The Friday 5: Jan 27 – FB blessings, pretty recipe book, Faker the Baker and more!

Five cool things:

ONE – Once again, Facebook has blessed me.  Or, I should say, God used the people using Facebook to bless me!  See, I teach Bible as part of a release time program at my son’s public school.  It’s a pretty cool gig.  I pick the kids up right after lunch, escort them off campus, teach them some Bible, then take them back to class and pick up the next class.  Our organization has “chapels” right next door to all of the public schools in town!  Anyway, the high school teachers came to our recent meeting to tell us about the need to purchase a bunch of new study Bibles for the high school students who have been seeking.  They cost $8 each, and we need to buy them in cases of 24 to get that price.  They had an immediate need for 30 Bibles, so of course they needed 2 boxes.

Well, I hopped onto Facebook the next morning and shared the need.  Right away, my Facebook friends started committing to partner with me to purchase Bibles!!  Two days later, I had checks, cash, and commitments to purchase exactly 30 Bibles!  Then, I shared the need at church and received even more cash and checks!  I can’t even tell you how blessed I was!!  Isn’t God amazing?  {sigh}  I just had to share.

TWO – I organized my recipes.  Yeah. I know.  BIG job.  First, I got rid of ALL of the cookbooks that I never used.  I made a copy of any recipes out of those cookbooks that I did use (um. just one.) and ended up with a HUGE box to take to Goodwill.  Next, I went through the two folders filled to the brim with recipes that I DO use on a regular basis.

It was a total mess.  Most of my recipes have been torn out of magazines or printed off the internet.  I love them.  I hated the mess.  I’ve been putting this off FOR.EV.ER.  Seriously.

My wonderful friend Pamela, who has a super fun Etsy store with awesome printables, had the PERFECT solution for my problem.  Now, my recipes look like this:

Pam’s printable has pretty dividers for each section of my binder.

No, it’s not perfect, but it is ABSOLUTELY perfect for me!  I love my new recipe book!  I feel peace!!  It’s crazy!  I totally recommend it!

THREE – I’ve been using Avocado Oil on my face instead of lotion lately.  I know, it’s a total granola mama thing to do.  Whatever.  SO, I tried it, and I LOVE the way it feels for the first couple of hours!  Only problem is that it dries my face out!  Can you believe that??  Maybe I’m in the newbie phase of using avocado oil on my face and this tightness will go away??  Anyone have any ideas?

FOUR – LEGO sent my son a letter! Grant gets the free LEGO magazine and he just pours over it whenever it comes.  He often builds something and then asks me to take a picture and send it in to the magazine.  I finally did it!  Imagine our surprise when we received a letter in the mail thanking him for his submission!  Another reason to love LEGO!

FIVE – I’m a total faker.  I was asked to donate some baked goods to a fundraiser cake walk. I told the gal, “I’m not much of a baker.” Lie.  Truth is that I don’t bake cookies or cakes because I’m the one who eats them.  I only bake breads (and biscotti), but she wanted cakes, etc.  I tried to say no, but the gal’s super sweet smile wouldn’t let me. I agreed to do it for a good cause. However, the baked goods were due today and I was way too pooped to bake anything last night. Solution?  Safeway. They had pudding rings on sale for $2.99.  Aw, yeah. SO, in true faker fashion, I popped over to the Dollar Store, grabbed some silver plates, curly ribbon and cellophane basket bags.  I took the cakes out of the store packaging and faked that I baked it. Know what? I’m totally okay with that.  That is where we get the phrase “faker the baker”, just in case you were wondering . . . (And, yes, I do use that phrase on a fairly regular basis.)

There ya go! The Friday Five!

The Friday Five (Saturday Edition): On Tithing, Organic, and Friendship – January 13th

Here we go with another Friday Five!  Of course, this is the Saturday edition because I was super tired of the computer on Friday.  Hee, hee!

1.  I must say that I am so incredibly thankful for OhLife.  Remember I told you about it last week?  Well, I just typed “1.” and sat here for a good 3 minutes trying to think of something to start my list off with.  WHAT did I do this week?  Am I really that boring?  Then, I remembered that I could go back to OhLife and re-read my past posts to jog my memory.  YAY!  I have my brain back!  Yes, OhLife is awesome.

2.  I’ve been thinking a lot about tithing (giving money to God).  Our very young youth pastor preached an incredible sermon last Sunday about tithing and he shared some statistics about our church and the giving that goes on.  The stats are nothing new and they are not surprising, and they are certainly not unique to our church, but essentially less than half of our “giving units” (married couples, singles, families) ever give anything.  He didn’t elaborate much, but I know from listening to online sermons (one of my favorite things to do while hanging out at home) that of those less than half that give, an even smaller percentage gives more than $100 a YEAR, which leaves a tiny fraction of the giving population who gives a tithe amount (10% of income) to the church.  Why does the church need money? Well, to keep the lights on, for one thing.  Plus, there is the paying of the pastors and staff, not to mention the incredible outreach our church does (children’s programs, family nights, food baskets, etc).  Like I said, my church is not unique.  LOTS of churches are doing Kingdom work.  What is frustrating to me is how many people come to church on Sunday and take and take (dropping their kids off in our incredible kids’ program, attending adult electives, etc) and never give back so that more people can be reached.

In short:  I wanted to share an idea that my husband and I have been doing for a few years now.  We give automatically through automatic payments we have set up through our bank’s online bill-pay.  We take our tithe amount off the top of the budget and give it RIGHT AWAY, because it was never ours and we don’t want to count on it as part of our budget. EVERYTHING that has been entrusted to us by God IS God’s, not ours.  The amazing thing is that when we are faithful in giving, God blesses us, just like he says he will.  The bills get paid, the debt get paid off, the envelopes are filled.

I’m excited and challenged to give more to the Kingdom in 2012.  It’s definitely a step of faith, but I just know that God will come through for us if we are willing to give him our first fruits! I’m excited!!

3.  I’m feeling organic again.  This doesn’t happen terribly often, but every once in a while I get the organic bug.  I change little things in our diet to introduce more natural foods.  Not that I feel like I feed my family unnatural food.  I guess I just like to be weird every once in a while and do something new.  I’ve gotten into the habit of making my own feta cheese, my own yogurt, hummus from scratch, soaked beans of all kinds, my own pita bread, bagels, and pretty much everything baked (although I do love those Safeway bakers who provide my son’s sandwich bread).  I do this because I enjoy it, not because I have weirdly strong convictions on the subject.

This month, I’m trying to use my little stash of coconut oil more often (trying to get into the habit of subbing it for veggie oil – in my biscotti) and I just bought my first Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.  My hysterical (in real life) friend Ashley did a blog post about getting back to her pre-preganancy (absolutely gorgeous) self and she sited the miracle powers of Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with “the mother”, whatever that means).  I bought some.  HONESTLY, I’ve only had a couple of teaspoons, and I’d rather drink straight from the spoon rather than mixing in water. I don’t know if that is the right thing to do to get my “I’ve-gained-10-lbs-since-October” weight off, but hey, it’s something.  (And, no, I’m not kidding about the 10 lbs.  And, no, I haven’t been running, but all that changes on MONDAY.  Promise. Stalk me. Hold me accountable. I need to lose this muffin top.)

If you want a FREE $10 credit (off a $10 purchase, so you only pay shipping) to Vitacost, the online store where I bought my vinegar (plus they have vitamins and grains and all kind of granola-girl-type stuff), click on my referral link!  I get $10 when you claim your $10, so we both win! I’m saving up, because my friend (IRL) Alysun did a blog post about her favorite things, which included Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar and some salt thingies that I’d like to buy next.  Because we are weird like that.  I really like my IRL (in real life) friends!

By the way, since I’m feeling organic, I’ll be making cheese and yogurt and hummus and pitas and bagels and bread this week. Because I’m inspired.

4 – I love my friends!!  Here’s the deal:  I’m one of those people who is a natural introvert (I like peace and quiet and solitude and don’t-talk-to-me-because-I-might-clam-up-or-say-something-stupid), HOWEVER, I know that God calls us to be in the world, so I know that I have to fight my natural tendencies to RUN to my car right after ladies Bible study (although I haven’t quite conquered that one, yet) and actually develop friendships with other women.  That being said, I’m so grateful for those friendships that have developed over the years that are REAL and natural and imperfect and raw and trustworthy.  I long for those friendships, yet they are few and far between (to my chagrin).

My friend Chauntel visited me this week! I love her. Truly.  We had our first babies within months of one another (Brooklyn was born in April and Grant was born in July 2003) and we shared a fence in our little neighborhood in Newberg, Oregon (home of the George Fox Bruins- hooyah).  We attended the Thursday morning mom’s group at the hospital (a lifesaver for this freaked out new mama) and had a little Bible Study at Chauntel’s house (which actually started as a result of a candle party at my house!).  Chauntel (and our friend Sarah) and I are the kind of friends that you can catch up with in seconds after months or even years of not seeing one another.  She’s a sticky friend.  I’m never letting her go.  I wish she lived next door, and I wish I made SEEING HER a priority.  And, I wish I could develop this kind of friendship with more women. But, I’m nervous and scared.  And, I really need to get over that.

I write this to remind myself and encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and make DEEP friends.  I still feel like I’m lost and alone most of the time here in my hometown, and yet, I just KNOW that there are ladies I can count on to help me and support me if I called on them.  I WANT to call on them more often.  I need to, because I need to share my heart more often.  I need to step out of my comfort zone and develop these friendships.

5 – Date nights rock. Seriously.  I went on a date with my hubby last night and it was SO much fun to spend time in relaxing conversation with my husband with NO distractions or interruptions.  Except for the time the pizza arrived.  And then the movie started.  And we watched Bella and Edward and Jacob and laughed kinda hysterically at the weird movie (although, yes, I’m embarrassed to admit that I did read the books and actually enjoyed them and I did see this same movie before Christmas with some friends . . . I’ve grown up since then. Don’t judge.)  Ahem.  Yes, the date was fun.  Plus, it was a great reminder that I need to have more eye-to-eye conversations with my hubby.  By the way, if you are ever in the McMinnville area, try 3rd St. Pizza and the Moonlight Theater.  VERY fun date night.  Thanks Groupon!

The Friday Five: January 6th

Ah, it is SO nice to be back on my blog!  Honestly, we have been doing GREAT around here, but blogging took a major backseat as I spent more time with my family during the holidays.  Now that my kids are back in school, I will endeavor to do a better job with my blogging!  I thought the easiest way for me to jump back in was to give you my Friday Five!

1. In 2012, I am going to Work Smarter, Not Harder!  Let me explain:  There are some things that a woman has to do all by herself and some things she can delegate.  For example, I am the only one who can be the mama who loves and cuddles my kids.  I am the only Kelleigh who can be a wife to Mitch.  I am the only one who can write my thoughts down on my blog.  Get the picture?  But, someone else can clean my bathrooms, thus freeing up time to play with my kids and make memories with them before it’s too late.  Someone else can score, fold, glue, and laminate the cash envelopes I cut out so that my evenings are free to enjoy time with my husband.  It is hard to let go of some of those tasks that I have clung to for so long, but the relief I feel is immeasurable!  I feel like I have a little more control of my life!  {sigh}

2- I’m also going to try really, really hard not to be so cheap.  For example:  I’ve been wanting to corral my bagged up dry goods in my pantry for quite some time.  I’ve been coveting a set of clear, square canisters for a few years now, always asking for them for Christmas.  Well, another Christmas went by with no canisters, so I finally went to the store and bought them myself.  A whopping $36 later, I now have a pretty, clean, and organized pantry.  Makes me wonder why I was being so cheap!!  I’ll still be smart about money, but I do want to allow myself a little grace.

3 – I’ve discovered Oh Life.  It’s an online diary that emails you at the end of each day and asks, “So, how was your day today?”  You reply back with your answer (I tell about my day) and they keep a record for you on their website!  I think this is going to be very valuable to me as I try to keep a better record of the everyday life of my family.

4 – Which brings me to the next thing on my mind: scrapping.  I’m excited about a new blog called Tell Your Story Every Day.  It just started, but it is already motivating me to get back to scrapping and telling about the little things in the life of our family.  Some months go by when we are SO busy that I forget to take any pictures or record any words, and yet so much happened.  It’s quite a shame!  I urge each of you to read this first post from the blog and consider telling your story, too!

5 – I have discovered Biscotti.  I’ve made it twice now, not really, but kinda, but not really very much, following a recipe.  I’m almost out, so I’ll make it again soon and post a recipe (or at least a kinda recipe that you can sorta follow or not).