For the first four months of my pregnancy, I really could only consistently keep six or seven different foods in my tummy: berries, pomegranates, shredded wheat, triscuits, skim milk and Colby Jack cheese. There were random meals or foods that sounded good to me (spinach dip, appetizer meatballs, and goat cheese to name a few), and when they did, we bought ‘em… Though, we didn’t ever have any luck in getting any of those foods to stay down, so they only sounded good once. During that time, I slowly adopted the attitude: “If it sounds good- eat it! Quickly! And as much of it as possible!” Without a thought in the world to calories or nutritional content, if it sounded appetizing, I feasted. Needless to say, when the day came (right around Thanksgiving) that normal foods and smells started sounding allright again, there was great rejoicing in the Gentry household.

And now, seven months into my pregnancy, I find myself with the exact opposite problem. I am hungry, ravenous really, all the time. My formerly adopted mindset of eating with great abandon isn’t doing me any favors, either. Nor is the reading I’ve been doing about how darn much protein babies require for development! Since I am not keen on the idea of gaining heaps of weight unnecessarily, this has created a need for very careful planning of my meals and snacks. I need to eat often, and I need to eat a ton of protein, so making all of that happen (without ballooning up like a hippo) has been my latest project.

Which brings me to the best discovery EVER… Hostess Cupcakes in 100 calorie packs. Now, I’m not usually big on cake, but these things are little bites of deliciousness- heavenly, really. And since they only take up 100 calories out of my daily allotment, I have plenty of room left for tuna, egg whites, cottage cheese, and other stuff that the Itsy Bitsy actually needs. Kudos, Hostess! The beebs (and his developing organs which are requiring so many extra nutrients) thank you.


when you start to dream about it...

You know that the budget has been coming up a lot in our thoughts and conversations when it starts to infiltrate that peaceful time between 10:00 pm and 5:00 am.

Adam had a dream that some middle school kids had been watching me as I found and stored up free toiletries, razors, and food... and then decided to steal my treasure!?! Even better, in the dream, he valiently defended my honor and retrieved all of these precious goods.

I love it that I have a husband that'll defend me against middle school-aged thieves (even in his dreams)... and I giggle every time I think about 13 year olds stealing my free stuff!


kojo blog launch

It has been a whirlwind of wedding crafting around here this weekend! My craft table is overflowing with linen paper, ribbon, envelopes, and Michael's bags. And my project to-do list for the weekend only has one item crossed off... :) Even better, there is a comp book sitting on my night stand with pages and pages of artsy ideas for kojo cards and invitations, projects for the Itsy's nursery, baby shower gifts for a few friends that are due in the next couple months and more!

With all of this crafting in my immediate future, I am super exicted to announce the launch of the kojodesigns blog! For those of you who don't know, kojodesigns is the small stationary and wedding invitation business that my sister, Jordan, and I started recently. We're excited to have a place to share the projects we're finishing. And actually, the kojo blog is sure to include all sorts of fabulous artists that we love (and their work!), as well as some do-it-yourself tutorials and other gems.

So if you're creatively inclined (or just like looking at the crafty projects other people create), check it out! www.kojodesigns.blogspot.com


they ARE sweet sometimes

Manuel: "Mrs. G., when I'm not around you, my heart feels like it is breaking like how crystal jars break."


the road to cheaper

The call from CU inviting Adam to start dental school next year (and the ensuing possibility of living on a part-time teacher’s salary, otherwise known as “below the poverty line”) has launched a full-on review of the budget at the Gentry house. We’re actually pretty frugal already… Adam was born that way, and my passion for sales and budgets lands us firmly in the “saver-married-to-a-saver” category. But our current, fairly frugal budget just won’t cut it next year. In fact, we’ll need to live on less than half of our current budget. And so, our five month “road to cheaper” begins.

Let me pause to say two things. First of all, we know that God’s provision for us during this season will be absolutely extravagant! This budgeting has nothing to do with us not trusting in the abundance the Lord will provide… in fact, we are reliant on it. We just want to be good stewards of the resources God has given to us. Second, thank goodness we have a five month grace period before dental school starts. Hopefully that’ll give us time to ‘ease in’ to our budget cutbacks, to buy some of the stuff we won’t be able to afford later (like the supplies to finish our basement) and to figure out how to make this work.

As part of this ‘easing in’ season, we have a few goals:
1. Figure out how other people stretch their budget bucks.
2. Start getting free toiletries through the rebate programs at Walgreens and Rite Aid.
3. Whittle our food and entertainment categories of our current budget.

We started on goal #2 this weekend and hit up Walgreens for all their free-after-rebate deals. And actually, we ended up with some fabulous finds at the grocery store and Sears as well (see the picture of our free loot above... and we haven't even picked up all of Adam's free-after-rebate tools yet!). I also made a menu plan for this week… we’re trying out some dishes that are less than $1.50 per serving. When I find a recipe that’s easy and delicious (and cheap!!!), I’ll be sure to post it on here. In the meantime, if you have any tips for us, be sure to let us know.



One of my mom's best qualities is her enthusiasm. She bubbles over with animation about small stuff and big stuff alike, and in so doing, passes her excitement on to everyone around her. It's what makes her such a fantastic teacher. Students can't help but think they are exploring the most fascinating subject matter in the world with mom as their teacher. This sense of joyful anticipation flowed over, of course, into our family life... which is probably why I remember my childhood as one great adventure. I know we didn't have much money when I was little, but my mom had a way of turning little treats into great memories.

Mom's talent for turning the ordinary into the extraordinary has been fodder for many of my late-night ponderings lately (I am six and a half months pregnant now, which translates into a couple of hours two or three times a week where I cannot sleep... leaving me with an abundance of 'thinking time' in the middle of the night). As Adam and I enter a season of student loans and stricter budgets, I have been wondering about the special traditions that make holidays and every day life memorable, and about how I can start building that into the fabric of our young family.

Incidentally, my favorite idea for a tradition-to-be that I've come up so far is "lovey bundles." This year for Valentines Day, I made Adam, the Itsy Bitsy and I bundles of felt and ribbon that will hopefully act as storehouses for little loves notes and treats in years to come. This time around, I filled Adam's with a kojo card, brownies, a Chick Fil A gift card, and a Gentry Family Cookbook with his favorite recipes. These lovey bundles are kind of like Christmas stockings... in February. And if you know how much I love stocking stuffers, you'll have a hint about how excited I am at the idea of a round two a month and a half after Christmas!

How about you??? What were the small ways that your family made holidays (or everyday!) special? How did your parents, or grandparents, or families that you babysat for, turn ordinary events into extraordinary adventures??? I can't wait to hear them (and have more to think about in the wee hours)!

***Several of you have emailed about not being able to comment becuase you don't have a google account... I changed that setting, so comment away! Or just keep emailing- I love that too! :)


the top five of costa rica- #5 CONVERSATIONS

I’ve saved this one for last because I think it’s probably the most important highlight of our trip (and has the most potential to change our lives in the future, albeit in small ways). Now, I know that talking about doing something and actually doing it are two very different things, but I’m still thankful for the talking part- the beginning stages of actions that get you headed in the right direction. Or even for the talking it out part that allows you to see the big picture of what the Lord has done more clearly.

That’s why our conversations were the best part of this trip… it was so good to have time with Adam to plan and look ahead and to reflect and be thankful for what God has done and is doing in us. We talked a lot about the Itsy Bitsy, about ourselves as parents, about our hopes and the parts of parenting we’re terrified about. We talked some about the struggles we anticipate and about how we both have the tendency to be a little severe. We’ll definitely need to learn how to pick our battles, loosen our oh-so-high-expectations death grip and get some perspective about the really important stuff. We tried to think of the really fantastic parents we know and what they do well. We know that, no matter how well planned we are, that God will orchestrate all sorts of failures and detours… but it’s good to have something to shoot for and “must-do’s” to guide us back when we get lost. We talked about next year- what we think the Lord is asking of us and what an adventure it’ll be. And we talked a lot… a lot… about how thankful we are for the last five years, but I think that might be a whole different post.

Thanks for letting me reminisce all week, y’all… it has made it easier to settle back in and be away from the sun and all things vacation-y to look through pictures and think a little about the trip in order to share with you! :)


the top five of costa rica- #4 UPGRADES

In the spectrum of backpackers to five-star resort hoppers, Adam and I are firmly camped in the “budget travel” camp. So even researching places to stay from Frommers “Best Luxury Hotels and Resorts of Costa Rica” list was a COMPLETELY new experience for us (we usually bypass those lists entirely and head right to the “value” options). While I wouldn’t consider us converted spa junkies, the fabulous amenities were definitely a highlight of our trip! From infinity pools to morning yoga classes in an open air teak wood studio to a breakfast spread rivaling brunch at Pappa Deaux to pool boys circulating with chilled washcloths and frozen grapes, we were pampered and spoiled beyond belief. And we loved every minute of it!

the top five of costa rica- #3 FOOD

some sort of seafood/pasta deliciousness
(my grilled fish is in the background)

the view from one of our favorite dinner spots

The views from the hotspots we frequented for dinner (deemed as such by none other than Frommer’s, Foder’s, and now Adam and Kirst’s oh-so-selective critique) were certainly not the only perk of eating there… it seemed as though the local dishes were created specifically for us. Plentiful portions of grilled fish caught by local fisherman that morning complimented by mango, papaya, quince, tangerines and other fresh produce, beans and rice, and tropical sangria (just for Adam, of course)- GLORY!


the top five of costa rica- #2


I firmly believe that God, in His infinite wisdom of our needs, builds mandatory rest periods into life (ahem, mono my junior year of college), and I am so thankful that He brought Adam and I a season (well, a week) of r&r right now. Our to-do lists for this spring are bulging at the seams…and after May 23, we’ve heard that sleep will be but a distant memory. But for now, our bodies are renewed with the energy necessary to take on the many projects ahead of us. Thank you Lord for rest!


babymoon fabulousness

After a truly glorious week of lounging, swimming, hiking, basking and relaxing we are back home and trying (sort of unsuccessfully) to remember what normal life looks like. In the midst of reorganizing my classroom and unpacking this week, I’ll try to post some pictures (those of you who’ve been emailing and asking for belly shots, you’re in luck!) and the top 5 highlights of our trip.

#1 Manuel Antonio (the town we stayed in)

The part of Costa we visited boasts a monkey-meets-mahi, rainforest covered hills leveling into wide white sandy beaches, two-for-one sort of landscape. We’ve never visited the rainforest before and were surprised and delighted daily by the unique beach-meets-rainforest combo.

You’d think we’d get used to the wildly gorgeous views from our resort (and all the restaurants we ate at), but nope- just as stunning and amazing on Day 9 as on Day 1. And the surprise of spotting monkeys swinging through the trees bordering the beach, or of glancing up from my chaise next to the pool to notice an iguana lounging in the garden below us gave our “beach vacation” it’s own unique twist.



While we were in Costa Rica, the guy that made an offer on the flip house rescinded his offer. Such a bummer! I've been praying lately that the Lord would give me a thankful, faith-filled trust when we receive great news AND not-so-great news... and here's my chance to practice!

In my efforts to have a more thankful, eternal perspective, I've been reflecting on the priceless, extravagant blessings of the Lord. Just a few things to praise Him for: the grace of the cross, a too-good-to-be-true, don't deserve him husband, a life full of met needs and luxuries I don't need... the Lord has more than provided for us in all things in the past, and we trust Him with the flip house now.


what a week

I know that when I started this little blog, it was mostly to chronicle "life in the glorious middle," or that little stuff that happens day to day that makes life unique and great. And I know that it seems like I just keep posting "big news" (well, it doesn't seem like that, I DO keep posting big news)... dental school and trips to Costa Rica aren't every day for us. I promise, this string of excitement can't keep this pace for long (we'll be back to our normal glorious middle soon). But for now, it just keeps coming.
We got, and accepted, an offer on the flip house!
I don't think I've ever, in my life, had a week like this week... it feels like God is showering us with good news. It's extravagant really. And we are more thankful than I can say.
I'm posting all of this so that y'all can PRAISE THE LORD with us, and also join us in prayer that the inspection goes well Tuesday, that there are no little (or big) hangups, and that this offer goes through.
I wonder what next week will be like. :)