Monday, June 30, 2008

Money Monday - Receipts

I have a thing with trying to keep all of my receipts. Unfortunately, I don't have a thing with organizing all of my receipts.

What do you do with receipts? Do you keep them? Throw them? Store them?


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weekend Worship - We Don't Have To Sin For God's Plan To Succeed

In our church fellowship group we've been studying the book of Genesis. We have an excellent teacher who delves deeply into each verse and chapter, helping us glean the absolute most information possible. He routinely asks how we can apply what we are learning about the Old Testament characters to our own life.

For the past several weeks (well, ok - probably months) we've been studying the life of Abraham. Abraham made a lot of stupid mistakes, but regardless of those mistakes, he was still a great man of God! He never doubted the Lord's faithfulness, but sometimes he thought he needed to give God a "leg up". Let's look at a quick recap of part of Abraham's life....

Starting in Genesis 12, God slowly begins to reveal His plan for Abraham. He continues to reveals little pieces of the big picture through Abraham's life but, as God often does, He takes His time. In chapter 15 God reveals to Abraham that his seed will bring forth a son who will make Abraham the father of multitudes. Then God chooses to be silent. While Abraham is waiting out in left field, his wife Sarah continues to grow older and older. When she sees that she is no longer able to bear children, she suggests that Abraham marry her servant. (While this was a normal practice of the day, this was still unacceptable in God's sight). Abraham, being the sissy that he is, agrees with his wife and takes her servant to be his 2nd wife. Hagar, the servant, conceives and gives Abraham a son, Ishmael.

Problem solved, right? Wrong. God did not instruct Abraham to sin in order to fulfill His plan. He is God Almighty! He can (and does) do the impossible! Abraham took things into his own hands instead of allowing God to work in His timing for His perfect result.

Of course, God did eventually open Sarah's womb and she did bear a son, Isaac, who was the promised son all along.

Abraham didn't ruin God's plan since God's plans cannot be thwarted, but he sure did cause a big mess! (Look at the Arabs vs the Jews TO THIS DAY!)

Oftentimes we as Christians feel that we too must sin to complete God's plan for our life. We run ahead of God, all the while screaming "You're taking too long!" or "I have a better way!"

God is not honored when you speed to get to church on time. Sure, you probably should have planned better in order to get to church on time, but breaking the law on the way there is not going to honor the Lord and is certainly not going to benefit your spiritual growth (which is God's plan for all of us.) You do not need to sin for His plan to succeed.

God is not impressed when you go into debt to purchase that brand new car you just had to get in order to get to and from your workplace (instead of using that money to tithe as He has called you to do). You sin when you frivolously spend that hard-earned money (one of the many resources God has given you to bring him glory) on something that will rust and die rather than investing in the souls of people. God will provide for you as He has promised. You do not need to sin for His plan to succeed.

God does not receive joy when you fail to discipline your children just because you think it will damage their precious self-esteem (i.e. ego) or because you are too lazy to follow through with what you have said. (Yes, that's right - NOT disciplining your children is a sin. See the book of Proverbs.) God's plan for your children is for their sanctification (spiritual growth) just as much as He desires that for you. By failing to discipline them, you are setting them up for a life of disaster. You are NOT doing them a favor. You do not need to sin for His plan to succeed.

Are you seeing a pattern here? Let's take a step back this week and examine our lives. Are there areas where we have run ahead of God and taken charge? I encourage you to look at your life from God's perspective this week and see who's ahead in the game.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Foto Friday!

Foto Friday is here again! My favorite photo from this week is from our church picnic on Sunday. I captured this sweet moment between grandpa and granddaughter across the field while I was waiting for one of the relay games to begin. I just think it's so precious!

For more of my photos taken this week, stop over and visit my photography blog!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thankful Thursday!

I think I like Thankful Thursdays because they give me an excuse to talk about myself in my mainly information-driven blog. They are also a very easy day to blog because there is always something to be thankful for - even if it's just a little thing.

Today I'm thankful that, after nearly 2 years, I finally broke down and spent the $20 to get my hair cut. I realize that long hair is not the worst thing in the world. But when you have 3 children under 4 years of age, styling your hair is not exactly top priority. Or really any priority, to be quite honest with you. I don't think "styling hair" has ever made my daily "to do" least not that I can recall.

I was going to post a before and after picture for you, know me. I forgot to take a picture of the "before" shot and have yet to style the new "after" look. So, lo and behold, no pictures after all.

Anyway, it's nice to have that weight lifted off my shoulders (literally - not a pun) and be able to save twice as much on shampoo again! :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday!

No, I'm not completely abandoning Wacky Wednesdays (for those of you who just THRIVE on my humor), but I do want to give "Works For Me Wednesdays" a try! I really enjoy reading other people's posts on this topic and have decided to give it a whirl myself!

You know those bottle brushes you use when you have a baby in the house?

Well, I use those for LOTS of things - not just baby bottles! Bottle brushes are good for cleaning any sort of reusable water bottle or tall glass. I also use them to swirl around in muffin tins (which I otherwise HATE cleaning) or anything else that has small shallow opening and is difficult to clean.

I have a few more kitchen utensils that I will likely mention in the weeks to come. What multi-purpose utensils do you have in your kitchen??

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Biscuits!

I LOVE homemade biscuits! They are so delicious and so easy to make! When I found that my favorite cookbook has two very similar recipes, I had to try them both! I've decided that the "Supreme Biscuits" are better, so here's the recipe for you:

Supreme Biscuits

4 c. flour
2 T baking powder
4 t. sugar
1 t. cream of tarter
1/2 t. salt

1 c. shortening

1 1/3 c. milk

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in milk all at once. Stir just until moistened.

On a floured surface, roll or press dough flat until about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured biscuit cutter (I use a glass) and place on ungreased pan.

Bake @ 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Yields approx. 20 biscuits.

**Margarine or butter can be substituted for the shortening.

***I don't recommend wheat flour as the biscuits will not rise at much.

P.S. I know I have a picture of these somewhere, but I'm still searching....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Money Monday - Saving in the Kitchen

I always tell people who are trying to cut back their budget that the first and easiest place to start is in the kitchen. Groceries are priced so outrageously that it's so easy to cut back just by changing a few things around in your life.

If you're a regular reader of mine, you know that I'm DEFINITELY a coupon-user! But there are lots of other ways that help save money in the kitchen too! Here are a few tips:

1. Turn off the water when you're not using it. I know this may sound obvious but I once had a 20-minute conversation with someone at their front door while their water ran in the kitchen sink THE WHOLE TIME.

2. Wash dishes by hand. Washing dishes by hand saves LOTS of water over putting your dishes in the dishwasher all the time. While this is a huge money-saver, this is one area that I admit I am not willing to compromise. I heart my dishwasher.

3. Reuse grocery bags for trash bags. Get a smaller trash can and put all those pesky plastic bags to good use! (I'd double bag them just in case there are holes.) In addition to getting rid of the bags, you're also forced to take out the trash much more often which leads to a cleaner smelling home! :)

4. Make your own cleaning products. No, I'm not recommending you turn your kitchen into a chemistry lab. But you might be amazed how much you spend on cleaning products each year! Try using bleach or vinegar instead. You can also make your own soap but, considering soap is rather inexpensive to begin with, I'm not sure how much of a money-saver that would be.

5. Make your own convenience foods. When most people hear the words "convenience foods" they think of things like soda, candy, and popsicles. But the range of convenience foods spans much farther than just junk food! Virtually everything you buy that comes in a package is, in some form, a convenience food. Here are a few foods that I have made:
To find recipes to make some of these and lots of other things, click here and here.

6. Use coupons. (Come on, you knew it was coming!) Using coupons is THE number one way I save money in the kitchen. There are many ways to use coupons. Some people just clip a few. Some people clip them all. Click here for a post on how I coupon.

For more money-saving tips, check out my series on developing a system for your kitchen!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Weekend Worship - Where Have All the Bibles Gone?

There is a new trend emerging among Christian churches across America. I don't know if this trend is occuring worldwide, but it has become painfully obvious here in the USA. Christians everywhere are forsaking the age old tradition of bringing their Bibles to church.

The age of technology has reached a new low by accommodating believers with what I call "The Power Point Worship Service". With sermon Scriptures now printed on huge screens in nearly every thriving church across America, Christians have been quick to lay aside their Bibles and head to church empty-handed. I want to argue that there are many dangers in this ever-popular, growing trend. They are:

1. The pastor/teacher cannot be held accountable.
While we all want to be able to trust our pastors/teachers, the sad truth is that there are many men and women who preach from the pulpit who are deceivers and false teachers. They could essentially put any words on the screen, not necessarily words from the Bible, and without your Bible in your lap you would never know the difference.

2. Studying is nearly impossible without the Word of God at hand.
I certainly don't have this down yet, but my goal is to always carry the Word of God with me wherever I go. Why? Second Timothy 3.16 says, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" and 2 Timothy 2.15 says, "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth." How can we study without our Bibles?

3. We set a poor example for non-believers.
Why would a non-believer want to follow a lifestyle that we ourselves don't even care about? See 2 Timothy 2.15 again. We want to do everything possible to show ourselves approved by God!

4. We set a poor example for new believers.
In Psalm 119:105 David says to the Lord, "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." In the same chapter, in verse 162 he says, "I rejoice at Your Word as one who finds great treasure!" We need to show new believers what a great passion can be ignited in our spirits if we devote ourselves to reading and fervently studying the Scriptures daily!

What do you think about this trend? Do you think it's okay or wrong for the church today? Why or why not?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Foto Friday!

This week was a really hard week to choose a favorite photo! I just got my new camera last weekend, so I've been shooting everything I can find. (That's "shooting" in the photography sense - not any other way.) :)

I did a photo shoot w/ a little girl from our church this week who is just a doll! She wins the prize! Look at that award-winning smile!

How cute is she?!?!

To see other photos I've taken this week with my new camera, visit my photography blog!

Thankful Thursday Is Here!

Well, I think I'm feeling mostly better today. It's been a strange week, that's for sure.

On Wednesday night, my 3 year old son woke up around 1.30am to go to the bathroom. I noticed he had one of my daughter's hair rubber bands around his right wrist. I have warned him about the dangers of doing this several times but apparently to no avail. When I took it off, he complained of his hand hurting. Well, of course! It has feeling in it again!

I moved him to the couch in the spare room. (Once he gets up at night, he typically wakes up several more times that night.) Several more times in the next few hours I found him in bed with me. I was beginning to get frustrated with him as he kept telling me his hand hurt. I continued to reassure him that his hand would be fine and that it was all better now.

About 3:45am I heard him crying. I went in to the spare room with every intention of disciplining him for continuing to wake me up over nothing substantial when something (the Holy Spirit, of course) prompted me to look at his other hand.

Oh my goodness!!!

He had an even smaller rubber band around that wrist and his hand appeared to be swollen to nearly twice its size! I quickly pulled it off (with difficulty) and contemplated for a few moments what I should do.

Does this warrant a trip to the ER? Well, it was still flesh-colored. At least it looked like it in the night light glow. But it was HUGE! Should I call the doctor's office? No, they would just tell me to use my judgment and take him to the ER if I felt it was that serious.

I then remembered hearing a story once of a baby who had gotten a hair wrapped around one of her toes so tightly that by the time her parents noticed, her toe was blue. She had been okay. And this was far less serious than that. So I opted to stay home.

My son cried until I got him a cool washcloth to wrap around his hand. He fell asleep immediately and slept soundly the rest of the night.

When morning came, his hand was still swollen but not nearly as much as it had been. He seemed to be acting normally but just in case, I asked him how his hand was doing. He replied, "My fingernails are dirty."

Whew! Everything's okay then!

Even with my obsessive compulsive photo-taking disorder, I didn't think 3:45am was the best time to pop out the camera so I don't have a picture of his totally swollen hand to show you, but I did manage to get my son to hold the hair tie that had been wrapped around his wrist for a picture the next day! I realize it's blurry, but you get the idea!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thankful Thursday....IS coming...

My lack of posts this week has been due to the fact that I haven't been feeling very well, coupled with the fact that I've been exceptionally tired. Not sure if it's a stomach bug or what, but I must admit I'm not enjoying it very much. It's too late in the year to be experience flu-like symptoms!

(And for those of you who just know I must be pregnant, that's a big negative. Sorry.)

Anyway, I do have a Thankful Thursday post (and it's a very thankful one!) but unfortunately it's going to have to wait until I'm feeling better.

Hope you've all had a good week!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wacky Wednesday

The only thing wacky about today is the way my stomach is feeling. :( You'll have to come back and visit tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Homemade Tortillas!

Sorry about my failure to post yesterday. I've been enthralled with my brand new camera and completely spaced posting anything. Well, that's not entirely true. At one point during the day, I did consider posting the menu for this week but...well...that apparently got pushed to the wayside because here we are, nearing the end of Tuesday and my menu never got posted.

Anyway, on to today...

Last week I enjoyed a visit from my sister-in-law and two nephews. I love that my sister-in-law is on maternity leave right now because she lives up the road from us and is a great source of entertainment without having to drive across town! :) While she was here, I decided to make tortillas. I had seen a tortilla recipe on Gretchen's blog and thought I'd give it a try. While mine didn't turn out quite as thin as they were supposed to, I think I actually preferred them that way. And my kids loved them too! We ate ours "chicken taco" style and they were DEEE-LISH!

(I actually used part whole wheat flour in mine to beef them up and make them a bit healthier.)

Here they are! Ole'!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekend Worship - The Kindness of the Lord

God must get a good kick out of me and all the plans I like to make. Most of the time He gently taps me on the shoulder and says, "Excuse me, but...I really need to take over on this one." And so my plans never quite go planned.

Several weeks ago (and I do mean several) I posted a Weekend Worship blog with topics that would be "coming soon". Well, let me assure you. They are still coming. I'm just not so sure about that soon part.

Today's events brought it's own idea for my Weekend Worship post and I have therefore (yet again) decided to post about something other than those "coming soon" topics.

This evening my 9-month old daughter managed to burn her fingers by dipping them into a bowl of hot cheese dip. While this was a pretty traumatic moment (obviously for her, but also for us), it was also a moment to allow the Lord to work through us. While we could have reacted with anger and disdain toward the server's obvious lack of experience with children, by the grace of God we acted with patience and forgiveness. The server was exceptionally apologetic and tried to be as helpful as possible. We assured her that we knew it was just an accident, that accidents happen, and that we had no hard feelings toward her. We can only hope that she saw a bit of the Lord's kindness through our actions toward her.

We never know who will cross our path on any given day and we always need to be on the alert to show kindness to those we come in contact with whenever possible.

In case you should want to see our poor baby's little blistered fingers, there is a picture of Reagan's hand on my photography blog.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Challenge, Day 7

This is a day late. I know.

Yesterday (Saturday) filled itself with event after event and I'm ashamed to say I don't think I even opened my Bible. :( On the upside (if there can be an upside to that), I did not turn on the television either. That makes 6 straight days of no TV! I don't ordinarily watch much TV anyway, but it's still interesting to note.

I am happy to report (despite today's laziness) that I made my way through the book of Matthew and about halfway through the book of Mark this week in about 3 hours of reading time. And I only watched a total of 2 hours of television (a movie, actually).

All in all, I think I did a fairly good job with the challenge. How about you? :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Challenge, Days 5 and 6

I know, I know....I skipped yesterday's post. Shame on me.

The past few days I've been reading in Mark. Still no TV since Sunday, but I'm finding that I'd rather open the Word of God than push that remote button anyway!

I continue to be struck by the fact that each gospel is so very different from the others. While reading the first eight chapters of Mark, I've noticed that he chooses not to dwell on the Pharisees so much. He often just says things like "a large crowd" instead of directly speaking about the Jewish leaders. But it makes perfect sense! The book of Mark was not written specifically to the Jews. The book of Matthew was.

Matthew was a Jew writing to the Jews about the promised Messiah. So he used lots of illustrations to show that Jesus was indeed who He said He was. He gave more than an ample argument that the Pharisees were wrong in what they believed and He showed the Jews exactly why.

Mark, on the other hand, wrote to all people (Jews and Gentiles alike) and his focus was on Christ's life as a servant to others. He chooses to leave out all the "nitty gritties" and get straight to the point. Jesus came to serve and we are to follow in his footsteps.

What an amazing love letter our God has left for us!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Free Appetizer at T.G.I. Friday's!

Some of you know that T.G.I. Friday's used to have a card called a "Gold Points" card. They have recently done away with their old system and have come out with a new and improved (or so they say) card called "Give Me More Stripes".

If you sign up for this new card, you will receive a free appetizer! Now, the Gold Points "free" appetizer was actually $8 off any appetizer, but since there are several under $8 - no big deal! I'm not sure if this one will be the same but either way it's still at least an $8 coupon!

Go here to sign up. Your card will be mailed to you in 10-12 days!

I've been told the free appetizer is good on ANY appetizer. Can anyone else confirm this at their local restaurant?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Challenge, Day 4

Today I finished reading the book of Matthew. I only got in about 15 minutes of reading time, but I still haven't turned on the tv so I'm not getting any more behind. :)

I'm always struck when I read the crucifixion story. Why anyone would love me as much as Christ does is beyond me, but I am eternally grateful. The thing that stood out to me the most today though was this:

If you grow up in a Christian family like I did, you hear all the stories of Jesus all the time - at home, in Sunday School, from books, etc. You know they all flow together from the books Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But what you don't know unless you study them individually is the beauty of each of the four books individually. Each is written by a different author and brings to the table a unique perspective on the life of Christ. But without all four, we would miss out on some incredible details of His life!

While I was reading, I kept thinking, "But wait, I though this happened next." Then I realized it probably does - it's just left out of this particular book. While many accounts are duplicated in more than one of the four books, some are not. What a wonderful gift of God that we have all four in His Word!

Another reason I love the fact that we have four gospels is that it is another proof that the Bible and the life of Christ are true and factual. Each book was written at a different time, at a different location, by a different man. Yet they all line up perfectly! It is also proof that the Holy Spirit was truly the writer of these books! Since the books were not written while Jesus was alive but rather were written years later, it would seem implausible that the disciples would be able to remember SO many specific details. Yet they recorded detail upon detail upon detail, and all in accordance with the other three books (which, remember, were written at a different time, at a different location, by a different man).

I am really enjoy this week of Bible reading! Not that I don't read on a normal week, but I've been much more consistent this week and I've really enjoyed reading straight through the book of Matthew. Tomorrow morning I will begin in Mark and we'll see where that takes me!

Thanks for following along on my journey! :)

Wacky Wednesday - The Good Wife's Guide

The following article is from Housekeeping Monthly in May of 1955. While I do agree that there are several great ideas within this article, some of them are definitely a far stretch from today’s “wifely roles”. Hope you enjoy! :)

The Good Wife

· Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

· Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

· Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

· Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

· Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dustcloth over the tables.

· Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husbnd will feel he has reached a haven or rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

· Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, elieminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

· Be happy to see him.

· Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

· Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

· Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

· Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

· Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.

· Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays our all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

· Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

· Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

· Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

· A good wife always knows her place.

My Photograpy Blog is Up and Running!

I am still waiting on my camera (which *supposedly* should have arrived yesterday). But in the meantime, I finally got to do some work on my photography blog! I know a few of you asked for the link when it was ready to be viewed, so here it is:

Indy Photography Blog

And should you want to come back to it later but don't want to search for this post, I've added it to my "Loveable Links" on the right side of the page. :)

Here's a sneak peek of my most recent session:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Challenge, Day 3

I have not turned the television on since Sunday. While I'm not sure that watching less TV was the actual goal of this challenge, I'm sure it definitely can't hurt. Since I'm still catching up on Sunday's 2-hour movie time, I don't want to get any more behind by watching anything else! I have about 25 minutes to go and I'm just about to finish the book of Matthew. It's been a lovely journey.

I found myself in Bible study last night knowing where all the verses in Matthew were. It was a wonderful feeling to know exactly what Scriptures were there! Obviously, the more acquainted with the Word you are, the better you will know references and Scriptures.

In Matthew 26, Peter denied Christ three times, just as Christ had told him he would. It got me to often do we as Christians deny the name of Christ? Not directly, of course, but in a subtle way. For example, the way we dress could deny the fact that we know Him. The way we speak could deny the commandments that He has given. There are so many ways that we can essentially deny our Lord, yet we look at Peter and say, "What a fool!"

I'm curious if anyone else is traveling this journey with me. Anyone?....Anyone?.....Bueller?....

Monday, June 9, 2008

Challenge, Day 2

Although I didn't watch any TV today, I spent a good portion of time (well, about an hour) catching up on last night's movie time. :)

I read Matthew 3-22 this afternoon and had forgotten how much more you get out of the gospels if you read them straight through! Something that struck me today was how childish the disciples were. They were constantly doing things like asking Jesus who would be the greatest, asking who would sit near him in heaven, trying to act like they knew what was the most important. Jesus always calmly responded with gentleness and corrected their foolish behavior.

And then I got to childish am I sometimes? I think I know what's important in life, but so many times I'm just way off base. I want recognition for things that I do when all the recognition should really go to the Lord. It is truly by the grace of God that I am what I am today. So why should I boast?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weekend Worship - Challenge, Day 1

When I first started this blog several months ago, I would occasionally issue a challenge as part of my Weekend Worship posts. Well, the time has come around again and I have a really hard one for you this week!

The truth's not my challenge, really. The challenge actually came straight from the pulpit yesterday, but I think it's perfect!

Our sermon began with several quotes on the state of America's declining morals. Woven into the message was the truth that the television has played a major role in this country's downfall. He defined television as the most easily accessible, most addictive drug in America. The sermon ended with this challenge:

Part A:
This week read your Bible as much as you watch television. Minute for minute. Hour for hour.

Part B:
Each day, share with one person something you've learned from reading the Word that day.

When our pastor first said this, I thought "Well, that should be easy. We hardly even watch tv!" But after tonight's 2-hour movie with my hubby, I've had to rethink how much we actually do turn on the tube.

So I'm extending the challenge to all of you! For one week only (it's only a week - you can do it!), read the Bible just as much as you watch tv. You may be surprised how much tv you actually watch! And you'll likely be just as surprised how much you're learning in the Scriptures in that same amount of time!


I decided to start with Matthew and I'll see how far I get in the New Testament this week! What I've learned from my reading today is how very disobedient I am. When Mary was pregnant and shortly after she gave birth to Jesus, Joseph received visions from the Lord more than once. He never seemed to waver in his faith. Each time the Lord commanded Joseph to do something, as soon as he woke up, Joseph obeyed. As soon as he woke up. Wow. What a man of God! I know of several instances in the past and present wherein I have not immediately obeyed the conviction of the Holy Spirit. And I hesitate to say that immediate obedience is probably not often the case with me.

I hope you will join in on this challenge for the week! If you do, feel free to leave comments sharing about what you're learning in the Word each day! Or post about the challenge in your own blog and leave your link in the comments section!

I may or may not be blogging about other things this week. We'll see how much reading I have to do! :)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

More (Almost) Free Diapers!!

I thought I was well enough stocked on diapers for a while after the past few weeks (see my previous posts here and here), but when new CVS Huggies coupons arrived in the mail this week, I was stoked!

I know that these coupons did not make it to every CVS-ing household, but for those of you who got them - SWEET! I also get Huggies coupons in the mail occasionally, so that's where the rest of my coupons came from. There are other Huggies coupons from a recent newspaper insert, but the ones that come in the mail are usually a little better.

Here is what I did tonight (our CVS deals for next week are already running):

2 pkgs of Huggies diapers (on sale for $7.99 each)
1 pkg of Huggies Supreme Refill wipes (on clearance for $3.00)

I used the following coupons:

(1) $3/$15 CVS coupon
(1) $2/1 Huggies diapers CVS coupon
(2) $1.50/1 Huggies diaper coupon
(1) $1/1 Huggies wipes CVS coupon
(1) $.75/1 Huggies wipes coupon

...and $6.99 ECB.

I didn't get any ECB back today, but I can't argue with $2.66 for two packages of Huggies diapers and the best wipes ever! :)

I'm sure I'll be back in again this week for other deals (specifically the cereal deal!) but I didn't want them to run out of diapers (which they sometimes do). Plus, now I've had my CVS fix for a few days. :)

Free Movies at Kerasotes Theaters!

I received this email this morning and I'm SO excited! We've been talking about taking our kids to the theater for quite some time now (they are 3, 2, and 9 months) but we just couldn't quite justify the expense in the event that we needed to take them out screaming . :)

But it looks like Kerasotes has found an excellent solution! Free admission to select family movies on Wednesdays and Thursdays this summer @ 10am! See below for full details.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Freebie Friday!!

A few days ago, I posted a coupon for a free donut at Krispy Kreme. Well, today no coupon is needed!

Today is Doughnut Day at Krispy Kreme! They are offering one free doughnut of your choice! Just to be safe, you may want to call your local store to make sure they are participating. :)

Go enjoy the melt-in-your-mouthyness of these delicious donuts!

Click here for more Freebies.

Thankful Thursday - I'm Getting a Camera!

After some careful thought and many prayers, my husband and I decided that it would be a good investment for me to get a camera. I'm super excited about this since I've really been wanting one for about 9 months.

It was a tough decision because we were planning to not make any major purchases until our debt was paid off (which we tracked to be by the end of this year). But since I already have one paid wedding this fall (for which I was originally going to borrow a camera, since all I have right now is a rather cheap point and shoot) and several other booked photo sessions for this summer/fall, we felt that the investment would likely pay for itself rather quickly and might actually help us pay off our debt sooner.

After much research, I decided to purchase the Nikon D40 w/ a 18-55mm lens as well as a 55-200mm VR lens. (If you're not into cameras, that probably means nothing to you. I know it meant nothing to me prior to a few months ago.) I bought it through a very reputable company on E-bay, but I will probably not receive it for another 2 weeks or so. (I'm hoping for less, but I don't want to get my hopes up.)

Up to this point, I've been doing photo shoots with friends and family and have not been charging anything - not because I don't think my pictures are worthy of being paid but rather because I could not bear to charge someone for a photo that I took using a point and shoot camera. Regardless of how good the pictures are, it just seems tacky to me. Once my new camera arrives, I will probably begin charging although my rates are yet to be determined.

Here is a picture of my new beauty:

Isn't it purdy?!

The package deal that I purchased includes: camera body, 3 lenses, 3 filters, a hard and a soft camera case, and lots of other little accessories (tripod, memory card, etc.). I'm sure most of the accessories are pretty cheap quality, but they will serve my purpose for now and be enough to help me get started. The package ended up costing me under $800 (cash, of course), so I was pretty pleased with that.

I'm considering starting a photography blog one of these days. Well, actually I have the blog in place, but so far I have yet to post any pictures there. I will let you know if I ever get that started.

If you're interested in checking out my photo portfolio, it is here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wacky Wednesday - Or Not So Wacky

I try to keep track of what kinds of posts I get the most comments on. This typically indicates that my readers (that's you) like those posts better than others which get fewer comments.

Lately I've realized that it's pretty rare that anyone ever leaves a comment on Wednesday. Now, this could be due to the fact that, after viewing whatever strange thing I have found for you each week, you just have nothing to say. If that's the case, don't feel alone. I'm sure there is a whole clan of you who are so amazed at my ability to keep you entertained your mouth goes dry and no words can be formed.

My other thought is this: No one cares.

I do know of ONE reader who enjoys Wacky Wednesdays, but aside from that one person...I'm not so sure what the rest of my audience feels.

How do you like Wacky Wednesdays? Is there something else you would prefer? Again, keep in mind the whole first letter deal. I know, I'm weird. But I'm totally open to suggestions. Only good ones though! Don't give me any lame suggestions. Well can give me something lame to work with, but I'll likely just ignore it and move on to the next suggestion. (This is, of course, assuming anyone actually has suggestions.)

Let's see where this takes us, shall we?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Free Krispy Kreme Donut!

I received an email today from Krispy Kreme with a coupon for a free donut! The emailed encouraged me to email the coupon to friends, so I think it's safe to say it's okay to share it on here as well!

WOO HOO! for a free donut!

Here is the coupon:

Just save and print! (Expires July 8th)

Tasty Tuesday - My 8mo Eats Like An Adult!

If I had a quarter for every time someone asked me how we manage to survive on a $200 monthly grocery budget, I'd be rich! Well, okay...maybe not rich. But we'd at least have a lot of quarters sitting around!

One of the ways we save money is by NOT purchasing jarred baby food. For starters, it's outrageously expensive. Aside from that, it's runny, stinky, and downright gross if you ask me. We prefer to use the food processor for the first month or two that our babies eat food. After that, they just learn how to chew and eat table food with the family.

The other day, I decided it would be fun to document my baby's lunch. We had leftovers that day, so leftovers is what she got....just like the rest of us.

12:35pm - She's fussing about me taking a picture and wants to eat it NOW!

12:40pm - Five minutes have passed and there's no sign of quitting. She's again wondering what is going on with the camera.

12:46pm - Lunch is completely gone!

12:48pm - Don't forget to top it off with some milk, Mom!

Alright, maybe that wasn't as fun as I thought it was going to be. Lol.

Monday, June 2, 2008

New CVS Coupons!

For those of you who haven't heard, there is a new $3/$15 CVS coupon in the Beacon Journal Newspaper. Click here to be redirected to Money Saving Mom with full details on how to get this coupon.

In addition to that, I found some new CVS beauty coupon booklets tonight. They were sitting on top of the card scanner kiosk (whatever those are called) and they have some decent coupons that could be paired with manufacturer coupons or the $3/$10 CVS brand coupons for a pretty good deal.

There were two separate booklets and since these seem to be hard to find, I thought I would take a picture of each to help you out.



The coupons in these booklets are good through August 31, 2008.

And speaking of coupons....two coupon things happened tonight at CVS.

#1: I was standing near the registers trying to sort through my overflowing cart full of stuff and a lady walked up behind me. I told her I was not in line and that she could go ahead and she informed me that she was looking for coupons (in her purse). She handed me a coupon for the Huggies wipes I was buying and I gave her one for the pull-ups in her basket. I thought it was a pretty good deal! But then the deal got even sweeter when she handed me a whole HANDFUL of Huggies coupons. She said her newborn can't wear Huggies so she would never use them. SWEET!

#2: While I was still standing in line (but not in line) a man walked up to the registers. I told him the same thing...that I was not ready and that he was welcome to go ahead. He laughed and said, "Are you confused about what you got?" (I was piling stuff up on the counter so as to sort through everything in my cart). I said, "Oh, no...I just have to figure out my transactions so I hardly spend any money." He gave me a look that I thought said he thought I was crazy. But a few seconds later he asked, "Do you teach classes on it? Can you teach my wife?" Lol. I told him that I was in fact going to be doing a coupon seminar at my church the first weekend of August and that she was welcome to come! I really got a kick out of his question!

Money Monday - Today's CVS Trip!

I'm ashamed to admit that, after 4 months of avid CVS-ing, I think I spent more money tonight than I have ever spent there.


I did get a LOT of stuff we need and use, so definitely not a waste of money. (Those of you who can't seem to understand why I get things I don't need will be happier with this post). :) I could have done better, but I didn't plan my transactions very well and then I felt so bad that they were waiting on me to close. I know...I'm a people pleaser in that regard. I must have apologized almost a dozen times. Not an exaggeration. Anyway, five transactions later, here is what I walked out the door with:

In case you can't see all those tiny things, I'll give you the rundown in writing:

(1) 8-pk Bounty paper towel
(3) 9-pk Charmin toilet paper...Ultra Soft :)
(2) Jumbo size Pampers diapers
(2) Pampers Sensitive baby wipes
(2) Huggies refill baby wipes (180ct each)
(4) Huggies baby wash
(4) Carefree pantyliners (22ct each)
(2) Listerine mouthwash (250mL)
(2) 2-pk Oral B CrossAction toothbrushes
(3) Brut deodorant
(2) bags of Chex mix
(1) yearly planner
(1) Glade Scented Oil candle holder
(2) CVS brand cotton swabs (Q-tips) 500ct each
(3) CVS brand bandaids

Total before coupons and sales: $143.67

Total OOP: $16.00 *GULP*

Total ECB to use next time: $15.00

Not terrible, I know. And considering that's the cost of JUST the two packages of diapers anywhere else, I'm not feeling too awful. But it is one of my worst shopping trips ever as far as OOP costs go.

Regardless of my shame, I am glad to say that we should be set on toilet paper, paper towel, diapers, bandaids, baby wash, pantyliners, Q-tips, and DEFINITELY baby wipes for quite some time!

I also want to mention that the Huggies Supreme refill baby wipes packs were on clearance at my CVS (Note to Katy - there is a PILE of them left! Go grab them!) for just $3/pack. I used coupons, of course, which brought them down to $2 each. NICE, EH? Yep. So you might want to check that out if you need baby wipes.

As always, thanks to Crystal over at Money Saving Mom for all her hard work in posting the CVS deals each week and month!