heads up

Just so you know, when I hit 50 followers I am going to do my very first...

Get excited!

What will it be? A book? A gift card? Some old gum already chewed?

The possibilities are endless. Get to following!

groceries of 2010

So you may remember at the beginning of this year when I linked up with my friend Sarah for The 200 Challenge. It went well for several months and then life got in the way and we didn't post anymore about it. However, I continued the challenge through the entire year, even though I didn't post. I wanted to bring you all my results as encouragement that you can feed two (and sometimes more) mouths on a mere $200 per month limit.

Aaaaand I didn't just buy groceries! I included toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, make-up, deoderant, etc. in my budget as well. Want to know what I spent on all of that in one year?


And if we average that per month?


That is an average of $48.40 saved every month. Let's compare this total to 2009s, shall we? In 2009 I spent...


Which is an average of $202.80 and that is not bad, but by being very conscience of what I buy, where and when I buy it and how I use it in my home I have managed to save my family $613.29 in one year. That is a lot of money! I plan to continue this trend in 2011 and I may start adding coupons to my ever-growing list of tips/tricks to save money on groceries and household items!

A big thanks to Sarah who was the inspiration for my frugal grocery budget makeover!

So how about you guys? How did you do in 2010 budget-wise?


Hello ICLW friends! This is only my second month participating, and I didn't do a very good job at it the first time! I would like to encourage you to take a minute if you have never been here before to read our story. It will give you insight to what my little blog is all about.

I promise to do better this time!


Eric and I have been married 4 years, but this is our 5th married Christmas. We started some of our Christmas traditions early in our marriage, which I love ; ) Some were born out of traditions we had with our families, some were new and unique to us, and others were happenstance. (Isn't that a fun word!?)

A lot of people think kids when they think traditions, and I'd like to break that mold. Just because we don't have children yet doesn't mean we are any less a family, or any less deserving of our very own traditions. In fact, when we do have kids I am glad we have things already in place that define the holidays for us. Kids will just add more to what we already have!

So here are some of the Evans' Family Christmas Traditions (yes I know some of you are squealing with delight at yet another numbered list!):

1. We have an angel on the tree. I bought it at Pier 1 our first year of marriage and I think it's beautiful. Eric has to be the one to put it on the tree (as he did every year growing up) and I always get a picture of it.

2. We always sometimes have two trees. Our fake one was bought at Wal-Mart our first year of marriage for $30. It's sad, but it's all we could afford. It's very Charlie Brown. Usually it is Eric's Kentucky tree. Long story short, Eric's dad is from Kentucky, a family friend sent a KY ornament to Eric every year since birth basically so now we have 9,731 blue ornaments. So he gets his own tree. The real tree leads me to...

3. Every year for the past 3 years we go with The Bell's to a Christmas Tree Farm and pick out a real tree. They have hot chocolate and a cute little ornament shop and apparently this year, jacked up prices on trees. We didn't get one this year, but we went for the experience. Read about what Amy did here! Then we head to either of our houses and, yes this is going to sound weird, eat hot dogs, slaw, and baked beans! This is one of those randomly-happened-two-years-in-a-row-instances-so-now-it's-a-funny-tradition-things.

4. Christmas Eve is reserved for me and Eric only. It's when we put on pj's, Christmas music, drink hot chocolate and open our presents. This tradition is my fave ;) I think even when we have kids we will continue to do this "just for the two of us" routine after they are long asleep with sugar plums and whatnot.

5. Christmas morning is at my mom's. She makes steak (yup!) and cranberry muffins. This is obviously carried over from my childhood.

6. Christmas afternoon/evening is with Eric's side of the family. Usually this consists of 20-30 people crammed into someone's house and we do a Chinese gift exchange. It's hectic and crazy but oh so much fun!

7. We have to watch Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. It's not Christmas unless we do. Ask Eric.

There are definitely things I am probably forgetting and lots more in my brain that I want to add to our list (like baking a certain dessert only at Christmas or starting a Christmas-only scrap book) but you get the general tradition idea!

So how about you guys? Any funny/strange/sentimental Christmas traditions going on at your house? Or are we the only ones eating steak for breakfast Christmas morning?

songs of christmas

Every year there are a few Christmas songs that I can't wait to hear...like this one:

or this one (which I actually got to see TSO in person two years ago!):

Then there are the ones Eric and I joke about, like Christmas Shoes. Not that it isn't a great song, it is! But when you hear it 9000 times in one hour it gets a little old. We always say it's not Christmas until we hear it! Basically it's a topic of conversation in our household.

So what about you? Your favorite Christmas songs? Your favorite jokeaboutaserioussongbecauseit'soverplayed song? Are you sick of Christmas music yet or just getting started?

memorial box monday - the great provider

Click here to learn more about mbm!

What I am about to share is fairly personal, but you should know I have the permission of my darling husband to do so.

December 1st around 5:15 PM I got a call from Eric, which I promptly ignored because I was in a tutoring session. He immediately called again, which I thought strange because he knows my schedule and should have known where I was. I quickly sent him a text saying "tutoring." He replied "I know, it's kinda important..."

It was the "..." that tipped me off. My husband (like most men I'm sure) is a get to the point guy. He lays the facts out on the table in a quick and concise manner. He does not "..." or leave things to the imagination. I immediately knew something was wrong. I excused myself from my student to call him. He relayed the imminent bad news in the only way he knew how, like ripping off a bandaid he said "I was just fired."

Words eluded me. Emotions excaped me. All I felt was numbness. You know that pit-in-your-stomach feeling? Yup, had that too. You may recall this post, where I regaled you with tales of how God prompted me to leave my full-time teaching position in hopes of starting a family? So picture us, living frugally on 1.5 incomes over a year later with no expansion to our family save a lab/collie mix, just getting the news that less than a month before Christmas 3/4 of our income has vanished.

We did what any couple in our situation would do. We cried out to the Lord. And He has answered. No, Eric didn't miraculously get an even better job the next day (not that God can't do that) but He has sincerely shown us the love of Christ through his people. Our church has stepped up in ways we never could have imagined to support us during this time. God is good.

But, even with all the support we getting and the prayer uplifting us, I was still worried about us financially. You see he was let go at a time where his next check would only have 3 days of work on it. He filed for unemployment and we held our breath. I checked the bank account on Friday to see if unemployment had gone through. I just stared at the screen in disbelief. I thought "either it went through or it's a Christmas miracle!" Neither. It was a deposit of a substantial amount from his old company.

Guess what our God did?

When I showed Eric the amount and where it was from he was just as perplexed as I was. Until a revelation hit him...he had gotten paid for his unused vacation days! Now you might being saying "duh, you should have known that was coming!" we didn't. It never crossed our minds once. You see, to say the company he worked for was frugal is the understatement of the year so we never imagined in our wildest dreams they would pay him for his vacation days. And the best news? The amount was more than what his normal check would have been!

Praise God! He is good all the time!!!

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;" - 2 Corinthians 9:8

9 is smaller than 225

This is my 225th post. Why am I telling you that? Well because I need to post something. I mean really, it's been 4 days...which is a little ridiculous. (Although I do have amazing excuses, I just can't give them to you. Stop rolling your eyes, it's the truth.) So let's talk about the number 225, shall we?

If you split it up into 2, 2, and 5 you can say: 2+ 2 + 5 = 9.

I love equations.

Let's use 9, because it is so much smaller than 225. Here are the top 9 things swimming around in my head right now...

1. It's almost midnight and I'm hungry. Of course, I'm pretty much always hungry.
2. The last 2 weeks have been the most physically and emotionally exhausting of my life. I'm not being dramatic either. Hard to believe, I know.
3. I serve a REALLY big God. We are celebrating the birth of his son, our Lord, in two weeks!  Exciting!!!
4. I am newly addicted to Pictureka on the iPhone. It's a sickness. I have over 20,000 points. Don't judge me.
5. I have the two weirdest dogs on the planet. Don't fight me on this, it's true.
6. Still hungry...
7. How random is too random? If I get any more random will I lose you? Forever or just until my next post? Are you even here now? Hello?
8. I am fighting some serious bitterness right now when it comes to our adoption. No news, no homestudy, no inspections. Nothing nada zero zip zilch. Yeah, I'm a little frustrated.
9. I have the greatest husband! He kills the bugs, takes out the trash, does the dishes, and rubs my head. It doesn't get much better than that.

Now I am going to bed before I eat something.


Seriously, this has to be one of the best posts I have ever read.  Call me convicted.

Nets by Linny @ A Place Called Simplicity


sanctification - being set apart to be made holy or consecrated for God's use. It describes the transformation of the believer into the image of Christ.

"Sanctification is never advanced by self-focused grief or guilt. It is energized by joy and driven by love." - David Harrell (my pastor)

cherry on top

Here are the rules: Link back to the person who awarded you, and then pick five blogs to pass on the award too. Make sure to comment on the awarded blogs so they know they've been picked.  

I love awards! I have been blogging for almost two years now and I never would have guessed a few things that came out of it....
- that I love to write
- that people think I'm funny/interesting enough to follow
- that I would have followers
- that it would house an adoption story (or more)

So I must thank my dear friend Gaby (whom you may remember from this post) for my Cherry on Top Award. This is award numero dos for my little blog. Oh the love! Now it's time to share that love with...

1. Joy Will Come in the Morning
2. Missy Mom in Madrid
3. Portrait Rachel
4. Chois R Us
5. Once Upon a Miracle

Congrats! You guys are stupendous amazing brilliant loving and funny enough to deserve this award! Does that give you the warmandfuzzies like it gave me? I thought so.  You are welcome!

psalm 23

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. 
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness 
for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely  goodness and mercy  shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell  in the house of the Lord