Sunday, February 7, 2010

I'm Alive!

After a few months of chaotic, family life and starting another blog, I decided to post here just to let the few of you know that I'm still alive!  LOL

I've been posting a little more regularly on the other blog, which has mostly been about the  orphan crisis and our plans to be involved in ministry with that.  However, I've really missed posting about the kids and other stuff going on in our lives.  With gardening season about to be upon us again and a plan to travel to Africa in May, simplifying our budget and spending is even more important now than it was a few months ago.

SO...I am going to just combine it all into one blog instead of trying to do both.  I'll be posting about everything going on here at the Widhalm house, including kid-related stuff and some new, healthier reciepes we've tried lately.  I hope you'll join me there!  I have actually been a fairly regular blogger on the other site, which is  I even dressed it up an made it look a little cuter!

Hope you'll join me!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Vote For Harrison!!

I just entered Harrison in a contest at Gap!  Log on to and enter jodiandsons to vote for Harrison!  He could be the next baby boy Gap model and win a huge shopping spree!  Of course, I think he's the cutest kid in the contest already!

You can vote DAILY and the poor little boys aren't getting voted on like the girls are, of course.  So, from now until the end of October, put that site on your bookmarks and vote, vote, vote!!  Who couldn't love this face?!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grocery Challenge - Part 3

My grocery challenge in going pretty well, I think.  Last week was the hardest so far, because of the birthday party.  I did go a little over what I planned on spending, in part due to taking advantage of some sales on meat last Wednesday.  That, however, has made a big difference in our spending for this week.

So far this week, I've spent about $33 or so.  I spent $26 at Aldi stocking up on produce, milk and eggs.  I also spent $7 at Dillon's buying a few things I forgot at Aldi.  We have plenty of meat for the week as well as fruits and veggies, eggs and breakfast supplies.

I am leaving on Thursday evening to go to a retreat with our church.  Hopefully, the boys will not eat pizza too often while I'm gone. :)

Tuesday at the Widhalm's

Today we started our new homeschool co-op.  What a busy, busy day!  First of all, we are not used to getting up early anymore to be anywhere.  So, being across town by 8:30 a.m. was quite a challenge!  We made it, though.

Carter and Jackson both had a 3 hour class this morning where they were introduced to new topics that we will being memorizing.  Subjects include history, geography, science, math, grammar, latin, and fine arts.  While they were in class, I was teaching a class of about 10 kids ages 2-10.   We had lunch with the whole group and the kids had time to play before heading into the afternoon class with me.  Again, I was teaching this afternoon and my own kiddos joined me.  By 3:00 p.m. we were all pooped and headed out for Happy Hour at Sonic!

I think the co-op will be a good addition to our schedule, especially for Jackson.  He doesn't complain about homeschooling, but I know he misses his friends at The Summit.  He's asked a few times about going back there.  My heart is struggling, knowing that he is lonely at times, and trying to figure out what really is best for him.  He's never been in public school before and we are not in a district I would have chosen for him if I thought public school would have been an option.  We'll see what the next few months bring.  I'm hoping that participating in more activities will help him along.  Next week, we also start our PE class at Evangel two mornings a week.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Is Life Really Simple?

Yes and no.  Mostly no, I think, with a little yes sprinkled here and there.  Even things that you think are simple turn out not to be as simple as you think.

When I named this blog I was thinking of simplifying my life and getting organized.  Getting rid of clutter.  Selling stuff I didn't want or need.  Downsizing.  Organizing the pantry and grocery shopping.  Planning meals.  Growing some of our own produce.  Keeping better track of the kids and journaling as things happened.

Well, I can't say I have completely accomplished all of that list, but I have decided that my life is not simple, nor is it ever going to be.  That's ok.  God didn't promise me a simple life.  He did, though, promise life more abundantly if I live for Him.  The process of "simplifying" and downsizing has brought us to a place that we have a new realization for just what we really do and really don't need.

The truth is, we really don't need much.  That part is simple.

What our family has decided we need most is a life focused on what God created us for - to serve Him by serving others.  We want to be the hands of feet of Jesus in this life He has given us.  We have become passionate about those in our world who are helpless and need, so desperately, for someone to show them Jesus' love in action.

Matthew 10:38-39 says that we will find life when we lose our own.  Doug and I have made a decision to try to live that scripture out in our lives very intentionally on a daily basis.  I'm not sure how simple that will be.  Sometimes more so than others, I expect.  For that reason, I've created a new blog where I'm going to journal about what we're doing and how we are serving.

I'm excited about all that He has in store for our family!   I hope you join us on "Our Journey To Life".

I'm going to keep this blog going for now.  If keeping up with both is too much, then I'll just blog about everything over there.   We'll see.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday Harrison!

Harrison at the park on his birthday

Saturday, the 5th, was Harrison's 2nd birthday.  I can't believe he's already 2.  Time goes by so quickly!  I'm so glad that I'm able to be home now with all the boys so that I can soak up their childhoods before they are gone.

Around noon on Saturday, Harrison's Nana (my mom) and Papa Jim (her husband) came over from their camping spot in Branson to spend the afternoon with us.  We loaded up our bikes and the trailer and headed to Nathaniel Greene/Close Memorial Park, which isn't far from our house.  It's a great park that has paved paths for walking or riding, a small playground and several beautiful gardens to explore.  There is a small lake with ducks to feed as well as a small creek that the boys love to "skip" rocks in.  We spent about three hours riding and playing before we headed home.  I took the camera, hoping to get some good pictures of the boys.  They weren't extremely cooperative.

Park Pictures

On Sunday, we had Nana and Papa Jim along with Aunt Katie (my sister) and AnnaJo (my niece), Papa Rod (my dad) and Uncle Terry (my younger brother).  We had a birthday lunch Sunday afternoon before we had birthday cake and opened presents.

I made his train cake and we blew up a few balloons for the kids to play with.   He loved his gifts which were a new scooter, a car hauler with cars to haul, a couple new shirts, his first "Build A Bear" monkey, and a bike trailer to ride in.  He had a great day with all his family here to spoil him and his favorite girl, "Jo", to play with.

Party Pics

Grocery Shopping Challenge - part 2

Well, although I whole heartedly want to be successful with this grocery shopping challenge, I failed to take into account that yesterday was my toddler's 2nd birthday.  Ouch.  The groceries I purchased last week sufficed for our family, but I hadn't thought about my parents and siblings coming for the holiday weekend for the birthday celebration.  Nor had I decided what to do about Harrison's party cake and/or decorations.

I figured I would try as best I could to use what I had on hand and purchase as little as possible.  My mom and her husband came Saturday morning.  The rest of the crew showed up Saturday afternoon and evening.  My mom purchased most of the groceries for Saturday evening's meal in honor of my birthday, which was a few weeks ago.  That was a life/money-saver.  Thanks, Mom!!

Everyone was here Sunday and the menu for the day looked like this:

Breakfast - eggs and toast, juice and coffee
Late Lunch around 2:00 - grilled porkchops, baked potatoes, baked beans, salad
Dinner - leftover buffet

I did have to buy some groceries.  Here's what we got.  I didn't have a meal plan or a good list, so I tried to do it in my head while I went.  Not a good idea.  I got everything at Dillon's and purchased the Kroger brand when I could.  This is food for the weekend and next week.  I know I'll have to go back for milk, bread, eggs and butter at some point.

Milk - 2.59
1# hamburger - 1.53  (saved $1 w/Plus card)
Pork chops - 7.52 (buy 1 get 1 free, saved $6.92 w/card)
Pork loin - $7.44 (saved $3.74 w/card)
Ramen noodles - $1
Mac n cheese - 2 @ .39
Saltines - .88
Sour Cream - 1.16
Fruit loops - .99
Peas - .63
Elbow macaroni - .78
Baked beans - 1.59  (saved .06 w/card)
Crisco - 2.55
Grean beans - .63
Peanut butter - 1.29
Powdered sugar - 1.75
Mustard - .89  (saved .10 w/card)
Dried pinto beans - 2.19
Hotdog buns - .88
Hamburger buns - .88
Eggs - 1.59
Total w/tax - $41.06
I also made a last minute trip to Wal-Mart before the party for a few party things, Wilton food coloring and candy to finish decorating the cake.  That total was around $18
So, the total for the weekend and hopefully most of next week is right at $60.  Still not too bad, considering I've fed more than just our family and had a birthday party.