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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Look at This!

I wish I could take credit for this amazing idea, but it came from my friend Reta.  This is a mega pill organizer and it is filled with my earrings!  All neat and tidy in their own little home. They are ready to pack in a suitcase if I choose, or just ready for my daily selection.  I love it.  I used some soon to expire Extra Care Bucks at CVS and there you go!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Shopping Marathon

The last few days have been good for our budget, but I am TIRED !  The deals have taken me to Walgreens, WalMart, CVS,  SAMS, Target and Meijer.  I have enough free air fresheners, free Chex Mix, and very inexpensive Bird's Eye Steam Fresh Meals to last quite a while.  (or "more inexpensiver" as our waitress from Smokey Bones would say) I have spent a lot this week in my standards.  About $100.00.  Now, to some of you that is a normal week, but I am used to only spending about $30.00 for Hubby and myself each week.   I have not spent $100.00 in one week for about 2 years!  This week however, I opted to spend more so that I could take advantage of some fantastic deals.    $40.00 out of that was at SAMS to purchase a few bulk items.   Funny, I used to go to SAMS and could easily spend $200.00, now I only buy a few items there because of better deals elsewhere.  I am thinking about not renewing in the future.  

One example of what was saved today: my WalMart receipt  alone went from $96.18 before coupons, to $44.30 afterwards. 

Now, a few of those stores are not in my town, and I do not travel 35 miles for Chex Mix.  However, since we traveled last night to see our boys and celebrate my birthday with them, I took advantage of a shopping trip to Target.  My sister visited today and wanted to go shopping in the "big" city, so we traveled the 35 miles, but made the very most of it with many many coupons spread out over 3 stores  and a free lunch thanks to her Coke Rewards.  That makes the trip profitable. 

There was WAY too much to even consider taking a picture, but this week alone I have purchased the following, plus a ton of other things. 
  •  12 Steam Fresh Meals at $1.74 each (these normally cost $4.98 each at WalMart--having the right coupons sure helps)
  • 32 bags of Chex Mix at Target- price matching the Walgreens ad price, plus using a Target Coupon and a manufactures' coupon on each made most of them free, and some only 25 cents.  I have already given about half of those away, to my son, sister,  and  some set aside for hubby's parents. 
  • 8 Air Wick Fresh-Matic  air freshener systems, $6.00 rollback at WalMart - used 8 -$6.00 coupons, so all I paid was tax
  • 8 packages of 9 roll Northern packages at Walgreens that came to $2.99 each after my coupons, but cost nothing due to Register Rewards from previous purchases (that should last a while.)  This comes in way under SAMS price for TP, and since I paid with register rewards, it is even sweeter. 
  • I lost track of the Glade Sense and Spray and Lasting Impression Air Freshener kits at CVS.  Between CVS coupons from their web site, and my coupons, I got about 12 of these for free. 
Those are just the highlights,   I also got 4 Progresso Soups for 50 cents a can at WalMart,  6 free deodorants and 6 free shampoos at Walgreens. and lots and lots more.  

I regret not keeping exact totals, but this was by far one of my best weeks ever.  

Now, looking ahead at the deals for next week. they look pretty slim.  I actually am glad.  I will focus on other things next week and enjoy the bounty.   I will only need to buy milk for the next few next weeks , so it will definitely balance out. 

I am just so humbled and blessed at what God provides. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The day in the middle

As I write this, it is still October 22nd. And I am celebrating my 53rd birthday.  This is a birthday I actually looked forward to.  My sister knows why.  Too deep of a reason to go into now, but she understands. 

On the 24th, one of my brothers  will celebrate his birthday.  I always thought it was fun growing up, that my brother,  who is 12 years older,  had his birthday after mine.  It made me feel like I should be older in some strange way. 

The day that falls between is October 23rd.  That day is significant to our family as well.  I am reminded of that fact more-so this year than most.  This year marks 30 years since our father passed away. 

Isn't it just like a dad to try his best to not have that anniversary fall on one of his children's birthdays?   It is pretty amazing to me how God worked that out.  On the day of my birthday 30 years ago we received a call to tell us that Daddy was in the hospital and not doing the greatest.  As the day progressed he became much worse, yet held his passing  until after midnight.  Thus changing the date from my birthday to that of the next day.  My brother was spared having that fall on his birthday as well.  

30 years is a long time. I was still quite young as far as things go.  Much too young in my opinion to have  been left an "orphan".   As I have said before, I have lived longer without parents, than I ever did with them. 

 I have little concept of being an adult with parents.  

Strange, huh?  Every now and then I have a pity party about that, but mostly I just have to take it for what it is.  

So, this day in the middle of two birthdays will always be remembered.  It kinda seems like a father's last birthday gift to two of his children. 

The gift of timing.

Thank you Daddy. 

SUSIE--I AM 53!!!!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Sweet Farewell

This past weekend was a difficult one.  Saying goodbye is never easy. Especially when you were never given the chance to say hello. 

 Little Mary's service was beautiful. Man, do they know how to sing at my nephew's church.  I kept thinking, is there a choir of angels behind me?  The songs were really pretty.  It was a nice service, with many songs and very fitting scriptures, all reminding us of the hope we have in Christ.  I know one day we will meet Mary and it will be a very sweet time for all of us. 

 The hardest part was visiting the grave-site that evening with the family.  We all stood in sadness as Grandpa said a prayer and we placed flowers on her grave.  It is so sad to be standing on the grounds where many precious babies are buried all around you. So much sadness. We joined together as a family and sang Amazing Grace before leaving. 

I am quite physically tired.  I still think I have issues with some of my medications, but it was a long and emotional weekend, and that could be the cause.  I will go to bed early tonight.  

I ask that as each of you read this, that you would continue to say a prayer for our nephew and wife.  They will hurt for a very long time. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thank You Coupon Class

To my E.P. coupon class, 

Thank you for being such a great class!  I loved it and I hope you all learned something.  Let me know if you ever have any questions.  Be sure and check the blogs that I have on my left sidebar.  They are all great for giving you the latest deals, and they are all FREE. (some actually charge a fee, can you believe that? )
Feel free to browse around on my blog and check my frugal posts to see some of my great adventures. 
Just remember, if you are ever behind me at Wal-Mart, watch out!  

Monday, October 12, 2009

We are born, we live, we die. Right?

That is how it is supposed to be, right?  Anything not in that order is just wrong. 

 I am having a hard time knowing why a precious baby girl, Mary Genevieve,  had to have this "natural" order  turned around.  Our great niece died while still in the womb.  She did not have the opportunity to be truly born until she opened her eyes in Jesus' arms, instead of her mother's.  Her living will be eternal, but not on this earth. 

Our nephew and niece had to say their goodbyes before any hellos and their grief is tremendous.  All day I have been reminded of the scripture in Isaiah that says "My ways are not your ways".  But being reminded of that is giving little comfort here.  This is too big for me to ever wrap my head around.  My husband and I suffered the miscarriage of our first child after just 8 weeks.  Our attachment and anticipation were already great, and that loss hit us hard.  To lose a child after carrying it for a full 9 months,  when you had  all of your thoughts focused on meeting your son or daughter for the first time is beyond grief.  Is there a word in the dictionary to describe this pain?  

I love God with all my heart and yes I trust Him,  but do I understand this?  Never.   About 30 years ago I saw someone in my own family go through this same horrible grief.  I did not understand it then, and yes, I questioned God on that one.  I realize now that there are no answers.  Just questions.  

Please, for those of you who pray, I am asking for prayers so strong that they are physically felt. This family needs to feel love in a mighty way.   If you knew this couple you would know how devastating this loss will be. They adore their children. They do things right. They realize that children are such a gift and they cherish theirs.   

Quite honestly, our entire family needs to see healing. We are hurting. 

I don't understand

Sometimes life really hurts.  I cannot share the details right now, but sometimes there are things that happen that I just do not understand.  I love God, I trust God, He has seen me through many things, but this is something that is really hard to grasp.  

I just need prayers right now.  Not so much for me, although I need them too, but for the ones that this is hurting the most. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Coupon Class

I am so excited.  I am gearing up to teach my very first coupon class!  I have my Power Point and handouts all ready, my coupons are up to date, (I must be a good example) my "show and tell" receipts are all in order, and I even have copies of the October Walgreens' coupon booklet to hand out.  I am stoked!   I even have door prizes prepared from my stash of  goodies ! 

When I was preparing my material I was surprised at just how much I have picked up in the last 2 years.  It is funny when I go back and look at all of the "secrets" of using coupons.  It is so much different than in my mother's day, when she clipped a 5 cent coupon and happily used it on a bag of sugar.   Little did she know that things have changed so much that her daughter would one day have to teach a class on using coupons!  Mother, I hope I am making you proud. 

My first class will be at my school.  I am hoping to teach one at church soon as well.  People have asked me if I fear letting everyone in on my secrets.  ~ Fearing that would cut down on my available bargains.  Well, if you would see my stockpile you would know that  I shouldn't  worry about not cashing in on every deal.  I can pick and choose at this point, and if I miss one or two, I will be more than fine. 

This has taken quite a bit of work though.  I wanted my Power Point to be good and informative.  I named it "Couponing 101", but I think it covers more than a 101 class would! 

I will let you all know how it goes.

Lazy Sunday

Can you hear my hubby snoring in the living room?  I am surprised if you can't.  He does that very well.  

Not much new around here.  I just returned from my trips to Walgreens and CVS, nothing stellar to report.  We needed paper towels so I blew through some ECBs to stock up on those.  I did just a few deals at Walgreens, and I hit Family Dollar for a deal on Dawn.  I ended up purchasing 2 huge packages of paper towels(6 double rolls each pkg) , one package of napkins, 1 Fusion razor, one gallon of milk, one package of Halls, 2 bottles of Softsoap hand soap, and 3 bottles of Dawn.  My total out of pocket was just $6.09 plus I earned $2.00 back at CVS and $7.00 back at Walgreens.  Not bad. 

We are so stocked up right now, that the only other spending I will do this week is at the local grocery to buy some frozen pizzas I have been waiting to go on sale, to use my coupons, and a few more of their coupon specials.  I should get out under $20.00.  

I am thinking I need to bake something late this afternoon.  It is so cool and crisp out that it is just crying out to have me make something.  
All in all that is about it for today.  I think I will be a bit lazy. 

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Wicked Good

Click on picture to enlarge.  Just don't drool on your keyboard.
These are by far the most dangerous things I have ever made.  This afternoon, while watching The Food Network, I happened to see these yummy creations being put together.  They looked so easy, and I knew I had the ingredients lurking in my pantry. I thought this would be a good use for part of the chocolate I just happened to buy last night at Kmart with a double coupon, so I got to work. 
These are called Millionaire's Shortbread, but you just need to think  "Twix Bar".   They taste exactly like a caramel Twix.  They really were easy to make, and in case you truly are drooling now, click here for the recipe.  I put mine in a bigger pan than the recipe calls for, so mine are a bit thinner.  ( I can eat more that way, right?)  As I was looking around on the web at different recipes, I saw that some had really fat layers. That could be deadly.   The recipe calls for "good quality" milk chocolate, but I have only met one type of chocolate that I don't like.  These were made with Hershey's Kisses, melted in the microwave for about 2 minutes.   The only other adjustment I made to the recipe, is that I lined my pan with parchment paper instead of using butter and flour.  Only thing I might need to do better, is cook the caramel layer just a little bit longer.  See it oozing out of the edges.  Although, oozing caramel is not necessarily a bad thing. 
I can think of much worse.

Next time I make them I am going to find a way to make a peanut butter layer in the middle instead of the caramel and I will have my very favorite Twix Bar.  I am wondering if just peanut butter, straight up would work. Well, that might slide off.  Maybe I will a bit of peanut butter to the caramel while it cooks, and make sure it is cooked long enough.  Then it will be a gooey-caramel-peanut butter layer. 

I am taking some to church tomorrow to share with my high school group of girls. They are just too dangerous to leave them all here.  Let me know if you make them, or if you really are drooling.