Ok, here goes...
1. What do you think of the new panel of American Idol judges? And does Steven Tyler make you think of anyone at Grace?
We LOVE the new judges! They have made us laugh like crazy and I think they have great chemistry. Even though it's different without Simon, we really haven't missed him like I thought we would. Steven Tyler is totally my favorite. He's hilarious and a little bit of a softy. Didn't expect that at all. To answer my friend Darla, who does he remind me of at Grace?? I don't kow, maybe BV???
2. Write an honest message of what you want to say to someone but never could or would. Do this for 5 or more people. These can be as long or short as you like and can be positive or negative or emotional.
Hmm, I'm going to take my own spin on this and answer it this way...
Beth Moore-You are coming to our Church soon and I can't wait! Also, I want to meet you and I know I can't. That really bums me out because I just know we'd be best friends :) And I could bring you a Starbucks. Just saying...
Steve Carell- Please re-consider leaving The Office. I can't imagine liking it without you. Although the Will Ferrell guest spot should soften the blow. But still, can't you just stay till the end??
Praise Baby DVD Creators-Thank you. Seriously, thanks. You make a great product and one that I can enjoy listening to. You have given me hours of time to get things done. I heart you.
Honda- Would it be possible for you to just give me a new mini-van? I'd really like to drive one and I'd be happy to thank you publicly. Do you have any extras you'd like to send my way??
Baby Gap- Do you need any cute models in exchange for free clothes?? I know two of them who would make your stuff look even cuter than it does now. They aren't too demanding, but a lump sum for their college tuition would be great. You know, if you're feeling generous :)
3. How did you lose the baby weight?
So glad I've fooled you!! Ha Ha :) Thank you for the boost of confidence, but believe me, I've got some ground to cover in that department. From my pre-baby weight 2.5 yrs ago to my 39 wk appt with Carter, I gained about 40 pounds. Yep, I just admitted that. I've lost 20 lbs, but would still love to lose about 15 more. The very best way to lose it initially is definitely nursing. Thankfully Carter has helped me melt those pounds away and keeping up with 2 kids under 2 has helped too. I rarely sit down during the day! I've had to accept the fact that there is a difference between size and weight when you have a baby. I will probably never hit my old weight and that's ok. My body has definitely changed and widened in some places, like my ribcage, that I can't do much about. But I hope to lose a few sizes. I've got the worst part of losing weight ahead of me and that's the kind that can only happen via working out and toning up. So thank you for noticing, but I have no secrets aside from feeding my hungry child and occasionally sweating :)
4. How many kids do you want? The ideal number for you...?
I'm not really sure how to answer that. I've always imagined us having 3 or 4 and I think I can safely say that we do hope to have more kids. We're also not totally convinced that we would never adopt someday, so even if we have 3 or 4 biologically, I think we would be open to adding to our family in other ways if the Lord opened those doors and prompted us. 4 seems nice :)
5. What is your favorite recipe to make for your family?
If you could take a trip/vacation with just Travis, where would you go and why?
I think my favorite recipe to make for us is for fajitas. I love them and so does Trav. I've said before that I'm pretty certain the Lord is going to have a fajita bar in my Heavenly mansion for me :)
Here's my version of what we love...
2-3 chicken breasts, baked and then sliced into strips
Strip steak, broiled or grilled, then sliced into strips.
1 large yellow onion
2-3 red, yellow or green peppers (honestly, I love one of each for the splash of color!)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Soft taco shells
Salsa, Sour Cream, Guacamole
I saute the onions and garlic first, in lots of butter, then add the pepper strips to saute as well. Lately, I've been throwing the chicken strips into another hot pan, with a little bit of olive oil and a splash of lime juice. Just enough to brown them a little bit and give them a char-grilled taste. Just make sure you add enough oil or butter to keep the chicken from drying out. After a few minutes of browning, I throw all of the chicken in with the peppers and stir it all together for a few more minutes.
I serve them with soft taco shells, topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa and fresh guacamole. If we're really feeling sassy, I cut up a fresh lime and we throw it in a glass with some coke :) And because I know someone will ask, I make guacamole a variety of ways, depending on what's in my house. Usually I
mash up an avacado with a splash of lemon juice, salt, and lemon pepper. If we have cream cheese, I add some of that too and occasionally a little salsa. I also love diced tomatoes and cilantro if I happen to have either on hand.
If I could go anywhere with Travis, I think I'd pick Hawaii :) That's a given when you ask me that question, in the dead of winter, while living in Minnesota! We would love to go there, or just about anywhere tropical, and spend time together. Just thinking about that makes me smile in fact...
6. What is your favorite 'Go To' meal at the end of a long day??
I think I could answer that 2 ways. I usually always have ingredients on hand for spaghetti. Travis loves it and now so does Ava! I usually have several kinds of pasta to choose from, some Bertolli sauce, a pound of hamburger and a can of diced tomatoes. I like it because it's fast, it's easy and you really can't screw it up.
Now I could also answer that with my favorite "TO GO" meal, since let's be honest, sometimes that is my favorite option after a long day :) We both really like Papa Murphy's Pizza (it's a fresh take and bake place) but we also love a chopped salad to go from Wildfire Steakhouse. It's amazing and a huge amount of food. We love that when we think of it!
7. How involved are you in your husbands ministry and are you involved in any other ministry roles at your church?
Good question. My involvement in junior high ministry has definitely slowed way down in comparison to my life before kids :) Since I've had Ava, I no longer lead a small group or go to every Sunday or Wednesday group time. I do try to go most Wednesday nights, even with both kids, and at least make an appearance. For one thing, it's a chance for the kids to hang with Travis a little bit and to see him before they go to bed, but it's also a time for us to interact with the students and for them to "watch us." That sounds odd, but truly, so many of our kids come from broken homes now and there just aren't that many examples in their lives of healthy, Christ-centered homes. I see that, and being an active prayer partner, as my main role in his ministry now. Supporting him however I can, while just being a wife and mom, sometimes in the spotlight for teenagers to see. I try to make most of his events, sometimes with or without the kids and I always check with him about what he'd like for me to do. Thankfully, he has a youth staff that is both paid and full of volunteers, so I'm free to just be his wife.
As for other roles at our Church, I'm very grateful that I feel no pressure to be in anything that I don't feel called to. I am privileged to love my fellow Pastor's wives and to have close relationships with all of them. We meet once a month and I cherish that time together. I participate in Tuesday morning women's Bible study and I'm also in a Sunday morning teaching time with other women. My number one ministry is my own time with the Lord, then with Travis and my kids. I view these years as my chance to disciple my kids in the Word and train them to love the Lord for themselves. As much as I miss being involved in certain ministries, or would long to say "yes" to more, I know this is a fleeting season and I have no intensions of missing it.
One of my favorite ministry things that I enjoy so much and I've worked hard to carve out some time for, is meeting with 2 young married women once a week and once every other week. They come to my house and we study the Word or read through different books together. It's a time for me to listen and encourage, as well as share some of the things the Lord is teaching me or has taught me over the years or just going to the Bible to see what God says about something. Discipling another believer is such an intimidating thought and yet, it's so simple and so rewarding. It's just about doing life together and seeking the Lord for his wisdom in all things. I love both gals I meet with and we talk about all kinds of things regarding a woman's life, role, call, etc. It's not an "extra" thing in my life, because they come during the day, in the thick of whatever I'm doing with the kids, or while I'm cooking dinner or if I'm lucky, when the kids are napping :) It keeps me accountable to stay in the Word and gives me some "girl time" too in my week. It's also a blessing because if I ever need to cancel or re-schedule or take a break for a season, I can do that too. If you haven't had a chance to do something like that or would love to be discipled, I would encourage you to take the initiative and do it. That's the hardest part, just taking the first step and doing it :) There are so many older women I look to for wisdom and encouragement as a young Mom and there are also so many younger girls who need a Godly, older voice in their lives...No matter how old you are, there is someone younger than you! I am thankful for the Church we're in and for the opportunites to get involved, but I'm also loving this season to step back and do things at my own pace, without extra pressure. I certainly don't always schedule everything perfectly or juggle all the balls without dropping one, but as long as my hubby and kids are getting all of me, than the rest of it is just gravy.
8. Do you have any budgeting tips for being a single family income? Ive recently become a SAHM and need all the help I can get :)
Without writing a novel, here are a few things that have helped us. In no way am I an expert on this, but I've noticed that these things make a difference...
-So much of our "wasted" money was going toward convenience food when we were both working, which worked then but not so much now. I've been able to spend more time making menus, shopping with coupons, hitting double-coupon days, and just making more things myself. I cook almost every night, eat leftovers for lunch, bake and plan more than I ever have. I buy store brands, I make a lot of my menus based on what's on sale and I try to stick to it. Sometimes the plan goes out the window and that's ok or sometimes I just get tired and we order pizza! But being organized and sticking to a simple menu has been a money saver.
-Now that I'm not working and not out as much, we are saving a lot more on gas :) I try to get out with the kids a few times a week, but for the most part, I'm trying to enjoy being home too. It's easier, it's cheaper and we have plenty of things to keep us entertained.
-I don't set myself up to spend that extra money we once had by going shopping. Rarely do I go to the mall or to my favorite stores where I'm known to drop cash! When I have some fun money here or there or we need something, then I do get out and I truly enjoy myself :) But, gone are the days when I stop by the mall to just "look" or waste some time. And that does make a difference!
-I am the one who pays our bills and that also helps me keep a constant reality check. That has always worked for us since we got married, so now that we're down to one income, it's been good for me to know where we stand. It's easier to say no to a new purse when I know we have to pay the mortgage this week.
-In a word, the biggest lesson I've learned is CONTENTMENT. To focus on our needs, instead of a list of wants, has been freeing. To be grateful for a roof over our heads, cars to drive, food on our table, clothes in our closets and diapers for our kids, makes everything else an extra blessing, but nothing we can't live without. It's helped me tremendously to also remember that this is a season in our lives.
9. What is your favorite time of day?
Naptime! Ha Ha :) Actually, I really do love nighttime when Trav gets home and it's just the 4 of us, playing and hanging out. Fun to be a family of 4, fun to have help with the kids, and more fun when they're in bed and it's just the two of us again...We love to de-brief from our days, catch up on our DVR or more often than not, just get in bed and read a little bit. Nothing wild and crazy, just normal, ordinary nights are my favorite.
As usual, this is crazy long, but hopefully I've answered your questions as honestly and thoroughly as I can :)
Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!