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

Friday, March 27, 2009

I'm Tired

~Pretty flowers in freshly mulched bed~

I think that when Monday rolls around I will be glad to get back to school so I can sit down!  I have had a very busy week.  I am so glad though to have accomplished as much as we have.  No major work in the house like we did last year, but I have gotten a lot done in the way of cleaning, pitching, organizing, and yard work. (plus enough bargain hunting to sustain me for a few days)

This is the run down of the week:
  • Made many trips to Kmart for double coupon madness(whoo-hoo)
  • A visit to several stores in my sister's town (oh yeah, I visited my sister too)
  • A major de-junking of the basement (more to go--ALWAYS more to go)
  • My winter clothes are packed away in suitcases and spring has arrived in my closet
  • Finished raking fall leaves out of the flowerbeds
  • Mulch spread on 3/4  of the flower beds and borders--had not mulched for about 4 years
  • (We bought 45 bags of mulch! Started out with 25 and realized soon that was not going to cut it--I know we should have bought by the yard, to be more frugal, but we got a good price and  convenience  won out this time) 
  • --Plan to finish mulching tomorrow
  • Hosed down the porch and patio and purchased two new chairs for the front porch
  • Moved the treadmill from the sun-room into my new "multi-purpose" room
  • Deep cleaned youngest' bedroom
  • Made 3 batches of homemade waffles and  froze 23 divided up in freezer bags
  • Helped a friend take a meal to friends at the hospital in a nearby town
  • Laundry is caught up, the freezer and pantry are full,  so tomorrow when husband gets off work we will go out on the town (for us that would consist of dinner and a movie at best, but it is a night out)
I have had a good week, even though it has not been the lay on the beach type of break.  I was so limited last summer when it came to working around my house , that it actually feels good to do all of this again.  I did not work in my yard at all last year due to health reasons  after planting a few things in my garden.  Friends helped with everything else,  and it sure does feel good to play in the dirt again. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Waffles on a Weekday?

Too bad my boys are not home this morning!  They might even rise up and call me blessed. Well, probably not.  I did get very ambitious though and make homemade waffles.  I found an incredible whole-wheat, overnight recipe here.  You will have to check out that blog.  This lady could come cook for me anytime!  

This waffle batter is so cool because you mix it up the night before and put it in the fridge where it does its magic.  Then the next morning you heat the waffle iron, and whalla!  (how do you spell that?)  *****correction*****"whalla" is actually "voila" with a schwa over the letter a (not that I know how to type the schwa)******(thanks Aunt D.) 

Next time though I will double the recipe.  I was hoping for many more so I could freeze quite a few for when the boys are home.  This made 8 waffles.  My waffle-maker makes 7 inch round waffles, which are not very big.  Husband and I loved them this morning and each ate one and a half.  I have 5 for the freezer.   I love that the whole wheat is not overpowering so that you can still taste your syrup.  I am thinking that while the waffle maker is sitting in the kitchen (it lives in the basement) I might just make up a double batch and let them work their magic during the day. It only takes a few minutes to make each one so I might just do that.   

We could have waffles for supper...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Last Trip?

K Mart Haul
Only $5.57 this time for over $60.00 worth of goodies.  My grand total for the K Mart deals has come to $34.76 out of pocket for over $190 worth of various household items.   I could have easily spent $35.00 on about 7 things with my old way of shopping.  I totaled 78 items at roughly  45 cents per item. 
Here is what I bought:
3 Pledge duster refills
2 Glade oil candle refills
2 boxes Brownie mix
2 reduced fat Pringles
3 Gillette body wash
2 Vaseline lotion for men
1 Sure deodorant
3 double packs of Oral B toothbrushes
1 Nature's Source window cleaner

Monday, March 23, 2009

Frugality through the Year

I decided to go backwards in my "Frugal Living" posts and I realized that I have been doing this super-coupon stuff for just over one year.  My first real CVS post was on March 16 of last year.  I sure have learned a lot and sure have changed what I spend.  I remember when I would spend $4.00 (ouch) on one box of cereal, and actually paid for toothpaste and toothbrushes.   I still have a lot to learn compared to some of the blogs I read, but in reality, we all find our spot and what level works for us.  I am pretty much at my level.  

Maybe I do need counseling...

No, I am sharing this loot. 

I spent a bit more on this trip to KMart.  A grand total of $22.75.  For both trips I am under $30.00.   Not much needed at the grocery this week, so I will still come in cheap for the week.  Even shopping at the Kroger Mega Sale  when I visit my sister should not break the bank.  However, I am also about out of good coupons, so my trip to visit my sister's  KMart will be quite paltry compared to this.  

Here is the list, only I am not taking the time to breakdown the prices.  If you need a list of ideas to get you started, go here.  She even tells you which insert to find your coupon. 
I purchased:

6 boxes Cinnamon Toast Crunch (husband LOVES his nightly cereal)
5 Suave body wash (believe it or not, I was getting low on the girly stuff)
2 Gillette body wash
4 Glade oil candle refills (good deal on those, already have the holder)
2 Soft Scrub Scrubby Pads (anxious to try those)
2 Pledge duster refills (I was glad to see those for the holder I snagged earlier, and I didn't know the coupon worked on these, but it clearly stated any multi-surface product)
4 more packages of Oral B toothbrushes
1 Lysol toilet bowl cleaner
2 Vaseline body lotions
1 Nature's Source cleaner
4 more Sure deodorants

Whew.  Gotta go put it all away.  Don't be surprised if you are a benefactor of a goodie box in the near future...

KMart Double Coupons

KMart was very good to me!

Everything in this picture came to $6.44 !  
That sure helps the budget!  
Click on the picture of the receipt to make it easier to read!

They are doubling your coupons up to a $2.00 face value this week at certain KMart stores, and lucky for me, mine is one of them.  A $2.00 coupon means $4.00 off !  ( up to the purchase price- they won't give an overage) Many of my items were free!  You can only use 4 of the same coupon in each transaction, so I will be back later this week.  I have a lot of coupons. 

I was bummed that they did not carry Mentos gum in the single packs because I have good coupons for those, but I am visiting my sister later this week and we will check out her KMart. I can always get it cheap (but not free)  at WalMart though.  

Here is what all I ran off with, and the prices I paid:

4 packs of 2 each Oral B toothbrushes (free)
1  3pack of Trident (free)
4 Sure deodorants (free)
4 Gillette Body Wash (.49 each)
4 Fuse drinks (.50 each)
2 Super Stack cans of Pringles (.89 each)
1 box of Lipton tea bags (1.59)
2 Band-Aid fabric bandages (1.29 each)
1 Glade candle (.50)
2 Luden's cough drops (free)
1 bottle Greased Lightening (.49)
1 Pledge duster (free)
1 St. Joseph 81 mg aspirin (.39)
1 Johnson & Johnson first aid to go kits (free)
1 Johnson & Johnson fabric tape (free)

Over $70.00 worth of goodies for $6.44!  If you plan to go , you need to go to KMart's web site and sign up for email notices first because you get a $5.00 off of $50.00 coupon.  Use that first in your transaction, then use all of your other coupons.   That $5.00 coupon helped with all of the items that did not come out free.  

Fun way to start my spring break!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dancing in The Rain

I just love it when God gets my attention.  

A couple of posts ago I told you all that I miss that intimacy that I felt with God during my health crisis.  I was pretty much beating myself up over it.

 Well,  just this past Monday night I was with my girlfriends and one wisely told me not to feel bad because she felt that was  just a special time when God just gave me more, basically because I needed it.  She said that even though we are strong Christians, those intimate moments are reserved for times like that.  

 I chewed on that for a few days, ( I am like that, I must have a processing delay because I have to think about things for a while)

 Anyway,  I likened that statement to thinking of a parent. Thinking of a parent  who although has lots of children and loves them all equally,  the sick one gets to sit on their lap.  Thus, the sick one obviously feels a special connection at that moment in time  to that parent.  

Now if that revelation was not enough to make me "get it", God did it again. 

 This morning in church, it was almost as if God whispered, "Anita, it's not raining." 
 You may think I am crazy, and what in the world does that mean?  So, I will try to explain my train of thought this way. 

Remember when you were little, and playing or dancing in the rain was actually a fun thing to do?   My boys would beg to go out in the rain.  I was always the worried mom, thinking that a stray bolt of lightening would jump out of the sprinkles and hit my boys.  I was mostly too cautious to let them enjoy the hidden blessing in a rain storm.  I did give in at one point, and encouraged them to enjoy the rain.  I even  have the picture to prove it:

Look at those faces.  Do they care that it is raining?  

No, they knew how to "dance" in the rain.   They knew that special feeling , that although there might very well be a storm approaching, they had no control over it, and might as well do the best they could in that moment. 

I am thinking that maybe, for a brief moment in time, I remembered that as well.  That although there were "storms" all around me.  I  sought comfort up on God's lap, and at times He encouraged me to go out and dance.  

But to make God's point clear in my life now, I have to realize that it is no longer raining.  I have been very blessed with my recoveries and right now it is not raining in my life.  While I still may enjoy the "dance",  (I still enjoy my relationship with God just as much now as ever) it is not the same as when you dance in the rain.    

That is a special combination of events.  Dancing outside on a sunny day is wonderful, but not nearly the same as facing a storm and enjoying the dance in-spite of the circumstances. 

The following picture is a sign that my sister made for me at Christmas.  I loved it then, but just now the depth of those words are sinking in.  ( I told you I have a delay.  God just works on me that way.)

So, I guess I get it.  I can rejoice that I have a great relationship with God right now, when things are clear.  Yet, I can also have the knowledge that if that storm ever rolls back in, that I can crawl to Him, and ask to sit on His lap because I need it.   He will be there to pick me up or hold my hand.  

He will supply whatever I need, and we will dance. 

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome to my Blog

I would like to welcome the E.P. "Coupon Class" to my blog.  (ha)  I do like to talk about my coupon deals, huh?  Just to give you a few notes about my blog:  I am slowly adding labels to all of my past blogs, so if you want to pull up all  of  my frugal living posts you will soon be able to.  It is a work in progress.  My blog is just a small reflection of my life, the more you visit, the more you will get to know me.  The blog will rotate from my deals, my health issues of past, my walk with God, and my family news.   So, pull up a chair, get a cup of coffee (cheaper if you make it at home) and stay a while. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Not sure where this will take me...

I have been, as I said wrestling with God on a few issues lately.  I just have not felt like I could sit down and put it all into words.  Here goes.  

Warning--this post will not be an upbeat, "look what I bought" kind of post, so continue reading at your own risk.  

Issue #1 :
There is a little girl at our church that is in the midst of a terrible battle with cancer.  She is not even two years old and has endured more than most of us will ever see in a lifetime.  What began as a rare liver cancer has progressed to her lungs and she is fighting for her life.  Her mom keeps a blog  which truly humbles me as I read her updates.  My mind and my knowledge of God tells me that I should not think this way, but my heart hurts and wonders why this little girl is so gravely ill.  More precisely, why was I blessed so much in the last year?  Why did I survive both a heart attack and a rare and serious form of thyroid cancer in a 4 month span?  Why did I dodge the breast cancer scare just a month after that?  I KNOW I should not question these things, but to be completely honest, there is some survivor's guilt going on here.  Why did I get along so well, and this precious little girl is struggling so?  I keep going back to the scripture which tells me that His ways are not my ways. 
 I am not even sure what my ways would be in this situation, and  I guess this is where trust comes in.   I do know that God is in control and that all the days of our lives are numbered,  but until those question marks straighten up I will still wonder. (see the quote at the top of my blog- -something to hold on to- -) 
If you have a special scripture to share with me here, feel free, just be sensitive to the fact that I already know that I  should not feel this way.  My heart just hurts for her and her family, and those feelings lead me to this thinking .  

Issue #2

I am going to be really honest here and tell you that I have struggled with this for some time. 

 I will set this one up this way:

Imagine you are the parent of a quite independent child.  That child rarely calls, rarely visits, and  does not come to you for much advice, because they prefer to handle things on their own. They live each day, pretty much without your help.   Now, at the same time, there is no doubt in your mind, or theirs for that matter, that they truly love you.  There is no rebellion here, just an independence that prevents them from communicating much.  When a serious issue occurs though , they will call and visit more frequently.  

This is where I came in.  I have become that independent child and I hate it. 

 I am speaking spiritually here, and if you know me well, then you know that my earthly parents have been gone a very long time.   My relationship with God however, is not at all where I want it to be. 

When I was dealing with my previous health issues I was so very dependent on God.  There was nothing I could "fix" on my own and I cried out to him moment by moment.  The song,  "I Need Thee Every Hour"  became a life song for my husband and I .  I looked for wisdom from God everywhere.  I listened and I truly felt He spoke to me.  I picked up wisdom in songs, conversations with friends and family, scriptures, and little things throughout each day.  I hungered for Him.  I needed Him to fill my days and my nights. Especially my nights.  I was taught so many lessons about waiting, trusting, and knowing that things would be okay.  One way or another, things would be okay. 

Where did that longing go?  Now, before I have the nay-sayers telling me that God is just a crutch,  I do not believe that for a minute.  I know that it is because of my everyday relationship with God that led me to cling to Him tighter during my storms.  But, truth be told, I want that deep hunger again.  

I do not want cancer again,  but I want the dependency of God once more.  Part of me tells me that the fact that I am wrestling with this is stirring up those longings once again anyway.  I just want to get back to that feeling where I lived as if  God was truly everything.  

I was asked last week if I wanted cancer again, to which I said no.  Then I was asked if I wish it never happened.  That was not so easy to answer, because of what I just revealed.  I learned so much about God during that time, was blessed so greatly by God, by friends, and by my family.  It would be sad to have not experienced those blessings in a lifetime. 

I am not sure I will have a quick resolve to either of these issues.  I am just the type of person that until I write about them, they stay all bottled up and will fester all the more.   I covet your prayers though as I do work through these. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Sister Said I Need to Update...

I am not really sure if I still have any readers out there, (no comments to speak of)  but I guess I don't really blog just for others to see anyway.

My life has been busy lately.  I have been busy re-doing oldest' room since he moved away.  The temptation was there to knock down a wall and make our bedroom much bigger, but instead we opted for some very nice used furniture,  and a few new items to turn it into a guest room.  We still want to move my treadmill into that room, but I have a very large treadmill that will need to be partially dismantled before it can fit down the hall.  That room has actually taken up quite a few of my evenings.  Oldest came home last weekend and waded through much of his earthly possessions and we threw out quite a lot.  I cannot imagine where he got his pack-rat tendencies from. (ha)

The picture shows some of the furniture we bought.  The chair is actually a single hide-a-bed, and the ottoman lifts for storage (great for the bedding).   The table by the chair was also part of my used furniture deal, as were two others.  I bought the lamp at Big Lots.   The little desk that is in the corner of the picture was also purchased at Big Lots.  I have since re-arranged and tweaked the rest of the room.   This might not be my fabric of choice, but the price was right and the furniture is in excellent shape.

I have also been busy loving Walgreen's this week.  I have made money over and over again in my various transactions.  It is so fun to go in, spend $8.00 and have them give you a $10.00 store coupon.  I have "made" about $12.00 this week on my deals.  Plus the good thing is that I have not spent one penny out of pocket to do it.  I have used my Walgreen's rebate money that was put on my gift card each time. Nothing out of pocket, plus a profit works for me.  The thing is I have purchased a wide rage of items including several grocery items.  

Other than that, our lives are pretty much the same.  I have really been wrestling with God on some issues lately, but that is reserved for another post.  I just don't know if I am ready to be so raw right now.