Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Letter to the Late Mr. Pablo Picasso

Dear Mr. Picasso,

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for your incredible contributions to the world. I am not particularly artistic myself, but I can certainly appreciate the simple beauty of your work. Dove of Peace is one of my favorites.

As much as I appreciate your work, the real reason that I am writing you today is because of my son, Tate. Tate is almost three, and is showing some real artistic talent. Because I want my son to be well educated I have started teaching him a little bit of art history. I think, though, that he may have gotten a little bit confused during our lesson. I was trying to teach him about your work, and I am pretty sure the only concepts he really grasped were "Blue" (in reference to your Blue Period,) and that you have a piece entitled The Dog.

I am sure you are wondering how on earth I could possible know exactly what my young son took away from the lesson. Allow me to demonstrate:

Yes, it would seem that my darling Tate took the "Blue Period" and "The Dog" quite literally...and took it upon himself to re-create these with his own stamp of genius.
Only his materials included a blue Sharpie, and a dog.
A Real Live Dog.
Our next art lesson is going to be on Figurative versus Literal. I'll let you know how that goes.
On behalf of your biggest fan,
Jenni Stearns (for Tate Stearns)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Theo's Dedication

Yesterday was Theo's dedication. It was wonderful! It took place in Snohomish, at Central Christian Church, the church I grew up in.

Dedicating Theo was our commitment to raise our son in a home that will honor God. This dedication isn't a baptism, it's not guaranteeing his's just us promising to raise him to know that Jesus is God's son, and introduce him to the Holy Spirit. Hopefully when he's old enough to understand what is involved in accepting Christ as his savior, and he will make the decision to not only take Jesus as his Savior, but also make him the Lord of his life and surrender himself completely to the Holy Spirit.
Yesterday was all about us making this commitment to Theo, in front of our family and friends. We were blessed to have a bunch of family there...all of Theo's grandparents, his Uncle Stephen, his Great Grandparents (Ted and Ann), his Grand Nana Getha (we call her Gana), and his cousin Peter. Even though we won't be going to Central for much longer because we're moving to Oregon, I know that the family we have at Central will hold us accountable to raise our boys in a home that honors God.
As a part of the dedication, we presented Theo with his life verse and prayed over him. It was a beautiful dedication.
"Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes." Psalm 37: 3-7
Anyway, here are some pics of the dedication
Scott Dorsey performed the dedication. He drove 8 hours home with his family in order to do that for us. We really appreciated the sacrifice they made to do the dedication!

My good friend Kayla Bosma took the pics for mom just handed her the camera. Gotta love having an amazing photographer for a friend!!

After the dedication we went out to the cabin and spent the afternoon swimming, playing in the boat and enjoying a relaxing afternoon.

The Stearns Clan!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


So, I promised I'd write about Ebates, so here I go...

First though, I must apologize if you get annoyed with my 'commercials'. I am doing my best to be frugal, and I know that a lot of my friends are also doing their best to be frugal, so I'm trying to pass on the good deals I find because I'm cool like that...or not. Moving on.

Ebates. Basically, you shop through them and get money credited back to your account. They either cut you a check at the end of each quarter, or they can give it to you via paypal. You get a $5.oo bonus for signing up.

Here are the circumstances when I use it

  • When a store offers free shipping.
  • When I have a coupon for an online purchase.
  • When the % I'll get back makes it equal to or less than buying it at the store.

The other cool thing about Ebates is that you click on a store you want to buy through, and they show all of the coupons that are available for that store. You don't have to hunt for them. They are already there.

They also have a bunch of stores available: Famous Footwear, Ebay, Target, Petco, All major airlines and travel sites, etc.

So far I'll be getting $11.00 back in November (or whenever they send out the next check). I recently got an awesome deal on new tennis shoes through Famous Footwear. I get 9% back through Ebates, they were offering free shipping, buy one get one half off, and 15% off your entire order. I got two nice pairs of running shoes (one for me and one for Mark) for $60.00 total...really 54.60 when you count my "ebate" I'll be getting back. Mark wears size 13 and it's almost impossible to get a good deal on shoes, so I was pretty excited about this. (BTW, they are still running this's worth checking out if you need new shoes.)

Well, there you go. It's only a good deal if you aren't going to buy more because you are 'saving' money. But, if you're going to do it anyway, and love a good deal, it's worth taking 5 minutes to sign up here.

Don't hate me for my commercial. I'm really trying to be helpful.

Love you all,


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


So, I accidentally wrote 'bothers' instead of 'brothers' at first...oops. They usually aren't bothers, but today it would be fitting. Since I'm on the verge of crazy I decided to post pics of them when they aren't pushing me to the brink...

They MIGHT be related...just maybe...

Theo adores his brother

And Tate loves provoking a smile

All in all, they are Really. Good. Boys.

I'll keep 'em.
I just may go crazy in the process.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Making a KILLING!!

First up: Wal Mart.
Normally I'm not a huge Wal Mart fan (it totally overwhelms me), but they have killer deals going on for school supplies.
For example, those 38 boxes of 24 count crayola crayons are .30 each.
Those 70 page notebooks are a quarter each...yes, a measley quarter.
Everything I bought today was less than a dollar.
My grand total was about $35.

For said $35 I got:
-38 packs of 24 count crayones (crayola!)
-7 packs of 11 markers
-5 packs of 12 colored pencils
-4 packs of 10 colored pens
-7 packs of 10 pencils
-12 notebooks
-24 or so pencil pouches
-14 glue sticks.
Now, I'm sure you're thinking to yourself, "Well, Jenni, it is a great deal, but if you don't need it, it's not really a great deal."
You're right.
But, my kiddos in Nicaragua need this stuff, and what an awesome opportunity to give!
They all share everything, and I'm so excited to be able to give them stuff that belongs to THEM. I know they will share anyway, because that's just the culture, but at least they have an opportunity to have something that is their own.
Next up, Rite Aid.
Here's what I got:
-One bottle of CitreShine shampoo
-Oral B Toothbrush (I needed it, the dog chewed mine).
-7 L'Oreal nail polishes (think Nicaragua).
-2 packs of M&M's (potty training)
-1 box of Sambucol (digestive health stuff, again, think Nicaragua)
Here's the price break down:
7 x $4.99 (nail polish)
1 x 4.99 (toothbrush)
1 x 4.99 (Shampo0)
1 x 12.99 (Sambucol)
2 x 1.49 (M&M's)
total $60.88

Here's where it gets fun!
The nail polish was on sale for $1.24 each.
The shampoo was on sale for $3.99
The toothbrush was on sale for $2.99
The Sambucol was on sale for $7.99
The M&M's were BOGO.
Recipt total : $25.14.
I had a $5.00 of a $25.00 purchase, so my total was $20.14.
Now, here it gets really fun!!!
I'm getting a SCR (single check rebate) for:
$1.50 (toothpaste)
$3.00 (Shampoo)
$7.00 (Sambucol)
$8.00 (nail polish, 2 each for the first 4)
$19.50 total in rebates, so...
I paid a total of .64 cents for all of that stuff.
And, the best part is that we can use it all, I didn't just buy it to buy it (although I will do that occasionally to qualify for a rebate and then give it away.
So, that was my day. I'm pretty stoked about my good deals!
Ok, I'm off to get dinner going.

Love you all!
FYI, you can do all this, too! I visit MoneySavingMom for her deal ideas, and then I consult the RiteAid circular to go from there.
Tomorrow I'm going to tell you about my awesome EBATES deal I got this weekend!
ps Yes, those are my toes in the first pic, sorry!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

SSSHHHHHH...Don't tell Tate

We ordered Tate's birthday gift today!
He's going to L-O-V-E it.
Here it is!!

And the best part is, it only cost me $6.00 (normally with tax it would be over $70.00)! I got it over at using my Swagbucks!
Can I get a big WOOT!??!
Seriously, I can't say enough good things about swagbucks. It's totally worth it to join.
So, I'm all ready for Tate's birthday. We also got him a Mariners bat, ball and batting helmet. He managed to find them so I had to re hide them a few weeks ago. I know he's going to like them because he asks for them daily.
We found an apartment and should be moving in within a month. It will be so nice to be a family again.
Tate pooped in his pants today so he got sprayed off with the hose. It wasn't as traumatic for him as I had hoped it would be.
Well, sorry to spaghetti brain on you there...I'm all over the place this morning. I guess that's how it goes.
I've got to go and get my kid, he's putting on baseball cleats that are about 13 sizes too big for him.
Love you all,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Finally, Home!

We are home. For a week.
We had a great week at camp, but it's so nice to be home.
The speaker at camp was Marshall Snider, the founder and visionary of Bridgetown Ministries. If you ever have the chance to listen to Marshall speak, I HIGHLY recommend it. Bridgetown is located in Portland, and Mark and I are very excited to be a part of what is going on there.
Now we are back at home. I have a week of laundry, exercising!, planning meals, packing, etc. to catch up on. Mark is going to be working LONG hours for the next few months, so it's a good time to get stuff done.
Theo is rolling over now. He is such a happy baby. Oh! and the biggest thing, he seems to be over his milk allergy. I've had a bit of milk for the last couple of days and he's been fine. I plan to keep having a little bit every day to make sure that he's really over it. I really think that God has worked a miracle!
Well, that's it for now. I'm heading to bed. After a few hours of fighting it, both boys are asleep. Hopefully for the night.
Take care, all!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Gone this week, too.

We are heading down to camp for a week.

Yes, the very same camp where Mark and I met when he was a counselor and I was a camper.

This time, I'm counseling. Just to clarify, I will not be picking up and bringing home some underaged child.

This is where we'll be.

Pray for us as I'm going to be stretched pretty thin...being a single parent and trying to counsel will be a lot of work!

Talk to you all in a week.


PS I fixed the link on the previous post so you can now connect to our house listing.

Also, I'm trying to compose my thoughts for a post about what's going on in Honduras. I'm incredibly minor in college was in Latin American Studies. I'll keep researching and compiling my thoughts and share when I have time to put it all down here...if ever.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Long Absence

Sorry about that.

I was staying at my Grandparent's house in Oregon and they don't have internet.

And none of their neighbors have an unsecured wireless internet signal that I can borrow.

So, I was 'unplugged' for a week and a half, more or less.

In that time:

* I got my hair cut.
* Crocheted two purses for girls in Nicaragua.
* My son pooped on the potty 5 times!!!!!
* My other son decided that sleep is pretty much unnecessary for him.
* I ate like a pig so I'm currently annoyed with myself.
* We hiked up Mt. Pilchuck
* We bought a house! (that's the model home, ours will be the same layout).

Yes, we found a house.

It won't be ready until December, but that's ok. It's an AMAZING floor plan, and only 5 miles from Mark's work! He'll be biking to work most days.

The hike to Pilchuck was beautiful. Tons of snow was still on the ground, so we didn't make it all the way up. Not the right shoes, and with kiddos on our backs it was just plain unsafe. Steve made it up farther than we did and got several pics. I think Mark and I will go again in August and make it to the top.

Today we are headed out to my parent's lake cabin to float around and enjoy time with Stephen and the family.

Have a wonderful 4th!