"Raising Souls"

"Raising Souls"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Years Resolutions

Hello All!

So, I know, in terms of blog posts, I've skipped over the last two days of Advent and Christmas but they are coming. Right now I'm pretty pumped about New Years Resolutions and just couldn't wait to get them down in writing and have my Blogging world keep me accountable. :-)

2011 brought me a lot of exciting new things on my New Years resolution list...

  • Sign up for adoration -- DONE! (Thanks to my friends Taryn and Sara!)
  • Get Pregnant -- DONE! (I don't know if that is fair to have as a new years resolution, more just a hope!)
  • NEW car by next Winter -- DONE! (This was God's hand and has been a MAJOR blessing!)
  • Run a half marathon -- DONE! (This was actually someone elses New Year's Resolution that I completed, so again not of my own design!)
An interesting theme resounds when I look at each of my completed resolutions. They were not necessarily of my own will power or design. BUT I did them. I DO give fair total credit to God!

So here are 2012 New Year's Resolutions: (here goes nothing!)

  • Family: Eat one meal per week together as a family (on Sunday).
  • Family: Go to daily mass once a week (on Friday as a Family).
  • Personal: Organize a do-able cleaning schedule and follow it (see below).
  • Personal: Have a baby (not to take anything for granted, but, dare I say duh?)... and lose the baby weight.
  • Personal: Paint, organize, and set up Augustine's new bedroom before the baby is born. (April)
  • Personal: Organize the toy situation
I may add to this list in the days to come but please feel free to ask me how I am doing on my resolutions and help keep me accountable. I really feel that simple and year-long attainable goals is the way to go, so no crazy elaborate things this year. Starting small and hopefully growing in the theme of Faith, Family, and Organization.

Here is my weekly cleaning schedule:

  • Monday: Vacuum Downstairs
  • Tuesday: Bathrooms (alternate)
  • Wednesday: Vacuum Upstairs
  • Thursdays: Dust/Wipe down tables
  • Friday: Clean and Organize Desk and Office
I will, of course, have other things around the house related to cleaning and organizing that I will need to do each week but if I can do those as I currently am and really stick to the basic cleaning listed above (even when life gets CRAZY BUSY) I feel that will add a lot of order and cleanliness to our home and lives.

You know how (at least for me) when you say I will do 10 sit ups per day you actually usually do more than 10 (which is great!) but on the days you are really busy or tired you still can "at least quick do 10" and so its realistic. That's my mentality. Why make resolutions if you can't be realistic. The fun is knowing and hoping in the realistic and great changes that can be made!

Good luck on your own goal making this month and do try to be realistic and save yourself the usual breaking of that New Year's Resolution.

and... MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

7 days to Christmas ... Day 4


What's more Christmas than a great fun and funny Christmas production with a heartwarming message about the value of keeping Christmas in our hearts the year long?! Tonight I ran the Box Office at our Theatre for this show (title above) and we were sold out! Yeah baby! Not just sold out but I had to turn people away at the door!! Talk about relating to the Christmas story... that Inn Keeper who always gets a bad rep for turning away a pregnant woman... MARY the mother of GOD! Well, if your Inn is packed its packed... I bet they felt as crummy as I did tonight when people walked away with droopy sad and irritated faces at not getting a ticket. I can't say I was feeling Christmas very much tonight. I love having a sold out show. I hate turning people away, and squeezing people into a house that has more seats than people. Its rather stressful actually. I don't mean to complain but some people can be pretty rude when they don't get what they want.

Oh, well... moving on! We have been getting RAVE reviews from those who are attending our shows and that is great! We still have tickets available for tomorrow night and Dec. 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th. So, give me a ring and I'd be happy to sell you tickets in advance so that I do not have to turn you away. Please don't make me do it! :-)

With that said this daily blog leading into Christmas is really helping me focus on Jesus. As I drove home tonight I desperately wished that along with our glowing Christmas tree, in our bay window, that you can see as you drive by... that we also had a glowing sign that said, "Jesus is the Reason."

Fill my heart with peace, joy and forgiveness tonight Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

7 days to Christmas ... Day 2 and 3


As I start this post I see out the window a lovely soft snow is falling. I know this has been a Christmas hope for many this year and it is a wonderful way God is blessing me on Day 3 of my countdown.

A fresh snow reminds me of what it does to our blah brown winter cold. There is that pure white covering that makes things all fresh and new.

"See Mother I make all things new!" -Jesus

Yesterday (day 2) was a busy day of work and drama classes in the evening which I did on my own since Jeremy's back has been out of commission. However, we have a neighbor family that watched Augustine and they are pure joy to me! They are a beautiful family with lots of vibrancy, joy and love! Augustine LOVES, and I will repeat, LOVES this family. They have 5 kids and their youngest is 8 years old. This is the one place I can leave Augustine where he doesn't flip out when I leave or return. Last night I went to pick him up and he hardly acknowledged me before heading off to play some more... did I mention it was close to 10pm and way past his bedtime? He was not ready to go and they all played along by pretending to go "nigh nigh" themselves. I know they are so kind and loving and good to him as they are to Jeremy and I and we are so blessed to know them.

I have lots of mindless work (prepping Christmas cards) to do tonight so maybe I will celebrate the lovely snow and time of peace with watching "The Nativity Story" (I think that's the name... just need to figure out where I can find it...)

God is blessing me with peace this day and Augustine slept in until 9:30am... wonderful surprise! We also have an almost sold out show for tonight and tomorrow night, God is GOOD!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The 7 Days Before Christmas... Day 1

Today was a pretty stressful day with glimmers of hope. I can't help but reflect on the sate Mary and Joseph were in on the week before Christmas. The fear, concerns, worries and glimmers of peace and joy melted into the hope of new life and Christ's birth.

I feel like last Christmas was not this dramatic but the year before I reflect on our homeless situation. First Christmas as a married couple with a baby on the way and - homeless not knowing where we would be or where we would go. It was a difficult time.

This year, it is much the same as that year... with child and at a breaking point. Our Theatre has been doing amazing (for a start up theatre). The last weekends and those shows to come are close to 50 - 75 tickets pre-sold EACH performance! That's pretty darn great, and yet... we can't seem to get ahead... why? I know its all in the growing pains of a new business but this feels a bit more like that torture by stretching they used to do in the olden days. That torture appears to still be in practice in our home.

And yet, with all that... there is joy!

How did Mary carry a child at 9 months and ride a donkey for hours? How did Joseph deal with the uncertainty? Why does God allow pain and suffering especially when great hope is coming?!

Advent is a time of waiting... and its so clear God is asking us to wait and trust and HOPE in what is to come even when everything seems so hope-less. I am called to embrace the un-known and trust as Mary did.

So tonight, I packed up Augustine and headed to mass. Nothing gets me like an evening mass in Advent. Its like there is glimmer in the air, in the church on the streets! Yes, Augustine was a very good boy and I could focus on mass except at the end when he started singing loudly (after communion when everything is SO quiet) "Dada da da .... Tata taaaa ..." Darling. But it was so loud that I couldn't help but try to stifle giggles at his sweet innocent voice. I didn't even have the heart to shush him. He was singing in God's house and it was lovely! If the people don't sing God's babies will sing out! After enjoying Christmas lights on our way home listening to - none other than - Lion King we feasted on this rather Christmassy looking soup. It's called "Cowboy Stew" or "Poor Man's Stew" because it is so cheap to make but tonight its Advent Soup and it was warm and delicious and healthy!


Peace to you all as you wait for the great hope!

Christmas Week Meal Plan!

I was up from 2am-4:30am and could not sleep for a variety of reasons. Since I could not fall asleep I decided to organize my Christmas shopping and meal plan for the week among other things. So I guess it was time well spent.

This is the first time in a looooong time (or ever?) that I have not spent the week before Christmas with my family in Wisconsin. I'm pretty bummed since the week will be all work here in MN. What's new? - despite my attempts to liven things up around here. Oh, well.

I'm not giving up yet on making this week special so maybe I'll post latter on what I will do each day this week to make it special and Christmas focused. One daily mass and adoration time are on the agenda!

So for the menu plan...

Monday: Cowboy Stew/Soup (Christmas Shopping and Oil Change in the evening... maybe I'll even go look at lights   by myself!)

Tuesday: Broccoli Quiche with Brown Rice Crust (I love this recipe and have made it 2 times in 2 weeks! It's easy and I have drama class that night so it will be quick to heat up and go!)

Wednesday: Meatloaf, Potatoes, and Green Beans (Adoration maybe?)

Thursday: Chicken something

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: OUT TO EAT!

Sunday: Cheesy Potatoes and Ham (In crock pot overnight so we have a yummy breakfast waiting for Jesus' Birthday!)

I pray you all can make this week special and that we all can truly remember what is important about Christmas. JESUS!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tower of Beans


It is not uncommon that I find a "can tower" growing on the kitchen floor. Augustine stacked this all by himself - 6 cans high!

He is always proud of his accomplishments but once I get the camera/phone out to take a "piture" he goes crazy...


...and this is why I haven't had many pictures posted lately.

I managed to get this picture by asking him to say, "please" since when he does it usually makes him smile.


Still not a smile.

So the question is:
Was this post about stacking cans OR about my inability to get a good picture lately?

If you guess correctly you get 50 points.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Mother's Grace


The feast of The Immaculate Conception was last week and usually it comes and goes fairly un-eventful.

Not this year.

This year there was some serious Mother grace flowing! I have been having a really hard time going to mass with Augustine for quite some time now and Jeremy and I finally decided to start going to mass alone so we could participate in the Mass better. I've really struggled with this because I want to go to mass as a family but due to Augustine's conflicting nap times and "issues" as well as our now "forced" work on Sundays with our new theatre.... we decided it was time to go separately. If I was with Augustine all day on Sunday alone I would even (gulp) skip mass to avoid the dreaded squirming. I just don't have the strength and even ability with being pregnant now. I know God understands but I wasn't happy with the situation.

I grew up in a family that marched to the front row of a church all 5 kids toddlers and all. My parents say we were good in church. Ideal, I know, right??

I often have felt that Augustine is the only unreasonably squirming kid in church and I just couldn't find a solution. Hummppf.

Well, getting back to some serious grace. On the feast of The Immaculate Conception I was to meet Jeremy at St. Olaf in Minneapolis (being downtown it is a church known for their lack of children - but it is still my favorite place to go to mass and is near our Theatre.) When I arrived for mass... Jeremy was no where to be seen. Shoot I was on my own. Augustine had a cracker in hand and quickly made a disaster as I wrestled to keep him behaving. That's when the grace kicked in.

I grabbed my purse and Augustine and ducked into the entryway of church.

I gave Augustine a toddler "talking to" and picked him up and stood outside the closed church doors. He was still and calm. I waited a few minutes and asked him if he was going to be a good boy and was he ready to go into church. He heard the church music and quickly and sweetly said, "Uh huh." We went inside and a miracle happened. If your a parent you totally get this! Augustine sat quietly on my lap for the entire mass throughout the standing and sitting. I decided to skip the kneeling with the belly and toddler which was perfect and peaceful since I get light headed when I kneel anyway. I had the most grace filled mass holding Augustine sweetly in my arms and reflecting on my heavenly mother and her love for Jesus her son (and Lord!) It was a truly profound mass and evening. Augustine even sang when it was time to sing and it was oh, so sweet!

...and it doesn't stop there I have had a break through in general with discipline with Augustine and he is becoming pretty obedient (for a toddler) and polite. One minute time outs work really well and he stays in the chair where I put him. He gets it, and we are all happier for it! Although he usually needs to be reminded he is glad to say, "Please!" with a huge smile and the latest is his version of Thank You, "Thnk Thnk!"

Thank you Mother Mary for your Mother's blessing!

Its a lion, its a bear its a GIRL!!



Yes, this Stanbary family is going to be blessed with a bundle of girl joy in April.

If she is as punctual as her brother she is due to arrive April 28th the feast of St. Gianna. It also, just so happens that Gianna is our top girl name choice so I can't help but feel that God's hand is especially blessing this baby and pregnancy! Of course He blesses all but I love God-incidences and this certainly is one of those.

We had our 20 wk ultra sound and everything looked normal. Gianna was pretty curled up though so although we saw some fun images I can't say we got any great pictures. Sorry baby girl! I may get some free 3D ultra sound pictures coming in the next few weeks so here is hoping we get some better shots!

Jeremy and I were pretty excited about the new thoughts of a baby girl entering our world and filling our hearts with that special feminine touch that girls can bring! Augustine seems to be enjoying his "I'm a big brother" book and cuddles with the baby in the book. He even will sing to the baby in the book as it mentions the big brother does. I'm so excited for him to meet Gianna since he seems to have had a special affinity for babies (and little girls) for some time. He is going to be such an awesome "big brother"!

St. Gianna, pray for us!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Augustine and Baby in their 20s...

Its just a coincidence, I suppose, but Augustine is 20 months old and our new baby is 20 weeks old (in the womb).

I haven't posted a picture of Augustine in a while and as I flipped through Jeremy's pictures on his phone I found this precious picture he took recently...


This is Augustine at our latest favorite hang out... The Open Window Theatre! Augustine even received the unofficial title of, Assistant Director by "daddy" when he ran to daddy and sat attentively watching rehearsal of, The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge. He is pretty adored by actors and crew alike but he's pretty much a Mamma's boy. No matter how often he sits in "time out" or gets told "no" he still is so eager to give me a hug and cling  to my hand or legs. He is such a little sweet heart and I just love him so much!

My heart (and baby bump) is growing day by day with the precious gift that I carry. Knowing how much I love Augustine and knowing I have a gift just as wonderful within me makes carrying this new baby such a tremendous experience. With Augustine I didn't know what being a mother fully felt like until I held him in my arms. I seem to get it just as much with my new baby this time.

I can't wait to meet my little sweetheart! Today I was holding Augustine before digging into our St. Nick's stockings and as I held Augustine "little sweetheart" start kicking around and it was pretty awesome.

My two babies - how I love you!

Since Augustine got a 20s picture I will soon post about our 20 week ultra sound and the great reveal about whether we are having a boy or girl and maybe even an ultra sound picture! (Yes, we found out the sex and we are pretty darn excited! No surprise there!)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dance with me...

Augustine and I have had a few date nights lately since Jeremy has been working.... A LOT. Its been pretty exhausting on our whole family but we knew this year would be tough with the new theatre. Hope is a beautiful thing and it has been keeping me (and I think Jeremy) plugging away.

Hope that it will get easier... someday... soon...

So that's where dancing in the rain comes in.

Augustine and I watched The Sound Of Music together yesterday and it has inspired Augustine's "Dance with me??" This is actually one of the moments I imagined having as a mother. My little children running up to me with their arms held up, hands eager to be filled with mine and to be spun into oblivion. So now whenever Augustine hears a tune, he finds partner worthy, he runs to me in this way and says, "Daaa Daaa daaa" over and over until I jump up and start jiving with him. He's quite the partner too! If I am not dancing and moving my feet fast enough to his taste he shakes his head and shows me he knows I'm not REALLY dancing my heart out. Ok, ok, this pregnant lady gets tired. Guilty as charged. :-)

I had to also throw in this picture of my Hallows Eve Social Ballroom Dance...


Augustine pretty much tore up the dance floor. His loves "Cotton Eyed Joe", "Hamster Dance", Polkas, and anything else with a strong fun fast beat like my Latin dance music. He also has some serious dance moves on his own. He even knows the power of the "pause" in a moving grooving dance. He does this little posed pause which he holds in total dance mode. It so cracks me up. One of these days I'll get up some sweet videos of him dancing...

Friday, November 18, 2011

$1 for $30 worth of food??


No, I am not an extreme couponer, although I envy their dedication and mostly their savings.

Free food from a friend? No.

I actually went out to eat at a "restaurant" and with my friend's help ordered $30 worth of food!

I paid ONLY $1 to purchase the coupon at GROUPON. So, yeah, dinner with a friend for her birthday became a very affordable and fun outing for ONE DOLLAR!!! If you haven't checked out GROUPON yet you should there are some serious steals! Since I rarely get to eat out this was a really fun treat and cheaper than eating at home. I meant to take a picture because the place was kind of a bar and my friend and I had brought our toddlers which felt awkward at first but once we realized no one else was there and our boys could destroy the place we enjoyed the good laugh, good food, and good time!

Happy Savings!

17 weeks and dreaming...



I have been having some really beautiful dreams about my little new growing baby and now that I feel baby kicking it is making the whole, "I'm pregnant thing" feel more real.

I just went to my 16 week pre-natal checkup on Monday and I've "gained 1lb" (with my winter coat on) since my last visit. My blood pressure went down quite a bit from last time, the nurse actually checked 2x since it seemed so low, in a good way. The baby's heartbeat was sweet music to this worrying mommy's ears and my measurements are right on for 16weeks. Excellent!

I have been feeling pretty good except that I got a nasty cold from my dear son. So much for the healthy bliss of my first pregnancy. And "hello" to the cold season. Ug.

The really exciting news is that on the eve of St. Nicholas Day (one of my favorite holidays!) we get to see our baby at the 20 week ultra sound AND (drum roll please....) find out if we have a baby boy or a baby girl!! I LOVE that part! I dream baby is a girl, I think girl, and I feel girl.... BUT when ever I want to out loud refer to baby I easily want to say, "he." Who knows but I am SUPER pumped either way.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Inspiration of Life!

I just had to give you a link to this blog. This woman writes about her personal struggle with pregnancy and suffering...

"For those of you who never heard of hyperemesis gravidarum, it is your normal morning sickness gone psycho. It is not limited to mornings or evenings or even the first two trimesters of pregnancy. It is non-stop nausea and vomiting and can result in serious dehydration and even hospitalization for some women. Most women who experience hyperemesis, like me, are prescribed antiemetics to control the vomiting and keep the symptoms at a manageable level. But even with medications the baseline level for women struggling with this condition is extreme fatigue and the feeling that you might lose your lunch at any moment. Nice.

...

I share this about my own struggles because the sicknesses I have endured to become a mother have taught me a lot about women seeking abortions. Before becoming pregnant, and thus very sick for the first time, I could not understand how a woman could ever feel so threatened by a growing baby as to want to “terminate” it. Just a few short weeks after my first positive pregnancy test, I remember feeling terrible about myself because the only thing I could think about and wanted was for things to go back to normal. I just wanted to feel good again and be free of this sickness. At the height of this pregnancy sickness and already 20 pounds down in less than 5 weeks, I remember thinking that I could actually understand a woman wanting an abortion. I got it. In my weakness I understood the temptation towards abortion for the first time ever in my life."

 I wanted to post this on my blog because her story rings so true and is so honest and true. I know for myself I had the same realization that she had about abortion when I was sick sick sick with my pregnancy with Augustine. I never have ever ever wanted an abortion but I understood for the first time why some woman give in to the "easy way out". She then goes on to talk about how the suffering you go through is like a Crucifixion. This is my body given up for you!

What a beautiful gift God has given to us woman to offer our bodies for a greater life giving purpose. I can say this so easily after now making it past the nausea of the first trimester. But there are a lot more sufferings to come and of those I am acutely aware of this time around. I am at 15weeks today and had entered, what I call, my headache phase. Ever since I was a child I suffered from awful migraines. I have somewhat grown out of them but at about 14 weeks pregnant I start to get endless throbbing headaches. It is so hard to rejoice in these struggles and pains but sometimes God gives me the grace to recognize in the moment what a gift my body is and how perfectly and wonderfully He has made me.

After my dear husband gave me a neck and back massage I have no throbbing headache today and I can rejoice again in no pain (for a little while). I can also rejoice in the fact that I seemed to have found the remedy for my headaches and a quite nice remedy at that!

Until I get to meet you, my little precious child, I am so honored to be offering my body up for you with agape love!

May your cross today (whatever it may be) help you to realize your greater purpose on earth to offer those sufferings up.

We always find that those who walked closest to Christ were those who had to bear the greatest trials.
            -St. Teresa of Avila

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Guys"

Augustine's favorite play toy among ALL his toys...



are his, "Guys!"



Augustine is 19 months now and he plays the most charming game of imagination with these little "GI JOE "guys." He calls them his "guy" or "guys" and he even gives them different voices. He has a deep growly voice for one of them. I mostly don't have a clue what he is saying but it is usually with great passion and he can play for quite some time having a couple of guys interact. I hear him say occasionally, "go go go, guy..." He got it from mimicking his brother Aidan and Jeremy and myself. I know I try to lower my voice when pretending to talk like one of the "guys."

Another really neat thing about these "guys" is that they were Jeremy's favorite toys growing up. He is actually a bit protective of them since they really are his old toys! Ever since we watched Toy Story 3 he says, "those are not age appropriate", over and over. I insist they are since they keep Augustine's attention way longer than anything else AND he actually plays with them as they are intended. I mean he doesn't use them as a hammer! So, Jeremy played with these little guys, Aidan played with them growing up, and now Augustine is instinctively carrying on the legacy.

And now you are wondering why your mother made you throw out your old toys!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Meals...

Ok, so it's not Monday but I'm having some sort of food craving and I found this new blog that I LOVE! Its A Year of Slow Cooking and its given me some yummy new ideas for foods. I'm past my healthy food only cravings and have been diving into my Monday meal of Chili loaded with cheese and sour cream! (It's so loaded with cheeses that it shouldn't even be called chili but... oh, well!)

Here is the weeks plan:

Monday: Chili
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Cream Cheese Crock Pot Chicken over Whole Wheat Pasta
Thursday: Chicken Pepperoni Bread Wrap
Friday: Tuna Melts
Saturday/Sunday: Sarah's Tortellini Tomato Creation... maybe I'll post the recipe

Now I'm going to stop writing and eat some Chef Boyardee it will go with my previous courses of a whole red pepper (yeah still love my veggies!) and a pomegranate (which Augustine tried for the first time and LOVED!)

Bon Appetite!

He gives and takes away...

OK, so I've taken a bit of a 3 week hiatus from blogging since I have not had my laptop. I finally have it back and I am super excited to start blogging again. SO MUCH is happening right now both good and bad so its a lot to catch up on!

It goes something along the lines of that song or bible verse, "He gives and takes away, gives and takes away! But I will choose to say, BLESSED BE HIS NAME!" Amen. God gave us the gift of my old car Roger from some dear people who "paid it forward" (give) then it broke down 2 days later (take away). Then some rocking friends of our fixed Roger (give). Then we had our trailblazer broken into $200 broken window repair and $2,000 piece of equipment stolen (take away). Then some generous donors replaced our equipment (give) and God blessed us with $2,000 + in donations unexpectedly at a performance in Atlanta, GA (give). We made it back from Atlanta (16 hr drive) to realize we could hardly get our Trailblazer into the car shop one block from our house (take away). This has all happened in about a month (except for the getting Roger part). Roger is now our reliable car... which is scary if you saw Roger... or heard him for that matter!!

None-the-less... God is good and we do bless his glorious name! So far we are all healthy and our new baby seems to be growing fine! We have a house, a working car, jobs, and our families. The big things that really matter, God is letting us keep. Thank you LORD!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A whirl of a tour - Nebraska and Georgia!

So Jeremy, Augustine and I just recently returned from a road trip for performances in Omaha, NE and Atlanta, GA. We can now add Georgia to our list of places we have performed in the country.

It was a trip I was looking forward to and dreading at the same time. Having our 1 1/2 year old in a car driving for almost 5 full days!! Insane. Augustine does not like riding in the car for longer than, oh, 10 minutes, so you can imagine my dread.

I hate having him watch to much TV or videos but this trip would be the exception. We survived the trip and he did amazingly wonderful! He stayed up late late and played with his babysitters like they were old friends. He is becoming quite the seasoned traveler.

Our performance of THE VITAE MONOLOGUES in Omaha was at UNO and although we often experience difficulties on college campuses, things went very smoothly and there were about 100-150 people at the show. I have to admit that doing this show while pregnant is pretty hard for me, emotionally. I cried like I never had before in a show. Thankfully I was supposed to cry and it worked but having a child and being pregnant seem to really make the show more poignant for me personally. It breaks my heart to think of aborting one of my children and and then to think of the woman who have an now regret it or can no longer have children due to the procedure. Besides my extra real tears I hadn't been able to eat since 12N that day and the show was wrapping up around 9pm. That is 9 HOURS of not eating for this pregnant lady. Not pretty! I actually started gagging (on stage!). Fortunately it was not noticeable since I am in a bowed position and can't be seen well. The thought of needing to hurl on stage was pretty scary.

The next day we headed on a 14 hr drive to Atlanta, GA for a performance of "LOLEK" in honor or JPII's feast day on Oct. 22nd. We were honored to meet a WONDERFUL couple from London who treated us royally. They even are planing on bringing us to London's West End for performances of LOLEK! (I can't help but be really excited about this since London is my "home away from home!") We also went to a Polish Mass and got to venerate a FIRST CLASS relic of Blessed John Paul II. It was a wonderful experience. Although we had a great time...as Augustine started teething and getting sick I was more than happy to head home. If only we could have clicked our heels and flew home.

"There is no place like home... there is no place like home!"

God has blessed us abundantly through this work and especially on this trip and we are so grateful for His great kindness!

JPII - Pray for us!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Baby is 12 Weeks

So despite not having Internet I am attempting to write a post
using my iPhone. So much has been happening and I'm getting so far
behind.

When I was pregnant with Augustine I kept a journal from day one.
I love going back and reading it. Remembering... And now comparing...

Pregnancy 1 vs. Pregnancy 2:
Note) This is not intended for competition purposes between my oldest two children!

With Augustine I was sick morning day and night with no relief.
Food didn't help in fact it made it worse! I hardly remember eating anything! This time
around I've felt sick here and there
but I can at least eat and actually, eating usually calms my tummy. However, I lost
weight in the first trimester for both pregnancies. I think 5lbs with Augustine and 3lbs with baby #2. Even though I can eat this time around I've craved only healthy food. A few weeks ago on a work trip I hadn't eaten enough and was very sick. Jeremy, the dear husband he is, was willing to go out at midnight to find some food for me in little ol' St. Joseph, MO.

"What can I get you? Ice cream? Pickles?? Pizza?"

"I don't know nothing sounds good... Oh, well actually - Peppers!"

"Peppers?? Just peppers?"
(laughter from us both...)

"Sure, honey, I'm sure there is a farmers market around here..."
(If you had seen this little place in the middle of nowhere you would understand why we both erupted in laughter!)

So yeah, my main craving has been peppers, red peppers.

Thank goodness they've been in season!

I'm very thankful we are done with the first trimester (for obvious reasons for baby's sake) and I'm already starting to crave junk food, sweets, and candy! Bring on that baby bump and kicking feeling! (I truly love that part- mostly!)

Praise God for this healthy pregnancy and joy of new life!

Baby Stanbary, we love you SO much!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Looking forward to April 29th, 2012!

Let's see if you can guess why...

Our home will grow by two feet.

Our hearts will have grown immeasurably.

Our lives will never be the same and we can't wait!!!!!

Have you guessed it??

....

....

God is allowing Jeremy and I to participate in the greatest miracle, the creation of new LIFE and we couldn't be more honored!

Yes, the Stanbary family is welcoming A NEW BABY IN APRIL!!! We sure do love those April babies. I am absolutely ecstatic to be pregnant again and I have never taken my fertility for granted and I am so honored that God is seeing fit to give us such a wonderful gift!

I've never been one to want to wait until the miscarriage period is over to tell our exciting news, because no matter how long we have a life whether in the womb or out we are grateful for EVERY SINGLE DAY. Praise be to God we have never lost a baby (to our knowledge) or struggled with infertility but it doesn't make us any less grateful.

Being a mother is the most fulfilling thing I could ever do in my life and it is also the most delightful and satisfying gift.

Thank you for sharing in our joy!

In adoration the other day the Lord spoke to me and said, "Sarah I am breathing life into your baby." The beautiful image of God constantly thinking and breathing baby into life throughout my day brings me so much joy. This child is loved by us and by God and we can't wait for baby's arrival into our arms!

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." -God

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Top Five -- He did what??

I think this will be a new category for me regarding Augustine's saying and doings.

Since this blog is doubling as a sort of Baby Book/Journal here's the latest...

  1. When Augustine was asked if he wanted to take daddy's acting classes when he's bigger. He hid his face in shyness. When I then asked him if he wanted to take mommy's dance classes. He started dancing and smiling. Yes, a dancer!
  2. Today after he spent an hour with a friend of mine and her 13 month old daughter, Anna, he kept leaning over to kiss her head gently. He did it about 5 times. So sweet!
  3. When I ask Augustine where Mommy's baby is. He responds by quickly pointing to himself.
  4. He will say "please", when I remind him to do so, for most things.
  5. He can stack 5 blocks on top of each other and then cheerfully waits for his proud mommy and daddy's applause which he of course gets.

Living in this moment!

Children's Museum with a Toddler

Last time I had been to the Children's Museum with Augustine he was only crawling, which was a while ago. I got a couple free passes to go this week and couldn't wait to see him explore! Normally I ask a friend with kids to come too but I wanted to just have some me and Augustine time.

It was a blast watching him take in the different exhibits with a new ability to explore and discover as well as toddle (or run) from one thing to the next in glee.

His favorite spot was Water Works. He loves water so this was a no brainer...


My favorite part was watching him in that adorable apron.



Can't get enough!!

He put the ball in one tube hole to have it come out another hole...
but which one, which hole would it come out of?? Oh, the endless joy!

Then we shopped for a while, he must have a knack (like his mother) for picking out the shopping cart with the broken wheels, but that didn't bother him he pushed with all his stubborn might. (Again, taking after me.) And sampled the pears, despite their plastic taste. A pear is ... a pear?


I can't wait to go to The Children's Museum again for more fun!! Also, if anyone out there has a Macy's card you can get in at The Children's Museum for free for a limited time AND receive a coupon for a free cone at Macy's (right down the block).


Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple Harvest!

One of the wonderful thing about the visit to my family in WI is that they always load me up with tons of food! I have never in my life been more grateful for free food than in the past couple years. Having an eating family will do that to you!

This is what they sent me home with this time...

2 Dozen Fresh "Organic" Eggs
Two Boxes of Pears and Apples
A huge Watermelon
2 cantaloupe
and more!

Saturday I gathered up some energy and had 22 cups of apples peeled, cored, and sliced to freeze and about 6 cups of hand peeled and sliced pears to freeze as well as an apple crisp baking in the oven all by 10:30am. Augustine even helped...

First he dove into the box of apples and threw them all out on the floor so I could reach them easier.

Then he sampled an apple or two or three...
I kept having to snatch apples away from him before he could bite into them... I finally sat him down to watch me peel and gave him his own apple to devour.
Do you see that scrap of an apple laying next to the whole apple. That was ALL that was left of Augustine's "aaapple". He ate the seeds, core and all - minus the stem and a small scrap of peel.

Having Augustine around to "help" sure do make my chores more enjoyable.
"Here here!" - to a great start on harvesting. I only have one more box of apples to go and then I'm looking forward to squash harvesting soon!

Meal Plan and Hummus Platter!

It's Monday and I'm on the ball! For a few seconds anyway...

Jeremy and I are leaving for a work trip this weekend but I'm still making the meal plans for a few of the days anyway. As it turns out a lot of times I make a big batch of the meal and it lasts mostly two days with a little bit of scrounging for food towards the end of the second day. I think it works best for me to just be realistic and give my meal options for the week and try to decide each morning what I will make for dinner so meat can thaw  etc... For a cleaner image I will still list days but I reserve the right to switch them up per the Chef's prerogative.

So here is this weeks plan:

Monday: Cream Cheese/Ham/Potato Crock Pot Soup
Tuesday: Lasagna (yes I STILL have not made my Lasagna!)
Wednesday: Hummus Platter

Weekend: I think I will try to get something in the freezer for when we get home... I've been dreaming of Pastys (spelling?) latley so maybe I will give them a go! :-)


When we were in California last month we went out to eat and I ordered the hummus platter for Augustine. I think I enjoyed it even more than he did! It was a fantastic combo. Since I can still get the ingredients on sale, I thought it would be my last hurrah of summer. The platter had sliced cucumbers and tomatoes as well as Greek olives and toasted pita triangles surrounding a dish of Hummus. I've been dreaming about it ever since I had it. I know it won't exactly be Jeremy's meal that night but that's why I will make Lasagna the night before. Everyone is happy!

Have a wonderful Monday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WI Trip and Riding on a Pony

Augustine and I drove back to Wisconsin together to spend some much longed for time with my side of the family! We always have TONS of fun and this time around it was no different.

One of my main excuses for heading to WI was for a wedding of a dear old friend of mine from High School days. Saturday I had the wedding and a very cool High Cliff Scavenger Hunt (planned by my rockin friend Liz) which took up the whole day and night. So, Augustine was able to get in some great bonding time with my parents and sisters.

Here are a couple pictures of my baby boy riding on a pony at a fun picnic my parents went to with him...

 Horseyyyyy!

More pictures and hopefully videos to come on our trip to The Little Farmer and Fun in Wisconsin!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Autumn Meal Planning!



I know I've missed a week... or two weeks and heck it isn't even Monday, but I'm writing down my meal plan for the week. It's Fall and I have a renewed joy for cooking it's tantalizing seasonal fare. Also, since I got home Monday morning I want to make a fun week of foods since by the looks of the fast food and concession treats trashed on the floor of the car, I am guessing Jeremy did not eat much in the way of "Home Cooked" food or some would even say he didn't eat much in the way of "Food." He is a great cook and cooked our entire dating and engagement - I loved it! Once he found out that I could cook and what I cooked. I quickly took over cooking. However, I still enjoy his culinary staples of tator tots, rice packets, and mac n cheese.

Here's the week plan:

Monday: Chicken/Three Cheese Bean Enchiladas
Tuesday: Broccoli Cheese Soup and Fresh Baked Bread
Wednesday: Leftovers and Risa's Italian Pasta Dish
Thursday: Lasagna and Hot dog Bun Garlic Bread
Friday: Chili (To last us through most of the weekend.)

Now if this meal plan doesn't scream Fall, warm ovens, comfort food, and full bellies I don't know what would!

MmmmmmMmmmm!

Hellooooo???

Yes, this may have been what you have been thinking lately. Where did Sarah go?

Life here is always busy but it was the combination of opening our Theatre's new show, "Leaving Iowa" and then me heading home to WI for a week that has left me Missing In Action.

Leaving Iowa opened and this weekend will be it's third weekend of shows. I laughed until I cried when I first saw it! Wow it felt so good to laugh that hard!! It was also a delight and very new experience to sit alongside my husband and watch a show together AND not get into an argument afterward about the hidden homosexual agenda or the crude humor. Jeremy is really sensitive to this in plays. I am too, but if it's discreet I usually like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I am also a bit more likely to defend people and their heart's intention whether I agree with it or not. I'm not wishy washy I totally agree with Jeremy on the issues but what is up for debate is the intention or whether the secret agendas actually exsist. I completely love Jeremy's raw open honesty and unwavering valor when it comes to important matters of Church Teaching and Morality, however, it rarely, if ever, allows us to enjoy a theatrical performance together. Well, now even WE have a place WE can watch good professional theatre and enjoy it to our hearts content! We are hoping there are a lot of other Christians out there just like us who want to see and enjoy theatre without worrying about what they will be exposed to.

Here are some pictures of Leaving Iowa:




Mention this Blog Post and get a 1/2 price ticket for this weekend's shows, that's an $11 ticket!!!

Next blog post I will write on our trip to WI and Augustine's first ride on a PONY!!

Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Suckers and Brooms

Literally.



I walked my antsy toddler to the post office today. (He does not like strollers anymore, too confining.) The post office is only a block or two away from our house so we often make it a daily event to walk down to mail packages for work or check our work's PO Box. By the time we got there Augustine was losing it and I was relieved the line to mail my one package was short. The employees at our post office are notorious for going as slooooowwwwllllyyy as possible even when there are 15 people in line. They could care less. Well before I had even moved in line at all there were about 10 people waiting behind me. With a more than impatient squirming toddler I must have lost my sanity when I reached the counter.

"S-U-C-K-E-R", spells the lady at the counter. I gave her a bewildered look as I double check the name on the package. No it does not spell out as S-U-C-K-E-R.

'Huh?' I say.

With the same expression she spells, "S U C K E R" about three more times. I continue to look bewildered, 'why is this lady spelling something to me?' (Give me some slack, I was distracted trying to pay while holding a gyrating slinky. After a pause she says in a monotone voice as Augustine is leaping out of my arms. "Can he have one?" A ways down the counter I notice a bucket of S-U-C-K-E-R-S. As I said I must have been delusional at this point because I snagged my favorite flavor and gave it to Augustine.

He loved me for it and even let me lick it on the way home. Yes, I gave my 17 month old candy. C-A- N-D-Y. In my mind this story is comical and memorable. Not only because the lady at the post office thinks I can't spell, SUCKER, but because its the little moments in my day that sometimes trump the bigger things.

The hilarity of a moment.

The moment.

Another moment... Tonight. Tonight I attempted to sweep the floor with Augustine underfoot. He usually watches very carefully when I sweep and mostly stays out of my dirt pile, but tonight he wanted to help. I battled the urge to pull the broom away and let him cry while I swept things up quickly. The floor was a mess. I'll sweep quick and then read him some books or play toys with him. But...I just couldn't deny his little helping hands holding the broom handle so tightly wanting to help mommy. So we pushed the broom around the floor doing nothing, in terms of cleaning, but making more of a mess than before. It was precious. He was being such a "good helper". Doing it just like mommy, with mommy. You could tell he really was trying hard to do it right. For about 30 or so minutes he went around the house sweeping every part of our home, often tripping over the long handle and leaving dust bunnys on the carpet.

Its moments like these that make me feel so lucky. So blessed to be right where I am. We actually have some fun exciting news at the Stanbary home including a new job, trip to California, and more... but its these moments that really fill my heart. Maybe its the actor in me or the sentimental romantic in me but I hope its God's grace in me because life is just so beautiful.



Monday, August 29, 2011

Meal Plans

Here is a link to my friend's blog.  I do love sharing and reading other's blogs and one of my favorite weekly posts of hers is "Maniac Mondays" she lists her meal plan for the week and I either salivate on it or try adding it to my own meal plan for the week.

I already do a meal plan each week and I do it based on what food I have available and what's on sale this week. The problem with my meal plans is that I am very very spontaneous (which is a good thing usually). I often begin cooking for one meal and halfway through change the recipe to something totally different that happens to use the same ingredients. I just love options. I love being last minute. I also love to plan. So I'm trying to tame my spontaneity on cooking and see if it adds a bit more calm to my life or if I'm even able to stick to my meal plans. I also want to see if I lock in meals for certain days if I am more prepared with ingredients and etc... So, I will try to post my meal plans and budget (if it works) each Monday for one month.

*Featured Meal this week, Bacon/Tomato/Basil/Angel Hair Pasta it is sooo yummy!

And (drum roll please...) this weeks menu is:

Monday: Meat Sauce and Noodles.......................$3.00 ($1 jar Regu + $1 box noodles + $1 Ground Turkey)
Tuesday: Sloppy Joes............................................$3.50 ($2 Grnd Turkey + $1 can Manwich + $0.50 Buns)
Wednesday: Mock Chow Mien.............................$7.00 (per double batch)
Thursday: Bacon Tomato Basil Angel Hair Pasta.$5.00
Friday: Ham, Au gratin Potatoes, and Green Beans/Zucchini...$6.00

Total Cost: $24.50

Happy Cooking!

August with Aidan - Part 1

Since Aidan was with us in August we spent more time at the pool and doing other fun activities than normal. Thanks Aidan! :-) Here is a little re-cap in pictures of what we've been up to...

Since we live right down the road from The Highland Aquatic Center we often made more than one trip to the pool in a day using our all day passes. This is a huge perk to be able to come and go to the pool throughout the day, we made good use of our day passes.

Here are pictures from an after dinner trip to the Aquatic Center. Augustine loves the pool and his big brother's crazy antics.









Then we took a really fun trip to the zoo...


 Look, my favorite animal!... It's a ........... Pig? Warthog??
 Second favorite for the day was the ground hogs.
 Augustine and I look on as Jeremy and Aidan tame the wolf.

More August adventures to come...


Saint Augustine - a feast day to celebrate!

Sunday, August 28th we celebrated the feast day of St. Augustine. Since he is Augustine's namesake we hope to make it a tradition to celebrate this day. Unfortunately we spent most of the day cooped up in a crowded flight returning from California.

I thought I would at least post this quote that I love. My friend Taryn put this on her facebook and I immediately was drawn into the words.

I read this quote and it literally stirs up beauty in my heart and soul. Saint Augustine is an incredible saint that I've always admired for his philosophy and passion for God.

Read this quote slowly and just let it dwell in you...

" You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace."
-St. Augustine

I would love to hear your favorite quotes from St. Augustine! Please do share!

My newest favorite quote from another very special Augustine is now, "Bye Bye. (while waving)"

Saint Augustine - Pray for us!

Friday, August 19, 2011

We are back at it again!


Here is one of the cast pictures from THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. We are doing an Encore weekend of this show - THIS WEEKEND! Tickets are selling slower than last time so we don't expect to sell out, but the show is truly excellent. I mean look at those costumes!

A few minor changes this time around is that I am also in the cast as "The Elf" (Father Chrsitmas' helper) and Witch's Army Member. I particularly enjoy the Army Member role as it is a total different style of acting than I usually get to do - cackling and grunting are not usually in my other roles at Epiphany Studios or at Stanbary Residence. Usually being the key word there. :-)

Life in this business is as crazy and stressful as usual but it certainly does require us to "cling to Jesus" lest we have a panic attack. Jeremy has been rehearsing all month for our new fall show Leaving Iowa which opens Sept. 8th. All the while preparing for a work trip to CA at the end of the month and publicizing our new season and the other 1,000 other things we need to do. Not to mention trying to figure out how to grow a money tree. Tips greatly appreciated!! Ha ha, no pun intended.

God has wisely kept us in the dark concerning future events and reserved for himself the knowledge of them, that he may train us up in a dependence upon himself and a continued readiness for every event. -Matthew Henry

God will never, never, never let us down if we have faith and put our trust in Him. He will always look after us. So we must cleave to Jesus. Our whole life must simply be woven into Jesus.
-Mother Teresa


"Fear is useless, what is needed is trust."

I'm posting these quotes right now more for my own sake than yours, but I sure hope they also bless you today. It is something we always need reminders of.

"Uh oh!" - Word of the day



Ok so Augustine is adding new things and words to his rep everyday!

Today the word is, "Uh, Oh Uh, Oh" He was pushing his high chair around the kitchen and it got stuck on something and he kept saying, "Uh Oh." SO cute!

In the morning I go in his room and he says, "Up, Up." In a breathy whisper. I don't know why but he seems to always say "Up" in a whisper, maybe it's the U vowel.

Then he picks up his blankie and paci (that are usually on the floor) and on instruction he throws each of them separately into his crib. He usually clings to these items so I think its so cute he enjoys throwing them into the crib. He started this habit because he saw me always do it before we left the room.

I always reward this good behavior with a hearty, "High Five!" He is happy to slap at my hand in "High Five".

Then as we pass by the Master Bedroom he says, "Ssssss" and points. He got this from me because I always pointed and said, "Daddy's Sleeping". He has now taken over the observation.

We get some breakfast and he is starting to say, "Baa" for Banana and "Wa" for Water and "Ckk Ckkk" for Cracker.

He said "Up" this morning when he was done and wanted out. That was a first.

Here are some other words he is saying and things he is doing:

  • He loves Holy Water at church and he dips his fingers in the water and touches his forehead and chest. He doesn't have the shoulder to shoulder thing down yet, but he loves blessing himself. Probably the only thing he likes about mass right now.
  • The other day we were reading a book and he started mimicking my elephant noise and action. If only I could make a better elephant noise. Its a tricky one.
  • "Baby" He mostly learned this word from hearing "Baby Beluga" sung so often but he also really LOVES little babies. They fascinate him.
  • "Hi" He says this word sometimes at the appropriate times but not with strangers.
  • He blows kisses and shakes hands, and yes, even with strange little boys at the zoo or new little girls at the park.
These are just a few fun things he does and says... more to come he does a new thing every couple days. What a delightful stage!



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Starving Artists - Edition 5 - MN Zoo



The local libraries offer  free passes the MN Zoo, if you are lucky enough to get one, it is a great deal!

I've visited our local library everyday this week to get these coveted passes because Aidan is with us and we have been planing on going to the Zoo while he visits. We budgeted for the passes in case I couldn't get them free but I was really hoping to save that chunk of change!

Monday... I was there when they opened. No Pass.

Tuesday... I got there 2 hrs before they opened. I noted hours in my calender and left. No Pass.

Wednesday... I got there when they opened. No pass. Shoot! I meandered around getting a couple new CDs for Augustine and my Ballroom Dance Social. I almost started to check out when I gave one final glance at the rack that holds the free passes. There was ONE pass! They must have put them out after I entered!! I snagged it with as cool of an expression as I could. Yelping with joy in the library is so not cool.

I will tell you who will be yelping with joy this weekend... the Stanbary Family as we enjoy the animals and Augustine shrieking and laughing for joy at the animals. He took particular interest in the otters. I will post that video soon, it is to die for adorable!

Thank you God for this blessing!
Sarah

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

$5 admission into Ballroom Dance!



This Friday get your dance on!

If you mention this offer in my blog you can get into the Echo Ballroom Dance for only $5.00 per person!

Friday, August 12th 7:00-10:00pm
Open Window Theatre 
Directions click here!

The last Ballroom Dance was a "ball" and we actually had more guys than girls for the FREE complimentary lesson at 7:00pm. Bring a friend and your dancing shoes for a fun clean night dancing. Don't be shy beginners are welcome!

E-mail me with any questions or to "pre-register".

See you there!
Sarah

Saturday, August 6, 2011

16 Month COLORS!

Here are Augustine's 16 month milestones in FULL COLOR!

RED - At 16 months he got Roseola (high fever followed by a red rash) and started breaking in a molar on his lower right hand side of his red swollen gums. Needless to say that made for almost a week of tedious time with my fussy toddler and also lots of cuddle time which I LOVE! Red is also the color of the fresh cherry tomatoes I am growing which Augustine tried for the first time. His eyes got big and bright when he  he bit down and the juice squirted into his mouth.

BLUE - berries and strawberries was all he ate for days. This gave me the blues having to change all those messy diapers.

Green - bucks was what I paid for Augustine to finally get his 12 month shots and his 15 month well baby visit. He is in the 97 percentile in height and the nurse said he seemed "so tall and well proportioned". He also has not gained a lot of weight and is in the 75 percentile for weight which was partially due to him being sick the previous few days. He is super healthy and took his shots like a real champ no squirming and minimal crying.

White -Iis the color of "Baby Beluga" which is also the name of his favorite book and song which he started singing in the last few days. He kind of has the melody and sings, "Bayyyyeee eee Uugaaa."

Pale Peach - Is the color of his precious little hand that smacks against his lips and then extends out with a "Mmmuuuaaaaa!" as he blows me a kiss.


Brown - are the dishes I leave dirty in the sink while I go smother my adorable toddler in kisses and cuddles and and then send him off to "go get me a book to read." He eagerly does.

Pink - Is the color of my antibacterial gel that I put on after after diaper changes. Augustine is now in the habit of mimicking me by also rubbing his hands together when and as I do.

Gray - Is the color of our stove window that Augustine touches (while mommy has meatloaf baking) with his little pointer finger and cautiously proclaims, "hot." Repeat. Touch. "hot" Touch. "hot"

Yellow - has been the sun shining on these wonderful warm summer days and on my beaming heart as I fall every day more in love with my bundle of joy!

May JOY COLOR your day today!
Sarah


Starving Artists - Edition 4 - "Drink your milk!"

Pardon me while I tangent off for a while (again) on my starving artist editions of this blog.

I now have a brand new reason to be frugal this summer. It has come to me in the form of a shaggy brown haired creature with a bottomless pit of a stomach. No, this creature is not an animal although by the way he eats you might think - horse? Nope, but close.

Boy.

No, not just, "boy". TEENAGE BOY that is taking after his father in height. I know the cliche' "eating like a teenage boy". But do you really understand what this means? Have you lived with a teenage boy recently?? I have a HUGE respect for mothers with teenagers, always have, but now I really do! My time in the kitchen has doubled in cooking and cleaning since he has arrived.

Aidan is his name. He is a wonderfully sweet boy who loves his little brother and can get him to shriek with delight at his silly antics and play for hours. Aidan is the beautiful reason I have my husband today. It was the shocking news of his conception that turned my wayward husband (only a sophomore in college) to seek mercy and grace from Jesus. It turned his life around and was the very driving force for his re-conversion. God makes all things new and he truly does use bad for good. Aidan has an innocence that one could only dream for of a child growing up in downtown Chicago and going to a public school. I truly feel like that is indeed the grace of God and Jeremy's fervent prayers for his son.

So, with all that said, we really do enjoy having Aidan stay with us for a month in the summer. However, my frugal "momness" really starts to blare when he is with us. I'm trying not to nag but not only does he eat strings of continuous meals/snacks, much like my toddler actually, but in larger potions, he wastes more food than I would. I know my mom would love to know I am finally getting a taste of my own medicine. Since I was also one to just take a portion of food and throw out what was left on my plate. For example this morning he poured a large bowl of milk and added cereal to it. He ate the cereal and left the milk, or so it appeared by looking at the leftover milk. Now, as a child I would have dumped the milk. Actually it was probably my mom making me drink the gross sugary milk that made me start eating cereal with no milk at all. However, now that I buy the milk... I DRINK THE MILK. As I watch him dump out 1 1/2 cups of milk down the drain I can't help but think, no, not of the children in Africa, but of Augustine and how that would be half a days milk for him. Down the drain. Ug.

The positive result is that I am clipping ever more coupons and scouring stores even more carefully to save us from spending unnecessary amounts of money and stretching our budget. So, I will certainly be sharing more deals and posting more "Starving Artist - Editions" than I normally would.

So here is a nugget from all this penny pinching:

Aldi this week has a bunch of Dole bananas that are getting brown. They are $0.44 per bunch. There is also a sign next to them saying, "brown bananas buy one bunch get one free". That means I was able to buy 4 bunches of bananas  for $0.88. So this morning I whipped up a double batch of whole wheat banana bread and mashed and froze the rest of the bananas for another batch next week.



For more great money saving deals check out this great blog "Money Saving Mom" that has been really inspiring me to pinch my pennys. I also really enjoy my dear friend's Frugal Friday's posts at Adventurous Beginnings.

Happy penny pinching!
Sarah

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Starving Artists - Edition 3 - Ground Turkey

Yes, I am writing a post about ground turkey.

It's kind of my family's best kept secret that is no longer a secret.

Growing up I remember my family won a gift card/certificate for groceries and my mom was stocking piling her cart with frozen "tubes" of ground turkey. A guy came up to her and was like, "If I had won I'd be buying steaks!" Later my mom shared the story and how her mental reaction was like, "This will last us weeks. Which we NEED. Steaks would last a day." My mom is amazingly frugal she is not a freak at couponing but boy does she know how to make a tube of toothpaste or bar of soap last to the last drop.

My mom would make a lot of things with ground turkey, instead of ground beef, and I've grown to LOVE it! It is lean with no gristle (yuck!) and can be used in tons of recipes! I lucked out and married a man that also loves my cooking with ground turkey. This post is not only about how yummy ground turkey is but also what a steal it is at the store. A steal for meat anyway.

Right now at Rainbow Foods you can get 1lb of Frozen Ground Turkey (Louis Rich Brand) for $1.00! An entire pound of lean turkey for a dollar people - that is awesome! I usually stock up and never spend more than a dollar per pound.

That means I can feed my family a meal of Meat Spaghetti for: $3.20
Ground Turkey - $1.00 (Rainbow)
Whole Wheat Noodles - $1.20 (Trader Joe's)
Spaghetti Sauce - $1.00 (Aldi - they have the cheapest best tasting "cheap" sauce I have found)

That is just one example of many but using ground turkey I can easily afford to give my meat lover man meat at every dinner and keep the cost at usually less than $7 per dinner. I also cook with frozen chicken breast (best deal I have found is COSTCO) and fish and even turkey ham (best deal I've found is ALDI) but ground turkey is definitely our staple.

I read in a magazine one way to save money is by having one, really cheap, meal per week. So, thanks to ground turkey and Aldi's sauce, Spaghetti is our really cheap meal and it cuts down significantly on our budget each week. It's also healthy, and not a sacrifice to eat as it is quite delicious!

Bon Appetite fellow starving artists!
Sarah

Sleep

Augustine is a phenomenal sleeper!

Baby Augustine sleeping...

 Baby Daddy and baby Augustine sleeping...

This boy LOVES his bed. I'm not sure if it is because it is one of the few places he gets his paci and favorite blankie but either way, I'll take it! He only wakes up at night if something is very wrong. A 105 degree fever and Molar coming in apparently don't count. Impressive. He still naps 2 to 3 naps a day sometimes totaling 6 hrs of naps in a day!

Jeremy has always teased me and my family for being a "napping family" - we do love our naps. Now he thanks me (if only in his head) for passing down the napping gene. I'm thanking myself too.

I'm pretty amazed at how much work I can get done in a day as a stay-at-home-mom-who-works-out-of-the-house. God has truly blessed us with a beautiful healthy child and we are forever grateful for this blessing!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kicked in action!

We are back at our strange capers with THE CATHOLIC SHAKESPEARE this summer!

The turn out has been a bit low but the hilarity ensues none-the-less. At Saturday night's performance Jeremy was sweating so much (it gets hot under those lights and in full costume) that during our Taming of the Shrew fight scene my hand slipped off his head throwing me into his pathway for his tuck and roll dive. I was smacked quite hard by his leg going full force and I blacked out, on stage, for a half second! For a brief second I had no idea where I was or what I was doing. Finally realizing I was on stage, and in the middle of my line no-less, I picked up where I left off. Remembering I had gotten hit on accident, but in the context of a fight scene, I allowed myself to grab my throbbing head. Ouuchhh! My head ache was gone by the end of the scene. Jumping on Jeremy's back and yelling, "If I be waspish then best beware my sting!" must have helped ease my pain.

That scene reminds me of when I was acting in "Oliver!" years ago and got whacked by a actor who was getting a little TOO into character as "the bad guy." He felt so awful and even managed a whispered "I'm sorry!"

We actors love to talk for hours in a play-by-play nature (much like sports lovers) after the show. ...And then you did ____! And I did this that and the other!! Oh, and did you see that? What happened there?

I am still chuckling today about how Jeremy got so excited and passionate with his nerdy "Quince" character that he accidentally slapped himself in the face! That is some serious skill my friends! (I am resisting the urge to type LOL all over this post. You are welcome.)

We have more shows this weekend so don't miss the fun! E-mail me for more info! Also, I have to make this pitch... BISHOP PICHE' is coming to the show on FRIDAY we will have a very holy celebrity in the house and we hope the place is packed for a great show.

See you at the Theatre!
Sarah aka Nikki Bottom

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Family visits!

Amidst our busy schedule we've had the joy of hosting our families here at the Stanbary house!

4th of July weekend my family came up to visit here is our fun trip in snapshots:

We checked out the Hmong and Thia Market...It was Dad's idea and was pretty interesting.


 I kind of felt like I had stepped into a different county it was pretty surreal actually.
Ah the treasures of the Twin Cities!
 Here are my parents, looking as cute as ever, trying "Bubble Tea" for the first time.

....we had yummy eats outdoors in the heat here is Augustine after a wipe down from his messy dinner.
Love the hair!

Then we celebrated Augustine's baptism with his Godmother "Aunt Lisa". It's a Preissner family tradition to celebrate Baptism anniversaries and I'm bringing the tradition into our new family. "Happy Baptism to you! Happy Baptism to you!"

She got him a beginners Bible and he LOVES it!

Then there was the Grandma Horseeeee ride - what a lucky boy!
More food... with one of my favorites corn on the grill!

We (those who were brave enough) climbed on top of our high flat roof to watch the St. Paul fireworks and to set off "floating lanterns" (Tangled anyone??). It was BEAUTIFUL and worked perfectly! Thanks honey for finding them and setting up such a lovely evening on the roof top!

We also kept busy going to IKEA, COSTCO, and TRADER JOE'S. As well as a stroll and concert at Como Lake, a private tour of THE OPEN WINDOW THEATRE and smoothies at Jamba Juice. What a wonderful weekend!

I love my family so much and wish we were closer
but distance sure does make the heart grow fonder
and the times spent together even more treasured!