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Budget Friendly Entertainment

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This week I wanted to share with you 3 budget friendly ways for entertainment.

Our family is on a tight budget and we have to find economical ways to go out. Here are a few ways we save…

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1. Free

One way we go out is to find free activities such hiking, walking, going to the beach, swim at our community pools, etc.

In our community, there are often free family activities such as Music In The Park, Movies On The Beach, etc. I am sure if you check your local paper you too could find free community gatherings.

Also, check out businesses to see if there are free days for county residents (i.e. Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seymour Lab, etc.)

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2. Reduced Price

Another way we go out is finding reduced priced activities.  For instance, one of my co-workers sent out an email for employees to purchase Great America tickets for $10 each. They are regularly $39.99 each. Also, their parking fee is normally $25, however, if you purchase a pass on line in advance, it is only $20.

Locals discounts are a great way to save funds. Many businesses will offer discounted meals activities and free parking for locals on specific days/times. For instance, the Scotts Valley cinema has $5 movies all day on Tuesday.

Coupons are also a great way to find a deal. You can find them online or in the newspaper.

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3. Sweepstakes

Another way we go out is we enter sweepstakes or contests that offer free tickets.

Two weeks ago, we went to Raging Waters for free, because I won four passes from Bay Area Parent. The tickets are normally $42.95 per person. In addition, I saw an online special they were running where you could buy a pass on line for just $29.99.

I thank the Lord that I have won tickets to such places as Santa Cruz Boardwalk, Roaring Camp, Raging Waters, and Santa Cruz County Fair, because every little bit helps.

These are just a few ways we find budget  friendly entertainment. I’d love to hear from you…

What are ways your family save money on entertainment?

Blessings, Rebecca

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Grace

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It had been several years since we went to a movie theater, because we have been disappointed with the lack of wholesome family movies in recent years. However, my co-worker told us about Overcomer. So, we decided to check it out.

It’s about high school basketball coach John Harrison and his team face an uncertain future when their town’s largest manufacturing plant shuts down unexpectedly. As hundreds of people move away, John reluctantly agrees to coach cross-country, a sport he doesn’t even like. His outlook soon changes when he meets Hannah Scott, an unlikely runner who pushes herself to the limit. Inspired by the words and prayers of a new friend, John starts to train Hannah for the biggest race of her young life.

The over arching theme to me was grace & reconcilliation.

It reminds me of God’s grace for us and His request for us to be gracious to others.

Here’s three ways to show grace to others:

1. Love – Love is an action that requires sacrafice whether it’s time, money, work, etc.

For instance, the community we live in loved on us during my recent  surgery recuperation by bringing us meals for six weeks.  That’s a long time.

I recently learned that a couple in our neighborhood had a baby and the mother’s c-section recovery is more difficult than anticipated.  Her friend set up a meal train for them. I signed up to donate a meal, because I want to reciprocate the love I received.

2. Forgive – Forgiveness pardons an offence. Recently my husband prayed for a lady in her 80’s whose knees were in chronic pain. Initially she didn’t see results. Randy asked her if there was anyone she needed to forgive and she confessed holding a grudge against her mother and siblings since childood. Once she freely forgave, they prayed again and the Lord healed her. Praise God for physical and emotional pain!

3. Compassion – Sympathizing with someone during their crises. My husband is a Chaplain. He has cunducted funerals where he has consoled the grieving family members and they appreciated a listening ear.

I highly recommend Overcomer. It was a heartwarming film about overcoming adversity. Warning: You may want to bring some tissue as it is a tear jerker.

How do you show or receive grace?

Blessings, Rebecca

Last Hoorah

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Today is the first day of school. Austin starts his Senior year and Alicia kicks off her Sophmore year.

As a last hoorah, we attended Mount Hermon Community BBQ where we enjoyed a tasty hamburger with our neighbors.

Afterwards, we shot targets with wrist rockets.

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Then, we hit targets with arrows at the archery station.

The boys played some table tennis while the girls put up their feet.

On Sunday, Randy grabbed us a mocha and we all attended Church on The Beach.

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Later, the kids and I ran some errands getting last minute school supplies.  Austin drove us along West Cliff in Santa Cruz. We parked and walked into Natural Bridges State Beach where explored the tide pools.

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As we wound down our day, we picked up groceries and headed home.

The summer sure seemed to fly by for us.

How was your summer break?

Blessings, Rebecca

Summer Fun

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How is your summer going?

I cannot believe the kids are returning to school in about 2.5 weeks.

Since the last time I wrote, we have enjoyed some summer fun. How about you?

 

My brother Greg and sister-in-law Connie treated us to her company picnic at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo aka Marine World Africa USA. It had been probably 35 years since I went there. We enjoyed the rollercoaters, BBQ and dolphin show.

 

We stayed overnight in the neighboring town Fairfield and went to the Jelly Belly Factory.  We had wanted to check it out for years.

Have ever heard of their Bean Boozled? Well, my son purchased one their boxes. You think you are eating something nice like butter flavored popcorn jellybean, but it something yucky like dirty socks. So, he and his sister are trying the various flavors in the backseat of our car during the ride home. They give their dad the nastiest flavors and he doesn’t even flinch. Randy looks at me while I am driving and says, “Your turn Hon.” Before I can say,”No way!” he shoves a black jellybean in my mouth. To my chagrin, it turns out to be skunk smell. Gross! We all had a big laugh…

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We rode a diesel train from Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton to Santa Cruz Boardwalk and back.

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We hiked Mount Hermon trails.

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We swam at Mount t Hermon and Mission Springs pools.

 

 

We enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Pancake Ridge.

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We roasted some marshmallows for smores while participating in zumba and fieldhouse activities.

 

 

We attended Church on the Beach in Capitola and hung out at the ocean relaxing. Randy and I enjoyed yummy mochas while the kids ate hot pizza.

 

All in all, we’ve had a blast.

Feel free to share your summer fun with us.

Blessings, Rebecca

Rest

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This weekend was all about rest. We have been on the go this summer with numerous activities; albeit fun.

How does your family rest?

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#3 We watched an episode of Family Feud from 1973 on Youtube and the top 5 answers were:

#1. Sleep

#2. Listen to music

#3. Watch TV

#4. Hot bath or shower

#5. Massage

So, we thought we’d try these things to relax.

#1 Both Saturday and Sunday we all slept in. It felt so good to catch up on good old fashion sleep.

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#2 My son and husband went to see Aaron Shust in concert at Mt Hermon and enjoyed a good concert. Afterwards, Austin met the artist.

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#4 We enjoyed refreshing hot showers throughout the weekend.  I thank the Lord for modern conveniences.

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#5 I asked Austin to massage my tight shoulders and they loosened up.

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I trust you had a nice weekend too.

Blessings, Rebecca

 

Intentional Family Time

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Back in January, I wrote about Family Time. This past week, we were intential about spending time as a family.

The kids enjoyed youth group at Mission Springs family camp. Their high school group went to the Boardwalk to ride some rollercoasters, attended a dance, hiked up to a lookout for fourth of July and celebrated our son, Austin’s, 17th birthday.

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Randy and I had to work as we recently returned to work after my medical LOA. We participated in activities as time allowed such as meals, worship/speakers sessions, Frontier Ranch activities, 4th of July carnival/parade and their amazing buffet on the last day.

At the end of the week, we worked together on chores which freed us up to go for a hike at Henry Cowell Redwood State Park.

Next door to the park is Roaring Camp Railroad where you can enjoy a ride on either a steam or diesel train. One of my favorite sounds is the train whistle.

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What do you do to intentionally set time aside to be with family?

Blessings, Rebecca

Normalcy

 

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After about 4 weeks of recovering from a surgery, I felt comfortable enough to drive. Between that, walking and being able to cook, I was regaining some resemblance of normalcy.

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After 6 weeks, I returned to work.  It felt so good to be back with my team and contributing to our community once again.

This past weekend, the kids and I helped my husband Randy plant flowers at his work in preparation for upcoming family camp.

I enjoyed being with my family, soaking up some sun and getting our hands dirty planting.

During this process, I have learned to lean on others and ask for help. It has been a humbling experience to say the least.

 

Have you had to rely on others for a period time? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Blessings, Rebecca

LOA

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I am approaching the last week of my Leave of Absence (LOA) and it has been a journey of regaining my strength after surgery on May 3.

On May 27, I requested you all to keep me in your prayers for a clean PET/CT scan. Have you ever taken a PET/CT scan? It is an intense body scan where they inject you with a radioactive isotope, strap your arms in place and lay you in a white tube (machine) that is approximately 2-3 inches from your nose. It scans yours body for radical cancer cells and takes about 20-30 minutes. I am usually a pretty calm, cool and collected person, however, I could feel my heart race and my breathing change during the test. I just kept praying and asking the Lord to help me through it. At one point, I wanted to rip the binding straps off and demand the technician to get me out of there. Yet, I took a deep breath and continued to pray. The next thing I know, the nurse told me I was all done. Thank God!

I have wonderful news to share. My PET/CT was all clear. All power, glory and praise be to God! Thank you for standing with us in prayer as this news spared me from 7.5 weeks of radiation and/or chemotherapy.

After 3.5 weeks of confined laying down, I am finally up and walking around outside for about a quarter of a mile. It feels so good to be out in the fresh air soaking up the sun.  Also, while meandering, I’ve been bumping into neighbors/co-worker and catching up. I even stop to smell the roses.

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Randy returned to work after three weeks of helping me and I am able to drive again. I am back to picking the kids from school again. Although their last day was last Thursday, it is great to have the mobility restored.

Again, I want to say thank you to everyone who has prayed, supported, helped, made meals, donated sick days, called, sent cards, etc.  It means the world to us.

Have you ever had to rely on other people for support or ask for help? If so, I’d love to hear how it went.

Blessings,  Rebecca

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PS This past Sunday, June 9, Randy and I celebrated 18 years of marriage. Whoda thunk we’d be on this journey nearly twenty years down the road, eh?

 

 

 

 

Recouperating

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On this Memorial Day weekend, we would like to thank and acknowledge the courageous men and women in the US armed forces for their sacrifice to keep America free.

It’s been three weeks since my surgery. Although it has been a intense journey, I am on the mend.

I met with my surgeon last week and she informed me they removed a walnut size cancerous tumor. She said, “I am healing perfectly.” For that I give praise to God for answered prayer.

We also met with a radiologist to see if I would be a candidate for radiation. Randy joined me during the consultation and we were surprised a the numerous risks and adverse side effects. Would you stand with us in prayer that my PET/CT scan this Wednesday comes back negative?

For the first two weeks, doctor’s orders were to not sit, but be in a laying position. You’d think that lying down would be easy, but it’s not; especially for an active person. I am now able to lean/sit comfortably. In fact, while I was being examined by the radiologist, she said to me afterwards, “You can sit up now” and I sat half way leaning on my elbow. She said it again, “Ok, sit up now.” I informed her I could not sit in a full upright position yet and we both laughed. It’s funny the things you take for granted, eh?

This medical time off has definitely given me some much needed time to rest, read and reflect.

 

A few days ago, I was getting cabin fever. So, Randy took me to get a mocha and sit on a park bench overlooking the ocean. As we looked to our right, we could see the Santa Cruz Beach & Boardwalk and the wharf. The sun and sea breeze felt refreshing. Believe it or not, our little trip drained my energy and I came home to nap.

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My big adventure was going grocery shopping with Randy. The store manager lent me an electric cart so I could get around the store. Beep beep!

On Saturday, I took my first walk in several weeks. It was brief and slow on the go, but felt great.

Our friends invited us to house/pet sit while they vacation in Europe. When they heard about my procedure, they were concerned we couldn’t fulfill our obligation. However, I informed them, “I am either going to sit on my couch or yours.” We chuckled about it and off they went.

I would like to thank our awesome community of family, friends and co-workers who have supported us during this difficult time. We appreciate your prayers, meals, gifts and assistance. Thank you so much!

Have you undergone a surgical procedure and how did your recovery go? I’d love to hear about it.

Blessings, Rebecca

PS My son Austin has taken up a new interest in designing shoes and started an Instagram page. Check it out! @kruseekicks

Unplanned Surgery

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Recently our family has been getting  routine physical exams. To my surprise, my doctor informed me that she found a spot that needs to be surgically removed.

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The following week, I found myself in a new hospital about 60 miles north of where we live. The care I received was excellent.

I was told my recovery will take approximately six weeks. My mind raced and I looked over at my husband, “What about my team? What about my salary? Who is going to cook?”

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I thank God he is helping us through the process. As for my work team, they have been so supportive and tell me do whatever it takes to get better.

As for my paycheck, I am a part-time employee.  So, I don’t accrue sick leave unfortunately.  However, my boss informed me of an amazing program my employer offers called Voluntary Sick Leave where employees can donate some of their sick leave to our family. This is a huge financial blessing!

As for meals, my co-worker setup a Meal Train for our family. Phew!  I was thinking to myself how is Randy going to take the kids to school, work, pick up the kids, do homework/chores, take care of me and cook dinner. What a blessing!

The quote “It takes a village” is so true. I could not have gone through process without the love and support of my community.  Thank you!

We just received the test results from the lab and the spot removed is cancer.

It’s been fourteen years that I have been cancer free.  The last bought was during my pregnancy with Alicia.  You can read my previous blog at My Miracle. She is a thriving Freshman in high school and is an awesome daughter.

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I would solicit your prayers for my healing and wisdom how to proceed with treatment.

Have you ever had an unplanned surgery? 

Blessings, Rebecca