Something to hold on to...

"Today I am one day nearer home than ever before. One day nearer the dawning when the fog will lift, mysteries clear, and all question marks straighten up into exclamation points!
 I shall see the King!"     Vance Havner

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Suddenly the price of cereal, milk, or even a car really does not matter.
I am numb.

Today I was told that I do have cancer. That is such an ugly word. I think I will rename it. Anybody with a better name for it then please let me know.

I do not really even know where this post will take me as I am trying to process my thoughts as I type. I am sorry for rambling. I am not taking the time to collect thoughts before I post. You get what you get today.

Who would have thought that an "incidental" nodule on my thyroid would turn out to really be cancer? The nodule that would not have even detected if it were not for my heart attack and resulting tests. I had no cancer symptoms, which is a good thing. It is just I don't like the thought of it all.

The report says medullary thyroid cancer. There are 4 types of thyroid cancer and if you rank them 1-4 with #1 being the easiest to treat, or "best to have", mine is #3. What does all of this mean? I do not know. Next week I meet with a specialist and the week after that with a surgeon. We will go from there. School starts for me on the 18th of August. Not really sure why I even threw that in. I cannot worry about that right now.

Do I let my mind race to all of the what ifs? Silly question, it has already. I have Googled enough to be informed, and scared at the same time. Don't tell me to stay off the internet. That is probably like telling a fish to stay out of water. I want to know what all of this means. Even if I read the worse case scenarios, I will know the possibilities and can find out the particulars of my case as they come.

I told my doctor that we have a big God. I honestly believe that. He has proven Himself to me enough times to make me believe that. This new event in my life is not so I can know we have a big God. Maybe it is so everyone else can know it as well.

I am scared though, I will not pretend to be super strong and stoic. My deepest fears though are not for me. They are for my boys. I can't walk through this without fearing that my boys will learn how I did the pain involved with losing your mom when you are still young.

My blog will more than likely take on a new focus. I don't know. I imagine I will chronicle the events of all of this as they come. I imagine on some days I will still get excited about my latest bargains. Can I say, I hope I will still get excited? I can not let this thing suck the living out of me.

My doctor cried as my husband and I were getting ready to leave. You appreciate it when the doctor you have had for 20 years cares enough to feel what you are feeling and is not afraid to show he cares. He even stood and held me as I wept. That was about 5 hours ago. I am still numb, and somewhat still weeping. Husband was with me, and when I took him back to work, he held me. I did not want to let go. I wanted to stop time right there. Safe in the arms of my husband.

God must have planned a diversion for me though ahead of time. My plans today, which I did accomplish, were to make strawberry freezer jam. The strawberries had been crushed and waiting in the freezer for some time. The boys and I made 8 batches, for a total of 34 jars. Something to take your mind off of other things I guess. On another day, that would have been the focus of my post. Not today.

I read something today, actually early today when I had no clue the news would come on this day. I was searching the web, for bargains of all things and noticed that someone left a quote with their post. Now, I have heard this before, but isn't it funny how God reminds you of things just when you need them? It said, "The will of God will not take you where the grace of God does not live". Digest that for a while. I am.

If you can and remember, please pray for me and for my family. I know some people will hear of this and forget to pray, but the more people who know , then the more who will actually pray. I am counting on that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

$10.00 left

I over spent on cereal. I bought 6 boxes, but spent $13.04. That is pretty pricey for my standards, although $2.17 per box is not horrible. I bought 2 gallons of milk on Monday and I know I will need more milk. At least 2 more gallons. I have spent exactly $20.00 and will only spend $10.00 more the rest of the week. Doesn't look like I can get much fruit. I will have to see what I can do. I am committed to only spending $10.00 more so I will make it work. That means no more trips to CVS and none to Walgreens this week. I have enough on hand that I need to stick to this $30.00 a week for awhile. Wonder if I can? I will get through this week before I decide.

Monday, July 28, 2008

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...

***Warning***Medical Post****

Ever feel like you are a character in a book? This summer has been somewhat like a book to me. Let me explain:

If you have a heart attack the doctor will probably want to do a lot of tests.

If he does enough tests, chances are he will probably find something wrong.

If he finds something wrong he will want to do more tests.

If he does more tests, he might find something entirely new wrong.

If he finds something new wrong, he will want to do "a procedure".

If he does "a procedure", and finds something bad wrong, you might have a heart attack.

Well...maybe not that dramatic, but I will explain. during all of my heart tests they "incidentally" found a small nodule on my thyroid. Now, these are very common once someone turns that wonderful, "fall apart 50", so I am not really concerned, but today I went for a biopsy of my thyroid. Sticking a needle in your neck is not a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, but after
the initial "bee sting", it wasn't bad.

Although, leaving the office feeling like a baked potato is stuck in your throat wasn't much fun either. I won't know any results for a week, but like I said, I am just not too concerned. It's just that my summer, you know, my carefree, fun-loving summer, has turned into one giant doctor appointment. I guess I can't complain.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

To shop or not to shop, that is the question...

I need nothing.
Well, my family needs milk ( I wish I drank milk).
My husband needs cereal. Sorta.
We have cereal, only we have my kind of cereal. I eat the good for you kind, he eats the sugared up kid cereal. I will definitely buy milk, but you saw the stockpile, and that's just the overflow. My cabinets are full, and my fridge and freezers are full. A shopping break would be refreshing and I could put the grocery money in my new hallway carpet fund.

So, since the deals do not seem to be too prevalent and since I am stocked for Y3K, I just might take a break. I might have serious withdrawal symptoms and might drool at everyone's posted pictures, but I think I am going to stick to my plan.

Oh, wait...I need grapes and other fruit.
I need help.
Maybe I could spend, say $30.00 and get milk, ( with college boy home we use about 5 gallons (ouch) per week) fruit, maybe bread, and some sugary cereal. I do have those Post coupons from today.

Thanks for your help--that's what I'll do, I will go to CVS for milk, $2.89 here, (x5 =$14.45), pick up a couple of boxes of cereal somewhere with coupons, and maybe Aldi for some fruit and bread. That's it. Can I do it? Am I truly addicted to the thrill of it all, or can I really put this frugal thing to the test by knowing when to say when?
I will let you know.

To CVS I Go...

Here is what I am planning for my first trip to CVS this week:

1 Revlon Limited Edition Item 9.99

1 Band-Aid Ultra Strips 2.99

minus $2/ Q on Revlon
minus $1/Q on Band-Aid

-should be around $10.00, I will pay with a $10.00 ECB, might need a small filler in there, will decide that at the store.

-will get back 11.99 in ECBs. Should make some bucks on this. Remember, I am basically only adding to the stockpile if my items are free or a money maker.

I also plan to scope out this week's candy deal to see if the Mentos Gum is included, I've used all my Life Savers B1G1 Qs, so I need something to make the candy deal profitable before I try it.

I will post my success later.


The Revlon makeup was a bit hard to find, this CVS does not always have the ad signs out, so you have to hunt for the items on sale. It is a fancy blush that I probably would not have bought otherwise. But hey- free is free!

So, I bought the blush and a package of Band Aids and had coupons for both so that brought my prices down. I did need a filler to make the most of my $10.00 in Extra Care Bucks. I bought M&Ms and if I plan to do the candy deal I am 50 cents ahead.

Spent 10 ECBs, and 51 cents OOP. Earned 11.99 in ECBS. Not bad.

I do not think the Mentos gum is included on the candy deal.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Stockpile: Part 2

Here is the rest of my stockpile. I will not include many number counts, let's just say I have plenty.

Top drawer: Baby Powder (for me), Q Tips, and Johnson's Buddies ( I will give those away)
Drawer 2: Razors and blades for me. This drawer is completely full. I will not pay more than 50 cents at this point for razors.
Drawer 3: Feminine products. These were all free at Walmart with coupons.
Drawer 4: Razors for the guys and travel size (all free) of body wash. There are a few other trial size samples in this drawer.
Drawer 5: Toothpaste and Toothbrushes. I have enough toothpaste for about 6 months, and enough toothbrushes for the 4 of us for about 2 years. I will not pay anything for either of these items at this point., The only way I will add to this is if it is free.

Skip the top drawer, it is a repeat from the last picture...
Next drawer: Make up and girlie items. I will say that this drawer contains 13 tubes of mascara (again, I will not buy more unless it is free) --most of these were free. There are also many other make up items and beauty tools.
Next drawer: His shave gel and deodorant. Great Nivea deals in this drawer, actually made money purchasing these.
Next drawer: My shave gel, deodorant, make-up wipes , and facial cleansers. I LOVE my make up wipes and have gotten great deals on these.
Last drawer: Bar soap and liquid hand soap. Don't need any more of these either, so again, unless it is free, I'm not buying.

This drawer unit is also in my basement, and is next to the big shelf on a workbench. It did not get in the original picture.
Top drawer: Air freshener refills. ( Ha- I spelled freshener wrong on the label)
Next drawer: Glade scented oil candles, and other air fresheners.
Bottom drawer: Candles

So, there you have it. My stockpile. I love the power of the stockpile. It saves us money, it is very convenient, it has enabled us to bless friends and family, and it has now cut my weekly shopping amounts in half. My mother shopped this way many years ago. She only bought what was a good buy at the time, and little by little the stockpile would grow.

Another coupon method

I showed you how I do my coupons, but the thing is: there are many right ways to file your coupons. What works for one person is not necessarily the best for someone else. Here is another method that seems to bring success. Head over to Keeping the Kingdom First ( I love that blog title, because it is what we should all focus on) and check out how Alyssa files her coupons. Remember, the coupons are the gold here, how we file them can be a matter of taste.

The Stockpile: Part 1

This is why I love to CVS and coupon. By the way, I love it how "CVS" and "coupon" have now become VERBS to so many!

These shelves basically hold the overflow. My kitchen cabinets hold what I normally use and when we run out of something we "shop" in the basement first. The standing drawer units hold entirely health and beauty items. The large shelving unit is mostly food , household goods, and our larger health and beauty items. I will detail the large shelving unit in this post. My next post will go into more detail on the stacking drawer contents.

The very top holds tissues and wipes, next shelf holds paper plates, bowls, and food items.

Next we have condiments, more food items, and drinks. Under those are my dish detergents, cleaning products and household items. (and a stray bag of Malt-0-Meal)

The bottom shelf holds body washes, shampoo, and hair items. The retail value of this shelf alone would probably take care of my entire grocery budget for 3 months. When I think of what I actually paid for these items it boggles my mind. Many of these were totally free and others were just pennies at CVS.


If you do not stockpile, then you will probably think I am one of those crazy horders that appear on talk shows and need intensive interventions. I assure you, that I can and do say no. I just haven't had to . If something is free or just pennies I will take it.

However, if you do understand the concept of stockpiling, then you will probably give me a thumb's up.
My stockpile is located in my basement, my house is over 80 years old, so the basement is not much to look at. The fact that I am even showing these pictures is a big step for me. However, God has blessed me with the ability to "purchase" many many of these items for free, and the others at a very low cost and I want to share what careful planning, and couponing can do for you.

The joy of the stockpile means I will not have to pay full price for any of these items for a very long time. I can concentrate my weekly purchases on only the things we need and look for the best deals on those. For instance, right now believe it or not, we are low on cereal. Husand loves his cereal. I have a few boxes, but need to watch for deals on that soon. When a deal hits, I can buy 6 or 8 boxes at once without feeling like I am taking away from money needed for other things because I do not need other things.

My name is...


There, I did it. I decided to use my real first name on this blog. I got tired of my pseudonym, it had a neat connection to my roots, and family will still "get" it, but it bored me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Coupon System

This is my coupon filing system. It has gone through a few changes over the last few months, but now I think I have found the method that works for me.

~ First I clip all the coupons that I can possibly imagine using. I used to clip EVERY single coupon, but I found that I threw many away. I am a bit more selective, but as you can see, I still clip tons.
~ Next, I lay out my envelopes. The category is written on the top and sides of each envelope. I place them sideways on the table so I can see the category, and so I have room to lay out the coupons.
~ Then I just pick up each little pile, take the coupons off the top of the envelope and stuff them inside.

This is an example of some of the sub-categories in my filing system.

My filing box was a gift from my sister. She purchased it at Staples. It normally sells for about $6.00. so the price is very reasonable. She had gotten one for herself for free using recycled ink cartridge coupons (frugality at its best). I like it because it will fit in a grocery cart, I can sub divide the sections with envelopes, it closes, so I can prevent spilling the contents in the grocery aisle, and it is large enough to hold my stash.
The blank envelopes in front are for when I plan a shopping trip. I will pull out one envelope, place the coupons I will need for a particular store, then write the store's name on that envelope and place it back in the front. Practically all of my purchases are well planned in advance. I do not buy much on the spur of the moment, but having a carefully planned list with coupons ready in an envelope, AND having my complete collection with me gives me the best of both worlds. I can purchase planned items, and take advantage of a great coupon deal that I did not know about in advance.

This last picture shows how I sub divided one of my categories: the food section. This file system only came with 12 dividers and that is not near enough for me, but by making smaller sections within the category I think I can find everything easily.

I know there are many methods of coupon organization out there, but this works for me.

Stay tuned, because soon I will post pictures of my newly organized stockpile!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


This was taken during one of the nightly sessions at CIY (Christ in Youth). These are some of "my" girls. A few of the girls from my girl group were not able to attend.

I shared a dorm apartment with this group during our trip to CIY. I did not know this group of girls very well, and now I am quite blessed to know them. These girls all belong to the small group of the other sponsor in the picture.

I did not give birth to daughters. I never really thought that mattered because I have been completely satisfied with my boys. Yet now that my "boys" are no longer "boys", (they are young men,) I am finding out that girls are okay too. As I have mentioned before, husband and I have been youth sponsors on and off for 25 years. In the last year and a half I have focused my ministry on high school girls. Let me say this, I LOVE them. It is kind of like being a grandma, I can enjoy them immensely, yet I did not have to raise them.

Our trip to Tennessee for the Christ in Youth conference was amazing. If your church has never taken the high school students to this conference then they are really missing out. It is a perfect blend of fun, worship, and bonding of your youth group. You need to check them out .

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I have returned from my week away. It was an incredible week for the youth at our church and I love being a sponsor. However, this post is about another facet of my trip. Since this youth conference was located in a southern town with family ties, I was able to reconnect with some of my dad's family. My father was the 3rd of 14 children. He passed away nearly 30 years ago and would be 101 if he were alive. Only two of the 14 children remain; the last two girls. One is doing very well, and one is in a nursing home. I had not seen my aunt since my father passed away. It was a very sweet reunion. She is a beautiful, sweet southern lady in every sense of the word and it did my heart good to see her. My husband and I were blessed to have a "long lost" cousin and his wife have us over for a delicious lunch and for him to take us around to visit some old familiar sites.

My heart is still happy from this reunion.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Scroll down for my CVS items this week

I just linked at Money Saving Mom for the first time.

We are leaving

I won't be around here for a bit, we are leaving tomorrow night for a trip to Tennessee. I might have time tomorrow afternoon to hit CVS and Walgreens one time, but that will be the extent of my shopping for the week. I better plan carefully.

Husband and I are going as youth sponsors with our church to a week long high school youth conference. We are taking about 80 youth and there are about 13 sponsors, including our youth minister and his wife. We have done this several times and we love it! I feared after the heart attack that I would not be able to do this, but the doctor has given me the clear. He said I could climb a mountain if I want to !

Today, however is packed with things to do. I have not started packing, (need to iron first) I have a baby shower to attend, and I am taking supper to husband's folks tonight so we can eat with them and visit before we go. They are leaving as well, and going on an Alaskan cruise!

After I return from this trip I hope to get some organizing done before school starts and then I plan to post pictures of my stockpiles. They have served me well, just need organized. It is so fun to go to our "store" here in the house when I need something and realize that my items were nearly free, rather than make a run to the real store and pay full price. I just cannot imagine paying $3.00 ever again for a toothbrush!

So, everyone have a good week. Pray for God to move in a mighty way next week with our youth!

Monday, July 7, 2008

First trip to CVS this week

My first trip this week was on Sunday afternoon. I did the Olay deal and the Frebreeze deal. I spent $2.09 after coupons and extra bucks and made back 15 more in extra bucks.
My new goal is to try to stay around $2.00 out of pocket. If I have to spend more than that, then I need to decide if I really need these items at all. At this point my stock pile is so large that I can sit back and wait for the best of the best deals. I can even afford to do the unimaginable...spend more extra bucks than I make in return.

Yesterday was a sweet day to me. I have become quite fond of the make up removal cloths. These would have been considered a luxury in my "pre CVS" days. I would have never bought these, and now I have a stockpile of Garnier, CVS, and Olay cloths that have all been free or nearly free.

Isn't it funny how the things we could never afford now are free, and the things we used to think were bargains we can no longer "afford"? I tell people I cannot afford Dollar General anymore because I have to use real money there!

This new way of using coupons and learning to stack deals has been such a blessing to my family and I .


Today was one of those days. I could have had a few more hours and maybe I would have gotten everything done.

6:15 rise and shine (well, rise anyway, I do not “shine” before 8:00)

8:30- cardiac rehab , I am getting better at this, and they are adding a few more minutes to my routine.

9:30- had to stop by a local doctor’s office to pick up necessary paperwork for youngest son’s new college

9:45- quick trip into Walgreen’s, just bought the Bayer Heart Advantage with a coupon, received a $2.00 register reward for another purchase.

10:00- “had” to run into CVS. The coupon scanner was VERY good to me today. I just kept scanning my card until it told me to come back tomorrow. 12 coupons spitted out, and they were actually for good stuff. None of them were used today though. I will see what the next ad brings. I bought just 3 things, 2 Pert Plus shampoos that ended up costing 50 cents each after manufacturer’s coupons and the sale price, and a hand soap that I used the $2.00 skin care coupon on. It was 50 cents as well.

10:30- stopped by our insurance agent’s to add youngest son’s “new” car on our policy.

10:40- stopped at husband’s work for a moment

10:45- dropped off our property tax bill at the bank for payment from our escrow account

10:50- stopped at our other Walgreen’s and thought about spending the $2.00 register reward, decided to wait and use it on milk later in the week

11:00- got home just in time to prepare lunch for husband and myself

11:10- husband came home for his lunch break, I love it that he gets to come home everyday, and that he is great about eating up leftovers!

11:45- began a daunting task of necessary paperwork for son’s new college and numerous phone calls that had to be made. I sat for 4 hours in my dining room taking care of household business. Youngest son and I made numerous calls about his college plans and ran into difficulty with his schedule. Thankfully he was able to get an appointment for tomorrow with an advisor to help with his schedule.

4:00- ran back to husband’s work to take a check for him to sign, then to the bank, got gas (ouch) and stopped back by his work for a minute

4:45- quick trip to the closest CVS. This was fun. I talked myself out of doing the current mascara BOGO deal ( I currently have 10 tubes in my stockpile that cost me nearly nothing, I cannot see paying $8.99 just to get a BOGO deal when I do not need it. I will not get anymore mascara unless the deal is for free or perhaps for 50 cents) I made one small purchase and the fun part is, I gave the clerk some of the skin care coupons I had printed. She was thrilled.

5:15- home again, took a quick shower and got ready for a meeting at church, did some more necessary paperwork, for the meeting tonight

7:00- meeting at church and then a quick supper at Wendy’s afterwards.

9:00- MORE paperwork, this to take to a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and finally checking emails and catching up on the blog

I could have used a few more hours. A few for relaxing would be nice.

Good thing about this day---while I was busy with all of this, my sons did ALL of the laundry, took care of the dishwasher, dishes , cleaned the kitchen (twice), took care of the pets and basically maintained the household.