Living Simply

I'm joining in being thankful.  Check out Heavenly Homemakers for lots of thankfulness and great tips for cooking, cleaning, raising kids being a helpmeet, lots of great stuff!

I'm thankful for a wonderful family of friends that are great encouragers to me and my husband in his ministry as a youth pastor.  This family has three girls (12th grade, 10th grade and 7th grade) that are just amazing -- they are growing into/are wonderful young women of God and a great example to our little girl.  They also have volunteered their Tuesday evenings to babysit our little girl for a couple hours so my husband and I can have date night. 

When we go to pick our little girl up we end up spending another hour+ hanging out with this family and just talking and laughing.  We leave there feeling so encouraged in our marriage, in our ministry and as people.  What a blessing they are!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm not Irish but I do love green -- the color (especially the natural ones outside), and all the "green" things we can do to improve our lives and to be good stewards of God's earth.  So...I'm joining in their Little Green Project.  Here are some of the ways we are "going green" or "saving green" in our home:

1. Cloth diapers -- we've been using cloth diaper for our little girl since she was about 4 months old.  Using them has greatly helped out monthly budget and is really not difficult, time consuming or messy.  We do still use disposable diapers for at night and when we are out and about but we still go through so many less diapers than if we were only using disposables (we spend about $15/month on disposable diapers).  We're hoping our little girl will soon learn to use the potty, but by then baby #2 will be here and we'll still be using diapers.  Check out the Simple Store for a great cloth diapering resource!

2. Cooking from scratch -- I began cooking from scratch about a year ago and have slowly been getting rid of all processed and "convenience" foods from our home (the only things I still buy are condiments, pretzels, chocolate chips and one box of cereal a week).  Cooking from scratch has greatly improved our health and it is sooo much less expensive to cook from scratch!  I spend $50-$70 each week on groceries -- this is for my husband (he eats lots), me (pregnant) and a 2 year old (she eats like her father).  And don't think that I spend all day in the kitchen either.  In about an hour per day I can feed my family healthy, home-made food!

3. Riding our bikes -- Since it has been warming up here in Central Minnesota I'm beginning looking forward to riding our bikes more.  My husband is the youth pastor at our church and we live only 2.5 miles from church.  During warm weather (spring, summer and fall) he rides his bike to work.  We all also ride bikes to church most Sundays.  It is great exercise and saves on gas!

4. We live in a rural community -- we drive 25+ miles to go grocery shopping or to Walmart.  Thereofore, we plan our trips to town and try to get everything done in one trip, once a week. 

5. We also enjoy shopping at thrift stores, consignement stores and garage sales.  We've gotten some great clothes shopping this way.

6. We're planning on doing some container gardening this year -- tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, spinach and lettuce.  With baby #2 due at the end of July we are hoping the container gardening method will be easier than a traditional garden while also providing us with plenty of fresh veggies.

7. House plants -- house plants improve indooor air quality, which is especially important in Minnesota where we spend so much time indoors because of the long winters.  Philodendrons are my favorite -- easy to care for and one of the best at improving air quality.  But be careful -- they are posionous if eaten so keep them up high out of the reach of little ones.

8. Toys without batteries -- we have a very modest amount of toys compared to many families with young children and most of these don't require batteries!  Our little girl gets to use her imagination and we save money and the planet by not buying batteries!

What other easy ways have you "gone green"?
I'm joining in their GratiTuesday event!  Each Tuesday I will be sharing something that I'm thankful for.  Check out for lots more thankfulness!

I'm thankful for the warm spring-like weather that has graced Central Minnesota for the last week and looks to be sticking around for another week!  Even though it has been cloudy and rainy for the last week, it has been warm (in the 40's) and melting the piles of snow!  Maybe warm (in the 40's) and rain doesn't sound like spring to you, but here in Central Minnesota, it means spring!  And to be getting this weather in mid-March is even more amazing! 

This past Sunday, about half way through the worship service, I noticed the sun beginning to shine through the windows of the sancutuary!  What a blessing from God after a week of rain!  That afternoon my husband, little girl and I enjoyed a beauriful walk around our neighborhood -- we were out for over an hour!  What a joyous way to spend a Sunday afternoon -- enjoying each other's company and God's glorious creation!  Our little girl even enjoyed it; she walked for .7 of a mile (she'll be 2 in two weeks) chattering the whole way!