Why We Like Shopping at Aldi

Y’all! This shows grandmas in their 80’s can take good pictures. GiGi took this when she and Mom were out shopping.

Even though Leavenworth built a new Aldi store close to our Home Depot, it took a while for me to begin shopping there. Now it is almost a weekly stop along with our basic grocery store, Dillons, which is a Kroger store.

We have been impressed with the quality and prices of their produce so I check their sale flyer each week to plan what I will get from them. This spring when they had fresh strawberries for $1.19/lb, we bought 25 pounds to core and freeze for smoothies and to go in yogurt.

We make quite a bit of homemade granola that we put toasted rice cereal in along with rolled oats so we buy the cereal at Aldi’s. We also like their oyster crackers. We also get sour cream, orange juice, butter, and heavy whipping cream there.

After Joseph and Elissa’s baby was born, I did their grocery shopping, and Elissa also buys quite a bit of produce plus other things from Aldi’s like parmesan cheese, shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese, refried bean, tortillas, applesauce, and pasta.

Christopher and Anna Marie and John and Chelsy also like shopping at Aldi.

Be sure to have a quarter with you when you go because if you want a cart, you put a quarter into the cart rack to release your cart. Then when you put the cart back, your quarter is returned. There is another Aldi’s protocol I learned. If someone offers you their cart as you are headed for the cart rack, you offer them your quarter. Some take it; some don’t. 

Trusting in Jesus,

“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me,
bless his holy name” (Psalm 103:1).

Father’s Day Recap

I hope our blog readers enjoyed a fantastic Father’s Day!

We celebrated ours early before my sisters left for their ministry trip. Yes, they’re still gone, with no return date set quite yet, but thank you for praying! They’re doing very well and excited to see the Lord working! Please keep praying for their safety and opportunities to share Christ.

So, onto Father’s Day! First, I have to share two pictures from our very small group on Father’s Day proper.

We had a delightful day at church, a special meal, talking with my sisters, quiet time, and Dad made Jesse and me espresso.

So now to our celebration the day before Memorial Day.

One of Dad’s favorite dessert is pumpkin pie.

One of Mary’s cards above.

Our gift was disguised.

We got him a wheelbarrow! It’s hard to find a good, quality wheelbarrow, but we think we found it. If you wish for one, they’re from Menards.

Dad loved his gift.

Dad with myself, Anna, Mary, and Jesse

Dad and Mom

Jesse is quite the guy! 🙂

So y’all, I’d love to hear something you admire about your dad!

“The fear of the Lord tendeth to life:
and he that hath it shall abide satisfied;
he shall not be visited with evil.”
Proverbs 19:23

Happy Father’s Day with a Peek Into the Past

Happy Father’s Day to our amazing dad! Since I shared a special twist on this year’s Mother’s Day post, I wanted to do the same for Dad’s! What awesome memories flooded me as I scanned in old pictures to share.

Dads are a key foundation in a child’s life. Growing up, I knew my dad was always there for me. He listened, he encouraged, he spent time with my siblings and me, and he did many things to lighten Mom’s load. How many guys do you know that will grocery shop for their wife AND take all the kiddos? That was my dad!

Dad faithfully led our family in following Jesus, and also gave us an amazing example, not only by spending time in God’s Word personally each day but as a family.

We love you, Dad! We can never thank you enough for your love and investment in our lives and the lives of the next generation! Happy Father’s Day!

Reading to Christopher and me!

Spending time with Nathan and Christopher.

When I was about 3, he took me out for a daddy-daughter date. He would have been about 34 in the picture above!

He has a soft spot for dogs! 🙂

Dad gave lots of backpack rides to his littles.

Even though work projects would have been easier without small children helping, he knew it was part of the process to equip them. Now, each of my five brothers are great with projects!

Giving a blessing to Joseph on his spiritual birthday.

Before blog days, he and Mom spoke to a homeschool group overseas, and they were also able to spend a little time in Switzerland, celebrating their 25th anniversary! How grateful we are for parents who LOVE each other!

Baptizing Anna

Feeding chipmunks with Mary

Did you know Dad takes great pictures? It’s true!

Dad has a tremendous love for God’s Word.

Here he is again with a son, doing a project together. This is where our house currently is–so we were just in the beginning stage!

Hiking with the family in Colorado

Dad loves to share with Christian parents! His books continue to go out to families across the nation, along with his weekly Seriously Dad e-mail.

The sweet bus days!

Dad loves his grandchildren!

He’s truly a man with a vision!

Happy Father’s Day also to my brothers, Nathan, Christopher, and Joseph! Love you guys!

“Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house:
thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.”
Psalm 128:3-4

Kittens for Christina’s Birthday!

Is there anything sweeter than a little girl and a kitten?

Is there anything better than a-once-in-a life-time birthday present?

Is there anything more exciting than the-once-in-a life-time birthday present being a surprise?

It was all there double for Christina’s birthday!

A few days before I received this text from Nathan, he asked if he could use my cat carrier:

Are you going to be home today around one? If so, I would send Christina up to your front door to pick up the carrier, but she wouldn’t know she’s picking up the carrier just that she needs something for our birthday outing today, and you give it to her, and she comes back to the van.

That was the start to a day I don’t think Christina will ever forget. Four kittens came home in the van along with kitten supplies. One of their stops was Petsmart, where they loaded up with all kinds of supplies!

Two kittens were for Christina’s birthday, and two went out to Melanie’s parents’ farm. Nathan and Melanie have sought ways as city dwellers to help their children learn responsibility (chickens, kittens… 🙂 ).

Update: for those asking, the girls named them Tiger and Pickles. Pickles comes from a book I read to them called The Fire Cat (Titus2 Amazon affiliate link, see our Privacy Policy here.).

Trusting in Jesus,

Sarah experiencing kitten love (and claws :))

“Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.
Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 150:6).


Part 1: The Book Writing Process

“I think it would be very educational (not to mention fascinating) for you to guide us blog readers through the process of writing a book. From the initial idea to the finished product, step-by-step.” A blog reader

Book writing is a process, so I’m going to divide this into a series.

  1. Ideas! That’s where you start, and I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not overflowing with countless future book ideas. I have some, but not a crazy number, as some people do. The Lord is faithful to give me each story, and so I believe my lack of having a storehouse creates an even greater dependence on HIM! With my current book, my initial book idea completely changed about three months ago. I still may write that first book someday in the future but not now. As I work on ideas, I discuss it with my team. 🙂 See my team below. They are amazing! The ideas they come up with?! Whew!

2. Outline! So once I get the story plot concept, I outline it to see if it works in an actual story. This for me is the hardest part of the journey. One can only sit and brainstorm for so long! But I take my brainstorming in manageable chunks. Then, I go to my team of helpers and run through my ideas. Several in my family should be fiction writers themselves (seriously!). We usually discuss my outline after dinner and Bible time. They’ll give me suggestions of things I ought to change or that don’t make sense or fresh ideas.

I love this verse on my wall!

3. Character Profiles! This is a new thing I’ve implemented in my current book. To keep my characters unique and to help me as I really learn them, I have profiles listing out what kind of person they really are: their likes, dislikes, personality, etc. I’ve studied a book on personalities (there are many books out there!) which has helped me to create real-life characters.

4. Pre-Book Trial Run! This is another new thing. Although my family has critiqued and gone through the book, I don’t normally have others read it until about the time it goes to a copyeditor. But, this time around, I selected a number of people to FaceTime/Skype with, and I told them my story. Their response?! They loved it! It was also great for me to be able to articulate my book in 30-45 minutes of time and also to see what my weak areas were.

We’ll stop with those and delve into the actual writing process next time I share.


Brainstorming with coffee and my favorite dog :: a perfect combo.

“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee:
bind them about thy neck;
write them upon the table of thine heart.”
(Proverbs 3:3)

Sunday Lunch at the Maxwells

(I, Sarah, will need to work on getting a whole family photo better without a wide angle lens. I’m going to try for a photo from the kitchen. It’s simply impossible to do from the edge of the dining room and get everyone!)

On Sunday after church, we have the delight of the family joining together for lunch at our house. The girls and I do the meal preparation work because we want to give the mommies a break. Typically we have the same simple menu, one we started years ago when Steve wanted to make Sunday more of a rest day for me. Steve, with the help of the girls and me, makes up a huge batch of burrito beans every few months that we freeze and defrost for Sunday lunches.

Green salad
Bean burritos with fresh homemade whole wheat tortillas
Chips and salsa

Recently we moved to buffet style and paper goods to simplify. We reached the maximum size of our dining table seating18—and have a high chair at each corner of the table, and we are still a few more than that.

Our Sunday lunches are happy, loud, and a sweet time of family connection.

Trusting in Jesus,

Abby and Bethany often help Sarah make tortillas. Abby has been Sarah’s apprentice for so many years that she can easily roll them out herself.


Since we’ve overfilled our table, Anna sat with Ruthie here, and also got some baby-holding time in.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren
to dwell together in unity!”
(Psalm 133:1)