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Photographing a 2-year-old

I’m back!!! After a LONG trip across the big pond, and waiting what felt like an eternity to get my computer back, I am back to the blogging world. This time, back on good ole U.S. soil. I have just a quick little fun post for today. Many of my facebook followers saw me post a cute photo this morning wishing happy birthday to my youngest, little Finn. Seems easy enough, right? Snap a quick picture and post it on facebook? No. First we tried in front of the big tree. But the kid would NOT look at the camera… Then we tried sitting in Read More

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Mission Trip to Kosovo

Byron recently had the opportunity to go to Kosovo on a mission trip, to help a new church get started there. Our home church here in Germany has been helping the new church overcome their obstacles, as Christianity is increasingly persecuted in Kosovo. Here is his story: The Kosovar people were amazing. They had true servant hearts and real passion for Christ. This trip was a huge blessing to me.

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What I Miss about America

Our time in Germany is beginning to draw to a close. We have traveled so much and seen many things, but it will never be home. I have been getting so excited about returning to American soil and all it has to offer. These are the main things I miss about the good ole USA. THE FOOD Food is available all the time, whatever you want. And at reasonable prices! Here, it costs over $100 for my family of 6 to eat at a low-priced restaurant. We could have a nice meal in the states for half that. Even fast food places here cost 1.5-2x Read More

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Modesty in a Skinful World

Over the years, my opinions on modesty and clothing appropriateness have evolved. I’ve said it before, but I wasn’t raised in a Christian household. In fact, my morals as a teenager were pretty much nonexistent. From a young age (about 12), I dressed very scantily and I was seeking attention. I loved to feel “sexy”, and I liked the way that people looked at me. It wasn’t until I was about 20 that I realized the correlation between the way I looked and the way people treated me. I was getting attention from boys who wanted too much, because I looked like I was willing Read More

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Art of the Month Club

I don’t make all of our Christmas gifts. There are some years I don’t make any. When I do make them, it tends to happen in mass production, because it’s easier and cheaper that way, as many craft supplies are sold in multipacks. Here is one of my favorites: Art of the Month Club I made a wooden plaque for each of the 4 grandparents. I got this at Hobby Lobby in a week where the wood stuff was 50% off. I painted them and put a nice piece of scrapbook paper in it, then added chipbook letters and some 3D embellishments. It said our Read More

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How to Save Money on Summer Fun

Summertime is filled with great things to do, but it can also take a toll on your wallet if you’re not careful. Here are some ways I save money on summer activities: Plan ahead: in September, survey your summer gear and see what needs replacing or updated. Buy these when they are on end-of-season clearance. Also, buy swimsuits, swim diapers, and sunscreen for next season. Don’t spend every day at the water park: Water park admission is very expensive. We try to go only once or twice a year, and even then we go on the buy-one-get-one-free admission days and on top of that get a military Read More

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Homemade Cinnamon Syrup

I already shared my recipe for pancakes and waffles from scratch, so how about some syrup to go with it? This recipe became an instant family favorite. My kids BEG for the cinnamon syrup now, and they like it over any store bought syrup. And it’s SUPER easy to make – it only takes 5 or 10 minutes! In a saucepan on the stove, mix together: 3 cups of sugar 1.5 cups water 1.5 tsp cinnamon 1.5 tsp vanilla 2 tsps imitation butter extract (optional) Bring it to a rolling boil, stirring often. Remove from heat, and let cool. Use a funnel to pour it Read More

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Saving Money on Kids’ Birthdays

Growing up, I always hated the fact that I had a December birthday. I felt like “my day” got lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Now, as a parent, it’s very important to me to make birthdays special for my children. It seems like the trend these days are huge, extravagant events to celebrate the birthday boy or girl. This is not only time consuming and stressful, but also very, very expensive. I’ve tried to come up with a way to make birthdays special and memorable for my children without breaking the bank (or my brain). Here are a few of Read More

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Finding My Spiritual Gifts

When I first became a Christian, I was drowning. I was floundering in the dark, and Jesus brought me into the light. For a long time, that light was all I could see. Then as I started to get established in the church community, I started to hear more and more about “spiritual gifts”. This is a Christian way of saying: the ways God has equipped you to fulfill your purpose. I decided that in order to be a “good” Christian, I had to both identify and use my spiritual gifts. At first, I tried to decide what my spiritual gifts were, as if I Read More

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Couponing in Germany

I was a pretty serious couponer before I moved to Germany. Boy, was I shocked when I got here. My first several months in country, my grocery bill more than tripled what it had been in the states. Finally I got my bearings and figured out a few things that helped me save money over here. Commissary Rules First, let’s talk about the rules at the overseas commissary. 1. The commissary (and PX) take coupons 6 months past their expiration date. So if the coupon expires 6/30/14, you can use it until 12/31/14. This is nice, because sometimes by the time coupons make their way Read More