"Raising Souls"

"Raising Souls"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Suckers and Brooms


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!

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!

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!

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.


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!

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!


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!