Monday, April 28, 2008

In Review: Fresh & Easy II
There are several new items in my pantry from Fresh & Easy, so I thought I would give an update on what I think of these products.

Fresh & Easy Boysenberry & Almond Granola Clusters ($2.49)- Great price, but not enough Boysenberries. This granola would be phenomenal if it had more berries!

Fresh & Easy Chewy Sweet & Salty Granola Bars ($1.99)- Good taste and great price.

Fresh & Easy Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars ($1.99)- The chocolate tastes fake. I'm not a fan!

Fresh & Easy Milk Chocolate Bar w/ Almonds ($0.38)- AMAZING! It tastes like an expensive candy bar, but it is only 38 cents! You can't beat that!

Fresh & Easy Soft Oatmeal Raisin Cookies ($3.29)- Pleasant taste and texture. They are also really low in fat!

Fresh & Easy Wheat Tortillas ($1.29)- I LOVE THESE! They don't go bad as fast as Trader Joe's Wheat Tortillas. They are also a wonderful price. The last time I bought these, I got them for 65 cents because they on sale ("Daily Special")....I like that deal!

Fresh & Easy Spinach & Artichoke Tortilla Chips ($1.99)- Again, a great price and a wonderful mix of flavors! I love the unique taste of these chips.

Fresh & Easy Fresh Avocados 4 Pack ($3.27)- The price is comparable to Trader Joe's, but I have to be honest, these Avocados were the best I've had in a long while. They were very creamy and tasty!

Fresh & Easy Fresh Roma Tomatoes 6 Pack ($1.98)- These tomatoes were very red and juicy...just how they should be. They also didn't go bad as fast as Trader's did.

Fresh & Easy Triple Berry Crunch Cereal ($2.89)- MOVE OVER BLUEBERRY MORNING (Post)!!! I finished this cereal up pretty quick! It was delicious!

So, there is a good amount of food I will go back for! Way to go, Fresh & Easy! Oh, and by the way, they have pepperoni now! Good move!

I also would like to thank the chief of marketing for Fresh & Easy and the Fresh & Easy Team for reading and responding to my first review of their market. That really makes me feel like you care about what your customers think. Thanks!

Jackson and his mom.

This is a photo I got from my friend Tiffany (yes...the same one who lent me the book). They are a few months old, but because I have a lack of photos lately, I'm posting it. It is officially the first picture that we are both smiling in!

Strength for the Weary

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My friend Tiffany lent me a book called Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney (CJ Mahaney's wife). It is a study of how we, as moms, wives, and even single women can apply Titus 2 to our daily lives. The excerpt below was particularly encouraging and I thought I would share it!

"Strength for the Weary

But what if you have lost your smile? How do you find renewed joy to sacrificially serve and tenderly love your children? Our only genuine source of refreshment comes from God. In Him alone do we acquire fresh strength to carry out this enormous task of mother.

So may I encourage you to size some time alone to meet with God? This should already be out daily practice, but in seasons of weariness, there is tremendous benefit in withdrawing for a more lengthy time to pray and read God's Word.

Now some of you mothers with little ones might be asking, "How is 'alone time' possible? I cannot even go to the bathroom by myself, much less consider an extended period of solitude!"
Maybe your husband could arrange this time for you, or possibly you could trade off with another mom. Whatever it takes, it's worth he effort to make it happen!

Taking time to meet with God is a practice modeled for us by Jesus Himself. We read in Luke 5 that multitudes were coming to Him with their needs: "Crowds of peoples come to hear him and to be healed of their sickness. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed" (vv 15-16, NIV, emphasis mine).

Doesn't this sound like a description for motherhood---everyone coming to Mom with needs? Yet look at what Jesus did. He withdrew to solitary places and prayed.

Now if Jesus needed to withdraw frequently and pray in order to receive His Father's help and strength, do we suppose we need such times any less? So if you are weary, or if your joy and vision for motherhood is waning, take some time this week to be alone with God."
~Carolyn Mahaney

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sad news and an update...

This week we lost our camera. I'm sure you have noticed the lack of posts. I'm really bummed out because not only did we loose our camera, but we lost some really good pictures that were on it, including the pictures of Jackson sitting up by himself. :( So, needless to say, we are looking for another camera. When we get it, I will post pictures of Jackson right away, for those of you who are having withdrawals. (I'm not going to mention anyone by name!)

So, without pictures, I will give you an update on Jackson. He is sitting up now, which he finds extremely fun because he can use his hands more to play. He also is "talking" and making sounds all the time. Its very cute! Last week, he got up on all fours for the first time and has done it a couple times since that. Concerning his diet, he is now eating barley cereal, peaches, pears, and sweet potatoes, along with rice cereal. He is a good eater! Concerning his sleep, I honestly feel that we have taken ten steps backward. Since the night that I last posted, I was able to put him to bed at 8pm, which was amazing! However, that night, he screamed around 12am (didn't wake up...just cried) and then every hour after that, sometimes twice an hour. He did this for about a week. I researched the systems and it is called Confusional Arousal. Just when I thought I had it figured out, he stopped doing that and woke up between 12-1 each morning and screamed for an hour, then woke up and screamed every couple hours after that. I haven't changed anything major in his diet or in his routine. Although, because he isn't getting enough sleep at night (he now won't go to be before 9:30), he takes too many naps during the day. Like I said...ten steps backward. I guess its back to the drawing board (and back to my book...we'll see what the 'ol Doc says about this one!). Other than the sleep (which really, really frustrates me), he is a happy baby!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Yea for Sleep!
Jackson was having a hard time napping recently. He also goes to bed later than I would prefer him to, so to get some tips on how to fix those problems, I bought Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Dr. Richard Ferber. Some of you may be familiar with this book. It was first published in the 80's and contains the breakdown of the "Cry it Out" sleep method. Since it was first published, it has been revised with a gentler tone and more information on nap-taking. With just applying a couple ideas of Ferber's in one day, I noticed a huge difference! Jackson is going down right when I put him in his crib after his nap time routine. He also is taking one less nap and going to bed earlier. The next step with be trying to get Jackson to not depend on his pacifier to go to sleep. I recommend this book to anyone who is trying to get a good night's sleep for their baby and themselves! It covers absolutely everything and is not just for parents with infants. Parents with toddlers and older children who have sleep problems will get something out of this book, too. I thank the Lord for using this book as a means to fix Jackson's sleep problems, and as a result, keep me sane!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jackson is 5 Months old!

Jackson turned 5 months old yesterday! He has such a great personality already! When Troy and I go to get him out of the crib in the morning (yea...he is sleeping in his crib), he lets out a loud squeal of joy. Its soooo cute! He also is saying "mama," although, I've read that it isn't really referring to me yet. He is just practicing a sound. Well, that is still progress! He is starting to respond to waves goodbye with waves of his own. Man...I think this kid picks things up pretty quickly!

He hasn't got the whole crawling thing down yet, but he will get there. I can tell he is moving in that direction. He is getting stronger and stronger when he is on this tummy.

Jackson definitely knows what food and drink is now. His diet consists of feedings from me, rice cereal, and apple sauce. However, he would prefer it if he could eat everything Troy and I eat...even down to the communion juice and bread. On Sunday Troy and I took communion with the church, but Jackson fussed when the plate passed him. He even reached out to grab a cup of juice, with no avail. This upset him, and of course, Troy and I couldn't concentrate as much on taking communion. We will have to work that situation out a bit better next time!

Jackson is also getting a bit of separation anxiety from me now. In a way, I love it because he reaches out for me and nestles his head into my shoulder and neck when he gets back into my arms. He shows so much love and need for me. However, in a way, it is hard to leave him. The last two times Troy and I have tried to go out and leave him with the grandparents (who Jackson is used to being with), Jackson cried for long periods of time. Poor guy. Troy and I are going to try to leave him for short periods of time on a regular basis, and gradually increase the time he is without us. Eventually, we may work back up to a whole evening away!

Well, after these 5 months of laughter, joys, love, hugs, kisses, tears, challenges, and accomplishments, I can whole-heartedly say that I absolutely love being Jackson's mom! It is such a wonderful blessing!If you look at the picture of Troy above and the picture of Jackson below, you can definitely see some similarities. I think they have the same brow structure, and as a result, have the same expressions. Its great to see my wonderful husband in our son!"Your son is aesthetically pleasing!" -Mike C.
(I may be a bit bias, but I happen to agree!)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Goodnight, Noah!

Noah stopped by to say "goodnight," and some cute pictures came of it!

Arrowhead Kitty

The picture says it all. Libby gets into anything and everything!

Friday, April 4, 2008


My aunt, grandma, and mom came to visit. It was great fun! We made pizza and chocolate chip cookies (I know...sounds really bad...but they were both whole wheat!), and played with Jackson. I fed Jackson applesauce for the first time because he was a bit compacted still from those bananas last week. Lets just say he needed a bath after that diaper change! It worked, though! He's back to normal! Thanks to Dinda for being the photographer for the day! I realized that there aren't any pictures of me on this blog because I'm usually taking pictures of Jackson!
Jackson gets his first taste of applesauce. Of course, he loved it!

Jackson and I after Jackson got a bath. Isn't he adorable?Jackson and his great-grandma.
Jackson and his grandma fell asleep together on the couch.
At one point while sleeping, Jackson was thinking really hard.

An amazing quote...

Last night, Troy read me this quote and we both found it amazing that this writer worded it so well... (taken from John Piper's Blog)

"And Jerram Barrs writes in his article, "Christianity and the Arts" (PDF):

Our work in any field of the arts will be imitative. We will be thinking God’s thoughts after Him—painting with His colors; speaking with His gift of language; exploring and expressing His sounds and harmonies; working with His creation in all its glory, diversity, and in-built inventiveness. In addition, we will find ourselves longing to make known the beauty of life as it once was in Paradise, the tragedy of its present marring, and the hope of our final redemption. All great art will contain this element of being an echo of Eden: Eden in its original glory, Eden that is lost to us, and Eden restored. (pg 7)"

I've never been able to put to words the reason why I love to create a piece of art or write a short story. Barrs succeeded in putting it in words for me. I thank God for the ability He has given me to use and imitate the words, colors, and textures He has created. I am just a child imitating my Father.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

In Review: Fresh & Easy
About a month ago, the first Fresh & Easy Market opened in Riverside. This is a market chain that Tesco (UK) has created. Troy was looking forward to the opening for quite some time, and checked it out before I had the chance to go with him. So, I went to check the store out myself. I have been in Tesco Markets in the UK. Fresh & Easy markets are nothing like Tesco. They really aren't meant to be. I believe the point of Fresh & Easy is the convenience. There are pros and cons to the shopping experience there. There were several things I didn't like about the store. I didn't like how "fresh & easy" doesn't mean healthy. For example, their brand of frozen shepherd's pie has well over 1000 mg of sodium. In fact, most of their frozen and fresh meals are very high in sodium. Another thing I didn't like about the store was that they have everything to make a great pizza...except for pepperoni. The store in Riverside is very small, so other locations may carry pepperoni.
On the other hand, there are also several things I like about the store. They have name brand items for a great price. An Arrowhead 24 pack of bottled water is regularly priced at $3.99. That is the sale price everywhere else. For the most part, the cereal is pretty decently priced. The Hot/Lean Pockets are only $2.18, which is cheaper than Stater Bros. Their baby food products are also pretty cheap. I also have to give Fresh & Easy credit for making Self Check-Out so simple. To be honest, I'm always annoyed by those machines, but the ones at Fresh & Easy live up to their name...they are very easy to deal with.
Troy and I have tried many of Fresh & Easy's brand name items. To sum this review up, I'll just give you the scoop on those items.
Fresh & Easy Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix- I really got my hopes up on this one. The mix comes with a crumb topping, so I was excited to make it. Well, the muffins had no blueberry taste and they were dry. Two thumbs down.
Fresh & Easy Dark Chocolate Bars & Milk Chocolate Bars- These candy bars proved to be delicious and quite a deal at $ 0.38 each!
Fresh & Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough- This dough is fresh and easy...seriously. It tastes great and it is really easy to roll out to make a pizza. Its also a great deal at $1.18 each (although, just a month ago when they first opened, they were only $0.99)Fresh & Easy Spanish Rice- This rice had absolutely no taste at all. It's an insult to the Spanish.
Fresh & Easy Canned Olives, Corn, Green Beans, Peaches, Pears, etc. - All their canned veggies and fruits are great tasting and most of them are only $0.79 -$1.49.
Fresh & Easy Fajita Veggies- These veggies are in the "fresh" produce section. They are already cut up and slightly over $2...worth the price if you don't have much time.
Fresh & Easy Strawberry Lemonade- WONDERFUL! You can taste the real strawberries in this! It is pricey though. It is $2 for a small bottle (it serves about 2).
Fresh & Easy Lemonade- After taste the Strawberry Lemonade, it is nothing to write home about.
Fresh & Easy Roasted Garlic Sauce- Great taste and price (I think it is $2.79) If you like garlic, this sauce will suit you!
Fresh & Easy Pizza Sauce- This sauce is a great price ($0.99), but has no taste and it is somewhat bitter. Troy added sugar to it when using it on pizza.
Fresh & Easy Peppermint Water- This water has no sugar in it, just mint and water, and it is very, very refreshing. It also works great to soothe a sour stomach. The price is great too...only $0.79.
Fresh & Easy Mozzarella Cheese (Shredded, 8 oz)- Although I prefer my mozzarella shredded a bit thicker than this package of cheese, it is a great price at only $2.18.

So, there you have it. After looking at this list of food reviews, I think I liked more than I didn't like. I hope you all found this review interesting! Tesco is opening up 48 Fresh & Easy stores, so there is bound to be one opening up by you sometime soon if you live in California. I encourage you to try it for yourselves!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sleep Update

For those of you who gave me advice on how to get Jackson to sleep in his crib...THANKS! He is now sleeping in his crib for his naps and at night. He is practically sleeping through the night, too! Troy and I are getting much better sleep and we are all happier in the morning. Jackson wakes up with nothing but smiles on his face! It is such a difference! It used to take him about an hour to wake up because he was fussy and he would go in and out of sleep. I'm so glad Troy and I had Jackson make this transition! Jackson has a schedule now and a routine. Yea!!! It makes our lives so much easier! Plus, Troy and I actually get to do our devotional and talk at night without worrying that we are going to wake Jackson up. I also get to sleep next to my husband. Thats always good for a marriage! Again, thank you for all the great advice!

Another Dose of Jackson

For those of you who need a regular dose of Jackson, here are some more pictures!

Aunt Robyn holds Jackson. Lately he has been quite intrigued with her!

Jackson IS "done gone cute," isn't he?

We got an occasional Liam on our hands. Those of you who know him, know what I mean!
"Come play, Mommy!"
"90 percent of babies are ugly. You guys got lucky." -Matt I.
(Thanks, Matt...that really does mean a lot!) :)