say enough good things about Moms in Tow.  Welcome to Kalamazoo!!!

Women's Lifestyle Magazine of Greater Kalamazoo is blessed greatly to have an amazing photographer working for them.  Katie takes such amazing photos and brings such an artistic edge to them.  I get the biggest kick out watching her "line up a shot".  If you need a local photographer, look no further than K. Redmond Photography. She took this amazing "professional" photo of me for the magazine....

Yah, the girl's got talent.  

And she is so sweet.  So amazingly sweet.  I look forward to working with her every time she emails me and says, "Hey, meet me at such and such for pictures for this article."  

Working with the magazine on this month's issue was so much fun for me.  I enjoy writing these pieces much more than I imagined I would.  I hope to bring you the "back stories" of the articles along with the articles themselves every month - won't that be fun?

What articles do you like to read in a local town paper?  I really want to know!

You can read the entire magazine online.  But you can also click the "Get a Copy" button to find where to pick up the Women's Lifestyle Magazine of Greater Kalamazoo in the West Michigan area.  (I suggest Biggby's...but that's just me. :) ) 

Frustrated With Religion

Recently, a friend and I got together to chat and drink coffee and watch our boys get super dirty having a good time outside.

She mentioned she was looking forward to already helping with the upcoming Vacation Bible School at her church for next summer.

"Oh," I gushed, "I know a GREAT person for you to contact! They do puppets..." I began to speak slower as I thought about this now that I was saying it, "and they do a great job and the boys are still singing their songs...but, well, they do their ministry from our church.  Would your church let them teach Vacation Bible School?"

She sighed. "Nope."

And I sighed in frustration.  Because we both go to great churches with different 'religious' names so we can't swap great ministry teams.

She and I found this to be ridiculous.

The more I think on this, the more frustrated I get with it all.  Why would a non Christian, un churched person want anything to do with the "church" groups?  If we can't even get along why should they get along with us?

My parents use to say to me, "Do they believe in God?  Do they believe Jesus is God's son?  Do they believe Jesus died on the cross for their sins and rose again?  Well then, we're Christians just like they are."

I am so thankful for my parents teaching me that all growing up because others haven't grasped it.

Because THEIR church is right and THAT church is wrong.

THEY sing with a drum but THEY only sing the true old hymns.

blah blah blah blah blah


It's one of the things that I love so about Praise and Coffee.  It's not affiliated with a church for a reason - so that women from all churches and from all backgrounds can get together to connect, encourage and inspire.

Because, really, isn't that what it's all about?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Spartan Sale

Once a year, we load up on THE sale of the year.

Spartan brand is a brand is a local brand here.  Stores are "Spartan Stores" or not.  Spartan is your brand name like a Walmart brand.  And once a year, they have a huge "Stock Up Sale".  We wait all  year for this sale.

I have been watching for the sale this year because this year, our garden did not grow.  For years - okay, since we moved here - we have been the place you would call to get tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, strawberries, etc.  This year we had asparagus.  

Yes, just asparagus.

The drought hit us so very hard.  It hit my friends hard.  We have been visiting our town's community garden wagon for free produce, my friends have given us what they have too much of and some blessed person dropped us off a bin of tomatoes on our front porch on a day we weren't home.  I canned those tomatoes so fast!  They were beautiful.

Grocery prices have been going up so high.  My grocery bill is higher than ever and I am attempting to buy as wisely as possible.

I wasn't sure how the Spartan Sale would look this year, but God bless the people at Spartan who put this sale on every year because this sale is a lifesaver for our family.

Yes, really.  This sale helps us more than I could ever put into words.

We buy all our canned vegetables for the entire year at this sale.  Once that is purchased and put away, we load up on as much soups (cream of mushroom, tomato), beans (chili, kidney), baking needs (flour, sugar, cooking oil) and anything else we can cram into our tiny house.  Jake built me a pantry largely with this sale and my canning in mind.

The sale is once a year for one week.  And as I was afraid, they have severely scaled back the sale this year.  But they still put the sale on and for that, this mama thanks them with a full heart.

So, if you are looking to stock your house, your church pantry, a food you go....

Here are the best prices I have found for my little local area.....

I looked at three stores...Family Fare, Hardings and a little family owned store Weicks.

Family Fare is the largest of all the stores and is located all over the Grand Rapids area. If you purchase canned vegetables here, they are buy six, get six with a limit of 24 cans of each variety.

Hardings is a smaller version of Family Fare, still a Spartan store.  If you are looking to really really really stock up on vegetables, this is the store to visit.  For every two cans you purchase, you get three free and there is no limit

Weicks has the same sale prices as Family Fare, buy six, get six, limit 24.

For canned soups (tomato, cream of mushroom) all stores are the same - four cans for $3.00.

If you are looking for canned fruit, all three stores are the same - buy ten for $10.00.

Family Fare shows three pound bags of russet potatoes at 10 bags for $10.00.  Hardings and Weicks did not show potatoes for sale, that does not mean they are not for sale.

Shredded cheese and brick cheese is three packages for $5.00 at Family Fare, they are buy one get one free at Hardings and Weicks.

While Family Fare has the most to show for sale (I looked at their flyer on line), Weicks is equal to them on nearly every price.  On butter, Weicks is one pound for $1.99 and the other stores are $2.29 or $2.50.  You can freeze butter.  I'll probably buy twenty pounds of butter.

That's not a joke.

There is something that puts me at peace knowing that the pantry is packed this time of the year.  If we get snowed in (keep in mind, I live all of 1.5 miles from a grocery store), I know we can survive on kidney beans and canned corn.  Not survive well, but still.

I literally worry over food costs and feeding my boys.  This is one of my biggest concerns.  I joke about our grocery bill and my growing boys but this is seriously one of my hugest stresses.  This sale is sets my mind at ease a bit...even if the drought seems to have effected the prices by quite a bit.

If you care to read on, I'll list what I found (quickly) as I looked over the flyers for the best prices.  Just because Weicks and Hardings aren't listing all the same items for sale, it does not mean that they are not on sale, they just can't list it all in their tiny flyers.  But this will give you some sort of starting point for price watching.

Go to Family Fare for....

Tuna - 69 cents
Sugar - 2.79
Soup - 4 for $3
Lunch cheese - $1.97 a pack
Pasta sauce - 4 for $5
Ravioli - 10 for $10
Cooking Oil - 2.99
Orange Juice - 2.47
Oatmeal - 1.77

These prices were only in the FF flyer - 

Ketchup - 1.69
String Cheese - 2.97
Shredded cheese is 3 for $5
3 lb Potato bags - 10 for $10
canned mushrooms - 4 for $3
Chili and Kidney beans - 12 for $8
Ham (like for a dinner) is $1.99 a pound

Watch at Family Fare to make sure that you are paying a particular price of a price using your Yes Points.  There is a big difference if you use your Yes Points, but if you don't, some prices are higher. 

Go to Harding's for....

Vegetables - Buy 2, get 3 - NO LIMIT
Soup - 4 for $3
Chicken Broth - 2 for $3
Old fashioned dinner ham - .$0.99 a pound
Smoky links - Buy 1, Get 1

Go to Weicks for.....

Sugar - 2.79
BUTTER - $1.99
Soup - 4 for $3
Cooking oil - 2.99
Bread - 4 loaves for $5
Orange juice - $2.47
Cheese - buy one, get one
Cream cheese - $1.27
Bottled juice - $2.29
Dinner ham - $1.99
Mac and Cheese - Buy 6, get 6
Pasta - 10 pkgs for $10
Jam - 2.99
Smoky links - Buy 1, Get 1 ($3.49)

And check back here to see if I update this post through the week or if YOU know of a great deal this week or a great price on something PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

Thank you, Spartan stores, for this once a year sale!!!

A good stock up pantry post is by the Pioneer Woman, just giving you her "must be in the pantry" items if you want an idea to look at.