Saturday, December 18, 2010

Home Organizer, Budgets, and Christmas Homeschool Style

I began following a blog called Hearts of Wisdom.  It is a bit overwhelming at first, but I picked through it slowly.  It is an inspirational place for someone aspiring to manage and live a frugal, organized, and purposeful life.  There are a million ideas for a million topics.  One of the ones I recently dove into was a home organizer.  I have put mine together and put it to good use.  It has tips and ideas for meal planning and monthly freezer cooking as well.  Both are things I have done, but there is always room for improvement!

We went through our budget which will start our new year.  There has been so much improvement this year that it was fun to do it.  Now, we will be utilizing our envelope system to the fullest.  We have set aside money each month for things that will cost one lump sum like vacation, girl scouts, soccer.  Each month we will put the allotted amount into an envelope so when it comes time to pay for that, we will have it!  We feel so good about what we have accomplished and where we are going!  Good things are coming this year with great opportunities for us to grow and branch out. 

We have slowed down school for December but we have NOT slowed down cooking, baking, writing letters to Santa and learning about the giving, loving and gratefulness that comes with Christmas.  This means a little sacrifice, a little work, a lot of explaining and prayer about how to get our kids to understand Christmas is not about that letter and what's in it!  I suppose it is a bit of a process and a battle with society but so worth it.  That's what homeschool revolves around this time of year!

My recent moments...
-Mackenie's expanding vocabulary and behavior.  She just cracks us up!!!
-Anytime I have with Mike. 
-Coming home to a set up Christmas tree as a surprise from Mike!!
-Hot Chocolate with my girls at the Boardwalk.
-Walking into my sweet baby's room in the morning to hear an enthusiastic, "Hi Momma!!!" and get a pat on my back with a hug and a kiss!
-Madi still wanting to snuggle each night on the couch!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Blogging through the bible and 10 ways to earn money at home!!

Continuing with Isaiah
10 ways to earn money at home
Our recent frugal efforts

Continuing with Isaiah

I mentioned in the last blog that Isaiah really hit home.  The entire book was a succession from realization to change and growth and everything in between.  You turn your eyes in the right direction and suddenly the path becomes clear.  There is the realization that your dependence falls on God and your life will begin to take a shape, follow a path, and have a purpose.  God then deals with you and your change.  It is so much more comforting to know that God is dealing with me than it is to have no dealing whatsoever!  The best part is that God is patient in allowing me to make mistakes.  He is alright with the fact that I don't always get it right the first time.  I am so UN-perfect and so unworthy of the patience he offers me, yet he does it with grace.  Whenever I feel condemned, I know its not from Him!  Jesus was regularly condemned and did not let it affect His purpose.  No shame shall come to one whose found their power and might in God's eyes.  That is His purpose.  He is there to guide us through those times we feel so alone.  I know in my future, when I feel powerless, down, even bored or sloppy and lazy, this is the book that will draw my eyes.  It is full of inspiration, like a revival of the spirit, proving that God's house really does dwell within us.  We shine outward even at our weakest with His light inside of us.  That is pure refreshment.

10 ways to earn money from home
I have spoken of Dave Ramsey before, especially of recent as we won $3000 from him during his Christmas giveaway!  It was very exciting.  We have been working very hard at living a frugal life. Sometimes, ah, who am I kidding, most times, we decide staying in, cooking at home, and shopping at the thrift stores, or not getting our hair cut, carefully planning and shopping for groceries, doing without the expensive calling plans or internet on our phone...the list goes on, are our life's work right now.  This $3000 enabled us to give a little more, save a little more, and even buy ourselves Christmas presents for the first time in 3 years!!!  Along with Dave Ramsey's education came date nights involving budgets!  Hmm, not so romantic, but we make it as fun as it can be.  Also comes creative income earning.  We have sold things on eBay that were doing nothing in some random closet, I have been writing articles online, and Christmas is when I sell the books I wrote a few years back.  I have looked at multiple ways to earn income and have come up with a handful of great ideas and linked them up to some of the resources I have found.

10.  Sell on EBay  This can be as simple as getting rid of "stuff" to becoming a seller with your own store. You can use thrift stores for this or or hunt down treasure!  Either way, there is a great profit to be made on eBay.  You can also use Upillar which is like eBay only without the fees!

9.  Have a bake sale or a small food business from your house.  Has anyone ever told you how great those cookie bars are?  Are you the one everyone turns to for a special appetizer?  Maybe you can make some in your very own kitchen and sell them to local businesses or to locals at their parties!

8.  Garage Sale  Don't want to bother with online selling or shipping stuff?  Sell it right out of your house and the get rid of it in the same day!  Garage sales are a great way to not only make money but simplify your life.

7.  Personal Trainer  This one takes a person who enjoys fitness but can be done on a very flexible schedule!

6.  Tutor/music lessons  If you have been a certified teacher or are an expert musician, you can take students in and make a decent amount of extra income!

5.  In home daycare  A lot of homes are finding one income too difficult and are left having to put their children into daycare.  As a parent, I know I feel better with an in home daycare.  They are more personal.  this is something you can do at home and with children!

4.  Write online  If you like to write and you have a topic you know a lot about, you can apply here and make a little extra cash!  If you have always wanted to write a children's book or a novel and don't know where to send it, The Writer's Market gives you all you could possibly want to know about publishers, agents and more!

3.  Coupons  There is a lot to be said for "how" to coupon.  It is money in your pocket.  We have cut our grocery bill by about $100 a week.  I'd say $400 a month is a decent income!

2.  Your own B&B  Have you ever dreamed of owning a bed and breakfast?  It is a possible 7 day a week business but can be pretty lucrative and allow you to stay home to work!  Some people have even begun renting rooms in their own homes as vacation rooms to Europeans visitors!  Something to consider if you have spare rooms in your home and live in a tourist destination.

1.  Make and sell  If you have a skill like quilting, painting, crocheting, sewing or anything of the like, you should consider selling your items in local boutique stores, at flea markets, or craft fairs.

I love the idea of creative income.  It takes matters into our own hands.  I am slowly making my way around this list.  But any income is good income. Post a comment with any ideas you may have right here, on Facebook, or drop me an email!  I love hearing new was to make money!  I will be sure to share them!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reading through the bible...Isaiah

I mentioned in my last blog that I had to catch up on blogging what I have read so today is about Isaiah.  I felt like this book has really struck home for me so forgive me in advance for possibly getting emotional!  I wasted a lot of years being down on myself for mistakes and poor decisions.  Too oftenI felt like I didn't deserve good things or good people in my life.  Sometimes this included friends.  A few years ago I began to feel as if I couldn't be any lower and that is when the reality hit me.  I was being stripped so I could be rebuilt.  Like an antique piece of furniture.  The beautiful part of this is that I know I have a lot more coming and I look forward to my restructuring...Isaiah pointed all of this out for me.

It begins with the recognition of the need for change and follows with God's desire to teach us His ways.  He takes away the earthly things so we will turn to and depend on Him and only Him. God is selfish like that!  It is His desire to use us!  How often do we want to be used?  But I can tell you, He can use me however He please because that means He loves me!  He has to cleanse us before that.  Sin has to be dealt with.  All of the years that I spent being so down on myself and feeling so undeserving, God was simply showing, teaching, and reteaching me until I could wake up and learn the lesson.  Why did I keep encountering the same problems over and over?  Because I was too stubborn to learn it the first time, the second time, and more!  I am pretty stubborn.  He knows I have a heart that belongs to Him even if it doesn't perform perfectly for Him all the time. 

God wants us to enjoy peace.  He knows what our lives need to be peaceful and He is the only one who has the qualifications to make those decisions.  One thing I have learned in the recent years of my life is when I can't seem to figure out why something won't go my way is to stop, take a step back and turn back to asking God to take the wheel.  Trust, faith and pixie dust, right? 

I have a lot more to say about Isaiah as it relates to the past and future, but I am pretty certain it is too much to fit into one blog, so I will leave this to be continued!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Living Frugally Thus Strangely!

I know I am really behind in blogs here, but in my defense we have had multiple computer failures and my computer time has been nearly non-existant.  But, I am back and ready to update.

We have had quite a few months here in our house.  I am still working my way through the bible.  I have finished Isaiah and have almost comleted Jeremiah but I will have to blog that later as I have some frugal things to discuss this time.  Some years back, we made the decision and took the steps to begin living a debt free life together and to pass that on to our kids.  We counted back and discovered we have not touched a credit card in almost 3 years and have never looked back!  EVER!  This meant huge changes.  We were not wasteful spenders to begin with but we didn't think twice about eating out or getting hair cuts.  I didn't worry too much about exactly what we were buying at the grocery store or even throwing food away.  That is naming just a few.  We began studying Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.  It was, without a doubt, the smartest thing we have ever done.  We began building an emergency fund and paying off our debts.  Dave's baby steps lead you to be prepared in an emergency with simple steps.  His theory proved itself 5 times over in the last 6 weeks.  Yes, I said 5.  Baby step 1 guides you to save a $1,000 emergency fund.  This is for EMERGENCIES!  Cars, air, septics, falling trees, broken pools, you know, things that don't happen very often.  Unless your last name is Sawyer!!!!  They all happened to us since September!  We had to cut down some trees that had large holes in them and were hanging over our house and screen room.  LARGE trees requiring special equipment and climbing.  $1200.  In the same week our air and septic tank broke.  Combo of $500.  The salt cell in our pool went out leading to the possiblilty of destroying our whole system.  $1200.  We thought we were on the mend when Mike's clutch went on his car after 7 years.  That was a whopping $1400.  Had this been a year ago, we would have both had heart attacks and would not only have been left without being able to pay for it all, but would have had medical bills to boot!  Complete credit goes to our planning and work we have done through our pal Dave!  Because we have worked on having no debt, cutting back expenses in ways most people we know have never thought of, and saved, saved, and found more ways of saving, we came out the other side of what could have been a complete and total disaster...VIRTUALLY uscathed!  Mike has even parted ways with his most prized collections of...well...stuff, so we could sell it along with things we do not need or use anymore, just to squeeze out some more saving!  Which leads me to...

Our home's collective changes.  We have taught our kids, mainly the 6 year old as the 1 year old has little say, that shopping at thrift stores brings on bigger and better treasures, that waiting patiently means getting a better deal, therefore saving money for something else later, and how to spend, save and give our money.  She earns money and divides it up.  She also helps me with planning our meals and couponing.  She has been studying Dave Ramsey in Homeschool in his JUNIOR set.  She puts it into practice with some amazing tools!  We eat out only when we have saved to do so.  We budget every litlle action in and we try to never, ever make impulse purchases.  We do not "deserve" a Starbucks.  But one day, we will have saved enough money to have Starbucks money anytime we want it.  It is not something that is within our means right now except on the occasional meeting or when friends are kind enough to give you their packages of coffee that include a coupon for a free one!  (You know who you are;) )  Living within our means has taken some sacrifice, planning and even crazy looks from people who think us cheap, crazy, and weird!  And to those, I say, WE ARE!!  And proud of it.  Mike works 7 days a week every single week with the exception of days he takes vacation pay for or there is a holiday that would account for missing hours.  It is always a loss of either time or money to get a day with him.  ALWAYS!  One day, we will call the Dave Ramsey Show and scream at the top of our lungs, "We're debt freeeeeeee!!!"  Heck, we may even fly up to his office and stand in the lobby and scream it!  We have 2 rental properties, my car, and a medical bill and then its our turn.  What freedom.  What liberation! 

I wrote an article on tips for things to do that are simple ways to start helping to save money in your home.  I have practiced and planned, failed and started over many times.  One thing we will not so is give up!

Oh the many moments...
-An entire day with Mike and the girls at Universal where I got to see Wizarding World for the first time.
-Magic Kingdom with my girls and I walking around and just plain having fun. 
-An unexpected trip with some of our closes friends to Universal.  The best part is their willingness to keep me company in my sometimes lonliness missing my husband! (Mitchell's you rock!)
-Watching our little family change and see our desire to help others. 
-Helping a ton in a situation where we didn't have to, expecting and receiving nothing and being glad to walk away unnoticed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Using Swagbucks

I wanted to post a quick note about using Swagbucks.  Swagbucks is an online portal dedicated to helping you earn digital dollars called "Swag Bucks", which can be redeemed for exclusive merchandise.  It seems way more difficult than it is.  I actually got a toolbar where I would normally type google searches and when I search I will randomly earn these bucks on my account.  I can later redeem them for things like gift cards, electronics, and a multitude of other items.
If you are learning to be frugal and looking into ways to get things for free, this was super easy and worth my time.  In the short time I have been doing this, with little to no effort, I have earned 250 SB and it takes only 500 to get an amazon gift card!!!  Basically a free book...I'll take it!
I am giving the multi-purpose mom seal of approval!  Click HERE and check it out for yourself!  You 60 just for signing up!
Happy searching!!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blogging through the bible and frugal living at its best

In this blog:

Song of Solomon
Gazelle Intense
Life as a home school family

Song of Solomon is nothing short of a love story.  I have to preface this with I don't like poetry.  This book reads like poetry.  I love...LOVE...did I mention LOOOOOOOVVVVEE to read.  But poetry has never really done it for me.  I believe this book was about the kind of man/husband Soloman wished he was.  He was not the greatest man when it came to being a husband, but here, he demonstrates virtuous qualities exhibiting an exemplary man.  I also noted that there was some hesitation from her.  I almost got the sense she was not sure she wanted only him, but it quickly turned to a sense of absolute love and commitment to form an unbreakable bond.  

Gazelle Intensity
We have completed Financial Peace University .  This is from Dave Ramsy who is a financial expert and debt expert.  We have turned our finances around over the last few years to work for us.  This has taken a lot.  It has taken sacrifice, time, practice, discipline, relentless saving, a multitude of mistakes, and most of all it has taken teamwork.  We have had to be on the same page all the time.  We have had to make all of our decisions as a couple.  This was not the hard part for us.  The hardest part has been limiting our "entertainment" at the expense of our social life.  Now we don't have one so it is getting easier!!  We watch as our friends go out to eat and go on vacations.  We sit back and enjoy our blockbuster membership and call it entertainment.  We do great accepting this most of the time, but it gets hard and we give in...sometimes a lot, but most times we remain firm in our position to build a future for us and our girls.  Part of Dave's plan starts off with building a $1,000 emergency fund as step 1.  Then you pay off all debt as step 2.  Then you build a 3-6 month savings as step 3.  We are moving slowly through these steps, but in one month's time we have gone through 2 emergency funds!!  UGH!  The setbacks can get frustrating!  But this is where Dave says to use "Gazelle Instensity".  We are continuing to work as hard as we can, save in every area we can (without totally depriving ourselves and kids though), and we analyze every expense.  We feel annoyed at our sacrifices, but we keep going as hard and fast as we can to making our money work for us!  We made the decision for me to home school and be our home's manager and this means sacrifice. 

Home School Adventures
We are full swing into our full-time school year.  I say full-time because during the summer we only do a few days a week and we don not attend specials at the elementary school.  Madison is doing an amazing job in her school work and really coming along well.  She goes to the school to take music, art, PE, Spanish and they even have a science class.  It is a great opportunity for her and I don't have to try to teach art!  Yay for me!  It is fun with Mackenzie now at an age to "play" with us.  She works on coloring and shape sorting as best she can.  It has been a great start to our year and I can see that by the end of this school year, Madi is going to be a pro.  Our schedule gets very hectic and getting all of our work done gets to be a challenge, but we stay flexible and that is perfect for us. 

-Madi picking Mackenzie up off the floor when she fell and Mackenzie crying out for her big sissy!
-Our yard and its expansion as the suset can now be seen over the lake!
-The four of us playing on the swings.
-Madison reading a book to Mackenzie.
-Daddy and Mackenzie in the mornings as they "talk".

I don't always have control over things, in fact most times I don't.  But watching my little family grow and change is proving to me it isn't in my control anyway!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Washington D.C. trip, writing work and reading throught the bible: Ecclesiastes

Mount Vernon in October 2006Image via WikipediaIn this post:
Our trip to Washington D.C.
Plugging and chugging on writing

Check me out on Facebook.  I put up deals and tips that I find!

Our Trip to D.C 
We have officially concluded our summer.  In our home school, we continue part time through the summer.  Since the end of last school year, we have been working from Cantering the Country.  It is a curriculum based around all of the states.  Each state includes unit studies, (except math), that revolve around the state.  We worked most of the summer on Washington D.C. and concluded the summer with a little field trip!!  We took a train, where we got to spend a night in the sleeper car!  We were treated like royalty!  We had 3 meals and got to eat steaks and anything we wanted for breakfast.  We got amazing dessert!  It was quite a big part of our journey!  Upon arrival in Washington, we went right to our hotel, put down our bags and hit the ground we would normally tend to do.  Mackenzie and Madison were troopers and kept up with little to no complaint even while potty training!!!!  
We immersed ourselves in the history of our country and soaked in the energy the surrounds this bustling city.  We walked everywhere we went, equaling about 25-30 total miles!!!  GO MADI!  Mount Vernon was about 15 miles outside of the city so we took a van there.  Talk about inspiring...Washington left a legacy for honor and respect that is difficult to match.  Our founding fathers truly had a grasp on things.  We met some amazing people...families old and young.  We even went out to dinner with a couple our age who shared the trip back from Mount Vernon with us.  A beautiful thing to have such an amazing conversation with such like-minded people.  Above all, we were together and that felt important to each one of us.  It was just perfect to be all together no matter what it was we did.  We visited Arlington on our last day there.  I found it hard to contain tears as I witnessed, even for the third time, the lives lost throughout our country's history, so many never even identified.  We watched the changing of the guard.  We had studied them a lot as well before going and the prestige this position holds is like few others in the military.  These volunteers, yes volunteers, take this position very, very seriously, and consider this the highest honor.  We left Washington on the train again, feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment in establishing the roots of our country within our children...
As much as I would love to report that I am succeeding in this area, I am honestly just plugging along.  Sometimes I get frustrated and want to stop altogether and others, I want to push as hard as I can until I get noticed.  I feel my hands fall idle all too often as I am consumed with daily life.  I need to be writing every single day and I am absolutely not.  I have submitted my children's books to every agent that accepts this type of work at this time.  Now I wait.   In the meantime, I work at finding a more organized day to write MORE!!!!
In finishing Ecclesiastes, I have discovered, I couldn't have come across this book at a better time.  I found several parts that struck me, yet the entire book applies to me.  Perhaps my second favorite part though is the root of a popular song... 
Ecclesiastes 3
I read this entire book feeling like a fool.  I speak too much,  I need to be more content with what I have,  I need to stop searching outward because God made mankind to be upright!  It cannot be made any more simple!  11:5 tells us you cannot understand the work of your maker! But topping the list is 10:20-
20 Do not revile the king even in your thoughts,
       or curse the rich in your bedroom,
       because a bird of the air may carry your words,
       and a bird on the wing may report what you say.
And THAT, my friends, is all I have to say about that!

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reading through the bible and living simply!

 In this blog:



Saving has taken on some new strides and fun challenges for me.  I have continued with aiming at only buying the dollar or less deals.  Realistically, this is not possible on ALL items, but it has been possible on most.  I have organized myself in an efficient way for me.  I never clip out coupons from inserts anymore.  I keep all the inserts in a tray with a date.  I do have an envelope system organized in categories for loose coupons I receive in the mail or pick up at the store and such.  I also have my organizer which I bring to the store.  It is labeled by store.  I mainly shop Publix and CVS, but if I come across really good deals at other stores, they are listed too.  I have always aimed to save as much as I spend but lately, I have been surpassing in the savings area!  YEH!  I have been making trips to CVS where I walk away with overages and Extra Care Bucks!  We also took advantage of tax free days and coupons we had saved up for JC Penny and Belk.  We ended up with $350 worth of back to school clothes for $46!!!!!  We are trying to teach Madi that if we are patient rather than buying what we want, the moment we want it, we will get to save our money for bigger, better things.  I have had the opportunity to teach people lately what I have learned and it has taken on a life of its own!  It feels so good to have these things to tell people.  It feels like hitting the lottery when you can walk away with so much good food to give your family and not have to pay $300/WEEK!  I MUST SHARE!!!!


We home schooled part-time during the summer.  We are back now to full-time.  We have been talking about Washington D.C. most of the summer.  We are working from a curriculum called Cantering the Country which takes you through every state and teaches multiple subject lessons surrounded by the state.  We did D.C. this summer because we are going there!!  We decided that it was time Madison learned about her country since last year we focused on the start of our country.  We are taking a train to get up there and this, in itself, is going to be amazing!


Proverbs has been my focus.  I could tell you a million things I have absorbed followed by a trillion I humanly glazed over.  I love the simplicity.  It seems so basic.  Shun evil.  Turn away from unwise choices and trust God.  You will find peace in this.  Who'da thunk that discipline and wisdom could be good things?  But, as desperately as I may strive, the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 will be the death of me!  Hmmm, how??  That's all I have to say about her!  Love to hate! 

I have been struggling lately because I have been seeing a lot of people fighting and struggling over religious freedoms.  Since teaching Madison about the foundations of our country, I have revisited the things that make us such a desirable place to live.  Those who choose to have beliefs opposite of mine have the right to practice those.  As should I.  This is just one example I recently heard.  A group of people praying discreetly on the steps of the Supreme Court Building.  They were asked to stop because it was a publicly funded place.  This is disheartening.  Turns out, these people were praying for the coming decisions that had to be made and that they would make the best decisions for the country.  Why is this so offensive to people?  I guess I just don't understand in my possible naivety.  This leads me to my next struggle.  It seems that most, and I stress most, of the world has a common goal.  Religion and prayer aside.  That common goal is for the good of all mankind.  We all seem to want to see goodness.  This means being kind and in most cases moral.  I know morality is a shady line but lets just say, for the most part, people want to be good!  So, why is it that people look at someone like me and say, "If your God isn't real, then you followed all the lies of this false book for nothing."  The things I read in the bible lead to me to the elusive goodness we really do all have a heart for.  It leads me to peaceful resolutions, strong relationships, it helps me worry less and seek to help others, selflessly, more often.  It teaches me that I am not the only person in my world and how much good there is to do.  There are a multitude of other "lies" right???  I read this bible because I want to attain that level of tranquility.  Doesn't it seem that most people want tranquility and to help other people?  So, if I get that from this book, then is my time reading it truly wasted and am I truly a burden to others for wanting people to know what I have learned?   I WILL NOT......EVER....judge someone for not reading it.  I WILL NOT...EVER...judge someone for not believing in MY AWESOME GOD.  Not unless you trample on me and my beliefs.  We need to all be loving and support each other no matter WHAT we believe because regardless of religion, the majority of us have the MOST common of goals. 


I have not done moments in a while. 

-Mike doing his show.  I hadn't seen it in a while he never ceases to impress me!
-Mackenzie in now potty trained, though I am aware this is a lifetime moment!
-Our small group laughing and bonding over a chapter we are reading on we ALL had reason to WHINE over!

-Reconnecting family members.  Absolutely a beautiful sight!

-Nighttime summer swimming with Mike and Madi!

This is a tiny, tiny taste.  As summer comes to a close and the new school year opens for us, I anticipate we will be met with a vast number of moments.  It can be challenging and it can be simple.  it all depends on your attitude.  I plan a good attitude...its going to be a great year!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Shopping Frugally and Summertime Happenings

After my couponing class, I made some minor changes.  For one thing, I paid much closer attention to how my coupons were organized.  A while back, I stopped clipping and began just dating the insert and putting it in folders by month.  This has worked out SPECTACULARLY!!!!  I love this method.  I have always have the problem of not having enough coupons.  Then I found the Whole Coupon Inserts.  So that solves one problem, but this causes a NEED to be an even better planner.  I need to plan by Monday, which is the earliest I have discovered, to get the match-ups for the next week.  I Heart Publix  does this.  I am still learning that site because I was using Southern Savers.  Once I discover what I want to get, if I need multiple coupons, I can go the Whole Coupon Inserts and get the ones I need.  So what is the result of all of this???   I had always aimed to save as much as I spent.  But this week, I spent $61 and saved $93, which I incorrectly listed on my facebook.  This included the large box of diapers, product, a ton of grocery items,  and several soy milks!! 

I also have a piece of advice.  I use printed coupons.  I used to have a terrible problem because I could not print from my computer.  I watched deals slip through my fingers.  I know you cans till save a ton without printing, but we invested $200 in a laptop.  It took 6 weeks of printing to save that much and I had paid for our computer.  Now the investment has returned 10 fold!!!  I know a lot of people will say they cannot afford it.  I don't think we could either, but we REALLY sacrificed during the six weeks and now to see as much savings from those printables as we have, it is sooooo worth it!  You can get used ones for even cheaper!  I have spoken to a few friends about this and I must admit, I didn't want to buy a new computer, but honestly it became a money maker!

Even better??  Yes, Mike found a used desktop for Madison's schooling for $150...NOW I can print 4 times!!!!!!!  This is how I did my last trip!  I had soooooo many coupons.  I could save that pretty quick now.  In that shopping trip alone, there were $10 printed in coupons just from THAT new computer! 

Just think about it.  Sacrifice a few things.  I bet you could come up with one or two things!! 

Now summer time has been the most amazing time.  We have spent so much time in the water, at dollar movies and splash pads!  Now we are studying up on Washington, D.C. for our upcoming trip!  We are so excited.  Madison cannot wait to visit the Smithsonian!  My girls are bonding so well as sisters and what an amazing adventure it has been.  I have loved watching them!  It has been a constant reminder of how thankful I need to be that I CAN be with them everyday to watch.  Blessed!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blogging Through the Bible and Coupon Class!!

In this blog:
Beginning Proverbs
Writing Adventures
Coupon Class/Ideas

I have finally made my way out of Psalms.  I must admit, I was drawn in here for a while.  It has a lot to do with a study I am doing with my small group called Celebration of Discipline.  Parts of this book include meditation, study and prayer and where better for me to practice those than Psalms.  Though now I am seeing the same trend in Proverbs.  So, needless to say, in the beginning of the year, I followed this schedule to read the bible in 90 days but if I really wanted to absorb it, it will have to take longer...onward!!!

I am writing the inserts in Destiny Walkers, (my novel for anyone who doesn't know).  One of the male characters needed some elaboration, so he is becoming a little more detailed.  I decided to do most of this the old fashioned way...writing on the paper!  It is so much more gratifying this way!  Kids books have been submitted in multiple formats and to multiple agencies.  They are Christmas books and no one seems to be looking for that.  I will keep working on it.  The rest of my writing is the usual stuff.  I always love when I get to write!

I went to a coupon class this week and discovered I am doing a pretty good job at this.  I knew almost everything I heard.  I USE about 90% of it.  So, that being said, I learned this:
-I need to better organize my searches.  
-Plan ahead further.
-Take advantage of overages.  (This is when you have stacked coupons from store, manufacturer, competitors and came out over the actual price.  It can be applied to your other groceries as long as you do not go below zero.  You cannot do this with just a manufacturer's coupon.)The reason for this is for times I do not have coupons for produce or meat, which seems to be a bit difficult though in the class, she said I just need to look harder!  Hmmmm....might be debatable in my opinion!  Anyone found good produce/meat coupons?  I have found a few but not stellar in any way.

What does that look like?  It means on Mondays, I will go to to find out what the deals are at Publix starting the following week, which begins on Thursday.  If there are items I can stock up on at a superb price or even an overage, I am going to get multiple coupons for that item.  How will I get multiple coupons since I only get one paper???  An amazing site called Whole Coupon Inserts.  Here, you can order in bulk an insert that you may want, like Red Plum, Smart Source, P&G and you pay about .50 which is half as much as the paper and 1/10 the mess of paper!  I am trying to make couponing as simple as possible yet save as much as possible.  This is a process and I am still learning for sure!

One last bit of input on some things I learned and have read recently.  People have mentioned getting coupons for free.  I do not plan to follow these ideas but here they are.  You can search libraries for left over papers and ask if you can take the inserts.  Also, coffee places or restaurants where people bring in papers and leave them (like Panera, Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts), also recycle bins where people will throw out the inserts!  My theory is this is a lot of work to save .50.  I will be more than happy to pay .50 for an extra insert sent right to my house!

My summer with my girls has been beyond awesome.  We have had some serious fun bonding time together.  We are doing some school here and there but with very little structure!  We have been in the pool or water most of the time.  We have also hung out with our friends and made some day trips like dollar movies, springs, science center, library, pools at home and at Disney!  We have also done fountain/splash pads.  My girls have been so good and really grown a lot together and with me.  The only thing that would make it more perfect is if Mike was with us more often!  He has found some time to do fun things this summer though and that has been awesome.  I love being with my girls and although it gets hard sometimes to have very little big girl time, it doesn't take much to remind me that I would not trade it for the world.

Come see me on Facebook.  I post things quite regularly for freebies I find valuable and shopping trips I have made. 

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

My friends' lives and CVS trip

Life is happening all over the place lately.  I have been getting the feeling lately that I should be thinking about some friends and their life happenings.   I can only attribute it to my journey through Psalms, but it has been weighing on my heart.  I have a list of friends and family  that I pray for and then a list of things that pop up.  But lately the things that have been popping up all over the place.  Names will remain anonymous.  This may seem a little poetic rather than factual but it is just a few thoughts about some people that are somehow close to my heart.

I have been toiling through these ideas about my friends and family (and friends of friends and family).  The sadness and loss for one.  How broken and life altering events can happen and someone can handle it with grace, strength and positivity that in my wildest imagination I couldn't have.  A few are always wondering why things go up and down and why do things keep happening to them?  Perhaps a loss of spirituality?  Perhaps a loss of faith?  The feelings of depression mixed with the speed of life and things occurring at break neck speed without feeling like they are a part of it or their loved ones lives.  Another who feels unlovable.  Possible acting out with destructive behavior.  Not wanting to connect with people on a deeper level.  Has been hurt so bad and damaged so much and cannot seem to return to a life of true, honest love.  Who has the ability to love beyond a capacity for most but will not allow it to happen.  Another who's life is on the mend and because of endurance, strength, love and will, is actually getting somewhere,  Not giving in.  Not letting others make the rules.  Still others who are working so hard and putting everything they have into their true passions and reaping the joy of life's reciprocating response.  The emotions involved when you put your value and your worth on amazing things and on fruitless things.  Seeing life come to fruition and seeing it plateau and never change.  The phases my loved ones go in and out of.  The desire for change but the lack of desire to do anything about it.

I can turn all of that onto myself.  I can say I have experienced most of this.  I can also say I have not experienced some of it.  But regardless, I think about these people and what is going on for them with a heavy heart for some and a joyous heart for the others.  I don't know if any of that made sense but these nameless people above are real.  They have somehow affected my life and I am praying for them.  I am thinking and in some cases crying for them.  It has been a bit of an emotional week.

However, my emotions cannot stop me from shopping with my couponing, frugal passion.  I went to CVS yesterday and bought 2 bottles of Windex, 2 Glade scented oil refills, Pantene shampoo and conditioner, John Freida shampoo and conditioner, a hallmark card, 2 Old Spice body washes, and 2 Gillette body washes.  I handed them a bunch of coupons and $4, they handed me my stuff and $3 in extra care bucks.  PLUS I will be getting $5 in the mail from SC Johnson for buying 3 of their products.  Now, this is an example of what I mean when I try to tell people that just because they eat organic or they can't find coupons for the foods they eat, this is something ALL of us use.  It is worth the 30 minutes. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Psalms and life without printer ink...

In this blog...
Life without printer ink

I had begun reading Psalms on my quest to my way through the bible cover to cover.  I had gotten halfway through and found a study that interested me.  I was looking to better understand the history of Psalms.  This book was a bit of a mystery and I stumbled upon this site.  I am currently going through the book Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster.  Last month we covered the discipline of study so in a concerted effort to apply what I am learning, I wanted to delve deeper when I reached my mysterious book of Psalms.  I began the book over, this time using the study as a secondary resource.  It has taken on a whole new meaning.  I knew there was a Psalm for just about everything you can think of to pray about.  In fact, when studying the discipline of meditation, it was suggested to pick scripture to meditate on and Psalms was my first choice.  I have truly enjoyed, thus far, seeing a behind the scenes look into not just the book, but the authors of each chapter, where they were in their lives when they were writing, who they were directing to...and the like.  I was particularly taken with the Truly Happy Man and the Mark of a True Worshiper.  These Psalms can truly show your weaknesses and strengths.  God's desires are plain and clear.  We just need to be open and willing to accept them.  We are going to be studying confession in Celebration of Discipline and I look forward to comparing that to Psalm 32, the Blessedness of Confessing Sin. 

Life without printer ink 
My printer ran out of ink when I was trying to print out my book.  This is bad in that ink is very, very pricey and I cannot print out coupons without ink.  I was going to be smart and get my ink refilled at Walgreens for about $12, which I have done in the past.  Not this time, however.  My ink cartridge woulsd not work in their either of the two stores they sent me to.  I truly felt the value of my time when I realized how long I wasted driving and waiting for ink that couldn't be filled.  One store thought it was their machine and sent me to another store who also couldn't fill it.  Thankfully, while waiting, I was utilizing my time wisely by accomplishing things that needed to be done, but the driving part and even the ten extra minutes of waiting really got to me!  That is when you know your time is valuable!  Needless to say, I may have to break down and buy new ink.  Research on cheap ink is on my horizon!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What does it mean to be frugal?

Frugal if a lifestyle choice.  Plain.  Simple. 

There is a vast majority of things that are encompassed in being frugal.  I believe frugal means something different to everyone.  Here is a picture of what frugal looks like to me.  Let me preface with, I am no Picasso, but I can verbally paint a decent image.

First of all, I am not a stay at home mom.  I am a home manager.  I manage an entire household.  This means everything I do that saves us money, earns us money.  Therefore, we do not eat out very often.  In most cases, we eat out when we have a gift card.  Sometimes we eat Chick-Fil-A, though the cost of that is sometimes the equivalent of eating at Chili's, I tell you!  In fact, when we plan our budget, we do not even put in eating out, just yet.  I cook dinner every night with plans for left overs for Mike to take to work and the girls and I to eat.  We do not buy clothes.  Though my husband gave me $75 for Mother's Day for which I went to every thrift store in town and got enough clothes to last me the rest of the year...or, well, you know!  A lot.  I plan grocery shopping trips like most people plan a vacation.  I deal match everything and use coupons upon coupons to make sure I am getting the best prices.  This often means planning my meals around what is on sale.  I try not to shop at multiple store if I can avoid it though it happens and I appreciate when I am saving that much!  I look at that time and effort as income.  I do a lot of reading of blogs where people do similar things so I can get meal and shopping ideas as well as just good tips for my house management.  We watch movies from Blockbuster online.  We play in our pool and our backyard for fun.  We do not get babysitters.  Thankfully, we have gracious family and friends who will take our girls when we need it!  We combine trips out to save on gas which means having some fore thought when leaving the house.  We rarely do things without discussing it first.  Any purchase is researched and double checked and researched again.  Mike bargains and barters.  A LOT.  With bills, with purchases, even with the guys who take care of our cars.  When you shop locally and with family or privately owned places, you can do this type of thing.  Not to mention, you keep locals in business.  We grow veggies and raise chickens for eggs.  We did not cut out cable but we did cut it to a minimum.  We did not cut out cell phones, but we cut them to a minimum.  We still have 2 cars because Mike commutes and hour to work and works 7 days a week.  Hence my next fact.  Mike works 2 jobs.  I stay home to home school our 6 year old and keep our 1 year old out of day care.  We are careful with electricity and water, but not obsessive.  We reuse paper in the printer.  We fill the sink before washing a large load of dishes.  We make sure the washer and dishwasher are all the way loaded before turning them on.  Thoughtful things that we have learned over time to save lots of pennies that turn into dollars.

These are a few things that we do, but I am sure when I really think about it, parts have become second nature and I don't think of them as frugal anymore.  Like I previously mentioned, it becomes a lifestyle.

Now the questions come...why????  Why do we do this?  We have 2 girls.  We live in an unstable economy.  We live on 1 income.  We like our home.  We want to keep our home.  But the most important reasons came from our good friend Dave Ramsey.  Well, we like to think of him that way, though he has no idea who we are.  His motto is "If you will live like no one else, then later, you can live like no one else."  We don't want to find out when we are 60 that there is no Social Security and the little savings we had put away didn't earn enough interest.  We want to save with intention and purpose and that purpose is we want to depend on ourselves.  We are on a long journey of saving and living a different lifestyle than those around us.  Mike gets teased on a regular basis for not going out with the guys after work and just going home.  I like to think its cause he thinks his wife is cool!  I don't have all the newest clothes and coolest shoes.  We only go to the movies when we can get in free.  I bring our snack by the way!!  Our living room stays unpainted and our kitchen utensils are old.  But everything still works and we want for NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!  We are blessed beyond our deserving and are grateful everyday that Mike comes home and still has a job.  The best part is, we plan to live like we are grateful until we die.

'Nough said?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Home schooling, frugal momma came from somewhere...

Let start off by saying this blog will show you my fiery side...proceed with caution!

I am finding lately that we are a minority.  I don't mean our ethnicity, I just mean our lifestyle choices.  It is a fact I have always known, but have come head to head with quite frequently recently.

First of all we are Christian.  A lot of our friends are not.  Some are but do not practice.  Other are even atheist or something close to it.  Some are just in a limbo of sorts.  We love them no matter how different our beliefs are.

Next, we are choosing to live a traditional lifestyle where I stay home and raise the kids, take care of the home and even home school.  This is the area we meet the most debate in.  I have truly felt a lack of respect as an individual as of late.  In fact, one person went so far as to say, "You're just a stay at home mom."  Others believe I have a schedule I can just drop whenever they need me to help them.  Some wonder if I do anything all day.  "Man, I wish I could just stay home all day and play."  Yes, cause that is exactly what I do.    If you don't know me very well, let me tell you that I am 33 with a husband and 2 children ages 6 and 1.  It is harder to stand up for what we chose than it is to take the responsibility of caring for my house and my family.  Most times I can stand firm.  But there are a few occasions where I truly wish I had a "real" job so I could gain respect as a human being!!  How sad is that?  

I came from somewhere, you know.  I went to college and became a teacher.  I taught for several years before taking what was my college job as an aerial acrobat and turning it into a career change.  I got into stunts and performing live at Disney as Jane in the Tarzan Rocks show.  I loved what I did.  I got to work on some film and tv and travel a bit.  I even got paid a good amount of money!  It was my job before and after having kids and I could still do it today if I wanted, but my choice right now is to raise my kids.  I have written some children's books that were once published, though not anymore, and have completed a novel.  That life is a has-been life.  A life I was proud of, but it is not me now.  Now my husband and I defend ourselves to everyone.  And I mean everyone.  I am just now getting back to writing thanks to my blog.  It has sparked me a little, but in order to fit it into my schedule, I have had to cut out working out for a while.  Otherwise there is not time for school, planning and children.  It is scheduled in.

It is my desire that anyone who questions the lifestyle of a stay at home mom or dad or a home school parent, at the very least, observes them for a while.  Take a few steps in their shoes before you assume they are playing coloring and finger painting all day and are around to be at everyone else's disposal.  Understand that it takes strength and endurance like I never knew even as an acrobat.  It takes patience and kindness while being able to discipline and manage.  I quite literally manage our household!

We take hits on a regular basis for living a little more frugally than most people we know.  We have been doing this for a few years and are seeing the reward now.  When I tell someone I shop at several stores so I can keep my groceries down they tell me they don't have time.  That must mean I have lots of it right?  No, it is just my choice to make THAT part of my JOB.  We also choose not to eat out.  That is why I cook EVERY night and make sure we have left overs.  I plan our meals with schedules in mind.  Remember that schedule I mentioned?  Yes.  I have a schedule. It probably doesn't look like yours but that doesn't make it easy.  We also drive frugally.  We combine trips and when we leave the house we route exactly where we are going so we do not have to do any unnecessary driving.  I am a deal seeker.  We choose to live like this so later in our lives we can do as we please.

I was somebody pretty cool.  I loved telling people what I used to do.  So why now, does it feel like something I need to defend when the outcome of what I am doing will be so much greater than anything I ever did in my past?  Why is going against our culture for our family so difficult for others to accept?  Are we hurting anyone?

I just thought I'd ask.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Study of Psalms and some summer fun for free....

My study
Free summer fun

My study

I discovered this website when deciding to study Pslams a little more in depth.  I must say, I could probably spend the whole year studying this book.  But I have decided that I am going to keep pressing forward without pausing too long just yet.  After I complete reading through the bible cover to cover, i am going to read it again, though in a different order.  The seeds are sprinkling right now and by the next time through, they will have begun to take a small root. 

I think most people turn to Psalms when they are in need of prayer.  Pslams covers praising God, affirming his that Christ is the Messiah, and there is a Psalm for every human emotion.  I recently discovered through a study we are doing called Celebration of Discipline, about HOW to meditate.  I guess I really never understood what it was.  One of the suggested methods was to meditate on a specific scripture.  The first thing that popped into my mind was Psalms.  So in studying, I realized what a great way to study it, by finding the emotions that suit you at the time and meditate on it.  I love the concept.  No, that is not the only way to meditate of course, but a method that I love.

Therefore the book of Psalms can be used as a hymnal, prayer book, to strengthen your faith in Christ, and a guide to teach us how to live more Christ-like.

Free summer fun

I have been on a quest to find some things for the summer that will enable us to have A LOT of fun without breaking the budget!  I was reading a blog and came across this.  Looks like fun!!  I am an out and about kind of person but I run out of ideas and also I am impatient so when it comes to planning things like this, I fall very, very short!  I don't want to reinvent the wheel, so thankfully people plan these things and put them out there for people like me!!  You may also be interested in free bowling  and more free bowling.  These are two different places so click on both.  Check out Money Saving Mom too with her gigantor list!

Keep posting your summer ideas!  You can comment here, on facebook, or email me at  Be ready!!  Summer is here!!!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Muddy Buddy, thrifty ideas for summer and my experience in Pslams!

Muddy Buddy
Some thrifty summer ideas!
My experience in Psalms

Last weekend, my very good friend Emily and I did a race as partners.  Mike went with his friend as a partner and all 4 of us did it.  It was an approximately 7 mile run/bike.  You either ran 3 legs and biked 2 legs of a total of 5 or visa versa.  In between each leg you had to do an obstacle of some kind.  There were climbing walls,  a balance beam, you had to crawl under a cargo net, and then the last one was a GINORMOUS mud pit!!  Yes, we voluntarily crawled through a mud pit...see pictures for a good laugh!  I did the 3 runs 2 bikes.  Emily did the 3 bikes 2 runs.  We had an absolute blast doing it and did an awesome job!  We finished it in 1 hour exactly.  Mike and his partner did a little better in finishing in 47 min with a minor "couldn't find the bike" mishap!  At one point, I rode off on someone else's bike that ALSO had an orange bandanna on it and had to come back to find ours!  What are the chances???  We felt very good when we were done and had truly accomplished something great!  BONDED IN MUD!  As her husband so eloquently put it!

Thrifty summer ideas...
I have been trying to compile ideas for some time now on things to do for the summer.  In considering that our gas prices may be sky rocketing, the ideas are needing to be creative!  I go to a group on Mondays called ipray and this was our topic of discussion this week.  We talked about ideas for learning, games, day trips and other such ideas.  I have also been toying with the idea of doing a cooking day where people can team up together and cook in bulk to freeze!  We have a membership to the Orlando Science Center which also gets us into the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, so when we carpool, this becomes a pretty good little event.  We also talked about getting an "after 2" pass to the water parks, or weekday only.  Turning these trips into a little treasure hunt makes it a bit of a learning experience.  I also will be doing a children's literature list with Madi and will do either audio books or read with her then do the movie!  There are also several theaters that do dollar movies during the summer.  I am so looking forward to this as I plan on part-time home school for the summer until our Washington DC trip.  I will be covering Washington DC with her throughout the summer from Cantering the Country.  If you have any ideas, please feel free to post here or on FACEBOOK!

My experience in Psalms...
Psalms stopped me dead in my tracks.  I decided, thanks to my small group from church, to do an in depth study on Psalms.  I have gone here to do this.  I will not be doing Proverbs until I have finished this and I can see it may take a while.  I will probably do the dame for Proverbs.  In my discussions with people about reading through the bible, I can only say that I am barely scratching the surface.  There is so much to this book of life that reading it through once hardly enables me to hold up a conversation though it is planting seeds.  I know that however I decide to read it next time, I will have a better grasp than I do this time!  I am also able to recall things right now that enable me to discuss.  I am feeling like my initial endeavor to read through the bible has become more like a new addition to my life.  I do love delving deeper, but I plan on doing this again after I am finished. 

-Emily and I finishing Muddy Buddy together accomplishing our goal of crossing the finish line laughing!!  (Though I think we far surpassed our own expectations!)
-Visiting with my aunt and uncle from New Jersey after they came to suprise my parents for the anniversary party! 
-My recent gain in the number of hours I sleep at night!!  YEAH!
-Madison reading to Mackenzie at bedtime!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What happens when you CAN'T use coupons? and an unwelcomed intruder!

I know!!  It sounds absurd.  But it is true.  I shopped yesterday without coupons.  I had no choice.  It was out of necessity that I shopped.  So why was I so unplanned, you ask?  Let me tell you my story.

As I sat here at my desk, planning my shopping trip, getting ready to clip and print my happy savings, when I hear a rustling to my left in the girls' bathroom.  Sure that it was Mackenzie who was playing in her room, I giggled that she sounded like a snake slithering.  (That is not an embellishment.  I actually thought that.)  As I turned my head toward the bathroom, there, on the floor, racing behind the toilet and toward Madison's room, was an intruder.  A Black Racer Snake somehow found its way into our house. We still don't know how and we don't WANT to know when!!!)  I screamed so loud I was sure I busted out the neighbor's windows, ran into Mackenzie's room, only to find she was actually IN the bathroom with the snake, now screaming herself.  I stood there staring at her, completely frozen.  Finally, I grabbed her, ran to my unfolded laundry pile,  (I always have one of those handy),  grabbed clothes for Mackenzie, who had on only a diaper, Madison, who was now screaming AND dressed up like a pirate, a diaper bag (not fully sure if it even had diapers in it), and keys and ran out the front door screaming for my neighbor.  He searched but found nothing, so the girls and I headed out for the day.  I would not be returning until the snake was GONE!!

Needless to say, I had to shop without my beloved coupons.  We went to Walmart.  I can trust their prices without coupons and I did manage to find everything I needed at or below what I would have paid with coupons, making my total $54 which is about what I aim for each week.  My bags were stocked including 2 gallons milk and 2 extra large Ocean Spray juices, a super large Gatorade as well as some fruits and snacks, cheeses, breakfast stuff, and a few other odds and ends.  It was reassuring that in times of TRADGEDY!!! there is an answer!  Whew!

Oh, and Mike managed to find the snake in about 5 minutes flat, proudly coming out the front door holding it out like a lion with his kill!  Not twenty seconds after, our other friendly little visitor that lives in our train set had the nerve to pop his head out as if to say, "Na, na, na, na, na, didn't catch me!"  But not for lack of trying.  All our neighbors and Mike went after him, but the booger is still there.  Needless to say, anyone who comes into our home better SHUT THE DOOR!!!!

If I may add to my moments...
-Mike walking out the front door holding up a very...VERY angry intruder!  So proud of my manly man!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reading through the biblle and living frugally!

In this blog:

New shopping standards
Girl Scout camping trip

I have not put out a blog in a while as we have been swamped with activites.  We were also camping for a weekend as you will read below.  You can also keep up with me on facebook as I will post little bits I find here and there.  Become a fan on there AND here!  I love comments and messages and would love any input.

In case you haven't been keeping track of time, I have definitely surpassed my 90 day mark and have far from completed the bible.  Though I believe it to be doable. I do not believe I specifically could have done it.  So, I am just moving forward and have now come upon Job.  This is a book I have both been dreading and looking forward too.  I dreaded it because it is convicting to have had someone in history endure what he endured and remained faithful and righteous.  I looked forward to it, because much like the virtuous woman in Proverbs, just when I think I am going to lose my mind and wonder how much more I can take, I look back on Job.  I was finishing up Job as Mike's contract meeting with Disney came about.  That is when we find out if his contract gets renewed for another year.  If not, he loses his job.  I found peace somehow, before he ever went into his meeting in whatever happened, it was out of our hands.  We talked later and discovered, neither of us prayed that he would be renewed.  We both prayed for whatever was to come and to give us strength to endure it.  I thought about Job a lot.  He lost everything.  He was stripped of all that was wordly.  His faith never ceased.  He never let go of his faith in God and stood up to the people that argued with him about it.  Our situation more than paled in comparison.  We would endure.  We would continue our faith.  I can only pray that in the events that our future hold, I could continue to have that level of faith in God and know that we are in his hands and he knows what is coming before, during and after any life event.

New shopping standards

I have begun shooting for some new shopping standards.  We have been working diligently to save our money over the last 2 years.   We are beginning to see the fruits of our labors.  I don't want to stop the roll of momentum.  My new standards were set a few weeks back that I would be shopping from the $1 or less weekly deals on southern savers.  Now, granted, there are several things that this is an impossibility for me.  But I must say in the last few weeks, I have done a fairly good job at this.  I have been utilizing Save-A-Lot for their canned goods and bananas at 3 lbs for $1 (have never beat that anywhere!).  Their whole chickens are always .99/lb though Walmart is .98 and I have found them on sale at Publix for .78.  If I can give you any tips, check Southern Savers and click the weekly top deals tab for $1 or less deals and use their work of pairing up the coupons with the deals.  They show you printable and the ones from the paper.  I have tried as hard as I can to make due with those deals and have really managed to keep a good stock up of dry goods.

Girl Scout Camping Trip

Mike and I went with Madison's girl scout troop on a weekend camping trip.  I cannot tell you how proud I was of my family that weekend.  My baby had to stay home with grandma and pop-pop.  It was so hard to leave her, yet she did so awesome!  She slept through the night and ate like a champ.  She even performed her new walking skills all weekend!  Madi was an amazing little camper.  She hiked everday with her backpack and water.  She camped in a bunkhouse with all the other girls in her troop.  She even went canoeing with another girl by themselves!!  Mike was the only dad there and we were proud of that.  They were happy to have him there as well.  The kids loved him and the counselors thought it was awesome that he was so involved.  He is our troop's co-leader!  Yeah Daddy!  We had such a great time watching Madi being such a mature kid.  She blows us away everyday with the things she can accomplish.  She loves girl scouts and her troop has been a growing experience for us all!


I have been submitting my children's Christmas book to literary agencies.  None of the agencies have wanted them yet but that is what I expected.  They are a seasonal book and I am an inexperienced author.  But, I will keep working at it.  I also had a chance to work a little bit on my novel.  It has been completed for some time now, but it needs a lot of reworking and editing.  It also takes large chunks of time to do this.  I do not get large chunks of time except to workout and that is really important to my health so I cannot give that up.  However, I am working on my schedule daily and we are coming up on summer break and home-schooling goes part-time soI will have some time then.  I want to get to the point where I can submit that as well.  I hope by the end of the summer to have submitted it to at least one agency.  I love that novel and it is truly my writing passion right now.  It just takes time and I am being patient.  I know it will happen when it is meant to.

-Mackenzie p**pin' on the potty...MANY timees!!  Hehe!!  Getting potty trained and doing awesome!
-Madi hiking up the trail with her bandana and her backpack like a real camper!
-Mike singing girl scout songs with all the girls!  (I am so sure he is going to love that I put that in here!)
-Madi diving over a pile of girls on the soccer field and jumping up with both thumbs in the air!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Win a trip to Colorado!!

Go here and enter to win a free trip to Colorado!!!  I am totally for a free trip!!!  You can only enter once which makes it even better!!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Reading through the bible, changing some shopping habits, and writing!

In this post:

Changing some shopping habits
Spring Break

A heroine.  Plain and simple.  King Ahasuerus chose Esther for his wife and queen, an orphaned Jewish child raised in Persia by Mordecai, her cousin.  Mordecai had once saved his life but went unrewarded.  He heard a plot to murder the king and she was able to warn him.  He also promted her to tell the king of the plan to rid the Jewish race.  She was scared.  So she fasted for 3 days.  We are going to be studying fasting in our small group throught the book Celbration of Discipline.  It, again, proves her heoinism in that she turned to God to help her.  In much the same way, Mordecai refused to bow to a prominant prince as he only would bow to God.  This almost got him hung, however, the man who planned to hang him, was hung instead in the very same gallows he constructed for Mordecai, as he was part of the plot to kill the Jews.  Oh, the irony!  Thus Mordecai was saved and honored because he saved the king's life, the Jews were saved and Esther was the reason for it all.  Could I have ever been that courageous?  Does my discipline, concentration, or devotion run that deep?  She is not just a hero to the Jews, but to us.  A shining example and a leader in the bible.  Another subtle hero.

Changing some shopping habits...
I have been shopping from for quite some time.  I love their set up and their match ups.  I also use and  The part I like most about Southern Savers is on their home screen, they have a top weekly deals link that has a drop down menu.  There you will find $1 or less deals.  It was my plan this week to shop only from that menu, saving things like milk, meat and fresh veggies.  I actually did better than I planned.  I even managed to find fresh veggies that were less than $1/lb.  The only things I bought that did not fall in this catergory were milk and some meats.  (Though the meats were heavily marked down.)  It is my plan to try this all month.  I have a few recipes I want to make that will require buying some things I do not have, so we will see how it goes.  I also have the plan to try have a freezer cooking day.  Anyone want to participate?  I do not plan on cooking for a month, as the blogs that I read do, but I will try for a week first and see how it goes.  I am going to have my 6 year old homeschool daughter help too.  She is becoming quite the little helper in the kitchen and I would like to take that to the next level!

Spring Break
We had so much fun this week on spring break.  It gave me a good taste for the summer, though we homeschool part time through the summer until August, we will still get a good amount of time off!  We went to the beach 2 times and had some fun outside, slip and slide time.  We also took great advantage of our newly enlarged backyard.  We went to a garden festival and did some planting in our own garden!  We just really enjoyed the outside and had some great memories?  Anyone care to share what you did this spring break?

My writing has become my nemesis as of late.  I am trying to get an agent for my children's books, but have been having technical issues with submitting my books.  I also have not had the gumption to sit down and work on my novel, which is complete but needs a lot of tweeks.  The sad part is, it is truly the most loved piece of writing I have ever done.  I want to be submitting that more than anything, but with little time to devote to such a long project, it has sadly been put aside.  I need to earn about $20 extra a day to pay someone to watch my kids for a while so I can work on this project.  It is a satifying and fulfilling book...if I do say so myself!!

-Mackenzie took 4 steps on her own to me and Madison!!!
-I am so deep in the bible that it has attached itself to my moment to moment life...
-Easter service at church, it rained on stage.  A rare moment that made me gasp...and then close my eyes and thank God for being there with me.
-The end of spring break meant I saw Mike for a whole day and almost a half!  Life will resume normalcy for a while.

Reading, writing, growing, changing...everyday!!  I feel like a newborn baby sometimes!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Reading throught the bible...finishing Nehamiah. Most eye opening yet.

Last week at our church, there was a tag team sermon on glory moments.  The Red Sox winning the world series of course was my favorite.  There were several, including Tiger Woods.  Glory moments are usually short lived and the respect that they gain at the moment can quickly fade away and in some cases, it can be reversed.   Perhaps the best part of this entire book came when I read chapter 9.  Here you will find the words lifted up to God when the Israelites confessed their sins.  When we pray, we are supposed to glorify God.  Think of all of the glory moments we see here on earth and how much attention they get.  Think about how long you celebrate your team's victory or your promotion or raise at work.  I do not spend a tenth that long glorifying the REASON I have those moments to celebrate.  Therefore, when I read this entire section glorifying God and all he did for the Israelites and their recognition of him standing by them even when they cast him off for worshiping false idols, wanting a king even when he warned against it, and how he turned their enemies over to them, yet they still chose to ignore him, I was forced to whole-heartedly evaluate my glorification.  I fail everyday.  I have failed over and over and he still stands there waiting for me to come back.  In the grand scheme, this is minor, yet he does it as if he has nothing better to do anyway.  Doesn't he deserve more than that from me?  He certainly did from them, yet the things that the Israelites did, going back to Moses, seem horrible and stupid, yet so similar to myself.  Its not the fact that they did horrible things.  We all do.  Its the fact that it is all equal in his eyes and he will still be standing there waiting when you return.

I am going to read this passage way more often.  The remaining parts of this book talk about the the agreement the people made.  I am agreeing to glorify the one who deserves it and the one that will hold the glory forever.  It will not fade.  It will not be replaced by another's glory.  The Israelites are just me.  They are my life.  Just in a bigger painting.