Okay, here’s the goal: Feed our family of 6 for the month of September with $360. Okay, to be fair, one of the six eats approximately one strawberry and/or one broccoli spear for the entire day. And to be even more honest, I actually have $400 in the grocery budget. But I have plans for that extra $40, which we’ll get to later…

There are some changes we’re gearing up for here in the Ward household, and we’re preparing for these changes by upping our efforts to save, save, save. In the last few months, I’ve been spending between $600 and $800 *gasp* a month on groceries, so we’re in for some changes. And I want to do it without sacrificing too many of the healthy choices we’ve been making (i.e. the raw milk is here to stay).

If I can make it spending $360 or less, that extra $40 will be used for a gallon of coconut oil. I’m out, and I love it. It seems a fitting reward.

Next post will be what I’ve done for the last few days (Sept 1-3) and after that, an inventory of what I’m working with. Because after all, the more I use of what I have, the more I can save.

I’m excited about the journey… Ready to get started?

I love it when my kids climb in bed with me in the morning. Every day I have at least one (Zachary is  permanent fixture), some days it’s all four. And they all want to be the closest to me. So, just to create the visual for you, this morning I was laying there on my back, Judah on my left, Ethan on my right, and Zachary sound asleep on my chest. This is the conversation that ensued:

Judah:  Ethan, I want to tell you something.

Ethan:  Ok, what?

Judah:  Why did the pigs get in the car?

Ethan:  Why?

Judah:  To hide from their mom and dad.

Ethan:  I already knew that joke. How do you fit four elephants in a car?

Judah:  How?

Ethan:  Two in the front seat and two in the back seat. How do you fit two mouses in a car? (Mom’s note – it’s supposed to be hippopotamuses.)

Judah:  How?

Ethan:  The elephants need to get out first.

Judah:  I already knew that joke.

Ethan:  Well… it’s still a funny joke.

Voddie Baucham has a new book out called What He Must Be to Marry My Daughter.

What He Must Be to Marry My Daughter His daughter, Jasmine, whose blog I’ve just recently discovered, is hosting a giveaway of her Dad’s new book. We have Family Driven Faith, which we thoroughly enjoyed, and I look forward to reading this one too. Here’s what one reviewer said about it:

“Read this book, and then read it again, and then tear out the chapters and make little booklets of them so you can share them in small groups, and then start teaching this stuff to your sons so they can be this kind of men. And then teach it to your daughters so they kind find these kind of men.”

Even if I don’t win the giveaway, this one is sure to find a spot on our book shelf!

Yesterday was Judah’s 3rd birthday. We celebrated by going to Red Hot & Blue for lunch.  His pick, because he likes the pigs playing guitars. We followed that up with a venture into Chuck E. Cheese. Two hours of fun for $10.00 – you can’t beat that!

Fun at Chuck E. Cheese

We got him his very own flashlight that he got to pick out himself. Emily and Ethan had each blessed Judah with some of their toys that they no longer play with. Also, Ethan passed on the treasured Lightning McQueen sweatshirt. I love that their hearts are becoming generous and that they get joy from giving, not just receiving. They get that from their Daddy, and it warms my heart to see.

Yesterday also marked a huge milestone for Judah. For a month or so now, we’ve been building up the fact that turning 3 means you’re a big boy, so you no longer need “mommy milk”. So yesterday morning, he had his last nursing. He was very proud of himself even announcing to others that he was a big boy now, and so there was no more mommy milk for him. This morning was a different story. It was hard, but we got through it with the help of a little chocolate milk 🙂

Thank goodness for Daddy, because my nurturing mommy heart would have caved. I think I cried as much as Judah did. To me, it feels as though I’m not just taking away a source of nourishment, but that I’m taking away a part of me. I know that’s not the case, but our relationship IS changing, and I just have to find different ways to nurture him as he continues to grow and mature into the man of God he is destined to be.

Weaning is a right of passage which many children are forced to go through far too early in life. I’m proud of the three years he received, and I’ve seen how he has become such a secure, confident and healthy child because of this gift.

Happy Birthday sweet Judah!

From The Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, Volume 54, Issue 2 (March 2009)

Approximately 1% of American women give birth at home and face substantial obstacles when they make this choice. This study describes the reasons that women in the United States choose home birth. A qualitative descriptive secondary analysis was conducted in a previously collected dataset obtained via an online survey. The sample consisted of 160 women who were US residents and planned a home birth at least once. Content analysis was used to study the responses from women to one essay question: “Why did you choose home birth?” Women who participated in the study were mostly married (91%) and white (87%). The majority (62%) had a college education. Our analysis revealed 508 separate statements about why these women chose home birth. Responses were coded and categorized into 26 common themes. The most common reasons given for wanting to birth at home were:

1) safety (n = 38);

2) avoidance of unnecessary medical interventions common in hospital births (n = 38);

3) previous negative hospital experience (n = 37);

4) more control (n = 35); and

5) comfortable, familiar environment (n = 30).

Another dominant theme was women’s trust in the birth process (n = 25). Women equated medical intervention with reduced safety and trusted their bodies’ inherent ability to give birth without interference.

Every one of those reasons played a part in my decision to give birth at home. And having done so twice now, I’ll never voluntarily go back.

I just changed the water in the fish bowl.  We decorate this fish bowl for Christmas, and the Christmas decorations were still in the bowl.  So, assuming that I put those decorations in a couple of weeks before Christmas, I can reasonably deduce that the last time I changed the water (which by the way, had evaporated to a little less than half of the bowl capacity) was a couple of weeks before Christmas.

It took all of five minutes.

Good thing it’s a beta – those things are invincible.

I really need to work on this procrastination issue.

So, we’re going camping tomorrow. In the cold. Very cold. In a tent. With small children. It’s going to be a blast! Honestly, we could postpone a day, and probably be a lot more comfortable. However, when our daughter, Emily, heard us discussing the possibility, she said, “but Daddy, you promised”. So, we’re going. And it’s good. Because when we’re out there freezing our butts off tomorrow night, we can at least say that Daddy always keeps his word. Even though it sounds crazy to go camping in icy cold weather, I love my husband for this. I love that he will keep his word, no matter what.