"It is my job to make sure that you grow up to be a productive member of society and not a burden to it!" ~ my dad.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

Wow! I can't believe it's been a week already. Where does all my time go?

It's Super Savings Saturday time again. I don't have much this week but I'll show you what I got anyway. First up: my mailbox has gone crazy with all the free samples of stuff I'm getting. It's been a real treat going to get the mail these days. Here are just some of the goodies I've received lately. Notice the free Swiffer Sweeper there it the back. Sweet!

My only shopping trip this week was a short dash to CVS. Since I won't be treating myself to a professional color anymore and I'm not about to "grow old gracefully" at the ripe ol' age of 39 by letting the grays run amuck, I'm doing my own color out of the box. Lucky for me, CVS had a special this week.
The Garnier was buy $15 get $5 ECB's back.
The children's Advil was $5.49 with $5.49 ECB's back making that a wash.
I threw on a candy bar (which mysteriously disappeared before the picture was taken) bringing my total to $22.60 (approx).

I had $20.00 in ECB's to pay with but before I could, the extremely nice manager tells me he has a $3/$15 coupon and asks if I'd like to use it. Umm...yeah!

Well, I'm just .40 cents short of $3.00 so he asks me if I want to throw another candy bar on so he could run the coupon. So I add another candy bar (which also mysteriously disappeared before the picture was taken) bringing my total to $3.10.

After he swipes the coupon my total OOP ends up being just .10 cents and I walked out the door with another $10.49 in ECB's. WooHoo!

For more examples of the great deals you can find out there, check out MoneySavingMom.com!

Now where did those candy bars go?

Frugal Friday

I am participating in my first ever Frugal Fridays over at BiblicalWomanhood.com. Head on over there to get some great tips on saving money and stretching a dollar.

I am on task this year to find Christmas gifts for under $10.00. I've been doing pretty well with this and want to share with you one of my favorites.

I found this plain, metal cd holder at the dollar store and decided I could easily fancy it up with left-over scrap pieces from my scrapbooking stash. This gift is designated for my 7 year old niece.

Here's how it turned out. The front:

The back:
Everything I used to decorate the cd holder I already had. Heck, I have enough scrapbooking stuff to do probably 20 cd holders! Mmm...maybe I'll sell one or two on ebay and see how it goes.

Not a bad Christmas gift for a seven-year-old girl if I do say so myself. All I spent was .99 cents and made great use of my scrapbooking left-overs.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm Going To Lose It To Win It!

Okay, here goes.

The reason behind this new blog was to challenge myself to be the person God created me to be. There are so many areas in my life where I could be so much more if I just did a better job of following His lead and was more obedient to His word.

My health is one of those areas. I am overweight and, if you've read my story, you know that I have issues with food.

I, like many of us, have known for quite sometime that I need to take control of this area and treat my body as God intended. It's so easy to put off something like this until tomorrow, next Monday, after the holidays, etc., etc. Can anyone relate?

The truth is I'm scared to make this commitment. I'm just sure I'll be miserable and ultimately fail, so why put myself through it and start the process to begin with? Again, can anyone relate?

It seems though that my good friend, Katie, has been feeling something similar. Just a few days ago, Katie put out the challenge to her friends and family that if anyone had more than 35 lbs to lose why not do it together? She made the challenge extra spicy when she said that anyone wanting to participate had to ante up $20 that would go into a pool. Whoever lost the 35 lbs first would win all the money.

That, my friends, is hard to pass up. Currently, I have the chance to win $100! Technically, I could both win and lose at the same time!

Since now is as good of a time to start as any, I might as well. I thought I'd blog about it as I went along. I don't know my starting weight yet as I somehow "misplaced" my scale. Once I find that out, I will post each week my progress and will happily take any encouragement or weightloss tips from my readers.

Also, if you would like to lose some weight and want someone to cheer you on, let me know. We can blog about it together.

Well, I'm off to begin being the person God created me to be. Carrot stick, anyone?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Great Find!

I just found something I just had to share with you!

Well, to be honest, Kaye over at MrsNespysWorld found it first. I was just lucky enough to find Kaye!

It's a blog dedicated to crockpot cooking. Since I know how to make all of three things in the crockpot, I'm all a'tizzy about this!

Check out: A Year of Crockpotting

Scroll down to the Crockpot Peanut (not brittle) Candy. Will I be the only one trying this recipe first? YUM!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday.

It's Works For Me Wednesday over at RocksInMyDryer.net. You won't believe all the handy-dandy tips you'll pick up over there. Go check it out!

My contribution this week is pretty simple. I do not have a jewelry box. One reason that I'm lacking in this traditional piece of mini-furniture is because the jewelry box I want is the size of an actual piece of furniture and runs about $400. Since it's going to be awhile before I have one like that, I need a place to hang my necklaces. I'm not a huge clothes-horse, so I have lots of room left over in my closet. See?

An added bonus is that my necklaces are out of the reach of my darling four-year-old who likes to get into mommy's things regardless of how many times she's told not to.

And that's what Works For Me!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Meyer Monday

Self-Acceptance Allows Change

Perhaps you have been struggling with accepting yourself. You see the areas in yourself that need to be changed. You desire to be like Jesus. Yet it is very difficult for you to think or say, "I accept myself." You feel that to do so would be to accept all that is wrong with you, but that is not the case.

We cannot even begin the process of change until this issue of self-acceptance is settled in our individual lives. When we truly believe that God loves us unconditionally just as we are, then we will be willing to receive His correction.

Change requires correction - people who do not know they are loved have a very difficult time receiving correction. In order for God to change us, He must correct us. We may hear His correction and even agree with it, but it will only make us feel angry or condemned unless we know it is ultimately going to bring about the change that is needed in our life.

To grow up in God and be changed, we must trust Him. Often He will lead us in ways that we cannot understand, and during those times we must have a tight grip on His love for us.

~ Joyce Meyer, Being The Person God Made You To Be.


For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. for what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline? ~ Hebrews 12:6-7

Friday, August 22, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

Woohoo, it's Saturday! And you know what that means - party at Crystal's place! Check out the Super Savings Saturday posts over at MoneySavingMom.com.

My trip to Albertson's:
I don't remember my totals and I have no idea where my receipt is because this shopping trip is actually from last week. What I do remember is paying, on average, .79 cents each for the items above. Albertson's was having a great sale on General Mills products, plus I had coupons for every box of Cheerios. In addition to that, Albertson's takes the $5.00 coupon from Fresh & Easy. Yippee!

My trip to Saver's:

I love, love, love the look of chenille! I've been wanting to do my Punky's bed in pink chenille for quite sometime now but have not had any luck in finding anything at a decent price. I was strolling through Saver's Thrift Store when my eye caught a glimpse of pink chenille. I pulled the above bedskirt out from under a pile, inspected every inch of it and found it to be flawless and the right size! I was thrilled but the best part is the price was marked only $4.99!!

Happy day!

Now head on over to Crystal's for more great finds!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Answered Prayers

I originally wrote this for my first blog back in October of '07. I thought I'd print it again for those of you who missed it.

The Story I Can't Wait To Tell My Children.

When I was 22, I was terribly upset one evening because some guy (I can't even remember who) had broken my heart. This was, like, the 147th time my heart had been broken (at least it felt that way). I was so tired of dating jerks. I KNEW I had something good to offer and couldn't figure out why no one could see that.

That night, I broke down and cried my eyes out to God. I said I was sick of being my own match-maker and I wanted Him to do it. I literally said, "I done! You do it!" I told God that I knew He had someone picked out just for me and that I felt He was just waiting on ME not the other way around. I knew I had to get mentally and emotionally healthy before God introduced me to my soulmate. Up to this point, I had terrible insecurities and low self-esteem.

I had decided that I was going to take a year off from dating. I would not accept any dates from anyone. I needed a break. I said to God, "I know you will make it clear to me who he is when I meet him". I prayed this because I didn't want to turn down a date and then worry that I had just turned down "the one". That would've been defeating the purpose of my year off.

I also had a list of things I was looking for in a guy and I literally gave God the list. I wanted him to be tall, dark and handsome. I wanted him to have a sense of humor and love animals. I wanted him to have either a rugged "manly" job or rugged hobbies. I wanted him to be the type of guy that was always looking to improve himself in some way, either physically, intellectually, financially or spiritually. I "put my order" in to God that night.

I took the year off and it was WONDERFUL. So freeing! It was such a release to come home and NOT worry if there were messages on my machine or if some guy called. I spent more time with family, friends and myself. I learned how to be independent and my confidence soared! I had so much fun the first year, that I decided to go for year two.

About 4 months into year two, I was at work one morning when I saw two guys walk out of the employee lounge. I couldn't even make out his face but suddenly it came upon me - this overwhelming feeling of "that's him!". I frantically starting hitting the shoulder of the guy next to me saying, "Who's that guy? Who's that guy?" He told me his name and I knew I would be marrying him. I still hadn't even really seen his face. I swear, it was just like in the movies - it was like everything darkened around me and a spotlight shown on him. I like to joke that I even heard music! I knew God would make it clear to me and He did!

After MUCH flirting for a few weeks, we finally had our first date. It was wonderful! The next day, I was at my brother's house and my SIL asked what I had done the night before. I said, "I went on a date with the guy I'm going to marry".

Last Thursday we marked our 10 yr anniversary!

The list I gave to God? He hit every one! Paul is tall, dark and handsome. He has a fabulous sense of humor, loves animals and has "rugged" hobbies (shooting, four-wheeling, flying). He is always trying to improve his mind, always wanting to learn more. Right now, he's out riding his bike to improve his health.

We have our troubles just like any marriage but it's comforting to know that no matter what, we will be together. He may not be God's gift to women but he's definitely God's gift to me! This is my example to people that you can pray specifically and God will answer your prayer. You have to be willing to do your part, too, though - as I had to do.

Everybody say, "Awwwww"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Naturally Clean Home

One of my goals in being the person God created me to be is to be a better steward of my money. Having enough money to live as comfortably as I do is a blessing straight from God and I need to show my appreciation for this blessing by making more sensible choices about how I spend it.

One way I've chosen to save money is to stop spending it on unnecessary (and toxic) cleaning supplies. Not to mention, I'm starting to get a little sick thinking about all the harmful chemicals I'm bringing into my home and exposing my children to. I'll be honest, I haven't done all the research on it but you can read a couple of articles on the subject here and here.

I think it's safe to say, however, that cleaning your home with more natural products and ingredients is just an all-around better way to go. Not to mention, cheaper!

I recently purchased The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier from Amazon a couple of weeks ago. I have not yet tried any of the recipes but will be doing so today. My kitchen sink is in need of some love so I'm going to try out the basic sink cleanser recipe. Care to go on this adventure with me? Great!

Okay, according to The Naturally Clean Home, this cleanser is safe for porcelain or stainless steel sinks. The author recommends using a vinegar rinse before the final hot water rinse to prevent residue from the baking soda. From the book:

Basic Sink Cleanser

1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup vinegar
3 drops lavendar, rosemary, lemon, lime or orange essential oil
Combine all ingredients. Rinse sink well with hot water.
Pour the cleanser in the sink and wipe with a sponge or cloth.
Rinse again with hot water.

I don't have any of the essential oils listed but I do have peppermint. That ought to wake me up, wouldn't you say! I'll let you know how my sink turns out. If you are willing to give this natural cleanser a try, I'd love to hear how you liked it. Also, if you have a tip for cleaning your home naturally, please let me know. I'd love to highlight it in an upcoming post! Thanks!

Update: I used the cleanser above and, I have to say, I really like it! I completely forgot about the essential oils but that was okay. And it was nice being able to clean something without breathing any fumes. It worked fast, was easy and rinsed very nicely. I didn't need to do the vinegar rinse at the end. The hot water rinse worked just fine. I'll definitely be using this again!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thus It Has Begun

Last week, the kids and I were in Wal-mart (again) cruising the clearance toy aisle when a little girl a tad bit older than Punky chatted her up. This little girl (bless her heart) began extolling the virtues of Hannah Montana to my blissfully unknowing daughter. Within the time it takes a US swim team to steal gold from the French (HA!), my daughter began asking for everything Hannah Montana.

Bye-bye Strawberry Shortcake. Bye-bye Dora the Explorer. Bye-bye Backyardigans. It was fun while it lasted.

Though I did fully expect it to last much longer. Like until my Punky was at least twenty-one. Was that really too much to hope for?

Currently on the list is a Hannah Montana t-shirt, shoes, microphone and doll. I guess I should count my blessings - at least Punky hasn't figured out there's Hannah Montana bedding, lamps, sleeping bags, cookware, dental implants and space shuttle.


Minimizing Monday

This week over at Handprints on the Wall, Kendra challenges us to get rid of those stacks of magazines that have a way of piling up around the house. Not to pat myself on the back too hard but I'm actually pretty good at keeping the magazine piles at bay. When I buy a People mag or the like, I let them collect until I have 5 or 6 then I take the stack to my hairstylist to put out for her clients to read.

But there was a time years ago when I had roughly 150 magazines piled in my spare bedroom. 150! Can you believe it? Well, as it turned out, that enormous stack ended up coming in quite handy. I had taken a Interior Decorating 101 class at the local community college and our final assignment was to collect examples of several design principles and elements and put them all together in a binder:

I still use this binder to this day. I even used it to demonstrate several decorating tips during a "How To" day for my M.O.M.S group at my church. I had to follow a format but you can make your binder any way you like, of course. You can place a picture on one side and a brief description of what you like about it on the other.
I find that when I cut pictures out of a magazine, it's important for me to write down why I pulled it out. I can't tell you how many times I've found a picture from a magazine and then thought, Now why did I keep this?

I do have a small collection of magazines awaiting placement in a binder. I'll get to it, but sadly, not anytime soon. Here's where I keep my current stash:
I also have a nice pile of scrapbooking magazines waiting for a project. I'd like to cut out the samples of scrapbook pages and display them but I'm a little short on ideas. You wouldn't happen to have an idea for me, would you?
Please, leave a comment if you have an idea for what to do with my scrapbook magazines. Or, better yet, if you've blogged an idea, leave me the link to it. I'd love to check it out!

Meyer Monday

I'll be continuing here the Meyer Monday series that I started at The Stumbling Christian. Go here to catch up.

Rejecting ourselves does not change us. It actually multiples our problems. Acceptance causes us to face reality and then begin to deal with it. We cannot deal with anything as long as we are refusing to accept it or denying its reality.

God has given us a wonderful gift: free will. God is offering us the opportunity to accept ourselves as we are, but we have a free will and can refuse to do so if we so choose. To accept something means to view it as usual, proper, or right.

People who reject themselves do so because they cannot see themselves as proper or right. They only see their flaws and weaknesses, not their beauty and strength. This is an unbalanced attitude probably instilled by authority figures in the past who majored on what was weak and wrong rather than what was strong and right.

In Amos 3:3, we read, "Do two walk together except they make an appointment and have agreed?" To walk with God, we must agree with God. He says He loves us and accepts us; therefore, if we agree with Him, we can no longer hate and reject ourselves.

~ Joyce Meyer, Being The Person God Made You To Be.


For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~ Ephesians 2:10

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Seek The Lord Sunday

It's Seek The Lord Sunday over at Call Her Blessed. This week, Daiquiri asks us to write about lessons we are learning and how God is growing us. The timing of Daiquiri's topic couldn't be more perfect for me right now. God has been speaking to me about my growth in several ways and using different aspects of my life to challenge me and move me forward. One of those ways is with my other blog, The Stumbling Christian.

I felt God really speaking to me weeks ago when He let me know that I wasn't using my blog for His intended purposes. It was suppose to be a way for me to release my most authentic self. I had turned away from that and started posting what I thought my blog readers wanted to read and would make me more "popular" in the blogging world. In other words, I took the reigns out of God's hands and started concerning myself with what the world wanted instead of what God wanted. You can read more about that here.

Once I got back on the right track and put the reigns back in the hands of God, things started to come together on my blog for me again. But it wasn't long before God started to whisper in my ear about my writing one more time.

I titled my other blog The Stumbling Christian because when I started it, I really just considered myself a baby Christian. It was to be about my learning experiences as I began a dedicated walk with Christ. The Lord has put so much into me and I've grown so much that I really can't, and shouldn't, call myself a baby Christian anymore.

To whom much is given, much is expected.

I've been given a lot recently and it's time that I move forward and start doing what I know I should be doing. And that is being the person God created me to be.

I now know what He expects of me and I have no excuse to not work towards and fulfill the potential that God says I have. That is what this new blog is about - the challenge of growing into the person God created. Accepting myself as the person God created - that doesn't mean accepting my flaws and dealing with them. No, it means accepting my strengths, my potential, my God-given abilities, my gifts and using them as God intended.

Is it just me or is accepting your strengths and doing something with them more intimidating than accepting your weaknesses and just living with them? I've got to tell you, I'm a bit scared thinking about what glorious things God has in store for me. It means I'm going to have to rise up, work a little harder, push myself a little further and attempt things...no, SUCCEED at things I never even considered doing before. All because God created me as this person capable of doing the seemingly impossible.

I remember hearing Joyce Meyer once say that if you're not uncomfortable then you're not growing. Whew! Was she ever right about that.

But I know I can do it. Afterall, I have the power of Christ within me. Would you like to come along on this new journey with me? I'd love to have the company. There are many facets of my life that I'll be working on improving - my roles as wife, mother and homemaker and, of course, my continued walk with Christ. I also want to work on helping others in these same areas. That's an important factor of this new blog because I can't be the person God created me to be if I'm not helping someone else be the person God created them to be.

So, are you in?

Sunday, August 10, 2008