Sunday, December 23, 2007

I've Been Carded Meme

I'm officially a blogger! :) I've been tagged! By whom you might ask?? I got CARDED by Tami at Tree Swing Reading (check out her book reviews and giveaways!!).

Ronie Kendig altered this CARDED meme to include a Spiritual Wish list so we can know how to pray for each other, both spiritually and physically. Isn’t that a great idea?
1. Each player starts with 5 gifts that they would want for Christmas.
2. People who are "CARDED" need to write their own Blog about their 5 things & post these rules.
3. At the end of your Blog, you need to choose 5 people to get "CARDED" and list their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a COMMENT telling them they're "CARDED", and to read your Blog.

My Materialistic Gift/Wish List:
1. a good haircut (someone could come to my house or a gift certificate would work)
2. a maid/housecleaner
3. gift cards to eat out
4. mp3 player (or iPod)
5. trees trimmed in our yard (so the limbs would stop breaking and falling on our roof!!)

My Spiritual Gift/Wish List:
1. work on the spiritual disciplines (especially Bible reading, study, and prayer)
2. to focus on physically taking care of myself (proper sleep, etc) to be able to take better care of my family
3. to reach out to others and evangelize more
4. to pray more for my husband
5. help our children see Christ and know Him better

The people I have carded:
Biscuits & Grits
Kelli at Living in Grace
Shannon at A Reforming Mom
Deena at Wholly Devoted and A Peek at My Bookshelf
and Stacy at With Great Joy

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fall Into Reading wrap-up

Thank you Katrina at Callapidder Days for having Fall Into Reading 2007!! I did not finish my list but I think I've done well nonetheless. I had 8 books on my list and finished (and reviewed) 6 of them. I'm over 1/3 of the way through Ten Things I Wish Jesus Never Said, I plan to finish it and hopefully read Christy before the end of the year. I read my list in random order because I checked some out from the library.

I liked The God I Love ~ A Lifetime of Walking With Jesus by Joni Eareckson Tada the best. This book really seemed to speak to me, also encouraged me to live life, and it made me Laugh Out Loud! I liked The Camel Club by David Baldacci the least. That surprised me because he really is one of my favorite authors. Though I liked "the Camel Club" characters themselves the book was hard to follow and too much politicalness (see my review here). I'll definitely still keep reading David Baldacci books (and I still want to read the follow-up to The Camel Club but I'll know not to run out and buy it!). I enjoyed writing the book reviews though sometimes it's hard to express my passion (no hand waving, etc.).

I still like fiction better than non-fiction (no surprise)! But I really did enjoy the memoir by Joni Eareckson Tada so I might start looking for more memoirs/biographies. I do better reading a non-fiction book when my husband and I read it together and I have a "strict" schedule. :) I could list several reasons why I didn't finish my list but I won't. I'm still trying to get caught up in Bible reading to finish on Dec 31. My husband and I always set a goal of reading through the whole Bible in one year (broken into daily readings from OT, NT, Psalms and Proverbs). If you'd like to know an easy way - I've subscribed on my bloglines from One Year Bible Blog. Each day there is a link for that day's reading and a little info/commentary about the reading. Will you join me in 2008?

Links for Fall Into Reading original, reviews, wrap-up. My links for original list, reviews: The Camel Club, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?, Bleachers, Treasuring God in Our Traditions, When Sinners Say "I Do", and The God I Love: A Lifetime of Walking With Jesus.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

WFMW - parchment paper and brownie tips

I'm sure you've seen other posts about this but maybe you haven't bought it yet. I LOVE Reynold's parchment paper (there's probably some other brands, feel free to look around)! I have an airbake cookie sheet (got it a looonng time ago) and it's sorta scratched and yucky looking but when I put parchment paper on it I don't worry! :) Plus if you're baking cookies, you can probably scoop those cookies off and use the same paper again (saving $) for the next ones to go in the oven (cool your cookie sheet a little). The parchment paper really helps so you don't have to scrape the cookie sheet or possibly wash it between uses (did I really say that? do I sound a little lazy?). Look here for a free sample!

I also use parchment paper to line my square airbake pan (again, bought a loonng time ago) to bake brownies. It doesn't fold into the corners perfectly but that's ok, I usually cut the edges off (we keep and eat those) and send the cut up brownies for functions and gifts. I think brownies are best when frosted (yum, I promise it's all my husband's fault!!). Take a regular can of frosting, stir it, then frost semi-cool brownies (spread the frosting around before you cut them). If the brownies are semi-cool the frosting will "melt" a little and be really delicious. Another tip is to take a box mix and add 3 eggs instead of 2. This makes a more "cake-like" brownie (according to the Betty Crocker directions). I also recommend baking in an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan instead of 9x13. With the added egg, this makes the brownies much thicker and it seems to cook better (softer and not overdone). (Put the leftover frosting in the fridge, use it for your next batch of brownies, ice cookies with it, make smores, or frost graham crackers. I've left my leftover frosting in the fridge probably up to 1-2 months but the label will usually say 1-2 weeks.)

Enjoy! And these ideas, work for me! See Shannon for more tips. :)

Coupon Savings

I thought I'd pass on my experience at Target tonight. The Kraft cheese coupon is good through this Saturday so I "bought" 4 more string cheeses (free after coupon), 4 bags of 8 oz. shredded cheese - these were 1.04 after combining a $1/2 coupon from a blinkie at Kroger my friend gave me! I also "bought" 4 packs of Huggies wipes (using the $3/2 Huggies products coupon) - 2 were trial size 16 wipes packs ($1.27) in the travel size area and 2 were 40 wipe packs ($1.47) from the baby area. The coupon wouldn't scan (may be due to having printer problems at home, others have had the coupon scan ok) so the clerk took $3 off for each so I actually had overage for the wipes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

More about books!

I'm not sure if I'm going to finish my Fall Into Reading list but I haven't given up yet!! In the meantime, visit Tree Swing Reading for her Really big week of giveaways - "I'm in a Christmas gift-giving mood and will be giving away a different Christmas book everyday for the week of December 13-19!"

Today's giveaway is TWO BOOKS! The Red Glove Collection by Karen Kingsbury and At Home for the Holidays by Meredith Efken.

Her question today - Are you the one in your family who's impatient to get to opening the presents or do you like to wait and torture others in the family who can't wait? Well, the kids are pretty excited about opening presents now. However, I used to be pretty impatient. I wanted to carry on the tradition from my family of opening 1 present on Christmas Eve but my husband has put his foot down and said, "NO!". Probably 14 years ago, my brother really wanted to open his gifts. My mom said if he washed all the dishes (we didn't have a dishwasher), he could open his presents after midnight. Then the rest of us went to bed. He washed all of the dishes and opened his presents!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Book Review #6 The God I Love

The God I Love: A Lifetime of Walking With Jesus by Joni Eareckson Tada

Wow!! I really was intrigued by this book. I knew about Joni's (pronounced "Johnny") diving accident that landed her in a wheelchair and also that she painted. And I guess I knew she was married but I'm not sure I knew much more. This book definitely gives you more! :)

The book begins (probably her earliest memories) when she's about five and her family's on vacation. They are a family of non-stop adventure and Joni loves it. She faces the typical childhood issues of school, friends, and older siblings (in her case - only sisters). But also the non-typical of falling off horses, finding out the family secrets, and finding her place in her family but also living up to her "inherited" father's name.

Some of her stories and examples had me laughing out loud. I really felt like I was a part of her world (and time period!). (I've enjoyed other biographies where I felt like I was learning more about them BUT not actually there, with "The God I Love" I felt like I was there.)

One issue that stuck out to me was how her friends were still a part of her life after the accident. I'm sure their relationship changed but her friends were able to come to her "rescue", comfort, and make her life somewhat lighthearted again. That speaks to the depth and value she had, even in high school. (I haven't kept in touch with any high school friends, we went in separate directions after graduation with many going to different colleges around the U.S.) I know part of that is the grace of God in her life. You will be pointed toward God with each struggle and challenge Joni faces.

I can't imagine having my life played out on screen in a movie, but Joni not only went through that - she also starred in it. She also started Joni and Friends to reach out to others and across the globe who have disabilities and those who need equipment (like wheelchairs).

My only critique of the book would be that she jumps ahead in time (especially in the 3rd part) and it's hard to know "when" it is and what is going on. Warning - the book references (briefly) some "physical" struggles including losing her purity through bad choices she made in high school. However, I would highly recommend this book to older teens and adults!

Part of my Fall Into Reading 2007 list. Previous reviews - The Camel Club, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?, Bleachers, Treasuring God in Our Traditions, and When Sinners Say "I Do".

Book Review #5 When Sinners Say "I Do"

When Sinners Say "I Do": Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage by Dave Harvey

I'm going to borrow a quote I saw posted at A Reforming Mom blog

"That's one of the ways in which the self-esteem movement works against the message of the gospel. The prevailing emphasis of our culture is to tell people that what's wrong with them is that they feel bad about themselves. If they will just feel better about themselves, they can be cured of anything.But the Bible says you'll never feel good about yourself until you learn first to feel bad about yourself. When you realize how bad things really are, then you are in a position to learn how to feel truly good. Then it won't be about you, but about the One who died to forgive your great debt so that you, in turn, can be a debt forgiver to others around you.Anytime I harbor animosity toward anyone, it is because I have diminished my sense of the debt I owe to the living God."-Alistair Begg

If you're ready to face your sin and feel bad about it then you should read this book. Though I won't get into Nouthetic counseling etc. right now, this book is from the viewpoint that problems in our relationships are due to sin. If you're sensitive to being told over and over again that you're a sinner (I am) then the first part of the book is rough but there is HOPE and it will get better. This book also addresses biblically confronting your spouse with his or her sin. As a Christian, we still need the gospel and this book reminds us of that. Marriage is used to sanctify us. I think the examples in the book are good, but there weren't enough of them! :)

My husband and I read this book together, usually reading and discussing 2 chapters each week. I would recommend this book for married couples, engaged couples and those seeking to be married. My husband recommends it for pre-marriage and marriage counseling. However, if you're not married I would strongly suggest skipping chapter 9. (Family friendly warning - this book is about marriage and so discusses issues pertaining to that relationship.)

Part of my Fall Into Reading 2007 list. Previous reviews - The Camel Club, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?, Bleachers, and Treasuring God in Our Traditions.

Book Review #4 Treasuring God in Our Traditions

Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper and John Piper

As I expected, I was not disappointed by this book. Not only did it point to great ways to celebrate throughout the year, it also pointed me closer to knowing the one we should celebrate - God and Jesus Christ. I think this is a great book if you have kids or if you don't. Everyone has traditions, sometimes you just have to dig a little to think about them. What legacy do you want to leave with others? What little things do you do automatically? I want to make a big deal about birthdays because it was a big deal in my family (not BIG parties but a special DAY), but my husband downplays it a little because that's how it was in his family. We're learning to compromise! :)

The book explains traditions, how to make them important, teaching traditions, and "everyday" and "especially" traditions, then talks about Christmas and Easter. I wanted to order Noel Piper's Advent Calendar for this year but when I called they were already sold out and they're redesigning it (or something, I was told) so I decided to make my own going for something similar to what she has, but it's turning out somewhere between a Jesse Tree and Advent calendar (I'll post about it later). Then my husband pointed out if we're doing this we really should do something for Lent (I used to think only Catholics did that!!), and I said that it talks about celebrating Lent and Easter in this book. So stay tuned to see if we start celebrating Lent!

The book also included poems by John Piper. I'm not sure if I'm not into poetry or just this type, I didn't really like them. I did enjoy the personal stories and letters. My one criticism of the book would be some of the spacing and "text boxes" were off a little, such as a box not having a closing line at the bottom (like it had been put on there but the overlapping wasn't done right so you couldn't see the line for the box). Also the font was small, if that's an issue and you can find a Large print edition - I would definitely buy it!

Part of my Fall Into Reading 2007 list. Previous reviews - The Camel Club, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?, and Bleachers.

UPDATE to add, GirlTalk blog posted today about this book and there's a link to hear Noel Piper speak.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Twenty-five Reviews of Christmas

Deena at A Peek at my Bookshelf is having a special countdown to Christmas. She's reviewing 25 different books about Christmas! Go check it out and add her to your reader (bloglines, google reader, etc.) because she's also having giveaways!! And her reviews are awesome and she does other giveaways too. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Book Review #3 Bleachers

Bleachers by John Grisham

This was different than a "standard" John Grisham book, but if you've read the synopsis of the book then you already know that. I think the book will be most enjoyed by those who can relate to it: football players, possibly cheerleaders, band members who participated in football games, football fans, football movie fans (like Remember the Titans), and those who are from/now live in a small town. My brother played football, I was in band, I went to school in a small town, and I love Remember the Titans so I definitely related to this book! This was a very quick read and I enjoyed it very much. My only criticism would be I kind of felt like the author gave away too much of the "secret" too early in the book. Usually John Grisham books have a shock or surprise but this one was lacking much of either one.

Part of my Fall Into Reading 2007 list, 3 more book reviews coming soon! Previous reviews - The Camel Club and These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?

Monday, December 3, 2007


Have you been reading Shalee at Shalee's Diner? You need to read her IT dilemma she posted!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

30 Day Organizational Challenge (Whole Room) Wrap-Up

As per this post I entered I'm an Organizing Junkie's 30 Day Organizational Challenge to work on our office/family room (just called our office). As per this post, things this month have not gone as I planned or hoped! With the baby being sick, I just haven't gotten the rest I've been needing or the time/energy to work on the office as much as I'd planned. Needless to say, I'm pleased with what has been accomplished and gotten rid of. I would like to have something to cover the glass doors with but hopefully that can be addressed in December. A lot of laundry has been culled through, folded and put away (2 movies were watched in this process!), books have been rearranged and gotten rid of, 1 yard sale was participated in, a "brilliant" idea has been born for receipts and filing. I'm going to use a sandwich ziploc for each week (labeled) and then a gallon ziploc for each month. Then after 3 months the receipts can be shredded. So many stores are limiting returns to 3 months that I think this is a good time period to keep them. A separate envelope will be in the gallon bag for reimbursement and for receipts to keep (purchased appliances that need the original receipt - these are filed in the box). Per FlyLady (and others), I need to remember that a load of laundry isn't finished until it's folded and put away & to begin having an office day to address receipts, filing, and bank/budget issues - this will probably be Sunday.

Answering questions:
1) Hardest part - getting up early to participate in our church sale :) next was probably just getting a chance to work on everything b/c my husband was busy this month, 3 kids got sick, and Thanksgiving. I just tried to get a little time here and there to work on it, and put a lot of last-minute effort into it.

2) New habits/changes - laundry. This is a big issue obviously (looking at the before pictures). I'm making an effort to fold and put away laundry as it comes out of the dryer instead of letting it build up. Buying a pop-up hamper for the baby and toddler clothes has helped immensely! I really did need that. Another new thing was moving our filing box from on top of the fireplace area to under the desk. I really think it will help to have it accessible where I need it! :) I still need to discuss with my husband that every new book has to have a place before it comes into our house! My oldest child's comment, "Hooray, we have furniture" is definitely a shot into my heart that I need as a reminder that it's furniture not clothes holder.

3) Sold the computer desk chair, rocking chair and ottoman, speaker stands, some clothes, toys, and books. Outgrown and out of season clothes are stored in the kids' closets in totes. Some luggage went into our closet and some into our kids' closets. Trash!

4) Yes I think having this space is wonderful for us, it's nice to be around less cluttered spaces, and a place to sit and socialize. I know the kids will enjoy having room to move around. We're hoping to move the baby into the crib so the playpen could come down and open up the room some more. Implementing a filing system and plan for receipts will clear up clutter from the rest of the house, keep our finances more organized, and keep my husband off my back (he's always wondering where stuff is or how our checking account is doing). :)

5 or 6) I may have the biggest progress/better look but I'm not sure I should win b/c I feel like I wasn't able to give my full effort into this challenge and didn't make all of the changes I talked about (didn't get glass doors covered). However, I do feel we're more organized now and the room is definitely looking better! And new systems are being put into place. I guess it's up to the judges. :)



All laundry folded and put away! Matching ottoman brought out of our living room because there's room in here for it. :)

New pop-up hamper for kids' clothes, on the lower left is my 2-step step stool now cleared off and ready to use.

CD spinner (on the right) is cleared off (top) but I probably need to put something pretty there so it doesn't turn into a hot spot (FlyLady). Bookshelves have been gone through (except a couple shelves), some purging and reorganizing. The only new container (was empty, came out of our room) is for the batteries, the small shoe box I had wasn't big enough after I found a good deal at K-Mart a while back! :) The diapers will be used, hopefully freeing up another shelf but this seemed to be a good spot to put them in the meantime. I used the diaper boxes for my husband's books that he was selling.

Playpen has been moved over because rocker and ottoman were sold, floor cleaned. The fireplace is covered with a blanket to keep the cold air out (we don't use the fireplace).

Here's the cleaner desk, computer chair has been replaced with a folding chair (hope to replace with another "rolling" chair soon). Filing box is under the lower right part of the desk within reach of sitting at the desk! :)

LOOK! I found the space heater! And there's room on the floor for it! :) Really just showing the bookshelves being less cluttered.

Any questions?? Here's the posts at Org. Junkie's for the 2 updates - whole room, one area.

Purge - this before picture shows the office chair and top of the rocker, one of the before pictures (black diaper bag, can see the arm rest of the rocker - it's wood) shows the ottoman.

one small bag of trash, as the space is being cleared out

one bag of trash (regular 13 gallon kitchen). Two diaper boxes worth of books (sold or waiting to be sold).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WFMW - shower head

I believe every woman should have a "hand held" shower head thing. I'll link to one sold online at Wal-Mart. I'm not recommending this particular product just giving you a visual for what I'm talking about in case I'm not very clear (it's pretty late/early depending on how you look at it!). I'm talking about a "hand held" shower nozzle that slips into a holder that you replace a regular shower head with. Hopefully, your husband or friend is handy enough to install this for you if you're like me and completely clueless in areas that deal with plumbing. You will LOVE it. Why?

  1. There are different settings so you can adjust the water flow, etc.

  2. Take the shower head down and SPRAY your bathtub/walls. So much easier to clean! :)

  3. Are you pregnant? Now you can reach every area if need be, 'nough said.

  4. Do you have kids you need to bathe (ok, this one isn't working yet for us, but maybe some day), spray them off, especially when washing their hair.

  5. Need to wash your dog OR cat? see above

  6. It's so adjustable!!

  7. Pull it down to wash your hair (for those days you just want to wash your hair, you can stand outside your bathtub and lean over it to wash your hair!).

I would recommend looking at hose length when buying, consider how far you want it to reach around your shower. (The one we got recently isn't very long and doesn't reach very well.) This is what Works For Me.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving and RECIPE

Have you been wondering where I've been? Hmm, trying to keep the house running and 4 kids away from the doctor. I've been failing. I took all 4 in last Wed, 2 had ear infections (the oldest really wasn't sick anyway). Then today I took one to the immediate care center and lo and behold, another ear infection! What fun!! :)

We had a good Thanksgiving at home, just our family (didn't want to spread any sickness). I roasted a turkey (my 2nd ever), made gravy (yeah, it turned out okay unlike theirs, I feel their pain!), Stove Top Stuffing (bought at $.29), instant mashed potatoes (Betty Crocker cheese flavored, oldest thought they were good), sweet potato casserole (followed the recipe from the can of Bruce yams, adding a little extra brown sugar and miniature marshmallows), vegetable casserole (maybe I'll give that recipe sometime), canned jellied cranberry sauce, frozen rolls (Pillsbury wheat, we are very nutritious!), and pumpkin bars. I decided at the last minute to switch from pumpkin pie (not my favorite) to pumpkin bars (my husband might have been a little disappointed but he was gracious not to say so), and all of us (except the one who didn't like anything except the rolls) LOVED them! This is the same recipe as what I used - Pumpkin bars with frosting except my recipe says 15 oz pumpkin and adds 1-2 tablespoons milk for the frosting (to achieve desired spreading consistency). I feel this is not enough frosting to cover ALL of the pumpkin bars (might be a good choice to leave some unfrosted) so you might double the frosting recipe! :) As you can tell, I'm not a has-to-be-from-scratch kinda cook! Maybe some day I'll try a little harder.

I've also been trying to keep up with this and this. I need to write 3 book reviews, and work A LOT on our office. Hopefully, those will get done this week. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WFMW - Donate Airline Miles

Do you have airline miles that are about to expire? Or are you changing credit cards and don't know what to do with the airline miles you have accrued (maybe the amount is too small to take a trip)? I have an idea for you!! (Sorry to sound like a commercial.)

Donate your airline miles. You may know someone who wants to take a missionary trip but doesn't have the $$$. Usually, the most expensive part of a missionary trip is the airline ticket. My husband has done mission trips using donated miles. A person from our church helped by donating miles, it wasn't enough for the whole trip but covered part of it.

Remember it never hurts to ask. I'm not sure of other organizations that would take donated miles, this is one I know of - The Centers for Apologetics Research (

Donated miles - it Works For Me!
UPDATE - per texastanya in the comments, you can donate to Fisher House which flies a wounded service men or assist families of wounded service men get to wherever the soldier is being treated.

Monday, November 5, 2007

30 Day Organizational Challenge

I've watched before, I've seen the transformations, and now I'm ready to participate!! Ok, I can't believe I'm doing this! My husband is cheering me on (thanks honey!). I'm submitting myself to I'm an Organizing Junkie's 30 Day Organizational Challenge. I'd like to work on our office/family room. We just call it the office. And it's terrible. There's a mountain of laundry, no make that 2 mountains of laundry. There's a ton of stuff on the floor. Ugh. And there's paper. Double ugh! But the desk isn't too bad (trust me it's been much much worse).

Plan of Attack

Mountains of laundry - folding party (maybe by myself, maybe with littles - we'll see), to fold and put away, stash in bins (summer clothes, outgrown clothes), give away, sell, or throw away ALL of the clothes mountain. I know there's a loveseat and chair there.

Desk - reorganize bill paying/filing system (need to implement system for receipts)

Clean up floor - put away items that don't belong in office, develop a toy area for this room

Talk to hubby about bookshelves (90% of the books are his, the books are piled upon books, reorganize or get rid of please???)

Purchase a pop-up hamper for youngest 2 children, I might purchase more of these pop-up hampers because I think it would be easier than laundry baskets that take up lots of room and urge me to leave clothes in them!

Purchase curtain rod (or something) to go across double glass doors, hanging clips, re-find full-size sheet to hang up as curtain (trim if necessary). I think this will work and look nice in this room (and be easy to move to allow access to door, also to allow light in). Plus it should be cheap! :)

Our church is having a sale day so hopefully some of this stuff will make it into that!

I'm a little late starting (the challenge started Nov. 1) but hopefully I'll finish well (Nov. 30). Now, before I chicken out - BEFORE pictures:

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Book Review #2 These Strange Ashes

These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge? by Elisabeth Elliot. I very much enjoyed this telling of Elisabeth's first year as a missionary. The beginning tells a little of the start of her relationship with Jim Elliot (who she eventually marries) so it was intriguing to hear how their relationship evolved. I think this would also be a good book for single women who are thinking about being missionaries alone. Though the world is a different place in 2007, I know there are possibilities for single women to serve! There were lots of words and phrases in the book that I didn't understand (I COULD have gotten out the dictionary if I was so inclined, but I wasn't) so that would be my one criticism. If you enjoy adventure, travel, and hearing about other locations/cultures then you will love this book. Elisabeth describes things in a way that makes you feel like you are right there too. I'll definitely be looking into more of Elisabeth Elliot's books. She also quotes Amy Carmichael (I've seen her quoted around the blogosphere) and now I think I need to read her writings too! (Second finished book for Fall Into Reading 2007)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Vision Forum giveaway Take 2!!

The new Vision Forum catalog has arrived. Life In A Shoe has sponsored another giveaway, this time for $250 worth of products, you just need to link and give your wishlist (ends Fri Nov 2).
Here's mine:
p.6 Passionate Housewives
p. 10 To Have and to Hold
p. 20 The Centrality of the Home in Evangelism and Discipleship
p. 21 A Church in the House
Family Man, Family Leader
p. 25 Raising Maidens of Virtue
p. 33 Beloved Bride: The Letters of Stonewall Jackson to His Wife
p. 40 The Adventure of Missionary Heroism
p. 73 Mother and Daughter Aprons - Child-Size 2, Adult-Size 1
Ladylike Nightgowns for Ladylike Girls size S 2
Child's Wooden Baking Set
p. 79 Elsie Dinsmore #1
p. 109 Destination: Moon
Total $247
(Or take my previous list, remove some things and add the whole Elsie Dinsmore book collection!)

WFMW - milk in fridge

How come you can think of 10 good ideas when you're not at the computer but when you're sitting down at the computer you have trouble thinking of 1??? Anyway, at the grocery store I always get my milk gallon in a bag. Then at home, I keep the milk in that bag. Then when the gallon is empty, I put it in our recycling area in the same bag. I usually add to the bag other recyclables but it's all together. This keeps possible milk leakage from other groceries, my vehicle, my fridge, and the floor (in the recyclables area). As I pour into the sippy cups, I invariably get some milk rolling down the side of the gallon so the bag helps to keep it contained. This is not rocket science, but it Works for me!! See Shannon for more (and better) tips. :)

Oh, since my husband just added me to his Google reader I have to give a shout out, "Hi honey!".

Friday, October 26, 2007

Real Simple everyday organizational items

I know some women love Real Simple magazine, products, online, etc. I have one product - a mail organizer that sits next to the computer monitor (YES, a desktop version, I don't have the luxury (tongue-in-cheek) of using a laptop yet!) and helps me to keep track of bills (or collecting junk and papers, okay all of the above). I saw this link from yesterday (well, I think that's where I saw it) for the article Get Organized Using Everyday Household Items. Some of the ideas were very creative and useful. However, remember if you have little children medicines need to be in a childproof container!

Vision Forum drawing

The new Vision Forum catalog has arrived. Life In A Shoe has sponsored a giveaway for $150 worth of products, you just need to link and give your wishlist.
Here's mine:
p.6 Passionate Housewives
p. 10 To Have and to Hold
p. 20 The Centrality of the Home in Evangelism and Discipleship
p. 21 A Church in the House
p. 25 Raising Maidens of Virtue
p. 40 The Adventure of Missionary Heroism
p. 73 Mother and Daughter Aprons - Child-Size 1, Adult-Size 1
p. 109 Destination: Moon
Total $144, if I could go over $150 I would definitely get one more child-size apron (my husband would pick a few other things)!

We also love Elsie Dinsmore, so far we've just gotten the CDs but will probably buy the books when our oldest is able to read them. I'll have to write a blog post about Vision Forum later.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cookbook giveaway

I'm an Organizing Junkie mentioned the Taste of Home cookbook and magazine subscription giveaway at Molly-Coddled so I thought I would mention it too!! :)

Find all the details here.

Book Review #1 The Camel Club

The Camel Club by David Baldacci

It took me a while to get into this book, it didn't take off right away (for me) and I was bogged down by the politicalness and number of characters. I think if I was reading in complete peace and quiet with no interruptions (ha ha) then it would have been easier to keep the characters straight (or a list like some books have)! I did enjoy the story and look forward to reading the next Camel Club book The Collectors. But overall, not my favorite David Baldacci book.
(First finished book, Fall Into Reading 2007, but making progress on others!)

WFMW - bottles

As a follow-up to another WFMW (see the P.S. part here), I thought I'd let you know What Works For Me! Playtex drop-ins with the latex nipple. A friend gave us one and I think the baby finally got hungry enough to drink from this bottle. My husband thinks it may be because the nipple was different than the others we tried and the nipple felt more like breastfeeding. I don't know, but we were very happy campers!!! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Click over now!

Deena (A Peek At My Bookshelf) has great reviews and giveaways!!! Check out her site, especially her Payday Giveaways!

Works for Me Wednesday - bbq pizza

Jes at Beauty from Chaos asked how I make bbq chicken pizza.

Well, mine isn't a recipe exactly. A friend showed me how they made it at a restaurant (don't ask me details, it's been a while). Anyway, this is about how I replicate it at home.

Take one frozen Tyson chicken breast, defrost in microwave until just getting white at edges so it is thawed enough to cut into strips (think shredded bbq chicken). (Use the defrost chicken setting or use fresh chicken breast or let it thaw in your fridge, whatever works for you! Don't let the frozen chicken sit out at room temp and then blame me for getting salmonella.) You can also cut the chicken into square pieces, it depends on how you want it on your pizza. Put a little olive oil (or whatever oil you have) in frying pan, coat the chicken in oil and fry it briskly (does that make sense?). Add seasonings as you cook, I use Season-All and a little salt and pepper. Once chicken is done (or just about done, it seems like it cooks a little in the oven, but again don't blame me if it's not fully cooked and you get salmonella!), either top pizza or set aside until pizza is ready.

You need one small red onion. I cut off the ends and edges (I have no idea what I'm doing with most veggies), then try to cut thin slices so I get nice "rings" of red onion. I end up using very little of the red onion but you might have different tastes and use more, I think you could also freeze the extra onion or save for something else or make pizza more than once in a week, whatever you choose.

Prepare pizza crust, I like to bake mine (about half the cooking time) before putting on toppings. Then spread with your favorite bbq sauce (mine is K.C. Masterpiece) like you would pizza sauce. Put on chicken, as much or as little as you want. I like lots of chicken on mine, but it kinda depends on how big the chicken breast was that I cooked earlier. Then spread the red onion rings around on the pizza. Then top with cheese, a mix of cheddar and mozzarella is good or a 4-blend Mexican, but sometimes I'll use just mozzarella because that's all we have (and I prefer white mild cheeses). Bake in oven. Enjoy!

You can also spread some cheese under the toppings. I love to do this with pepperoni or other toppings because it seems to help the meat from sliding around or all coming off your pizza when you take a bite (that's what I read somewhere a long time ago) .

Anyway, hope this "recipe" makes sense, let me know if you want a picture tutorial and I'll try that sometime! This is what works for me. :)

Here's another option:
Amy at The Mother Load uses her shredded bbq chicken for bbq chicken pizza. I LOVE her shredded bbq chicken recipe (we had it earlier this week!), but I'm not sure I would like it on pizza - it may be just the way I shred my chicken though - I do tweak her recipe a little. go down to Day #23. Here's another post about the pizza (has good comments)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Frugal Friday - first post, talking about Kroger

Hello! This is my first Frugal Friday post though I've been reading for a while. Crystal keeps mentioning Kroger deals so I thought I would talk about how I save at Kroger (your local store may be Dillon's, Gerbes, Fry's, etc.).

1) Sign up for the card. Using the Kroger Plus shopper's card allows you to receive the weekly discounts, trigger Catalina coupons (coupons that print out at the register to be used on a future shopping trip), and allows Kroger to mail you coupons. Study your coupon, some are only for Kroger and some are manufacturer's coupons that you can cut the Kroger side out (perforation is before the Kroger sign) so it can be used at any store that accepts manufacturer coupons.

2) Study the ad. Figure out what are the loss leaders and what are not such a good deal, a price book helps with this.

3) Look for the saving signs!!! Often a product in the ad this week will also be on sale next week. Study the price sign (check for these in your area, this is how it works at my Kroger), there will be a sale start date and end date. The product may be in this week's ad but also will be on sale next week and maybe the week after. (I've seen where it has a sale price for the next 4 months then a week later it's gone and back to the original price so don't count on these always to be accurate, but it's usually good for a few weeks if that's the ending date.) These dates are especially good for "special deals" like Crystal talked about before with the cereal. The ad might list or picture 3 cereal boxes but when you look in the store you see that 15 different cereals work for the special deal, and you see that the special deal is also going on next week. This allows you time to accumulate more coupons or save and plan your grocery budget around these special deals.

3a) Look for unadvertised specials too. Our store seems to remove the sale signs early in the day on Saturday so make sure you know it's on sale (don't be fooled by a missing sign if they've taken it down early) but they also put up Sunday's sale tags on Saturday evening (I think they'll honor the price so you don't have to wait until Sunday). Obviously, here our ads run Sunday through Saturday, but I think it might work the same for Wednesday through Tuesday sales.

4) Smart source coupons. Have you noticed the flashing red button with coupons sticking out? These are Smart source coupons (at least here that's who sponsors them here) that can be used at any store, it's a manufacturer coupon. Look all over the store, last year I found coupons in the pharmacy area for Claritin-D. I stocked up on coupons and shared with others. The machine will usually have one ready, and when you take it, another will come out, sometimes it will stop putting another one out after 2 are taken. Keep standing there and the machine will put more out, or walk back by the aisle in a few minutes or every time you come into the store.

5) Buy one get one free specials. I love this about Kroger, you don't have to buy 2 - they mark one product down half price so you only have to buy 1. (At Meijer you have to buy 2 to get the buy one get one free deal.) Also you can use 2 coupons.

6) Check out the Kroger website. The ad is there with a printable shopping list. I like to start my shopping list by printing off the sales from Kroger. I'll turn the paper over and list sales from other stores I'm planning to shop at. (Yes this uses a little printer ink but saves me time.) Also, when shopping in the store you can make a note about products that will still be on sale next week. (I look at this and transfer to the next week's printed shopping list, or try to remember.)

7) Fuel rewards. We have gas pumps at most of the local Kroger stores. By spending $100 in groceries (total is usually BEFORE coupons), you receive 10 cents off per gallon of gas. If you have a Kroger credit card you receive 15 cents off (though I don't recommend credit cards!). For every $100 spent you accrue the 10 cents to use at each pump visit during the next month (you don't get 20 cents off by spending $200, instead you get 10 cents off twice). You have to use the Kroger plus shopping card to earn and use this savings. We make the most of this by taking both vehicles for a fill-up. However, I used to get caught up in this trying to spend to the $100 mark when thinking it through you're not saving that much: 25 gallons X 10 cents = $2.50 so try to keep that in mind. We've never run into a limit issue but they usually say 20 or 25 or 30 gallon limit. If your closest Kroger doesn't have gas pumps but another one does, this may be worth driving to another store. I've been told by an employee that Kroger fuel prices are set by competition in that area so usually every store has a different price for gas and one side of town may be cheaper than another.

8) Markdowns. Crystal has shown several marked-down items she has bought recently. You have to keep your eyes open! Shopping at certain times of the day helps, ask when markdowns are most likely to be made.

9) Making the most of coupons. I sign-up for coupons a lot and ask manufacturers for coupons so I seem to get the occasional free item coupon. I save these for Kroger to work towards the fuel rewards.

I used to be an avid Wal-Mart shopper because the prices are generally lower or you can ad match anyway, but now with Catalina coupons and other rewards I've found that it does pay to shop at Kroger, Meijer, etc. But you have to be careful to make sure it's a good deal!! :) Please leave a comment with any other tips or good deals you've found this week. Thanks!
Update - For those with Meijer nearby, it is Frozen Food sale this month. There are coupons in the ad this week so stock up because there will be sales all month but the coupons are only in the ad this week!! (It appears that the coupons are also available online this time but I would rather have their ad coupons because I've had trouble with our store accepting "printable" coupons before.) Read the "rules" on the coupon - only one coupon for that item can be used per visit but you can always make multiple visits and stock up. You can also combine manufacturer coupon with this store coupon (it's worked for me before, I assume it would work this time).

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

WFMW - Backwards Day!

Help me! I hate to clean our stovetop. It's a gas stove (white no less!) with no pan drip thingies. I'm used to electric stoves where you can cover the pan drip thingies with tin foil (ok, aluminum foil) and then change that out once in a while. Anyway, back to the gas stove. I've contacted the company about using pan drip thingies and they say if it didn't come with it, you're not supposed to use them. Ugh. (I would post a picture of my stove, but I don't think I can get it to work, maybe later.) Does anyone have any great ideas? Anyone buck the system and put pan drip thingies down anyway??? I don't want to burn down my house. I've used magic erasers and it works pretty well but not completely. Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom, or cleaning stories, or what works for you, or hello, whatever you want to leave in the comments! :)

P.S. Any hints on getting a babyfeeder baby to take a bottle???

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Try to win a toolset!

Who wouldn't want a pink toolset? How about blue?

Multi-tasking Moms and Ladies Tools Online is giving one toolset away, pick pink or blue.


I ate at Chick-fil-A today, stopping in while running many errands (ok, shopping!). It was very good, as always. The cup says to go to the website but going there just now said it wouldn't be ready until October 9th. Mark your calendars!! :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fall Into Reading 2007

I love reading. Mostly fiction. Mostly mystery or suspense or crime or thriller. Something that moves fast and keeps me interested or surprises me at the end.

Being busy with 4 kids, homeschooling, housecleaning (ha!), etc. I don't get to read as much as I'd like so I love this challenge put on by Katrina at Callapidder Days.

Without further ado - the list:

  1. Christy by Catherine Marshall. My husband gave me the DVD set of the TV series with Kellie Martin for my birthday and I want to try reading the book again (I started several years ago but could NOT get through it, I understand now that once you get through about the first four chapters it's much better!).
  2. When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey. Reading with my husband (already through chapter 3 so plan is to finish this).
  3. The God I Love ~ A Lifetime of Walking With Jesus by Joni Eareckson Tada. You know to add to the non-fiction list is a biography. I've always been fascinated by Joni. I hate to admit but I truly wonder what would I do if this had happened to me - I'm not sure how I would've gone on but it is wonderful what God has/is doing in her life!!
  4. Bleachers by John Grisham. Catching up on some fiction from a favorite author. I do like Law & Order though I haven't seen the show in a long long time.
  5. The Camel Club by David Baldacci. Another favorite author though some of his books are more explicit than others (that's a warning).
  6. These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge? by Elisabeth Elliot. Loaned to me by a friend, I've never read any books by Elisabeth.
  7. Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper and John Piper. Heard her speak on this topic and I would like to improve more in this area. We might buy her Advent calendar thing this Christmas.
  8. Ten Things I Wish Jesus Never Said by Victor Kuligin. My husband wants me to, enough said.

I'll probably add more fiction if I have time!! :)

Look for upcoming reviews as books are finished. TTFN.

Monday, September 10, 2007

First Post

Hello. Here I am diving in. I've been a lurker on a lot of blogs for a while, I finally decided to try blogging out for myself. Here we go!