Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour this Saturday

A friend of mine has an idea that during the summertime her family would do without electricity for a short period of time.
That inspired some conversation at our dinner table tonight, among things how we would cook, like maybe just eating from the pantry and cooking out where we could.
This would be done mostly so we can understand what it is like for those who live without energy for things like lights or the creature comforts of television and the like.
Anyway, we happened to come across an article tonight in which everyone in the world can make a statement about energy conservation by turning off their lights for an hour at 8:30 p.m. this Saturday.
Read more at the following link:
I think we might even flick the switch off earlier so that the girls can participate in the experience it as well.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On the road again....

....To recovery that is.
Yes, we are getting over another sickness. This time the flu bit us. But thankfully just C and I. Praise God, the girls have not been hit. I continue to pray they remain in good health, especially in the next couple weeks!
It all started with my cold, which cropped up last Friday. It started as sneezing and the like, I even felt a little unsettled in my stomach, but it was all relatively mild.
Saturday I felt more congested and worn out.
Sunday, very early morning, C woke up sick as a dog. Up until that point, he was totally fine, no signs of sickness.
We didn't get much sleep that morning...him with his trips to the bathroom and me because of my congestion.
He was cold, shivering and miserable, no matter how many layers he had on. By the afternoon I was feeling the same: cold, shivering, body aches. It was horrible.
On top of all of this, my friend J was visiting for the weekend. She had taken some vacation time to see us. What a vacation!
We were able to go scrapbooking Friday night and to the midnight release of Twilight. She also got to make her Barnes and Noble trip. But sadly, I was not much company much of Saturday.
With Sunday looking like a day to be in bed, J decided to cut her trip a day short and went home. She admitted she also was feeling a touch of something and figured if she was going to be sick, she wanted to be home.
Once again, the girls had to deal with a mom and dad who just did not have the strength or energy. Mostly, our wish was that we had someone who could take them for a couple days so we could focus on getting well.
But they were good. They watched a bit of TV so C and I could catch up on some rest. They played by themselves and together, too, which really made it easy for us to try to recover.
I was feeling pretty good by Monday. The worst was Sunday, when, by evening I had a low temp.
But Monday was good. C stayed home Monday and Tuesday, recovering from some aspects of the flu. He seems to be doing much better, even made it in to work today.
I've got a little sinus congestion yet but I am feeling fine otherwise.
I pray this is our last bout with illness. It has to be! This has been a long winter and I don't relish spring and summer colds. Those are by far the worst!

Rain, Rain

Yesterday our area was covered in a good, steady rainfall. So the back corner of our property is flooded. Thankfully nothing went into our basement, which is a relief, given that is was also very windy. The sump pump is getting quite a workout!
Today was much drier but felt very dreary.
I know the rain is good for the spring plants and all but I really long for the sun and warmer temperatures!
As Dora and Boots said to a storm cloud in a recent episode, "Rain, rain go away!"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Taste of Spring!

The girls and I enjoyed the outdoors the past couple days. What gorgeous weather!

S loved being on her bike, zipping around the driveway and going super fast so she could get into the garage.

M's favorite game was to jump off the front porch step and into the puddle below, which was considerably bigger today, after two day of warm weather. S enjoyed that game as well today.

We also made a game that has been an opportunity for a lot of running and ballet practice. Using sidewalk chalk, I drew four pictures (star, smiley face, rocket ship, planet) in four corners of an imaginary box on the driveway. (The first time I did this I used a space theme so it's kind of stuck.) In the middle of the "box" I drew a comet.

Then I tell the girls to run, skip, march, jump, pretend to be a jet, etc. to each picture. It becomes ballet practice when I tell them to Princess Walk, Shashay, Kick, Back kick, walk backward and so forth; all things S does in ballet class. In the middle, at the comet, they always get to spin around.

Today I added another feature, 5...4...3...2...1! I had them walk on each number slowly and when they got to 1 they were to Blast Off!; running to each corner.

It's a lot of fun and a game we will enjoy whenever we are outdoors.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Date with Daddy

The girls had a special date with Daddy tonight at the Livin' Lovin' Luau.
This was S's third time attending and M's first.
Eventually M had a good time. She cried before they walked in the YMCA and really cried when they got into the gymnasium.
But after watching S for a bit in the bouncy obstacle course, she got into it and they enjoyed the rest of the evening together. They got to play basketball and touch a snake and enjoy a snack. They also got some special gifts to take home. And had ice cream afterward with daddy.
We have this great photo keepsake of their time together. I am sure the girls will have wonderful memories of this night and look forward to more nights to come.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pick 'N Save peek

I didn't make it to Double Coupon Day at Pick 'N save this week but mostly because I didn't have anything pressing on my list.
Next week looks promising though! A few sales on my list:
* 80 percent Fresh Certified Ground Chuck (in 3 lbs. or more): $1.89 lb.! So it's time to restock the freezer!
* Buy any 15 participating Box Tops for Education products and get 50 Bonus Box Tops! Great so I can 1) use up some of the many coupons I have (Double Coupon Day here I come!) and 2) I can get more Box Tops points to give to our local school! I've got a bag of them waiting to take over to the school so I guess I can wait a few more days!)
* Lipton Side Dishes 10/10. Also buy 10 and receive a Rotisserie Chicken FREE from the deli (see In-Store Flyer for Coupon.)
* Tree Top Apple Juice and Ken's Dressing are on sale, which means I can use my coupons on double coupon days!
* Buy 6 General Mills Cereal and get $10 off total grocery purchase and get a coupon for one free gallon of milk! (This is actually last on my list, which I know sounds crazy but I felt burned the last time there was a cereal sale (no milk or money off that time) because the variety was SOOOO limited that I could barely find enough coupons to match the cereal available.) Maybe this time will be better!

Check older posts

Hello again!
I posted about M's first haircut today but you will actually find it among my older posts....the one dated March 7.
I had intended to post the blog that day but obviously didn't. However, the post has the March 7 time stamp so when I sent it out today, it was filed in the order by date, not when posted. Make sense? With me on all that??
So check the older posts and enjoy M's new 'do!

Who was that??!!

I received a shock when I saw myself on the local news this morning!
It was a segment about a recent resurgence of the flu virus in the area and there is a clip of me getting the flu shot....nearly five years ago!
I remember that day as if it were yesterday. C and I were in line at the local hospital, in the cold and wind for part of it, waiting in line to get flu shots. I was pregnant with S too! And I met my friend Jessica in line, who had her oldest with her and was also pregnant with number 2!
Anyway, at that time a news crew was taping the flu clinic because then there was a shortage of the vaccine. The news crew asked if they would tape and interview me as I got my shot. No problem, I said.
I think that video footage has surfaced a few other times, maybe even last year. Still, it 's a shock to see myself from back then.

Fabulous Freebie Friday!!

I went to the mall today and had a great time collecting my Freebies!!
(I did also have a frustrating moment at the mall Target, which you can read about below.)

I got some great freebies, thanks to inside news on blogs like Deal Seeking Mom and Freebies 4 Mom.

I went to Bath and Body Works and got a free True Blue Spa item ($6 value), with any purchase! The cashier was none too thrilled with my purchase, though. I picked up two $1 bottles of their new lotion Butterfly Flower. I was planning to get their new Zip and Go Tote but, due to its popularity, they were out and I was told that they were not sure if another shipment would be in. And I really didn't need anything else, since I was there two weeks ago and stocked up on stuff, including a free Signature Collection body wash. So any purchase is any purchase.

My next stop was to Victoria's Secret, where I've been checking in over the past two weeks to redeem a coupon for a free PINK Nation item, which I got for signing up for PINK Nation. The item was suppose to be a tote but the stores have been out and not sure when they were going to get more so I was able to get a free PINK panty instead! What fun!!

Finally, I went to aerie across the hall, where I got a free panty for signing up for the "a-list." (You don't need to print out a coupon to get the freebie; just drop in the store.) By signing up for the a-list, you get a freebie every month, coupons and a free gift in your birth month! Sweet!

It was a fun time...until I went to Target!!!

There they would not accept my printable coupons for Motts applesauce, Pepperridge Farm Goldfish crackers or Johnson's Buddies products!

I had a whole bag of stuff and walked out empty handed.

My applesauce and Goldfish cracker coupons would not scan, so they were not accepted. Funny because 1) they were Target coupons, not regular manufacturer coupons and 2) I was at that store two days ago and had no problems then with the same kind of coupons!

My Johnson's coupons were not accepted because the coupon was for more off than the two items combined. I was trying use a $2 off 2 Johnson's Buddies bar soap. So even though there would have been a few pennies overage (and I had more things to purchase in my basket), they would not take the coupons. Also, I've used the same kind of coupons at that store before without any troubles!

Grrrr! I'll have to try my luck at the other Target.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The promise of Spring!

I am so excited to enjoy warmer temperatures this weekend!
OK. So it's not 75 degrees and sunny....when was the last time we enjoyed that??....but we'll hit mid 40s for the next few days. Ah! Spring!
I think I am getting a bit of spring fever and it all comes from the time change...the sun being out later and all. So now as we eat dinner, I look wistfully out our patio door and long to walk and breathe fresh air.
Wednesday is a case in point. It had been cold and extremely windy all day and yet as I was eating dinner I remarked on how it looked so beautiful outside, like we could go out for a walk. Shortly after my comment, a gust of wind blew, bending the trees at the property line.
Oh well. Hopefully we'll be able to enjoy the outdoors over the next few days and see the rest of this snow disappear!

I hope this is just a phase

I took M to Picture People this week. Yes, we did pictures recently at Sears but I had to use up my Portrait Club membership before it expired this week, which meant getting a free 8x10 and $10 off my order.
As I figured, M was going to be M during the session: independent and stubborn as a mule.
We arrived well before our appointment, with the hope of getting her used to the studio and all.
She was fine when the photographer came to introduce herself and even went into the studio room and sat on a small car they had as a prop.
We put the prop in the middle of the back drop and from there, M was M. She refused to look at the photographer, no matter our efforts.
The photographer got a side profile of M, where you can see her little smirky smile. She was being deliberate in her actions, the little stink!
I finally went behind the photographer and that was enough to get one good smile out of M.
After that though, nothing seemed to work. She decided she was done and would not step foot on the backdrop, even with new props, toys and S to help out. We tried and tried. She had no problems talking and smiling...all off camera! If you tried to get her on the backdrop though.....Oh, boy!
So I decided to call it. It just wasn't working any more and I was happy that a couple shots turned out. It would make my decision making easier.
We told M we were done, at which point she was playing on the car shot, of course! I asked the girls to help me clean up. M put the little car away and then I asked her to get the rocking chair, a prop I had placed on the backdrop in an effort to get more pictures of her.
Well, she had no problems stepping foot on the backdrop then, during which the photographer decided to try to get some shots. The look she got from M! But it felt like we were on to something because then the photographer thought to try the clean up game with a bear on the backdrop.
Next thing you know we're trying to find anything we can to get her to clean up. She put the bear away and I threw another stuffed animal on the backdrop. Snap! Snap! Snap!
Then it was some toys like blocks one moment and puzzle pieces another. Snap! Snap! Snap!
She didn't seem to mind. It was a game to her.
The photographer decided to then scatter some flowers around for M to pick up. Snap! Snap! Snap!
FINALLY, after all that work, we got a few more shots, including my all-time favorite: she is crouched down, a couple flowers in her hand, the rest scattered across her like a flower covered meadow. It is a sweet picture that will be framed and put in her bedroom. Not only for its beauty but as a reminder that even though she can provide some whoppers of a headache, she can be a sweet, loving girl.....when she wants to be!
I really have to give credit to the photographer for being so patient. I think our session was 45 minutes, at least! It felt like a lifetime.
She asked if M had always been shy. Shy? M? No, no. She is just being a stubborn little thing. I don't understand her latest aversion to getting her picture taken. Or to a lot of other little quirks she has exhibited. But I really hope it is all a phase!


We've had a couple eventful days this week so far.
I'll dedicate this post to Monday, which was by far the most "interesting."
I woke up feeling poorly Monday morning. My symptoms got worse as the morning went on. Chills, back and stomach pain, nausea.
Thank goodness Chris was here! He came home for lunch and stayed to help with the girls and all that for most of the afternoon.
I figured it was the flu but later, as my back pain and the chills persisted, I suspected a UTI.
I decided to go to Urgent Care that evening after dinner and, after two hours of waiting, the doctor said she suspected I'd passed a kidney stone. By the time I finally saw the doctor, my chills and the back pin had subsided some.
The doctor prescribed some strong pain medication. But by the time we got home late that evening, I was feeling much better.
I've been fine ever since. I hope that means I am through the worst of it, which I can't complain about. The pain was not as bad as I've read or heard about. Praise God for that!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Awesome post!

Read this post from The "Cent"sible Sawyer about Stockpiling vs Hoarding. It is awesome and really speaks on the mindset I've adopted lately in my couponing/freebies efforts.
I've posted about this thought before but it's worth mentioning again. I really do feel God has led me to couponing so I can help His people.
I think it is totally OK to have a stockpile on hand of items frequently used. But I shake my head when I hear about those with stockpiles taking over nooks and crannies in their house.
I'm not tooting my horn or anything but providing as an example that with coupons and sales and freebies and all, it is so easy to help those in need.
I've adopted a save and give mindset as well. What do I need with five extra tubes of toothpaste when I can give them away and later take advantage of future sales, if I need them? Or boxes of cereal and cans of soup that I can stockpile and give?
Through my efforts (mostly with the help of wonderful blogs about sales, coupons, freebies and the like) I have been able to give Christmas gifts; help my mother who recently lost her job; give to our church food pantry; give toothpaste and toothbrushes to a woman ministering to women in a prison in another country; and give personal care items to a group collecting for local homeless shelters.
Again, I am not tooting my own horn but saying it is so easy to give. And we should because we are called to. Jesus called us to reach out to the poor, the sick, the needy, the orphaned and widowed, the ones who are thirsty or need clothes, the ones who are imprisoned and forgotten.
We cannot be greedy, especially if we have the opportunity to help those in need during these economic struggles. So I thank God for all His blessings. And the many people who are eager to share freebies and deals!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Homeschooling update

We wound up taking this week off due to C being out of town and having an unexpectedly busy week.
We are at "V" so we will focus on vegetables and volcanoes. I also finally got the materials I wanted for a lesson on Trains so we'll be doing that as well.
S still enjoys homeschooling. She really absorbs the materials. I am amazed by what she picks up.
I've been thinking ahead to summer. I am considering working on Spanish with her as well as reading.
Earlier this week I ran in to some teachers from a local elementary school. I asked what kids need to know by kindergarten. Here are some things: count 1-20, shapes and colors, some letter recognition and if they can print their name, that was good.
I am amazed and a little worried. S can do all of those and more! And with a year left before she can go into Kindergarten, she will be learning even more!
The school rep I spoke to recommended bringing S in for a screening to see where she is at. She also recommended we work on rhyming books because I guess rhyming is supposed to help kids with reading.

First haircut!

M got her first haircut this past Saturday, only I'm just now getting around to posting anything about it.
I was worried she would freak out at the salon but she hung in there. It was an uncertain start at first...she did not want to greet our stylist, who is our neighbor and mother of our babysitter.
But M warmed up a bit and, as long as she knew I was by her, she was OK. She moved around a bit but our stylist said she is used to moving targets! :)
It's a cute little 'do. It fits our M.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


So now I know why I've been led to couponing!
Yes, I feel led. Over the years, I tried to do the couponing thing with little success.
However, since last year, I've really been caught up in it. The deals are super great. Add coupons to sale items, plus double coupon days, and WOW! I've gotten some great steals! (This week I had an awesome time at Walgreens and Pick N Save/Copps.)
But I have acquired quite the stockpile of groceries, as I figured would happen. I mean, how can you pass up steals?
The question of what to do with all those groceries is pretty easy to answer: donate it. Seriously, what do we need with a dozen boxes of cereal or cans of soup or tubes of toothpaste?
There are plenty of people in need. We are so blessed that we can buy the food and items we need. And, with coupons, I can get even more, which we can share with those in need. How can we not??
God is so good. He has placed on my heart a greater desire to give and pointed me in a direction in which we can give.
This afternoon I filled three large grocery bags with food from the stockpile to take to our church for its food pantry. I will also be donating household and health products (all that shampoo, toothpaste and feminine products!) to a local radio station that is collecting items for area homeless shelters. If you want to find out more (including a full list of items for donation) visit Family Christian Radio. Cleaning and personal care items such as laundry/face/body soaps, hair and dental care products, facial and bathroom tissue, diapers, deodorant, first aid items, lip balm etc. are needed. Collection dates are March 7-31.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


In case you couldn't tell from past blogs, I love to get freebies in the mail!
I love to try a product so I can make a decision on whether I want to buy it in the future. And the coupons that come with the product are a bonus! I also love when the freebie is a coupon for a full sized free item.
But what stinks is when you can't enjoy those free samples because of poor packaging.
Today was the third time in a couple months that I have been met with a ruined sample because of poor packaging or whatnot.
Today a sample of microwave popcorn came in. I was surprised and then disappointed when a kernel of corn fell out of the main envelope. And then, upon inspection of the product itself, there was a small hole in the actual microwave popcorn bag, with another kernel ready to slip out!
My enjoyment of a free sample of mini rice cakes (shipped in a sturdy cardboard box) was thwarted a month ago because the bag was open.
And another free sample (a medicine) had been crushed and was leaking out of its package!
Oh well. The items came with coupons so I can still get some savings to enjoy them.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Spring cleaning?

The cleaning bug seems to have hit me, although I would not necessarily call it Spring Cleaning.
I think it all began with a corner in our master bedroom. Since we moved here over a year ago, there has been a pile of stuff in a corner in our bedroom. Mostly it's all my stuff: a box containing various freelance magazines, the shoes I wore in our wedding, the wedding proofs binder and various items; and then a pile of more magazines and clippings and other odds and ends. Plus there were a couple other boxes stacked near the corner.
Anyway, it had all been there for a "while." :) And, truth be told, it was blocking access to my dresser drawers. I'd have to move something aside if I needed something. I think, for the most part, I stopped using those drawers for everyday things. :)
Well, I finally decided it was time to tackle that mess. And that led to other things that have been lingering around for a while. I'm not saying our house is a mess but I do have relatively organized chaos....piles of things that make sense to me. :) And most are tucked away, like in a corner or a pile under the coffee table in the family room.
Well, now it's time to straighten up those areas, more for my peace of mind, I think.
And it's nice to be able to see a cleared up spot.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Day 5

Our Five Day Hunger Challenge ended today.
The last couple days were uneventful. Rice, beans and oatmeal actually grew on me but, admittedly, the same choices got boring. Another sign of how spoiled we are!
But the food was not that bad. I got the knack of cooking. I even enjoyed cooking for the most part, although at the end I really didn't get as creative, instead focusing on the meals I knew the family would eat. But I could see adding them to our regular diet.
While this experience did help me to understand how poor people in third world countries live, it also really showed how here in the U.S. we are very spoiled. Do we really need so much variety like in cereal or soda choices? Why do we have to have the fastest gadget and yet not be satisfied?
We rely on keeping up with the Jones, from our type of home to fashion. We have all sorts of wants and gimmes. We are comfortable in our own shells.
I do feel guilty for being born in a country of plenty. But I also am thankful for the many blessings God has given me and I definitely want to share those blessings.
I want to serve! I want to reach out to those in need. Jesus commanded us to feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, invite a stranger in, clothe the needy, look after the sick and visit the imprisoned. "Whatever you did for the least of one of these brothers of mine, you did for me," he said.
Cursed are those who do not follow His commands. (Matthew 25:31-46.)
Many people don't want to step out of their comfort zone. Gone are the days when neighbors called, visited or chatted freely. We live in neighborhoods and yet are strangers to those around us. We go about our lives and don't want to make eye contact with the person walking down the street.
But God has given us gifts; gifts we can use to help his Kingdom. We need to be wise with our gifts (as we learned last night from Veggie Tale Lord of the Beans). Those gifts can be used to follow Christ's commands. Maybe you have the gift of prayer. Then pray for the poor and the hurting. Maybe you are artistic. Then you can make get-well cards for children in the hospital. Maybe you have a servant's heart. Then you can help in a soup kitchen or other ministry.
We can travel to another country or reach out locally. Whatever it may be, God has many opportunities for us.
I am eager to see where He wants me to go.