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I was reading one of the blogs I follow, The Frugal Farm Wife, when I came across a post about 8 Shopping Errors and How We Fixed Them. I was intrigued. Basically, she looked at some receipts from a few years earlier, and was amazed at some of the things she used to buy but didn’t anymore. Things like hot chocolate mix, tortilla chips, etc. And I was inspired to make a similar list of my own.

First, the things we have in common:

  • Tortilla Chips. I haven’t bought these for a long time. Up until this month, we have been using tostadas instead. They run a bit cheaper than the chips do, and seem to have less fat. But we’re giving those up too. Fears about genetically modified food have definitely been a factor. I can make delicious millet tortillas (which my corn-allergic son can eat), so we’re going to try that.
  • Canned Beans. I bought these sometimes in the first couple of years of our marriage. No longer. My mom bought me a pressure cooker, and I’ve never looked back. I used to can my own beans, but that turned out to be more work than it was worth (90 minutes of canning time was just too much). Instead of keeping a couple of cans in the pantry for emergencies, I choose to make double batches of beans and freeze the leftovers. In fact, just yesterday I realized I had forgotten to soak beans the night before, so I pulled some out of the freezer, thawed them, and served them. Simple. Delicious.

Things I think I buy less of now:

  • Cold Cereal. I have become concerned about the iron shavings in fortified cereals, and as such have quit buying almost all of them. I do buy Rice Chex, mostly because they are gluten free (and rice has yet to be genetically modified, last I heard), but other than that, I stick with Kashi cereals. They are certified GMO free, and some are even organic! And sometimes they are cheaper per ounce than similar name brand cereals (such as Shredded Wheat). I try to only buy 3 boxes of cereal a month, and make it last. Now that I’ve gone gluten free, I think I may only have to buy 2 boxes. That’s a lot less than we used to buy, I think. Or maybe not. But it has changed, anyhow.
  • Juice. I used to buy the ready-to-drink juice bottles. But the price kept rising. Your average 100% juice bottle (I refuse to buy the cocktails and drinks) is over $3 a bottle at the cheapest grocery store in town. That’s ridiculous! I probably wouldn’t bother buying juice at all (and didn’t for a long time), but it’s the best way to get wheat grass down. So I buy the frozen kind and make it up as needed. I put 6 in my pantry list, but I expect we’ll only use about 4 in an average month.

Things that have changed significantly:

  • White Flour. I can’t remember the last time I put white flour in something and served it to my family. The last time I bought white flour, I made muffins for my husband’s coworkers and playdough for the kids (which turned out to be a real disaster–the recipe calling for cornstarch worked much better and lasted a lot longer).
  • Whole Wheat Bread Flour. After getting a grain grinder for my champion juicer, I quit buying whole wheat flour for bread. I also discovered that I could get 25 pounds of wheat berries from Azure Standard for less than the price of wheat berries from WinCo–and the 25 pound bag contains organic wheat, as opposed to the bulk wheat at WinCo, which isn’t organic (and therefore probably is GMO). I grind 4-5 pounds at a time and use it to make the best tasting bread.
  • GF Flours. I have started buying flours from gluten-free grains like millet, teff, sorghum, etc. I also buy tapioca flour (starch, basically). These don’t affect the budget a whole lot, because I buy them in bulk quantities, such as 5 pound bags, or in the bulk section at WinCo. Most of them are not certified gluten-free, either, but in our family that isn’t such an issue as it would be in the home of someone with celiac disease.
  • Exotic Foods. In the early years of our marriage, we lived in south Texas, where things like yuca (cassava), plantain bananas, and other exotic foods were relatively cheap. So we ate them on a regular basis. Now we only rarely buy them. We have found frozen shredded yuca that my husband makes into patties for Manny, and occasionally if I find a few good plantains, I’ll cook them for the family, but rarely. Maybe 2-3 times a year–instead of every week. I also don’t use coconut milk on a regular basis.
  • Bulk items. When we lived in Texas, there wasn’t a good place to buy bulk items. Now, though, I buy things like cornmeal, rice, black and pinto beans, oatmeal, etc, in 25 pound bags and store them in buckets with screw-on lids. It really saves money; I can go to the store at times and spend $30-40 for a week’s worth of food–sometimes less–because I am only getting things that I need for that week; staples are always available. In fact, if we could do without fresh food, we could eat for quite a while with the beans and flours we have on hand.
  • Certain Fresh Produce. This summer we finally planted a garden, and for a few weeks I won’t be buying tomatoes, since ours have finally started to ripen. We have also been given much surplus produce from friends and church members–beets, green beans, swiss chard, etc–that we didn’t grow ourselves. We got some free apples from Freecycle, as well as other fruits either from the wild (wild plums, blackberries, etc) or from friends. So I pretty much just buy bananas for fruit. I have also started buying only organic of certain things–lettuce, celery, and other things. Those items tend to absorb pesticides and other things, more than fruits like bananas or oranges, because the skins are thin.
  • Soymilk. I like to keep a can of shelf-stable soymilk on hand, just in case we need it, but I generally make my own with a soy milk machine. It’s not the best tasting milk, but we’ve gotten used to it, and you can’t tell the difference in baked goods. And at $.25-.50 a quart, there’s just no comparison!
  • Pasta. I can get pasta in bulk at WinCo, and I won’t buy it on the shelf unless I am splurging on a special shape they don’t have in bulk. I also never buy white pasta. I also buy a significant quantity of rice pasta, since both Manny and I are eating a gluten-free diet. Thankfully, WinCo has rice pasta for about $1.50 a pound–probably about what you would pay for your average name-brand pasta in a bag or box on the shelf. The wheat pasta is around $1 a pound, give or take a few cents.
  • Nuts. I buy nuts in bulk at WinCo too. (I feel very sorry for people who don’t live in the states where WinCo has a presence–or who live far from it.) I don’t buy Brazil nuts or macadamia nuts or pine nuts, either. As my friend at Too Cheap for Pine Nuts so aptly put it, “pine nuts . . . are $60940909 a pound. . . . [and] we just couldn’t bring ourselves to spend that for a pine nut.” I have also noticed that cashews, which used to be cheaper than almonds, are now almost twice the price. I still buy them, because I like them in certain things (but I dislike the taste of them by themselves), but I have found that almonds work well in place of cashews in certain recipes, such as cashew-based gravy and cashew cheese. I find myself using cheaper nuts and seeds more.
  • Baby Food. For some reason, when my daughter was born, I thought making baby food would be too much work. I can’t believe I ever thought that. Sure, it’s nice to have jars of food on hand for trips to town or church or wherever, or for emergencies, but I can make a jar’s worth of food for pennies, and it tastes so much better than the stuff in the jars, especially in the veggie department. I just whiz whatever in the blender, freeze it in ice cube trays, and bag it for use later. Those metal cups work well for thawing small amounts of baby food over the stove (since we don’t have a microwave).

And other things that I can’t remember, because we don’t save food receipts.

It’s kind of a balance. I save in certain things so that I can splurge on others. My son drinks hemp milk. That currently costs $38 a case if I buy it from Azure Standard. It would be more if I bought it anywhere else. But it’s the only high-quality fat and protein milk he can drink (other than rice milk,which doesn’t have much of either), so I buy it.

Now it’s your turn. How have your buying habits changed over the years? What do you now buy that you didn’t before? What do you do without now that you used to think was indispensable?

I’ve heard here and there that it is handy to have a pantry list. I even used to have one, but I haven’t had one for a while. I have a pretty good system, where whenever something gets low, whoever notices will write it on the white board, where I then transfer it to my iPod Shopping List app–since I always take my iPod shopping with me! This worked quite well with weekly shopping, since I could always get by for at least a week without almost any given item, if it somehow didn’t get on the list.

But lately I have been noticing the price of gas, and how much gas it takes to go to town (since town is 20-30 miles away from home, depending on what places I go to). I realized that a trip to the closest WinCo (large discount grocery store) was at least $8 round trip. Add in a couple of other stops, and I was easily spending $10 on gas for each trip into town. And that’s conservative, assuming I only go to that section and don’t make any other stops. So I decided it was time to try twice-a-month shopping.

Sure, there is a grocery store in Estacada, where I live, but prices there are a bit on the high side. I don’t mind spending an extra $.10 or so extra on bananas, but some things are more than twice what I would pay in town. Most veggies will last 2 weeks if they are stored properly, and some things, like lettuce, we can get by without for a few days until I can get back to town (especially since I only ever buy organic lettuce anymore). If I urgently need something, I can probably go buy it at the local market, since the cost of buying 2-3 things at a higher price will be cheaper than driving 40 miles round trip.

But to shop only twice a month, I need to really be organized. So I made a pantry list again.

Click to download PDF of my list

You’ll notice that some items have numbers beside them. Those are things like canned goods. I figure that we will need at least 5 jars of spaghetti sauce, for instance. Now, I’ve started buying it by the case, so if we have at least 5 jars at the beginning of the month, I won’t buy any. If we have fewer than 5, I’ll buy a case. The same goes for other canned goods: I want to have at least the number on the list at the beginning of the month. This way I hopefully won’t have to buy those items again, and I hopefully won’t run out before the next trip to town.

Other items do not have numbers. Items I buy in 25 lb bags, for instance, I don’t buy very often. However, having them on the list means I can check them to see how much is left. If I think I could run out before the end of the month, I’ll add them to my shopping list. Of course, I can’t buy fresh veggies to last the month, but having them on the list will help me remember what I need to check on. I expect I will buy a few things on the off weeks down at the local grocery store, but hopefully it will be only veggies and fruit.

Now, I will buy things that aren’t on this list. For instance, I don’t ever plan on buying canned beans, but I might occasionally buy, say, canned artichokes, if a recipe called for them. But because I always plan a menu before I finalize my shopping list, I will know if I need it and put it on the list before it shows up in the menu.

Because I use my iPod for my shopping list, I haven’t felt the need for a master shopping list that I can highlight as needed. However, if you take a written list to shop, you might want to consider having one. Because I shop at different stores, it just seems easier to use the app, because I can make a list for each store, and I know what items on the pantry list are purchased where.

So what about you? Do you have a pantry list? What about a master shopping list? What items would be on your list that aren’t on mine?


This post is linked with The Modest Mom and We Are That Family

Every woman’s wardrobe should have a black skirt–especially the wardrobe of a woman who never or rarely wears pants. I have several black skirts–long, short (ie, just below the knee), in between–but they don’t all fit me right now at 2 months postpartum. I had 3 that did fit: a jean-weave black skirt that I liked to wear for everyday, a black knee-length straight skirt, and a black and white stretchy knee-length skirt that has a ruffle of sorts on the bottom. The two latter ones were what I would wear to church, since they are the only nice skirts that fit and match the nice, church-quality blouses I own.

The stretchy skirt is almost too short for my tastes. When I sit down, it doesn’t ride up as badly as a non-stretchy skirt would, but it does tend to slide up over my knees when I’m sitting. I don’t like to show my knees, especially when I’m sitting, because it’s easier to see beyond the knees, if you know what I mean. But it was either that one or the straight one for church.

Now the straight one, well, I just never felt comfortable or modest in it. I mean, I like how a straight skirt looks on my figure, being rather square as I am, but when I sat, it went up over my knees, and the side slit went up even higher up my thigh (though I usually tried to tuck it slightly under my thigh, but if I wasn’t paying attention, and the skirt had twisted, it would show skin.

But I was hesitant to part with either one, because these were the only two skirts I had that were suitable to wear to church. The rest were more everyday kind of skirts. My other dressy skirts are still too small.

Finally, though, after wearing the black skirt a week or two ago, I finally said, Enough is enough. I don’t care if I have to wear one of my nicer everyday skirts to church, I just can’t keep the straight skirt. The stretchy one has an elastic waist, so I can wear it low if I wear a long enough top, but the straight one has an at-the-waist non-stretchy waistband, so it has to go. I washed it and put it in the give-away pile.

Today I was at the thrift store, looking for anything that I could find on my thrift store list (yes, I keep a list of things to watch for at the thrift store–helps me stay focused, not buy needless things, and not miss things I do need when they are available). I had collected several things on my list, including winter pajamas for my older son, a pair of Sabbath shoes for him in the next size up from the ones he has (and is outgrowing), and a couple of office chairs, and I was on my way to the checkout lane when I remembered that I wanted to look for a new Sabbath skirt. So I detoured back to the skirt section and began to browse.

It didn’t take me long. They only had one rack of longish skirts (and one of knee-length and shorter–I didn’t bother with that rack). On the rack was a black straight skirt that looked just my size. When I tried it on, I found it to be exactly my size. It comes several inches below the bottom of my knee, and completely covers my knees when I sit down. The slit in the back is short–it will barely show the back of my knee when I walk, and when I sit, because it’s in the back, no one will see anything. It has pleats in the front and darts in the back, and fits like it was made for me! It even has belt loops, so when it gets loose, as it will (I am going to lose this baby weight, you know!), I will be able to cinch it up with a belt, so it will last for quite a while. Maybe even when I’m back to 125 pounds (which I haven’t been since I got pregnant with my first… I’ve never actually gotten below 133 since then, but I can always dream, right?). And even if it just is too big then, I’ll have 2 other nice black skirts to wear, and some other skirts that I can’t wear right now.

Which reminds me… there is a maroon skirt that probably will fit me now, hiding somewhere with my winter clothes, which I should probably be hunting for soon. Because this Indian summer isn’t going to last forever.

In any case, I was amazed when I thought about this: When I chose to let go of something that the Lord had been convicting me about, He provided a replacement that was better than the former one. (The former one said dry clean only, and though I machine washed it, it was lined and heavy and hardly suitable for summer; the new one isn’t lined, so it’s great for summer, and it’s machine washable.) That’s how He works. He waits for us to surrender, then He pours out blessings. May we never forget that!

What have you found lately at the thrift store? Have you even been thrifting lately? Have you experienced surrendering something only to get something better in return? Tell us about it!


This post is linked with Works for Me Wednesday.

Having had a baby recently, I found this article very relevant, and I wanted to share it with my readers.

Life has presented your family with another wonderful gift and you are bringing home your newest bundle of joy! Thankfully, this birth probably went smoother and your anxieties were less because of your previous experience. However, every new parent knows that with every new child come new hurdles. Here are some helpful hints to help your first or second born adjust comfortably with their newest sibling:

Making time: It is important that you know how to manage your time with your new and bigger family. That means you want to make time not only for your newest child but your other children, your spouse and most importantly yourself. It is understood that in the first few weeks your attention will be directed at your newborn over the others but as a parent you need to be able to share your time evenly among your children. Be sure to make one-on-one time each day, with each child, do the same with your spouse and then yourself. Even if you only have thirty minutes to do so, do it. It will help you and your family to adjust and enjoy the next step in your family’s life.

Communicate: In any relationship you know that communication is key to making it a successful and loving one. Your child will have lots of questions and frustrations and depending on their age, may have difficulty expressing this, which in return will cause them to act out. As a parent you need to have open communication with your other children. Some tips to help you and your other children to communicate: separate yourselves to be alone, get on the same eye level, use a soft voice and ask them to use their words to speak with you. You may need to ask them questions to get an answer: ‘Are you upset at mommy?’, ‘Are you sad or mad?’ etc. basic questions like this will help you communicate and reassure with your child that even with the new baby everything is fine.

Create a routine: The easiest method for a smooth transition in bringing home your newest baby is to create a routine as soon as possible. Creating a daily routine and schedule will help everyone in the family get used to a new way of life. Start with a breakfast routine, school, dinner and bedtime routine. These routines will give yourself a peace of mind as well as your other children. It helps everyone in your family know what to expect and avoid any frustrations or unwanted surprises.

This can be a fun or frustrating time, depending on how you prepare and react to this situation. Remember to create a routine, communicate and make time! Good luck and enjoy every minute of your new family because time flies when you are having fun!


Roxanne Porter is a freelancer & a regular contributor for nanny wanted. She helps in providing knowledge about nanny services & love writing on nanny related articles. She helps in giving a fair knowledge about nanny Jobs to the community. You can be in touch with her at “r.poter08 [at]

Ever since morning sickness hit about 9 months ago, I gave up on exercise. I did try for a few weeks during the second trimester, but then I was sick and we moved all at the same time, and by the time I recovered from both, I couldn’t keep up with it, mostly because of issues with my hips.

I did find that the Moms Into Fitness Prenatal Yoga helped me a lot before the move, especially after the ultrasound. Lying flat on my back at 5 months pregnant just did a number on my hips, and I spent the rest of the day limping–until I did the yoga. All the stretching and lengthening exercises just fixed me right up. *smile*

I’m more of a exercise video person, but I do okay with a list of moves to do on my own. I found a really great program that I used for a while (before the move). It was a Fit and Healthy Pregnancy program. I didn’t go along with much of the diet part of the program, but the exercise portion seemed well rounded. For someone who doesn’t enjoy exercise videos, this would probably be a great fit.

I put into my schedule a half hour of exercise before the baby wakes up to eat. If I exercise before my devotional time, I am more alert and able to focus. But this morning was the first morning I actually got up and did exercises–partly because I was already awake and figured I might as well be doing something. So I’m buying a postnatal exercise routine that I will use to supplement the exercises my physical therapist gave me. I’ll let you know how that goes later on.

Ultimately, I would like to be able to work back up to P90X, which I was doing when I got pregnant and quit when morning sickness arrived. Of course, I’ll have to find an hour for exercise, instead of just a half hour. I’ll probably get one of Beachbody’s easier programs first, like Slim in 6, which would probably be a step or two above what I am doing now, but not near the intensity of P90X. I miss how great I felt when I was doing that program!

What about you? Have you been exercising? Wish you could get back into it? Can’t find the time? Doing a program you love? Tell me about it!

Hopefully I can be consistent with it!


The more I work with the schedule, the more impressed I am with it. I have enjoyed having time to get caught up on mending projects that would otherwise not have gotten done for a few more months. I also appreciate having time to blog.

Sure, sometimes it gets cut into, like today. I actually washed 3 loads of laundry this morning, and the line was full since last night. The load from last night was baby clothes that were given to us. Two big rubbermaid containers full. I filled the washer with a load and hung it up all night. Because my line doesn’t get light until around 11 am, I had two loads done before it had even begun to dry–sheets and one load of family clothing. Then I realized that I had forgotten to wash a new pillowcase that I wanted to use today, and my daughter had forgotten to remove another pillowcase (we are a bit short on pillowcases, so some of them need to be washed every week to be available), so I washed those on the quick wash setting with a bunch of cloth napkins to fill it out. Anyhow, when blogging time came, I ran out for 10 minutes to haul down dry items and hang wet ones in their place. There are still wet things in the basket… I may have to run a load in the dryer this evening, but I’m hoping with the warm weather we have, coupled with a gentle breeze, the clothes will all be dry today, even if they don’t all get folded today.

Speaking of pillowcases, I just have to take a diversion to tell you about one of them. A few weeks ago, I found at the thrift store a set of sheets with cars and trains all over them for my son. But I didn’t see a pillowcase to go with the sheets. Until last Tuesday. Apparently it hadn’t been put out yet, and no one wanted it by itself. So I bought it!

But I digress.

I still haven’t gotten the whole schedule perfect yet. My schedule is pretty good. I have time for everything, with enough wiggle room to catch up on things that need to be done.

Today I got the kids going with school right on time. For now, we’re doing 1/2 hour of school. When we finish the preschool books, I’ll consider bumping it up to 45 minutes for Gislaine, at least. Manny is anything but ready to start any kind of school. He’s much more hands on. I let him color, play with puzzles, or his special wooden tools that he only plays with during school, or look at books. He’s not ready to write letters yet. But he notices what his sister is doing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he knows the alphabet by the time the school year is over.

I spent my morning cleaning time (10-11) changing bed sheets and dusting/polishing the wooden furniture. I haven’t polished any furniture (except for the computer desk when it arrived) since we moved into the house, so some things really needed it. I took everything off the surfaces and did a thorough job. It took about 1/2 an hour. The piano smells so nice, as does everything else!

My husband still hasn’t gotten on board with the schedule. I’m not sure if he will ever or not. He makes certain things on time, like breakfast (usually) and morning worship, but other than that he pretty much doesn’t live with any kind of schedule. That’s okay. He’s not going to be home all the time forever. Actually, he has only 5 more weeks here before he has to go back to work, and less than that before school starts (1 1/2 days per week).

But I thought it might help him if he understood what I am doing and why with the schedule. We haven’t had a lot of time to discuss it, and he’s not a big reader, especially in English. He reads his devotional books and the Bible, and beyond that doesn’t do much reading. However, I have discovered that he enjoys listening to books on CD. So I have started to read the book Managers of Their Homes by Steven and Teri Maxwell (the book that taught me how to make a schedule) and record it on Audacity. When I’m done, I’ll burn an mp3 CD, and he can listen to it in his car when he is driving. If that goes over well, I might read him some other book that I would like him to read. This will also help me be a better reader. I make a lot of  mistakes when I read–especially if I read too fast.

Well, it’s time to feed the baby now, then on fold whatever laundry is dry, with my daughter’s help. Then I’ll bathe the baby and get Gislaine practicing the piano. She had 2 days of practice last week, and is doing very well with it. She spends maybe 15 minutes a day practicing. At her age, I think that is quite enough! When that’s done, I’ll spend a half hour sewing or mending, then I’ll have a half hour to do whatever needs to be done (most likely laundry). After that the older kids take their baths, then I feed the baby and then get supper. After supper is worship and bedtime. Then I have some time to catch up on whatever didn’t get done before, which will probably include freezing the beets I boiled last evening. They were a gift from a church member, and since my son can eat beets, I don’t want them to go to waste!

In the mean time, I hope my husband cleans up the kitchen. He ate lunch an hour late, so I cleaned up what I could during clean-up time, and left the rest for him to clean up while I napped. He didn’t do it. So I may end up doing it during my discretionary time, or take 10 minutes out of my sewing time. We’ll see how it goes.

All I know is, being on a schedule and on schedule makes me very happy!

Have you ever had wheat grass juice? Jamba Juice sells it for a pretty penny, but it’s made fresh to order. I tried it plain once–not very tasty. I’ve also had them dump a “shot”, as they call it, into one of their smoothies. I could taste it, but it was much more palatable that way.

I have almost finished a 100-serving container of powdered wheat grass. I enjoyed it most during my pregnancy, when eating anything that wasn’t liquid for supper would give me heartburn–and it also fixed those random pregnancy food cravings in seconds! I told my husband it was addicting. He didn’t believe me. He also didn’t much care for the taste of the powdered wheat grass.

Then I started sprouting wheat to redry and make bread with. I’ll have to post on that sometime. Anyhow, he asked if he could have some of the seeds to grow. He planted them out in the garden, and in a few days cut the grass, blended it with fruit juice in the Vitamix (which really blends it well–not all blenders would do a good job of breaking down the cell walls like a high-powered one does), and strained it. The result was so delicious–there was no grassy flavor at all. He decided that was because of the freshness of the grass.

Well, after doing that for several days, he has now told me several times that he is addicted to it. He’s going to keep that patch growing as long as he can. And when it gets too cold for it to grow well (it’s winter wheat, so it won’t die, but it might not actually grow during part of the winter), he is going to grow some in trays inside the house.

However, he has decided to get a juice extractor. We are looking at the Lexen manual juicer, since it is the cheapest. I’m interested in comparing the taste of our wheat grass to what I recall of Jamba Juice’s grass. Because I can’t understand why I can’t taste the grassy flavor when it’s blended with juice, whereas I can taste theirs when it’s dumped in a smoothie.

What I do know is, I plan on downing a shot every day once we get the thing. I figure we can juice a bunch and freeze it in ice cube trays, to thaw and down whenever (or to add to green breakfast smoothies). Apparently there is little difference between some component of wheat grass and the hemoglobin in our blood. Which means that eating wheat grass will literally make good blood. I’ve heard a doctor joke about how God put Nebuchadnezzar on a diet of wheat grass for 7 years–at least it was grass, whether it was wheat or barley or some other grass, we don’t know for sure, but he did eat grass, and grass is healthy if you can digest it. And you can digest the extracted liquid.

When we get the juicer, I’ll do a review and let you know how it works.

Back a long time ago (I was about 20) I took an IQ test. I don’t remember exactly, but it seems the score was around 150. I question its accuracy, since later I took one and it was closer to 135. Still a good score. Of course, I couldn’t boast too much about my score, since my boss had an even higher one (I don’t remember his, but it put him in the genius category, which I knew he was anyway).

While it used to be thought that there was nothing anyone could do to increase one’s IQ, it is now known that this is not the case. You can increase your IQ. The infografic below tells you how:

Master Your Brain: Raise Your IQ
Created by:

Of course, IQ isn’t everything. EQ is a much better indicator of future success, but then, that’s a totally different topic, isn’t it?

Have you taken an IQ test lately? What was your score? What ideas from this graphic do you plan on using to improve your intelligence?

I finally got some pictures downloaded from the new camera we were loaned by a friend after ours was stolen. Here are some random photos, and some that go with previous posts.

Recently, we had raw mock salmon, raw crackers, and a tossed salad for Sabbath lunch. It was more filling than it looks (we ate a lot more crackers and salmon than it shows on the plate). It was delicious.

Gluten-free bread is usually tasteless. Well, not the Gluten-free Goddess’s Delicious Gluten-free Bread. Not only is it delicious, but it turned out well even though I used chia seeds instead of eggs. Here is the result:

Recently we bought a new dresser and matching nightstands. Here they are:

And the leather couch mentioned in the same post:

Some pictures of Gislaine and Emmanuel from our recent visit to a campground with our church:

Isn’t this one precious?

Here are more photos of the kids from other days:

Gislaine by the tomatoes in the garden

Manny in the crib set up for the baby

And what post full of pictures would be complete without pictures of little Rafael? Here are a bunch:

I love these new cloth diapers I bought on Zulily. They are a one-size fits all pocket diaper, though right now I’m using them as wrap covers for prefolds, which I have a lot of. Zulily has great deals on new stuff–I got these diapers 50% off. If you sign up with my link, I’ll get $20 if you ever decide to order something from them.

Give me a hug!

I like to hold Mommy's finger.

No more pictures! Just get me dressed already!

That’s all for now. I’ll try to post more later.

Yesterday, August 28, was our anniversary. Our 7th anniversary of the date we celebrated our marriage.

We made it a special day by dropping the kids off at a friend’s house in the late morning and and going out just the three of us (the baby is too young to leave anywhere more than 2-3 hours, and we planned on being gone much longer than that).

First we went up to our favorite Thai restaurant, Thai Fresh in Portland. We first went there during its grand opening 2 or 3 years ago, and have gone back periodically ever since. The staff know is, and the food is so delicious, and not too greasy. And almost all the menu can be made vegetarian by using veggies or tofu instead of meat. Most of the items allow a choice of meat or tofu or veggies, giving us many options to choose from.

We actually didn’t go there right when we got there; we were early and the baby was hungry. So while I fed Ralfie in the van, Rafael went across the street to the Asian market to browse. When he came back, we ate.

After that we went to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Sure, the rhodies aren’t blooming this time of year, but we still enjoyed the ducks and squirrels and other animals. We saw a squirrel couple: the female appeared to be nursing, and the male was, well, obviously male. They let us get some nice pictures before moving on. We took some other pictures too.

After that, we went to the OMSI to see the Deep Sea video in the OMNIMAX dome screen. It was spectacular! Of course, anything on that big of a screen is spectacular. But the video was really nice, too, showing such interesting things about the underwater world that we see so little of. We both every much enjoyed it.

After that, we went back to buy something from the Asian market (some frozen things that we didn’t want to get earlier or they would have been melted by then). When we got back to where the kids were staying, the lady invited them to spend the night, so we went home, put the baby to bed, and enjoyed a quiet evening with just the two of us. It was a very memorable day!