October One

I can hardly believe it's October first! I'm sure lots of people are feeling the same way.

What does Fall hold for you this year? What is your favorite event in Fall? 
Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I'm looking forward to it with a little excitement actually. I'm awaiting cooler days, Daniel having more time at home, Fall colors on the trees, Christmas, and hopefully some traveling.

Soon, Daniel will take a break from pools and be able to focus on ministry for the Winter. I enjoy having him around the house and so do the kiddos. In fact I think even the dog likes it better when Daniel is home. I'm so blessed with an awesome man.

I do have to admit that prior planning is not one of my strong points. I have good intentions but get easily side tracked. I'm happy to announce that I've managed to find a couple Christmas presents. They were on sale of course!  Hopefully, I'll stay the course and be done long before December five and twenty. I'll have to keep you updated on my progress. Later I'm going to be sharing with you how we here at The McLaughlin House "deal" with Christmas presents and traditions. We got the idea from some good friends of ours, The Brown's

Here's to the beginning of the end of the year! May it be filled with abundant blessings.



All of our days are important but this week holds an awesome (first time) opportunity for Daniel. He will be traveling with a church to to lead worship for them on a retreat! We have met with some of the leaders from this church and are encouraged by the way they are approaching ministry. We were very honored when they asked Daniel to be a part of this retreat. It will be a small, intimate setting (sometimes by a campfire) which I firmly believe is one of Daniel's strongest points. I look forward to the ways that God will speak to people this weekend through Daniel's gift of music. It's my prayer that the music will be a blessing to them, enabling them to truly worship God in a personal way.

This leads me to another thought. You see this weekend wouldn't be possible if Daniel and I weren't completely certain and convicted of Daniel's giftedness. I want to encourage all of you to discover the ways God has gifted you. I think that as a Momma to young children it's often easy for me to forget that God has gifted me beyond being able to change a diaper and make dinner. However, the demands of being a wife and mother don't negate my command from God to use my gifts to His glory. 

If you haven't had a chance yet you should check out Daniel's website too!  His site by the way is a huge blessing from our friend at Steinruck Designs. As far as I'm concerned they make the hottest web designs out there!


Works For Me Wednesday

Here's a couple little secrets about me (and my linens) I'm going to let you in on...

I only have two sets of sheets for each bed in our house. I have set on the bed and one stored under the bed, this goes for all beds in our house.

I only have one set of white towels in each bathroom.

I only have white washcloths for cleaning.

I found that by having minimal linens and most of them being white it makes my life easier!

I can wash them all together, not worry about which ones get put back where, and use my linen closet upstairs for other goodies :)


How Have I Struggled?

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

Corinthians 4:8-10

This morning my devotional included the fully loaded question of "How have I struggled?"

Honestly, I think I would rather have skipped this question. Seriously! This was a lot to process, nevermind at 6:30 in the morning! I would have preferred to answer with the obvious or vague responses like financially, to be a good mom, etc... But I persevered and came up with a rather lengthy, emotional list of struggles. Everything from medical/health issues in my family to being a good steward of my time.

Don't be discouraged as you think of your own struggles! And I do encourage you to actually write out your list. There was a point behind this potent question. 

"Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."

M. Scott Peck

My struggles are small compared to the God I serve who waits for me in glory. 
In the meantime He uses the struggles to shape and mold me into His image. The continual refining fire. 

God also uses these struggles to remind me how powerful He is. He blesses my family and me through our struggles. Many times He has blessed us in the midst of struggle. We then acknowledge how good He is to provide for our every need.

My struggles are also used to encourage others as I share my testimony with those I meet. 
Just recently I've met Mom's who are dealing with children who have the same health issues as my little B. I'm able to share research, doctor recommendations, and most of all encouragement with them.

If I had never endured the struggles I have, I wouldn't be the person I am. 
Now that is a reason to rejoice in struggles!



A Little Remodeling

For those of you who are worried that I've given up on blogging, don't lose heart quite yet. I'm currently in the process of learning Blogger and remodeling our blog! New and better ideas are headed this way! I'm excited about the changes. I'll be adding resource links and an RSS feed, I believe. 

In the meantime we've been remodeling around the house! Daniel scored us a great deal on two living room chairs. The chairs are an awesome addition to our living room. Not only did we honestly need more seating but I love the touch of retro they bring to the room. 
We've also added a fica tree and new throw pillows to the living room! Wow! The room's really starting to come together. I scored the tree (minus the pot) for $2o at a yard sale and Daniel found the pot on clearance at Target. I actually found the new pillows all on my own! They're probably one of my favorite finds for the house so far, and that's saying a lot. Daniel was jealous he didn't find them first! We need some "pops" of color and these definitely help out. 
Recently Daniel brought home a huge chandelier for our bedroom that one of his clients gave him! I've always wanted a chandelier in our bedroom because of our vaulted ceilings. The chandelier is ready for hanging (after a little paint job that is) but won't be hung until cooler weather comes our way. I'm anxiously awaiting some Fall temperatures so it will be an easier job for my Father-In-Law. 
So, there you have the McLaughlin's decorate on a very small budget! I love it! Decorating is one of our favorite things to do together because we both have the same style and vision for our home. We've been looking forward to decorating our house, which is one of our biggest blessings!


My Best CVS Run Ever!

Ok, seriously, you've got to see this!!
This will be hard to beat!!

I got all of the above (PLUS five 12 packs of soda!) last week at CVS, of course. However, this is the best part, I was actually paid $8.33 in CVS store credit to take it out of the store!

I am NOT kidding you!

Now, I promise I will get back to posting on other topics too :) Daniel asked me the other day wether I had changed my topics on here to money saving. What can I say? I love to get a good deal! However, I figure you get the point now, cause you all are very smart people.


I Love CVS

Total before coupons & sales was $97.03
Minus $73.32 :) 
I paid $23.71 and earned $13 in ECB's

Woo Hoo!



 Last weeks grocery run
Last weeks health & beauty run
Last weeks worked out to basically half price!

This weeks shopping
Total Before $236.50 Saved $119.67  Spent $116.83 
I also got 5 cases of Pepsi 12 packs.
This week I did have to get a couple things that weren't on sale at all. 
For example B's avocados and creamer.

"And all I got was one can of dog food..."


My Manly Man


Woo Hoo! Our Garage looks awesome now!! We have also enjoyed the fact that we have a garage but now we like it even more :) For very little money we snagged some good paint at Home Depot off the oops pile, saved some money for the DIY epoxy flooring, and gave D a Home Depot gift card for Father's Day for new, brighter lighting.

Daniel did a great job knocking it out in a short time frame, as always. It seems to have become a local hangout for most men on our street.  Last Saturday when I came home there were numerous men in there and more would stop by as the afternoon went on. 

We're so blessed to have been able to pull this off as it certainly wasn't a have to. I'm sure the Lord will use our garage to allow us to continue sharing our testimony of His blessings and faithfulness.


Suzy Homemaker Strikes Again

Check out my latest (rather successful) attempts around the house!


A couple weekends ago I had a yard sale and got rid of lots of things we simply didn't need anymore! That was great! I decided to take my earnings and get something for the house that 1. didn't take up much space and 2. that we actually wanted. So, here you have it folks! New kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls!! Woo Hoo!! I installed them all by myself too :)




I've been working at making really good broth for a couple months now. I've been following the same recipe the whole time but getting better with each try. B really enjoys his rice cereal mixed with some warm broth. I have to say I think the most important thing is having really high quality chicken. This was from organic, free range, no hormome chicken.


If you follow the link on the side of the blog to Money Saving Mom you too could get freebies in your mailbox! This is just what I got yesterday!

Here's my .02 on everything in this post...Yes, it's nice to be able to make "real" homemade food for my family and be able to adhere to our budget by various means. By the way, let's face it, these seem to be lost abilities in most (not all) of my generation. However, I believe these are just two examples of many commandments I was giving by God when I became a wife.

In Proverbs 31 is a description of a woman I pray God will make me like more and more everyday. I think as wives we're supposed to be resourceful, respectful, and above all worshiping God. I believe the above are just small examples of fruit in my walk with God. I praise Him for His faithfulness to make me a godly wife. God knows (and Daniel knows :)) this process will be something I will have to look to the Lord for everyday.


I'll Call You Later, 'K?

My mom used to have this sign that read "Call your mother. She worries." As I kid I probably didn't really comprehend the meaning behind those words. But I'm beginning to now.

My mom talks to her mom on a regular basis. I mean how could you forget when you have a sign in your kitchen to remind you?! My mom and I talk on a regular basis. We were just joking the other day that it's a good thing the phone company doesn't send you a detailed list of all your calls for the month like they used to! I've been out of her house for over five years now. I for the most part have adjusted to this set up. I'm sure it's still strange to her though. Not that she's told me but I think it's a safe assumption :) I mean I am her favorite oldest daughter!

I've always tried to parent in the moment and enjoy every minute with my kids. Yes, even the not so easy ones. I try to remember to always kiss them before parting ways (even for short periods of time), I tell them I love them a lot, I almost always kiss them when buckling them into their car seats, and try to remember what they look like at the end of each day (Lord, knows they're going to grow overnight). You see, I think I realize that no matter how much time I get with them, it will never, ever be enough. 

Then I had a "moment".  This morning A was engaged in imaginary play, something I find absolutely adorable, typically hilarious, and sometimes eerily familiar to my own habits. She loads up her stroller and backpack. Places her sunglasses and high heels on. (Ok, so I don't wear high heels to run errands but she's obviously more stylish) She then announces she's leaving, she'll call me later, 'k? In that moment I realized one day she will leave our house in one way or another and she'll call me later, so I don't worry (too much).


Milestones All Around

What day here at our house! We've had milestones for almost everyone!! 

Last night for the first time B managed to pull himself up onto his knees while holding on to the edge of a chair. Way to go man!

This morning A was showing me something and began to count them. 1-2-3...all the way to 10! I was so surprised asked her to do it again. And she did! She also did it a third time! She's very enthusiastic about saying the number 1o. She's very proud of herself and so am I!

And I'm assuming at this point my hubby will be home from work before midnight :) If he is it will be the most work in one day that any one has every done for the company!


Mess at the McLaughlin's

Ok, this one's for all you who think I'm a good housekeeper.

In the time it took Daniel and I to have a sixty second phone conversation A managed to get the five gallon container of oatmeal out of the pantry and all over the kitchen. Then, bless her heart, she started to help clean it up. However, it was mostly beyond her cleaning capabilities. After a bit I said "A, Why don't you feed the dog. That would be a big help to Momma." She bounded off after the dog food.  She successful put the food and water in the bowl.  Then she accidentally knocked the whole thing over. So, we now had oatmeal on one side of the kitchen floor and wet dog food on the other. 

A gets a gold star for her effort :) How could you be frustrated with that?!

By the way A tried to scoop up the dog food mess into the bowl with her bare hands. I explained to her that the dog wouldn't care and would eat it off the floor. She was excited by this. 

Unfortunately, you can't see the oatmeal on the floor very well. There's some on the table too.


School For Everyone!

Well, it seems school time is quickly approaching here at the McLaughlin house. While most families I know are looking forward to the dog days of Summer, we're getting ready for class. 
I guess I should elaborate slightly, huh? 

As many of you know Daniel went back to college this past Winter with the intent to earn a degree in Religion. He's been extremely successful in his studies. He's earned straight A's so far! Way to go Babe! We've been blessed to have his cost of college covered!

This Fall will begin A's first year of school! We're going to be homeschooling her and have already gotten her curriculum. She doesn't know what's coming but I'm looking forward to it. We already make sure to do her flash cards every afternoon. She's getting very good at them! We're fortunate to have multiple, excellent resources for homeschooling families in our area. 

A little less certain is my desire to return to college. I am continually praying and seeking what God would like me to study. I have a hunch :) it will be in the medical field of some sort. Wether that means something like special education, speech therapy, nutrition, or homeopathy I'm not sure right now. I'm always asking questions to my girlfriends and Blake's specialists to help me hone in on where I could best serve. This is just another example of God's faithfulness through trials. It has only been through the circumstances with B that it became crystal clear to me that I should return to school. I am confident that these trials have spurred me on quicker to God's will for us. I commit this to prayer and know that soon God will reveal the purpose he would like me to pursue. I will keep you posted!

How exciting that we're all learning so much right now!!


Big Boxes Of Blessings

So, in case you're wondering what's in these cases it's EleCare! The formula that B is on for his sensitive, allergy prone, sweet, little body. The best blessing to come our way recently was coverage of his formula from the manufacturer. After being denied by our insurance we appealed to the maker for financial assistance. As this runs us at least $100 per week this was a huge, huge blessing. Thank you! What you see in this one shipment would have run us $1200. 


Cupcakes: Minus Eggs, Gluten, and Milk

In anticipation of B's birthday I did a trial run today of the cupcakes. Now normally I'm a good baker, notice I didn't say cook. The catch today was that the cupcakes must be egg free, milk free, gluten free, and edible! Ok, so I found the time and ingredients and lined them all up in my kitchen.

Now the first attempt didn't come out quite right :( They tasted fine but got way too big! Obviously getting them out of the pan was a trial all it's own.

The second time around I just put less batter in, duh?! A little flat in the middle but good enough for me (and hopefully everyone else who has to eat them) once I put some icing on who will know?!


Quote For The Day

I am too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed. 

I loved this quote as soon as I read it. How are you blessed and anointed?

I've struggled recently with remaining stress free (Most days I have a 3,2,1 and newborn in the house). Now I try to catch myself stressing, say a prayer, and redirect my thoughts to the blessings in my life. This helps to calm myself and put my stresses and worries in perspective. Why should I be stressed when I am so blessed and anointed by a Great God?

My hubby showed me some love by having these flowers delivered :) Thanks Babe!


Because God Sees

The invisible Mom

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more:
Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a
human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?'

I' m a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is
the Disney Channel?'

I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once
held books and the eyes that studied history and the
mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had
disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be
seen again. She's going, she's going, and she's

One night, a group of us were having dinner,
celebrating the return of a friend from England.
Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and
she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed
in. I was sitting there, looking around at the
others all put together so well. It was hard not to
compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at
my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could
find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled
up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could d actually
smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty
pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully
wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It
was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't
exactly sure why she'd given it to me
until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with
admiration for the greatness of what you are building
when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour the
book. And I would discover what would become for me,
four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern
my work: No one can say who built the great
cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives for a work they
would never see finished. They made great sacrifices
and expected no credit. The passion of their building
was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man
who came to visit the cathedral while it was being
built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the
inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man,
'Why are you spending so much time carving that
bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No
one will ever see it.' And the workman replied,
'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall
into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering
to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you
make every day, even when no one around you does. No
act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on,
no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice
and smile over.

“You are building a great cathedral, but you can't
see right now what it will become.' At times, my
invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a
disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure
for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the
antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the
right perspective when I see myself as a great
builder. As one of the people who show up at a job
that they will never see finished, to work on
something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that
no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime
because there are so few people willing to sacrifice
to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son
to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for
Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and
bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes
a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens
for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or
a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come
home. And then, if there is anything more to say to
his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We
cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day,
it is very possible that the world will marvel, not
only at what we have built, but at the beauty that
has been added to the world by the sacrifices of
invisible women.