Saturday, November 29, 2008

New Use for Shower Caps

I love to bake. I love being in the kitchen making some kind of new yummy or meal for my family, and this is especially true at Christmas time.

I try to have some kind of yummy on hand everyday through the month of December and I try to make something different each time.

I have a 2 tier server that I keep on my island in the kitchen at this time of year. In years past, I would use plastic wrap to cover the goodies on those platters. Until....

About 2 months ago, I was already thinking about my baking days ahead and dreading my yearly battle with plastic wrap. You see, I'm the crazy lady in the kitchen who is confident when she begins to pull on the plastic wrap, that she is going to take her time and it's going to roll off in a smooth sheet. I'm confident that when I go to rip the plastic wrap off the roll, it's going to come off in one clean, smooth tear. Then reality sets in.....I begin unrolling my plastic wrap and I end up with a triangle piece because as I unroll, the sides are missing each other and rolling themselves back together, clinging to each other in fear of what lies ahead.

I lay the plastic wrap across my tummy and begin tearing. By this time, it refuses to leave it's cozy little tube and I've resorted to laying my arm across the top and pulling with all my might. Nope. It's tougher than I am and won't let go. My stress level is climbing and so is my blood pressure and finally I win!! The plastic wrap concedes and comes loose...but not without it's revenge first! Each side comes together in unison and rolls up together (remember there is strength when you pull together!) until they've formed a ball that even dynamite couldn't undo. I end up smacking it around, making the ball tighter than it was and whizzing it into the garbage can!!

Then this awesome product called Press-N-Seal came out. (Can you hear the Heavenly choir??!!) I am a sold out, true blue, commited believer in this product. It's not near as afraid of leaving it's cozy tube as it's plastic wrap cousin, but with awesomeness, comes price. This stuff ain't cheap!!

So as I was thinking about all the goodies I wanted to bake for my family, I also found myself wondering how I could cover them up to keep them fresh and keep the dust bunnies from sharing in our bounty..without breaking our budget on Press-N-Seal.

Then it came to me!! Bowl covers!! Now, these things are as pricey as Press-N-Seal and you only get 3 in a package. So I set myself to thinking again.....

Shower caps!!! You betcha! You can buy 10 shower caps for $1 at the Dollar Tree and by washing and reusing them, they will last virtually forever!! You can use these to cover your potato salad as you head to Grandma's or cover that veggie plate when you have dinner at church. Cover those cookies as you go to a cookie swap! And the best thing is..who cares if they don't come back home with you? Who cares if they get torn from all of the use they get with your family sneaking (?) goodies out from underneath them?? They were only a buck!...for 10!!

Want to be a little more frugal? Think about that shower cap that's all wrapped up nice and tidy when you go to a motel! Bring that puppy home and show it a new way of life as a bowl cover!

Let me share a recipe that's easy to make and will allow you to put those shower caps to use!!

Pecan Bark

1 cup unsalted butter, no substitutes
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans (I've also used walnuts!)
24 Graham cracker squares

Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 10x15 inch cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the foil. Place graham crackers on th cookie sheet in one layer. (It should exactly fit 24) Sprinkle pecans evenly over the top and set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown supar and stir until the mixture boils. Boil for 1 minute. Pour mixture evenly over graham crackers and pecans. Bake for 10 minues. Remove from oven, and immediately place the hot cookie sheet in the freezer. Remove the pan after 1 hour, and break the bark into pieces. This candy does not need to be refrigerated.

These hardly last more than a day at our house!!


Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Lights

I hope each and every one of you enjoyed a very blessed Thanksgiving day. My family spent the day in our usual tradition: on the phone wishing those family members who live in other parts of our world a blessed day, in the kitchen baking and cooking with the stove (and Mom!) going into overtime, eating entirely too much, and taking long afternoon naps!

I had hoped to put my Christmas lights on our trees and bushes outside, but that was not to tired body and full tummy had other plans.

I want to start focusing on getting ready for Christmas. As you follow along in the next few weeks, it won't take you long to figure out that this is, indeed, my most favorite time of the year. I turn into a major toddler!! Everything is beautiful and exciting!!..and my wonderful hubby has learned to just indulge my childish fun for a month!

Speaking about those outdoor lights though, let me share what we're doing differently this year.

I, like most of you, have used the same Christmas lights over and over for years and years. I love Christmas lights and while I don't have as many as I'd like, I do have a lot! However, I see myself adding to our light surplus over the next few years in a different way.

About a month ago, we got a flyer from Home Depot in our paper. I noticed an ad for LED Christmas lights. My husband is over maintenance at our local hospital and I'd heard him mention before about how much energy these little lights saved.

A string of 50 lights were $6.99. I thought this was kind of high but hubby explained that while the initial cost may be a little expensive, the lights would pay for themselves this Christmas alone! The box said that these lights could last up to 20 I'm thinking that's 19 years of free electricity for Christmas lights!

Our December electric bill tends to be higher than most months, but like I said, hubby indulges me... However, it's my job as his wife to be saving and as frugal as I can be, so when I saw this ad I started doing the math.

Yes, it was $6.99 for only 50 lights, but I can run 8 sets of these lights for the same wattage that I can run 1 set of the traditional Christmas lights (100 count)!

We have a big evergreen in our front yard that is perfect Christmas tree shape and it takes at least 150 lights to go around this tree ( that amount lights it up, but not like I'd like it). 150 traditional=3 sets of LED

I have 2 bushes in front of my porch that I light up at 100 lights for each bush. 200 traditional=4 sets of LED.

Right now that's all I light up outside, simply because of the electric bill factor. up only what I normally do outside, I can string lights on everything I normally do cheaper with the LED lights.

I feel like I'm chasing myself here so this is what I'm trying to say:

Normally I use 350 traditional lights to light outside. Have you ever watched that little dial on your electric box when you plug those lights up?? That thing looks like it's trying to spin out into orbit! However, with the LED lights I can use the same 350 lights and that little dial doesn't even seem to be moving! Saving electricity which means savings in your wallet and saving our environment. Win-win situation to me.

At the time Home Depot was running their ad, they offered $3 off a set of LED lights for every traditional strand you brought in to trade. The limit was 5 per customer, so I bought 5 sets and dear hubby did as well. We bought 10 sets of LED's for a little more than $40. I use 350 lights outside, 150 on our Christmas tree, and so I have another 100 lights to use somewhere else!!

I'm anxious to see what our electric bill for December will be and I'll pass that along when the time comes.

Maybe you can only buy a couple of sets of LED's this year, but I wanted to make you aware so you can take advantage of sales that might come along before Christmas and especially after.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I just wanted to wish everyone a blessed Thanksgiving Day!!

Hold tight to those you love and cherish and take a moment today to let them know just how important they are to you.

With that being said, all of you who take a moment to check in and read this blog, those who take a moment to leave a comment or a word of encouragement, those of you who have become friends to me..I am incredibly thankful for you. You have blessed me beyond anything you could ever imagine.

Colossians 3:15-17

"And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all it's richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." NLT


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

God and Cars

We don't owe for any of our vehicles. Each one is completely paid for and in good shape. Each one was a direct presentation from God about how faithful He truly is. Let me share...

I drive a 2002 Hyundai Elantra. Prior to that, I was driving a 1992 Plymouth Grand Voyager, and let me tell you, that thing was on it's last wheels. It had made many trips cross country simply because we bought it in Colorado and when you begin driving from Colorado to Alabama several times a year, those miles can really rack up. Anyway, Philip decided last year that he wanted to get me a car for Christmas. Gas prices were just beginning their uphill climb and it was already taking so much to fill the van up. We decided that we weren't going to go in debt for a vehicle and we only wanted to spend $3000. Now, I urge you to spend an afternoon trying to find a dependable, nice looking vehicle for $3000. Not as easy as it sounds.

It was a cold blustery day, even for Alabama, but we got ready and headed out. Car lot after car lot. As the day went on, we grew more and more frustrated. I can't tell you the strange looks we got from dealers when we told them that we only intended on spending $3000! You'd thought we'd asked them to give up their first born!

After getting in and out of the van at least 20 times, we'd about given up when I remembered a small little place just outside of town. We drove out there and this dealer only had a few cars and all looked way out of our price range. I was so disappointed-then Philip spotted "Ella" (that's what I named her after we bought her!). She looked perfect on the outside, not a scratch. I told Philip that after the day we'd had, I was sure that car was way over $3000. He insisted we ask anyway. I wouldn't get out of the van. I was so tired of getting excited over a car only to find out the dealer was hard of hearing. We'd ask for what they had at $3000 or less and they'd take us to every $6000 and above car they had~seriously..

In just a moment, Philip came back and told me to get out and look at the car. The dealer had just got it in and hadn't even had time to clean it up. He only wanted $3000 for it!! I couldn't believe what I was hearing!

I almost leaped out of that van and ran to Ella. She was dirty, but she was perfect! We took her on a test drive and she ran perfectly! I was thrilled!! Back at the dealer, we decided to see if he'd take the van as any part of a trade in. He told us the van was in pretty bad shape, and it was, but he would give us $500 for it. Again, we were thrilled!! Our out of pocket expense for Ella: $2500!! God had truly answered a prayer.

A year later, she still looks great and runs like a dream!

Philip drives a 1994 Suzuki Sidekick and it shares just as sweet a story. He was driving a 1984 Toyota 4 wheel drive pickup and this truck, while faithful to run, ran rough. It coughed and sputtered and wheezed like someone who'd been smoking 4 packs a day for 30 years!! Because he also has a motorcycle, he didn't really drive the truck that much anyway, so he just hadn't concerned himself with looking for something else.

About 6 months ago, unbeknownst to me, he began praying about a different vehicle for himself..only he didn't want to spend a dime. He wanted to trade "Rusty" even up. Now, believe me, in order for that to happen, it would truly take a miracle. Philip made a few phone calls on different vehicles but nothing ever came to pass. Then about 2 months ago, he noticed an ad in the paper for a Sidekick (just what he was looking for) for $1500. He called about it and began talking with the owner. By the end of the conversation, the owner decided that he wanted to look at Rusty..he might be willing to trade.

The next evening Philip drove to the guy's house in Rusty. I thought to myself as he left, "He's going to come back so disappointed." Oh me of little faith! When Philip got home, he was on top of the world, The guy loved Rusty (?!) and was willing to trade even!! Today~an even trade and a new set of tires later~Philip is driving Suzie. Another answered prayer.

Beth's car "Lurch", is, yet again, a product of the faithfulness of God. Philip and I decided way back that when the kids got old enough to get their first car, we would pay half of the purchase price. They had to pay the other half and have no debt.

About 2 months before she turned 16, our neighbors across the street put their 1994 Ford Taurus up for sale. Day after day it sat there with no one stopping by to look at it. The car was in great condition and our neighbors take very good care of their vehicles so we couldn't understand why it wasn't even being looked at. One day as we were turning in our driveway, Beth made the statement that the reason they hadn't sold that car was because it was her car. She was claiming it, God was saving it for her. I smiled inwardly because there was no way that car was still going to be sitting there when she finally got the money for her half.

A few days of persistent begging found Beth and her dad walking across the street to look at the car and ask the price. Great car, sounds good.. $2500...Beth was disappointed, but still determined that somehow, God would give her that car. She turned 16 and went to work. By April she was ready to buy a car. She had saved up $600, which meant that she could afford a $1200 car. Believe it or not, 6 months later that Ford Taurus was still sitting in our neighbor's yard!!

She and her daddy walked back across the street to talk to them again. Our neighbors were discouraged because that car had sat there for 6 months and only 3 people had stopped to look at it. Beth told them no one had bought it because it was her car! She asked what was the rock bottom price they would take for the car~hoping it would be $1200. They looked at her and told her that $1200 was as low as they could go! She fairly floated home in her Ford Taurus! God showed up and showed out again. Almost 2 years later, she's still driving Lurch. She's had to invest a little in him, but it's been minimal which is great for a teenager on a very limited budget!

Please realize that whatever is big to you, is big to God. He wants His children to be happy and He's eager to answer their prayers. His timing may be different than ours and His answer may be no or not now. Philip waited for months before God decided to bring him Suzie, but He was faithful. All we have to do is trust Him and be faithful to Him.


Freebie and Black Friday

I don't know about you, but I love getting samples in the mail! As a matter of fact, I love getting mail! I'm one of those weird people who love to get their mail as soon as the mail person has run and since I've been getting so many freebies in the mail, it makes it even sweeter!

Check out click on the free sample tab and get your own freebie of this perfume!

Just out of curiosity, how many of you are going to get up in the wee hours of the morning and hit the Black Friday sales??

I have only done that once or twice and frankly I wasn't terribly impressed. For the minimal amount of things I would buy anyway, fighting a crowd of thousands and encountering many angry--by the way, I know why they're angry....I would be vicious if I was out and about by 4am too!!...--got-to-have-that, focused people, it's just not worth it. Nope. Think I'll stay snuggled in the bed with dear hubby, wake up whenever, and work on just enjoying the day with my family!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Suppertime Conversation

I am incredibly thankful for the conversation around our table at suppertime.

The one thing we've always done is eat supper together. As the kids have gotten older and started part time jobs, this has sometimes been a challenge, but as often as we can, we make sure and eat together as a family. If you're not at work, you'll be at home eating supper with the family...that's just the way it is.

At our house, the meal is seldom fancy. Last night it was tacos. The kids (and Beth's boyfriend) sat the table while I finished up the meal and Philip tried to collect himself after a long day at work. For me, it is very rewarding to sit down to the table after cooking a meal~no matter how difficult or simple~and look around the table at your family.

Someone prays thanking God for His wonderful blessings. You can always tell what kind of day the person praying has had. Sometimes the prayers are just blessings on the food~that would usually be our 15 year old, Zack. Sometimes the prayers are thankfulness for the accomplishments of the day and the food~usually me. With Philip and Beth though, the ones that work outside the home, the prayers will reflect their day and after "Amen", the conversation begins. Food is passed around and the conversation is always busy. It can be lively or serious. It can begin with a, "How was your day?"

Last night was no exception. Chris, Beth's boyfriend of 14 months prayed and the conversation turned to his upcoming trip this week to spend Thanksgiving with extended family.

From there it progressed to how Beth should approach her old boss about getting her old job back.

Philip shared about his day and the fact that it was a better than usual day.

Zack shared about his girlfriend getting her permit and needing to go to Birmingham to pick out her Christmas present.

Me...I mostly listened. I listened to the bonding. I listened to my daughter go to her dad for advice. I listened to Chris, who, when he first started dating Beth, thought our supper table sounded like chaos..."So many conversations going at once!"...interjecting his opinions and sharing the plans he has for his very immediate future. In the 14 months they've been dating, he's decided that when he has his own family, he wants it to be open and close like ours~how humbling...I watched as Zack and Chris "fought" over the shredded cheese and taco sauce.

I laughed as Chris pretended he didn't have a root beer for Beth when he came back in from the kitchen to get a napkin.

After our meal, as I was washing dishes, I listened to the rustling of the newspaper as my husband continued to unwind from his day.

I listened to the laughter from Chris and Zack as they cleared off the table and I enjoyed the conversation with my daughter as she helped me clean the kitchen back up.

Sometimes, I feel that we open up the most and grow the closest when we're eating supper. Why? I believe it's because we are all together at one time..not each going their own way. I believe it's a time when we actually are sitting down and we all have each other's attention. I believe it's because the TV is off and the telephone is ignored.

No, it's not as easy as it was to organize supper as a family as it was when the kids were younger, but I am so thankful that it was something we didn't leave optional as a new family. Now, almost 18 years later, we are reaping the blessings of making family..our family.. a priority.

If you don't already, start tonight eating supper together. You may have to eat a little later or a little earlier. You may have to fix something quick because of somewhere someone needs to be..or better yet, drag out that crock pot. You can have an awesome meal with little effort. Whatever you do, put forth that effort to sit your family down together one time a day. You will be amazed at how close your family will become!!


Monday, November 24, 2008

A Week of Thankfulness

Thanksgiving is Thursday and I thought I'd just take the next few days and blog about the things I'm thankful for and the whys behind them.

Let me begin with the fact that I'm thankful for my salvation. I know me and sometimes, even I don't like me..but in spite of that, God still loved me enough to give up His Son. Jesus loved me enough to give up His life. Would I give up my life for one of my kids? In a heartbeat!! Would I give up one of my kids for someone So I cannot begin to fathom the love of God. I'm just thankful that for whatever reason, He loved me..and He loves you. He saved me from the pit of hell, and He'll save you too. Want to know how? Contact me, I'll be blessed to share.

I'm thankful for my husband. Philip and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage on the 16th of December. For the most part, we've had an awesome 25 years, but there was a period in our lives, around the 7 year mark, that neither of us thought we would make it. We didn't know Jesus and our lives were a mess. Divorce was going to happen and we had fought so much, we reached a place of being too tired to try. Our daughter was only 8 months old. We had tried for so many years to get pregnant, and now that we had her we were going to tear her life apart. But we met a Man....Someone Who would not only save our souls, but our family as well. How thankful I am that when we wanted to give up..Jesus didn't. I am married to the most wonderful, patient, loving, kind-hearted, hard working man I know. He is an awesome husband, loving me in spite of me. My kids are blessed to have a Daddy that would give up everything to keep them safe and provided for. Beth has a perfect role model for a husband in her daddy and Zack has a perfect role model of what a great husband and daddy is. I have a safe place. I have strength and completion when he's with me.

I'm thankful for Beth. It took so long to get pregnant with her. 5 years of fertility drugs..and when we finally just gave up, we got pregnant. We had a scare with Spina Bifida and was told it wasn't too late to abort... are you joking??? Now...she will be 18 in January and she is a true blessing. She lives life pushing the limits and can be quite a challenge sometimes, and although she is my daughter first and foremost, she is one of my best friends. I love spending the day hanging out with her. She is so funny and loves life so much! She loves crazy clothes and wild fingernails. Even right now, her brown hair is loaded with hot pink highlights! She loves loud Christian concerts and weeps at sappy commercials. She is strong, but not always confident. She brings a joy into my life that no one else ever could.

I'm thankful for Zack. He's my "Little Buddy", although at 5'11, 225 pounds he's not so little anymore. He'll be 16 in December and fills my life with smiles. Like his sister, I had complications while I was pregnant with him. We know his exact date of conception, and was told when we were 4 ½ months pregnant with him that he had no kidneys or bladder. The sonar clearly showed that these very vital organs were missing. Doc could do what he could, but the Maker of Life was going to have to intervene if my little boy was to live outside the womb. Again, I was told by a nurse that it wasn't too late to abort. Again...are you kidding??? God will choose whether this child lives or dies. 2 weeks later, another sonogram showed that the Maker of Life, decided to let Zack live and made him 2 kidneys and a bladder!! All working and performing in harmony!! He can lift my spirits when I'm down. He's one of my biggest encouragers. He is always taking care of me if Dad isn't around. Still kisses and hugs me even in front of his buddies and tells me he loves me before he hangs up the phone...every time. He's my practical joker and brings so much laughter into our home. He is a tower of strength, in every meaning of the word. My life would be empty without him.

I am thankful for our home. Yes, I'm thankful for our house...a simple 3 bedroom house that has been a constant remodel since we bought it 3 years ago. It's modest and old but notice my wording....I'm thankful for our home. The 2x4's and siding. The sheetrock and paint. The floors and's all's all needed...but our home is one of laughter and tears. It is a place where each one of us long to be at the end of the day. We all know that no matter how tough the day's been, home is our destination. We know when we get here that love, hugs, encouragement, conversation, laughter, tears, a cold glass of water, a hot chocolate, a warm bath, a snuggly bed is waiting. Strength is found. The ability to try again is found. Since I stay at home, I know when my family gets home that everything will be okay. No matter how tough my day has been, my Father, my Safe Place, my Joy and my Little Buddy will make everything worth it.

How about sharing what you're thankful for with me..

I'll share more as I have time. Until then..


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Glade Coupons!!

Anyone who knows me, knows that one of my biggest weaknesses is making my house smell good. I love air fresheners, those little oil thingys that plug in, it! love it! love it! Whew!!

Anyway, go to This is Glade's website

Sign up to become a member and begin receiving their newsletters. I got my newsletter this week and got some great coupons!!

I got:

$1 off any Glade 4oz jar candle or 2in1 candle--these are normally $2 at Wal Mart and they last quite a while. A bargain at a buck!

Buy 2 get 1 free Glade scented oil candle refill packs--Right now these are also $2 for a pack of 3 candles at Wal Mart. While these candles only burn in their holder for about 3-4 hours, the smell is wonderful and the scent lasts quite a while. So, you are getting 9 candles for $4!

Buy 1 get 1 free Glade Plugins scented oil refill. These typically last about a month. They are $3 at Wal Mart, so you're getting 2 months of a good smelling house for $3!

(Remember that prices at your Wal Mart can vary from where I shop)


My Other Blog

Just to let you know...

I have another blog that I'm working on as well as One Single Minute.

In just 3½ short weeks, Philip and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. I've always wanted to write our life-story down. My life before I met him, his before he met me and what it's been like since we've met.

I only post on this blog once or twice a week, because I want to take my time and not leave anything out.

You'll notice most of the postings will be from my point of view because Philip just doesn't remember a lot of his childhood, but I will write about as much as he can remember.

I hope you find it interesting and I hope that as I write, people can identify with the feelings of these two people and maybe, just maybe, make a difference in someone's life.

You can find my other blog at


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coupon Policies

About coupons...

As I've shared, in the last month I've saved around $75 just in coupons. Now, I'm not one to use a coupon just because I have it. I'm not brand loyal, store loyal or just plain loyal because that's the way "it's always been done".

Over the years (almost 25 now) I've tried the coupon thing many times and always came up a flop--giving up quickly because it wasn't worth the time and effort. Then last year, when God convicted me of my messy spending, I quite literally stumbled upon the website Money Saving Mom ( )--maybe some day I'll learn how to do that little linky thing and not have to type out the address--anyone willing to teach me???---This brilliant lady's name is Crystal and she showed me a whole new world and way of using my coupons. I'm still a student, but I think I've at least made it to a high school level now! You must, you must check out her site and learn how to use CVS and Walgreens. These stores have amazing programs that save you literally hundreds of dollars a year and she can teach you how. I'll share my CVS and Walgreens stories in later posts.

When you are using coupons, it is very important in this day and time to know each store's policy....and believe me they vary across the board. For our area... Foodworld and Winn Dixie double coupons everyday. However, Foodworld doesn't accept internet coupons unless they are from Foodworld's website. Winn Dixie will accept them with a barcode(I don't think I've seen a coupon without barcodes!?). Fred's doubles their coupons on Saturday only and do not accept internet coupons. Dollar General accepts manufacturer and internet coupons.

Wal Mart....well, let me share a story...when I first started being serious about this coupon thing, I would cut out my coupons from the Sunday paper and print off the ones from the internet that were useful to me. The first time I did this, no problem. The second time I did this, I half expected the police to pull up at any minute and haul me to the pokey...seriously. The cashier and CSM got so ugly and hateful with me that it was quite embarrassing. Well, I hate confrontation so I let them have their way, took my internet coupons back home with me, spent way too much, tucked tail and slinked off. After 2 weeks, it was shopping day again and I gathered up all the courage I could muster and headed back to Wal Mart. This time it was the same scenario, only on steroids! This time the CSM went so far as to accuse me of photocopying my coupons even though I plainly showed her the numbers above the barcodes were different. I mean come on! I'm no techno-genius here, but even I know that if you photocopy something, it looks exactly the same as the original!! See, most sites will allow you to print at least 2 of each coupon. The main reason for that being that maybe something malfunctioned when you tried the first time, so I always print my allotment especially if it's something I use regularly or is on sale. By the time I left Wal Mart on this particular day though, I was irate!! I am not a thief or a liar and I....ummm...kind-of,sort-of let them know that. I didn't use potty mouth, but I'm pretty sure that my Jesus wasn't too proud of His daughter at that moment (yes, He and I have since cleared that mess up..).

Anyway, when I got back to my house, I sat right down at this old computer and got on Wal Marts website, clicked contact us and slammed out (no pecking here!) an e-mail to them letting them know what store, what location, how I was treated and by the way send me your coupon policy so I don't have to worry about going to jail when I try to save 50¢!! Within 48 hours I had received a phone call from the manager of our local Wal Mart, but we were at church so I missed it. On our answering machine though, he was apologizing profusely and wanting to talk with me. Nope. Not going to happen. Tried that, almost got kicked out of the store. Within 24 hours of that, I got an e-mail from corporate apologizing and listing in detail their coupon policy. I saved that on my computer and printed one out that now stays in my wallet. I'd like to tell you that I can now go to Wal Mart and no one questions my internet coupons..I can't..but, when they mention something about not being sure if they can take my internet coupons, I casually mention that inside my wallet is a letter from corporate telling me..."yes they can"!! Ahhh, sweet, sweet victory.....sorry....

Back to using coupons....most coupons in the Sunday paper have a life of 3 months, save Proctor and Gamble which issue new ones each month. So don't feel you have to use those coupons the week they come out. Watch your sales flyers and match those coupons up with the sales for the biggest savings. Ask friends, family and neighbors to save their coupons for you. You would be amazed at the people who just throw that money out...and for out coupons is like setting fire to your paycheck.

There are so many ways to organize your coupons and I believe I've tried them all. I've tried the little wallet coupon organizers, I've tried cutting out my coupons and putting them in baseball card sleeves in a binder. I've tried separating them in envelopes but here is what I've decided works for me: I write the date on the outside of the coupon flyers so I know what week they came out and as I make out my grocery list I flip through these flyers, cutting out the coupons I am going to be using. I also get on the internet and print out the coupons I need and then I paper clip them to the sales flyer of the store I'm going to be using them in. For me, this works best. I can pretty well remember what coupons I've seen in the flyers so it's not a problem to find them. The only downside of this is that when I have to make a run to town for something and I see something on clearance or sale, I usually don't have my coupons with me to take advantage of the moment....still thinking how to make that work for me.

Some coupon sites you can use to print coupons are:

There are so many more out there and as I remember and come across them I'll share them with you. Until then..


Monday, November 17, 2008

How I Shop--Part Two

This week my savings wasn't as good as last.

Remember I shop every two weeks, because that's how dear hubby gets paid. I shop for 2 adults and 2 kids/ kids are almost 16 and 18 with the 16 year old being a boy that we can't fill up!!!

One month ago, in coupons alone I saved $46.88. This number doesn't reflect what I saved in price matching and buying items on sale.

Last Friday was shopping day again and in coupons I saved $36.21. Again, that doesn't reflect my price matching and sale items. As we go through this journey, I will also try to include my price matching savings and the things I just simply won't buy unless they are on sale.

My first and biggest piece of advice is buy a deep freezer if you don't have one. We have just a small one that stays fairly well stocked with items that I find on sale, but need to freeze in order to extend their life.

We have lived in many different places in our 25 years of marriage and when it comes to shopping wisely, one common type of store that's usually always been in those areas are what I refer to as "Bent-N-Dents". They've had different names, depending on where we have lived: "The Pantry", "The Trade Market", "Grocery Salvage" (?!), and "Bent-N-Dent". The common theme of these stores have been the ability to buy groceries at a literal fraction of the price you would have to pay at a supermarket, Wal Mart or even Sav A Lot. These stores usually go to various warehouses and purchase can foods, pastas, rice, spices, staples, etc, at a fraction of the cost...therefore passing that savings down to you... because the packaging is slightly damaged or maybe the product didn't move that well in the area or it's close to it's expiration date. When dealing with the expiration date issue, always stay on the side of caution, but I've found that especially with what these stores mainly offer, most products are good way past the expiration date. The one item I'm incredibly particular about is anything tomato based. I won't buy dinged cans of tomato based products and I won't buy tomato based products that are close to expiration. Same for veggies.

Our store here is called The Trade Market and it is always my first stop on grocery day. There is usually always some type of out of this world bargain to be found. The thing is, when you find the bargain you do have to stock up because it quite literally won't be there when you go back again in even a few days. In a few days, there will be a whole new set of bargains and I have had to discipline myself to only go once every two weeks or I would truly be spending way to much in order to save!

For example, about a month ago they had 2 pound bags of self rising flour for 39¢ a bag. That means if I buy 3 bags, I've gotten 6 pounds of flour for $1.17. At any store in my area including Sav A Lot, the cheapest I can find 5 pounds of flour is $1.99. By buying at the Trade Market, I'm getting an extra pound of flour for 82¢ cheaper!! That's a no brainer in my mind. I ended up buying 8 bags and putting them in the freezer. Flour will last a very long time in the freezer and with the holiday season upon us, this is definitely not a waste!! They also had 5 pound bags of all purpose flour for 99¢.

I mentioned above that I'm very particular about buying tomato based products at these stores, but again, at the Trade Market, they had 15oz cans of diced tomatoes for 39¢ a can. We love chili and veggie soup at this time of year especially, and after checking the cans for dings (not one can had a ding!) and reading the expiration dates, I loaded up! I bought 12 cans my first trip.
Fortunately for me, these were available for many weeks and I've been buying 8-12 cans each time I go. We have a nice supply of tomatoes for making soup and chili, both very economical meals, at an incredibly low price. At our Sav A Lot, that same size can of tomatoes costs 59¢. A savings of 20¢ a can!

I've purchased bags of cereal for $1 a bag, cabbage for 39¢ a head, rice for 25¢ for a 2 pound bag. Green beans and corn for 25¢-39¢ a can, 48 oz bottles of canola oil for $1.99 (in our area now running well over $3 a bottle)...

Hopefully you can understand why I would make this my first stop. At this particular store, they are also able to offer milk and eggs, cheese and lunchmeats that are well within their expiration dates at these same great deals. I've been able to buy milk for $2.79 a gallon for quite some time now (which freezes very well by the way) a dozen and a half of eggs for $1.79, and 8 oz of shredded cheese for $1.99.

I would strongly encourage you to check around in your area for one of these types of stores. They are wonderful at enabling the frugal minded shopper to stick to her budget and yet make wonderful meals for her family at a fraction of the price.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

And the Winners Are.....!

Congratulations to NateandJakesMom over at A Giveaway Addicted Mommy, Nanci at Brambleberry Cottage and Michelle for each winning a gift card in my HP Photosmart Express station give-a-way!

I have e-mailed NateandJakes Mom and Michelle, but Nanci you didn't leave any contact information!! Please contact me with that so I can get your gift card in the mail to you.

Thanks so much to those who visit and read my blog and especially to those who leave me comments. It really does mean a lot to me and blesses my day!!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

How Did Chaos Find Me??

All I can do is beg for your patience.


1) Our drama team is learning a new drama. (I'm the "adult in charge")
2)Hubby decided the bathroom needed repainted
3)Rain set in..can't hang laundry out
4) Son woke up with big red eye...1 hour at the Dr....2 hours at the pharmacy...Pink Eye's in the house!!!!
5)It's after 4 and supper is still frozen
6) Couldn't do laundry (see #4)
7) No clean towels......must do laundry
8)Hubby gets paid tomorrow....need a couple of hours to work out shopping list (What!!!!??)

So you see, somehow chaos found me and I'm totally behind. I promised a shopping update, and I'm going to get it out but in all will probably be tomorrow or Saturday.

I want to share shopping and saving, but I also want to be the wife and mom God called me to be, so taking care of the immediate needs of my family must come first.

I will catch up soon.....I'm sure........


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Haven't Forgotten....

Just a note to say that I haven't skipped out on our chat about shopping wisely. Our sales flyers will be in today's paper, so I should have a few, more detailed posts to share very soon!!


A Different Twist on Cookies

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to bake and create in the kitchen! I'd much rather bake my goodies than buy them in the stores. Two reasons: 1) They're fresher 2) They're cheaper...and anyone who knows me, knows that cheaper is always better.

I try to have some kind of goody made at all times in my house. Having 2 teenagers and their friends constantly dropping in, this can be quite a challenge!! Never-the-less, there is usually something to snack on all the time.

The other night as I was making supper, I realized that our goody tier, was empty. With not a lot of time before Philip got home, I knew I needed to make something fast. Cookies are always a hit and very easy to make, but since it was almost time for supper, I didn't like the idea of bouncing up and down from the table to take cookies in and out of the oven.

I got busy and pulled out my trusty chocolate chip cookie recipe and mixed it up. I decided to live it up and instead of using chocolate chips, I used M&M's.

Then, instead of dropping the cookies onto the cookie sheet, I decided to spread the dough out. I flattened the dough in the bottom of a 10½ " x 15" cookie sheet. Then I took a butter knife and scored the cookie dough into bars. I baked the dough in the oven for about 15 minutes and voila!!.... After the bars (cookies??) cooled just a couple of minutes, I just broke them into bars, where I scored them before baking.

I have to admit, I was quite impressed by how easy this was and I was able to sit and enjoy supper with my family and have a warm goody fresh out of the oven afterwards!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ Cup shortening 1 tsp vanilla
½ Cup margarine or butter ½ baking soda
2½ Cups all purpose flour 1 12-ounce pkg. Chocolate chips
1 Cup packed brown sugar (remember, I used M&M's)
½ Cup sugar 1 cup nuts, optional
2 Eggs

In a mixing bowl, beat shortening and margarine together with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add about half of the flour, the brown sugar, sugar, eggs, vanilla and baking soda. Beat mixture till thoroughly combined. Beat in the remaining flour. Stir in chocolate piece and nuts.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375º oven for 8-10 minutes or till edges are lightly browned. Cool cookies on a wire rack. (Remember, I spread the dough out in the cookie sheet and baked for about 15 or so minutes)


Give-a-Way Reminder!!

Only 2 days left on my HP Photosmart gift card give-a-way!

I have 4 gift cards for 10 free prints at any HP Photosmart Express station that I will be giving away Saturday, November 15. Deadline to enter is midnight November 14, CST.

Since I only have 1 entry, 3 other people have an excellent chance of winning!!!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Looking Like the World

We had an amazing youth service at church last night!!!

The 2nd Sunday night of each month, our teenagers handle the service and last night was the best yet, by far!! Our drama team performed a new drama to Barlow Girl's "She Walked Away" and did another one that they hadn't done in quite some time to Skillet's "Better Than Drugs". Since I'm the "adult in charge", I've watched these dramas grow from birth. I've seen them practiced perfectly and yet I was bowled over by the way the Spirit took over during the performance last night! Nothing short of awesome!! (Can you tell I'm proud??)

I'm proud of those teens, yes. But what I'm truly proud of, is the way they allowed themselves to be taken out of the picture, and allowed the Holy Spirit to descend on them and therefore allowing Him to descend on every person in that place. The altar was literally filled with people of all ages sobbing, crying out to our Father for whatever need they had in their life.

Our speaker was a young man of 17 who did a fantastic skit with his brother and spoke about being a Lazy Christian. Let me add that our speaker didn't "look"...uhhh.....wasn't dressed in even slacks and a button up (although he was wearing a tie...) This young man has jet black hair, gages in his ears, 2 lip piercings. He wore chains on his pants, his belt was studded and hanging off his hip, he had spikes on his arms, gloves on his hands and was completely annointed by God.

See folks, and you're welcome to disagree with me, but this young man will be harshly judged for the way he dresses. People will look at him and say, "Freak!"..."You call yourself a Christian??"..."You look too much like the world to be a Christian!". But I have a question.....What does the world look like?

You see, I look like the world. I'm just a simple stay at home mom who goes out and about in jeans and a t-shirt. How many people "in the world" wear jeans and t-shirts?

My husband looks like the world. He wears a uniform everyday to work and when he's not at work, he can be found in sweats or jeans. How many people wear uniforms to work?

My daughter looks like the world. On Sunday morning she wears dresses to church and does her makeup very modestly. She also has bright, pink highlights in her hair and 2 piercings in one ear and 3 in the other. How many people color their hair and pierce their ears?

My son looks like the world. He wears jeans with holes in them, American Eagle (bought at the thrift store!) t-shirts, studded belt and his earring. Oh....and if it's been a while since his last haircut, he flat irons his hair. How many people have holes in their jeans?

You see, we've been to church with people in jeans, and we've been to church with people in 3 piece suits and they all look like the world, yet it's cool for them to call themselves Christians. So, would somebody please explain to me why this young man can't be a Christian because he "looks like the world"???

God will use this young man to reach people that won't give the 3 piece suits and the stay at home moms the time of day.

It's way past time to stop majoring on the minors and allow the Holy Spirit to use people the way He deems best to grow His kingdom.

I'd love to get some feedback from you on this!!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Try New Products!

Wanted to send along another website that you might find fun!

I love to get free stuff in the mail and I also love to review products. In the past, I've blogged about a few products that I've received and have enjoyed very much.

My dear hubby told me about this site and I just signed up! I haven't had the chance to try out any products yet, but I trust the name so...

Just go to this site and sign up. It says that you will be able to try free products and get valuable coupons, which as we all know, I love!!!!

My hope for this site, is to share with you and learn from you, how we can all live a simpler life and be a better steward of the finances God has entrusted to us. I'm sure if we can all master this, the stress level in our lives would go way down and as a bonus..think of all the people we can help in the process!!!


Friday, November 7, 2008

Awesome Coupon!!!

I've shared before how I love candles and just about anything that makes my house smell good. I'm sure that would be my one consistent splurge. I do, however, always use coupons or buy my "smell goods" when they are half off. I never pay full price.

I wanted to make everyone aware of an awesome coupon that Glade has put out.

Go to and fill out the form. Once you submit that form, you can download and print a coupon for buy one, get one free Glade Scented Oil candle holder.

I use these in my own home, and they are really great!! The smell just seems to go throughout my entire house and lasts for quite some time.

With the Christmas season coming up, these would also make great gifts for that Sunday school teacher or friend that you just don't know what to buy for.
Don't let this great offer pass you by!!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

How I Shop..Part One

It's been a very busy week and I'm sorry it's taken me all week to get this post out. One thing or another has kept me from being able to sit down and focus...even now, I'm taking the time while Philip is talking to his mom on the phone. I try very hard not to be busy with other things while he's at home. He works so hard and sacrifices so much so I can be at home with our's the least I can do.....I love you and appreciate you so much, honey!!

I've thought and thought how I want to share my couponing and shopping and money saving strategies. I'd like to say that I've got it all figured out and I never spend a dime I don't have budgeted. I'd like to tell you that I'm an avid saver and we are debt free with an awesome bank account..but, alas.....I would be lying to you and so I'll start with the truth.....

I LOVE to shop!!!!! I LOVE a bargain!!! I'm the crazy lady who buys10 packs of chicken thighs because I'm afraid they'll never be 88¢ a pound again! I'm the lady with 15 tubes of toothpaste because I found a sale, had 3 coupons (but even without the coupons it was a good deal!) and had to stock up. Cheeze Its for $1 a box??? Give me 5 please!! THAT is my downfall...not being able to turn away a bargain. Not turning away a bargain has often caused me to overspend, which, since I'm confessing here, is probably my greatest sin. Honestly.

About a year ago I was struggling with that very thing and knowing I needed "help". I needed to find out how other people made ends meet, paid off debt and put money in savings..on one income. I'd heard story after story about folks who would take their coupons and buy $150 of groceries and only pay $5 or $10 for them. I would think to myself, "It can't be done!", and then I would beat myself up for a while.

Thankfully God got hold of me, wore me out, tore me away from my pity party and He and I began a journey that we've been on for a year now. I've looked back more than once, but thankfully His Holy Spirit quickly grabs my attention and puts my focus back in perspective.

So where do I begin?? This is how I shop......

Like I said before, I only buy real groceries every two weeks. In between that time, I may have to make a run for bread (if I've gotten lazy and not baked any for a while. Anyone interested in learning how to make homemade bread?? Let me know..) or dog food but not much else.

In our area, as in most, the Wednesday paper has all of the sales flyers for the grocery stores in our area. Since we have the paper delivered, this is easy for me to get hold of. If you don't have the paper delivered, then I would highly suggest buying the paper on Wednesday and Sunday. Sunday's paper will usually have sales flyers for KMart, Target, Walgreens and CVS plus those very valuable coupons!!

Usually on Thursday afternoon, I will sit down with my diet Dew, my sales flyers, my coupons, my calculator and my shopping pad. Our food budget doesn't waver too much....I usually spend $250-$275 on 4 people. Let me make you aware, I'm talking 2 adults and 2 teenagers..15 &17...the 15 year old, being my 6' tall, 230 pound son who doesn't know the meaning of the words, "I'm full"! I've read about many people who only spend $30 a week on 4 people. That used to get me down until I realized that 2 of those people are under the age of 3!!!

Anyway...I meticulously go over each sale, noting on my pad only the things that are a very good bargain. I write the name of the store and under that write each sale, the price, how much I'd like to purchase, total that, figure the tax and write down the final tally. I do that for each store that advertises. I'm fortunate to have all of the stores within 2 miles of each other, so going from store to store isn't a problem.

After I've written down the sales, I will go through my coupons and see if I have any that match up with the sales. If I have some, I paper clip them adjacent to the sales flyer for that store.

Once that is done, I retrieve my running grocery list that we keep on the microwave and head to the laundry room, each bathroom and our pantry to see if we're out of anything that didn't make it to my running list for some reason. (Explaining the running list will follow soon..)

Once I'm satisfied that I've covered all of that, I head back to the table to plan my strategy for the next day. Yes, this usually takes at least an hour, sometimes more, but at this point in time, I'm saving an average of at least $50 a pay period. Not bad for an hour or so of work, if I do say so.

In my next post, I'll share how I break down my shopping day, and begin trying to explain shopping at CVS (a must for those serious about saving!!).


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Day After....finally!!

Did you vote yesterday? I truly hope so.

Did your candidate win? Honestly, it really doesn't matter. I'm a person that likes looking at the facts, and the fact is, that Barrak Obama will officially be the President of the United States on January 20, 2009.

What does that mean? That means that we as Christians we should do as we've been called to do from the very beginning..we are to bathe this man in prayer. We are to lift him up before the Father and pray that God will protect him and that he will 1) come to salvation through Jesus Christ if he doesn't know Him 2) if he does know Jesus as Savior, that this will only cause him to grow stronger in that relationship 3) that he will make decisions only after seeking the Father 4) that God will be glorified and honored in everything.

You see, no matter what happens in our lives, someone is going to be unhappy...if I make green beans for supper, Zack is going to be unhappy. If I tell Beth she has to have lights out at 10, she's going to be unhappy. If Philip doesn't get 8 hours of sleep at night, he's going to be unhappy. If we don't go to the beach for vacation, I'm going to be unhappy, but just because we're unhappy doesn't lessen the call that God has placed on our be His people, honoring and glorifying Him with our lives.

Make praying for our President-elect a part of your everyday life. Not only our President-elect, but those who work with him on a daily basis. Remember James 5: 16b---"....the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." NLT


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Let's Talk Shopping

How do you shop?

Do you use a list? Do you use coupons? Do you price match?

How about a budget? Do you allot so much for groceries and household items and then that's it?

When I began blogging, I really had a lot of things I wanted to talk about and being the Biblical wife and mother God has called me to be. I want to share recipes and ideas. I want to share about our homeschooling life. I want to share how to save money and live a simpler life....and to me, a simpler life doesn't mean living by lantern and washing clothes on a scrub board...although I do swear by using a clothesline!!

I don't have it all figured no means...but I've been around a while and I have picked up a few things here and there. I've learned lessons the hard way simply because I'm an extremely stubborn, thick-headed woman, who God has to repeatedly discipline because I want to do things my way...(hey!! didn't Elvis sing about that??)

So....I'm asking. What do you want to talk about? What would you like to see on here?

For me, with the holidays coming up....I'd like to address the subject of saving money when you shop. I was singing and dancing all the way home Friday after buying groceries because in coupons alone, I saved $45.32!!! That amount didn't include the price matching I did at Wal Mart and the groceries I bought at our little trade market by the house. Overall, my savings for 2 weeks worth of groceries was over $65!! Now...I know that there are people saving way more than I did/am and believe me....they are my goal, but I've only been serious about this for a little over a year now and remember...I'm a slow learner (see above!)

In the next 75 days, our household will be celebrating: Thanksgiving (it can cost a lot to serve that meal), our 25th wedding anniversary, our son's 16th birthday, Christmas, my dad's birthday, our daughter's 18th birthday and a trip to a Scott Dawson conference at $100 each (x's 4)!! So you see, spending will be at the front of my mind for quite some time to come.

I'd love to share what I've learned with you and I'd love to hear what works for your family too!!

In the next day or two, I'd like to share how I saved the $65+ this week and where I know that I could have saved even more.

With you all holding me accountable, I think we can be successful together!!


Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm a Catalog!!

I just had to share this!!

While doing my devotions this morning, I was taken quite by surprise when I realized I'd just been compared to a catalog!! Now, I've been compared to many things over my lifetime, but never a catalog!! Well, believe me, this completely caught my attention..

As I read, the author was talking about the fact that the Christmas season is upon us and that each day would find more and more catalogs in our mailboxes. These catalogs would show us page upon page of things we didn't know we needed until we opened the catalog. I had to laugh!! I'm notorious for looking through a catalog and thinking, "Cool!" "Wow! I'd love to have that!" "Why didn't I think of that?!" You get the picture.

I've also gotten what I call "trash" catalogs. I'm not talking about ugly, sinful catalogs. I'm talking about those shoe catalogs for older men. I'm not older :o) and I'm certainly not a man..throw that catalog in the trash. Or the catalog for candy and goodies. I love to make my own (lots cheaper!) and there is enough of me anyway..throw that catalog in the trash too.

The author then went on to tell me that I was God's catalog...Whoa! Wait a minute! Me. A catalog. OOOkaaaaay.....

As I went on to read though, I found I completely agreed with the author. Like the catalogs we get in the mail that let us know we're "missing out" on something; that we've just got to have this something to make our lives better, easier, smoother; our lives should show those around us that they've just got to have what we have. If they had what we've got, their lives would be better, easier, smoother..... We should be a living, breathing, walking catalog for Jesus. People should be able to look at our lives and realize that they're missing out on something and that Something is Jesus Christ Himself!!

I took some time to examine my "catalog" and asked myself if the people watching my life, if the people who are around me in Wal Mart, if the people who are in the church I attend...see Something they've just got to have.
I pray that they do.

I decided this morning that I didn't want to be a "trash" catalog. How about you??


Remember to Vote Your Convictions Tomorrow

I'm going to be honest, I'm not fond of talking politcs. Yes, I do try to be informed. Yes, I do try to keep up with the current events. Yes, I am going to vote tomorrow and I truly hope you intend to also. I want to share my struggles with this election though.

I'm not going to tip toe around this...I will not be voting for Barrak Obama. This man clearly stands for everything I'm against. He's had way too many inconsistencies while he's been campaigning and done too much back-peddling, so to speak. I have absolutely no peace about this man being president of our country.

On the other hand.....In years past, I have always voted the Republican candidate for President. Sad to say, this year, I will not be voting for John McCain. This man, too, stands for things I am completely against. Like Obama, I have no peace about this man being president of our country either.

So what to do?? I was truly at my wit's end, praying, reading, seeking direction and wisdom from others and no one had any guidance to offer. All seemed hopeless. I had folks telling me to just vote the lesser of two evils. Something about that doesn't seem for the lesser of an evil???

Anyway, thanks to Chelsey over at Joyfully Living ( for introducing Independent Chuck Baldwin to me. After checking out his website, and doing a little research on my own. After careful consideration and prayer, I will be voting for him for President. I encourage you to check out his site over at There, you can read about this candidate and make an informed decision for yourself.

The important thing is that you vote your convictions. Not what anyone, including myself, is telling you. We have less than 24 hours to make up our minds and when you leave the polls, I pray that you do so with a clear conscience, knowing that you 1. Voted 2. Voted your convictions.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

And the Winner is........!!

Congratulations to Sandy over at Uncluttered Living!! She is the winner of the $10 Build a Bear gift card!!!

Thanks so much to all of you who entered. I appreciate you visiting my site and I hope that I see all of you here much more in the future. You have been true blessings to me!!

I have another give-a-way going on right now through November 14. I have 4 gift cards for 10 free prints at any HP Photosmart Express station. We don't have those in our area, but maybe you do in yours!

Thanks again and Sandy..I've zapped you an e-mail. Can't wait to hear from you!!