Wednesday, December 28, 2011

365 Days of Thankful ~ Day #21 & Day #22

Day #21
Today I am thankful for being able to act "as if" ... 
I remember learning that if we "act as if" we already have something we want, "act as if" something is already occurring in our lives (even if it's not), or "act as if" we know how to do something (even if we don't) -- we create the conditions for it to manifest in our life with greater easy and probability. 

"Acting as if" is about believing in things that don't currently exist and that there may not be much evidence for. This is about living a "faith-based" life, not an "evidence-based life." The term "faith-based" often gets used in a political, social, or moral context when talking about initiatives or organizations that are connected with the church or some specific organized religion. However, being a faith-based person, while it can and often does encompass our religious beliefs and our spiritual practices, is even broader than this.
When we choose to live with a strong faith in things not seen, not proven, and not guaranteed - we tap into the power of the possible and we supersede the literal and predicable.  
Wayne Dyer wrote a great book a number of years ago called You'll See it When You Believe it. So many of us, myself included, live important aspect of our lives with the silent mantra of "I'll believe it when I see it" and in doing so we hold ourselves back, limit what's possible, and negate the power of our mind, imagination, and intention to allow and create things, situations, experiences, and outcomes that are new, unpredictable, and even miraculous.
We often get exactly what we expect - which is a pretty powerful concept if we take time to let it in and live with that awareness. Instead of waiting to see how things turn out, hoping that they will get better, or simply allowing the circumstances and situations in our lives determine how we feel - what if we acted as if we had everything within us and around us that we need to be successful, happy, and fulfilled already - which we do, by the way!
Day #22
Today I am thankful for timing ... 
God has a perfect timing for everything. Learn to wait on Him. This brings Him honor, and it brings you peace. (see Psalm 27:14)

Monday, December 26, 2011

365 Days of Thankful ~ Day #18, Day #19 & Day #20

Day #18
Today I am thankful for family ... 
We have our ups and downs, but they really are my foundation. 

Day #19
Today I am thankful for the birth of Jesus Christ !! Happy Birthday, Jesus !!

Day #20
Today I am thankful for my sweet, thankful children ...
The kids told me multiple times yesterday  what a wonderful Christmas they had & how thankful they were for their gifts & how much they loved them.  Maddi even went as far to say that this was "the best Christmas ever," even though we weren't able to get her the bike she wanted ...  We weren't able to do a whole lot this year, but I think we did pretty good considering.  It warmed my heart that my babies were happy with what they got & didn't whine or complain or act ugly b/c it may not have been exactly what they wanted ... I am truly, truly blessed !! <3

Friday, December 23, 2011

365 Days of Thankful ~ Day #10, Day #11, Day #12, Day #13, Day #14, Day #15, Day #16 & Day #17

I got SO super behind on my 365 Days of Thankful posts this past week with trying to get ready for the holidays, so I'm going to catch up now so I don't get even further behind ....

Day #10
Today I am thankful for the ability to forgive ...

Day #11
Today I am thankful for optimism ...
You can create a better life if you want.  Make a choice, be silent and aware and listen for 
instructions from your deep inner knowing and receive it with gratitude.  It's there waiting for
you.  You are your own best guide.

Day #12
Today I am thankful for lazy Sundays watching football & doing nothing in particular ...

Day #13
Today I am thankful that the kids got out of school on Friday for the holidays & I could sleep in a little today ...

Day #14
Today I am thankful for music ...

Day #15
Today I am thankful that I missed my appointment on my birthday ... Everything happens for a reason ...

Day #16
Today I am thankful for wonderful times with family ...

Day #17
Today I am thankful that I believe ...
We're called believers because our job is to believe. It's not always easy, but it's what God 
called us to do.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

365 Days of Thankful ~ Day #9

Today I am thankful for sweet little voices & giggles & memories ...
Maddi brought home gifts today after her caroling, as they let us pick the kids up early, and it made me so thankful for sweet little hands, voices, giggles & the memories ...

 This is her four fingers from one of her hands made into snowmen !! How cute is this ?!
I have items like this from all of the kids & this is one of the few things out of the hundreds of papers that they bring home that I keep.  I am so thankful for these sweet little memories, because they grow SO fast.  Enjoy each & every day with your children because the time flies & one day they will be big & you will wish for that time again.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

365 Days of Thankful ~ Day #8

Today I am thankful for the Lord putting His arm around my shoulders & His hand over my mouth ...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

365 Days of Thankful ~ Day #6

Today I am grateful for another year & another day of life . . .

I am 38 years old today. It's been a roller coaster of good & bad over the years (mostly good) & I thank God for blessing me with another year !! Every morning when I wake up, I say a silent prayer in my head, "Thank you, Lord, for another day of life." Every day isn't going to be the best day we've ever had.  I had a HORRIBLE morning. But the outpouring of love I received throughout the day for my birthday quickly washed away any fragments of the bad & warmed my heart that people actually took a small part of their day to think about "ME" !! How AWESOME is that ?!  So, thank you all, from the bottom of my heart for caring about me enough to think about me today !! And thank you, Lord, for another year & another day of life !!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

365 Days of Thankful ~ Day #3, #4 & #5

Yeah ... So, on the weekends, sometimes I procrastinate a bit.  I got 3 days behind in my project, so I will combine the weekends when I do that.

Day #3

Today I am grateful for Santa Claus at the mall . . .

Day #4

Today I am grateful for church on Saturday & a FABULOUS Christmas program . . .

Day #5

Today I am grateful for pleasant surprises . . .

I was surprised with birthday gifts & a card from the kids this evening !! Early birthday gifts !! What a nice surprise !! They were so proud of themselves.  It was too cute !! I love my babies !! I got the Better Homes & Garden Wax Warmer I wanted from Walmart (see picture below), a bar of Baked Apple Strudel & Apple Cinnamon Fragrance Sticks.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

365 Days of Thankful (December 7, 2011 ~ December 7, 2012)

During the month of November, as I mentioned in my last blog post, I posted every day with one thing that I was thankful for.  I really obsessed over this project, as I do with most things, but I took it to heart as well.  I wanted to make sure that what I was posting was truly something genuine that I felt within myself & was truly, at that moment, grateful for.  I enjoyed the daily postings so much, and the warmth & positivity it brought to my day, and to others I hope, that I have continued this daily task into December.

Now, however, I have decided to make this my new project.  I will be posting on my blog daily what I am thankful for for 365 consecutive days.  Some days, I may simply post what I am thankful for.  Other days, I may post more.

So, here we go :

Day #1 of 365 Days of Thankful

Today I will be thankful when bedtime gets here. I had a long night last night & an even longer day today ...

Last night, I was watching the news, which I have taken up again this week (I do not typically watch the news ~ too sad & depressing). There was a story about a 3-year old little boy in the county I live in who was hit by a car at a Christmas parade & died. He would have been 4 next week.

I began bawling as they interviewed the parents & the mother talked about her final moments with her son. I just couldn't even begin to imagine the heartbreak of losing a precious child at all, much less a week from a birthday & so close to Christmas ... I thought of my own 3-year old, my other children & how they are my life.  I began to pray for the family as I cried.  I went & hugged my children, really hard, and then I tried to pull myself together, make dinner and go on with the evening, cleaning & such, until bedtime.

When bedtime came, I just couldn't stop thinking about that family.  I prayed for them again. I felt as if the weight of the world was on my shoulders.  I could almost feel their pain as if it were my own.  I tossed & turned until some time after 5 AM, and woke at 7:30 AM to get my 5-year old ready & off to school.

When I got back home from walking M to school, I had more cleaning to do as our housing office was coming to do an inspection of our home (which I didn't know military housing did, since we've only lived one other place) and I wasn't sure exactly what they were going to be looking for or at. My 3-year old was so good while I cleaned & I was reminded once again how very blessed I am.  And I prayed again, for the family & in thanks for all that I have.

SIDE NOTE : Because my house was so clean (per housing), all they did was check out fire extinguisher & made sure our smoke detectors worked.  They were in & out in less than 5 minutes.  All that work for less than 5 minutes ... LOL Story of my life ...

Now, however, at 8:43 PM, I feel so very drained, emotionally & physically.  I've had a migraine off & on since December 1st, and my crying jag yesterday & our crazy weather the past few weeks has done little to help.  So, I'm turning in early tonight.  I think this will be the first night in many, many months that I have gotten in bed before midnight, much less actually gone to sleep.

Please pray for this family as they find a way to deal with & get through such a horrible thing in their lives.

Good night, my friends & God Bless !!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Accomplishments, Fear & Hope

So, I completed my 30 Days of Thankful on Facebook today.  My closing gratitude was :

Today I am thankful for Strength. I'm not that physically strong, but I have a lot of internal strength that I need to be thankful for. Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to draw my inner strength from You !! Psalm 73:26 
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (NIV)

I am so proud of myself for doing this every single day & for genuinely, truly being thankful.  And there are so many more things that I can & will be thankful for.  So, I'm not going to stop.  I'm going to keep going until the day comes when I either forget to do it, or I'm no longer thankful.  I just don't see the latter happening ...

I'm often proud of myself.  I'm proud of the accomplishments I've made despite the circumstances I have had to overcome.  I'm proud of the Christian I am & am becoming.  I'm proud of the parent I am & am becoming.  I'm proud of  myself for earning my BA, even though it took me forever.  I'm proud of my Facebook/Etsy shop.  I'm proud of how my Thirty-one business is SLOWLY but surely bopping along ... My dad used to tell me how proud he was of my ALL the time.  As a child, I would find myself pushing myself to the point of exhaustion & illness to be "the best." I was SO afraid of failure.  Failure was NOT an option.  At the time, I really thought it was me.  *I* wanted it.  I wanted it so badly that I would deprive myself of sleep & make myself sick to make it happen.  As an adult, I realize now that I just craved my parent's praises so badly, that I did it for them.  NOTHING feels better than for your parents to be proud of you.  I miss that ... 

So, I stopped reaching for the stars for a while. 

Now that my dad is gone, I find myself pushing myself like that again ... Obviously, not to gain his praises.  I do it with the expectation of "Dad would be SO proud of me for doing this if he were alive ..."  Something is different now, though.  I do things now with the knowledge that I'm learning, growing & hopefully making a difference in other people's lives somehow and not with the expectation of praise.  I try to do things with love or at least with caring. And if I can't feel like I accomplished those things or at the very least SOMETHING good at the end of the day about something, then I don't do it.  And if I did it right, I made at least one person smile or feel like they mean something to someone or give them something to hope for ... It's about the giving, not about the receiving, because not everyone is going to appreciate you & what you do for them.  As long as I know I did the right thing, though, that is gratification enough for me.  

So, I hope for the best when I attempt something new, cry when I fail, and then I shake it off, get up & keep on keeping on.  And when I feel like I don't have the strength to keep on going, I go back to what I am thankful for today :

Today I am thankful for Strength. I'm not that physically strong, but I have a lot of internal strength that I need to be thankful for. Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to draw my inner strength from You !! Psalm 73:26 
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (NIV)

I know my Dad would be proud ....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankful ...

So, I don't blog as much as I'd like to ... actually, hardly ever. Sometimes, though, I get an inkling to write & that "Jiminy Cricket conscience" that annoys me until I do it ... Here goes:

A lot of us have been posting our "Today I am thankful" posts this month & I have become quite annoyed at the posts I've seen from "non-thankful" people full of complaints. I don't just mean a complaint or two. I mean like multiple complaints during the day and then it overflows into the week and then several weeks ... All of us have a day that doesn't go well or maybe even a bad streak and we vent about it. How many of us, though, actually voice it out loud in our statuses on Facebook over and over multiple times per day ?! GET A LIFE, PEOPLE !! My life isn't perfect & I have a lot of things that I could complain about, but there is always, always, always SOMETHING to be thankful for.

This whole attitude I have toward thankfulness & complaining was re-affirmed to me at church yesterday afternoon. Perhaps that is why I felt the need to pass along my personal thoughts on the subject, as well as what I learned in church. Living the Christian life is NOT easy. Let's face it : We're not perfect. We're sinners. We suck. Often. We try so hard to live up to this image of what we imagine is the proper Christian life and of course, we fail. Why ? Because we forget the simple concept that God has been telling us since the book of Genesis in the Bible. If we are thankful & grateful for all that God has done for us & all that He has given us, everything else will fall into place. 

I had never really thought of it that way until yesterday at church. God has always laid it out for us this way, be thankful & grateful to Him for all that He has given you, ad then and only then can you actually follow his commandments and live the life He meant for you to live. The preacher also said this: If we told our children how thankful we were that they were ours, that God gave them to us for a season; our parents; our family; our friends; anyone in our lives who matters ... how much greater would that relationship become ?! What possibilities would open that you never even imagined ?! What change would occur in our community, our state, our country, the world ?! The possibilities for greatness are endless & limitless !! We don't need self-help books or to feel guilty that we just can't do it all the right way. We just need to thank god & be genuinely grateful for all that He has done, follow His commandments and go forth with that overflow of Thanksgiving and it will spread. So, what happens when you mess up or forget ?! You go back to the beginning. You start over. You don't beat yourself up. You don't call yourself a failure. You don't blame other people. You just accept, repent, thank Him and try again.

Here is my thankful list & it will differ some from what I have posted & will post on Facebook:
  •  Beautiful, healthy children. There are so many children battling disease & bad home lives & more. I am so grateful & blessed to have my 5 beautiful, healthy babies !! I ♥ them & thank God for them EVERY DAY ! 
  • GRACE : Amazing, saving grace !! The Lord has done so many things in my life that just wouldn't have come about without Him & he saved me by His grace & completely changed my life !! There are no words to say how thankful I am for that !!
  • We all know that grief is about losing. We need to know that it can also be about growing. ~Bob Diets **Today I am thankful that I had the time I did with my loved ones & friends that have passed away ~ ESPECIALLY my Daddy !! ♥ Some people don't get to experience the love of a father & I had mine for a blessed 35 years !! And for that I am grateful & blessed beyond measure !! With each passing, I learn something new about myself that makes me better & my heart & my life grows !! ~~I ♥ you, Daddy ~ ALWAYS & FOREVER~~ 
  •  Teacher Workday's on cold, rainy days !! SO glad that I didn't have to get up this morning & walk Maddi to school in this YUCKY weather !!
  •  FREE football tickets to ECU from the Army so I can enjoy a good football game & see my son, Brandon !! ♥
  • Beautiful, beautiful spring-like warm days in November in North Carolina !! ♥
  • SO thankful to be back home in NC ! It was another GORGEOUS day in the 70's here today !! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else !!
  •  "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11** Today I am thankful for the forgiving, loving arms of Jesus Christ, because without Him I would be lost & hopeless !! When I feel like I just cannot go any farther, He carries me !! I am thankful for loving, Christian parents who taught me character & values & gave me a foundation to pass on to MY children !! I'm not perfect & I DO make mistakes, but I always know where to come back to !!
  • Freedom! Honoring those who have & are bravely serving our great nation! All gave some, some gave ALL ...
  • Thankful for every single second I get to spend with each of my 5 children !! It's a SHAME some people don't take advantage of all the time that they have with their child/children ...
  • Thankful for ME time !! ♥
  • Thankful for the Internet. I've made new friends, kept in touch with "old" ones, I can share pictures of my kids, find recipes, get craft ideas, read blogs that inspire me, get answers to questions I have throughout the day, and so much more. I'd be lost without it! (:
  • Thankful for McDonald's Peppermint Hot Chocolate !!
  • Thankful for Life. How cool is it that I'm actually here, in this world, living ?! And though many that I love are no longer here, I am also thankful for the life that they had here with me for a time. For life, no matter how short or long the time on Earth, is very, very precious !!
  • Thankful for Nick Jr. My poor little man is sick again & just threw up all over my bed ... After he got cleaned up in the bath tub & I changed the sheets on the bed, Oobi came on Nick Jr. & his sweet little face lit up !! I am grateful for anything that can make my babies smile when they don't feel good ...
  • Thankful for Compassion. It feels wonderful to be compassionate to others & I am SO glad that I am able to feel compassion. SOME PEOPLE NEED TO LEARN THIS TRAIT ...
  • Thankful for Plans. I love knowing that fun things are coming up. Putting plans in place is great !!!
  • Thankful for Patience ! I don't have very much of it yet, but I'm getting better at it every day!
  • Thankful for Stars. As The Killers sing: "Stars are like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun." ABSOLUTELY beautiful !!
  • Thankful for Glitter. C'mon now, you know glitter is just about the awesomest thing ever !!!
  • Thankful for Laughter. There is little better in the world than the laugh-so-hard-you-cry feeling.
  • Thankful for Now. It's awesome to live in the moment. Today I will care more, hug harder, fight less, and be nicer. The only time we have is NOW!
  • Thankful for Water. One of those things I tend to take for granted, but it's super important ...
  • Thankful for Freedom of Religion !! I can serve my God in my way !!
  •  And here are some that may or may not pertain to me, but may pertain to you :
  • A job
  • Friends
  • Own a car that gets you where you need to go
  • Family who loves you
  • A bed to sleep in
  • Shelter
  • Always have enough to eat
  • Plenty of clothes
  • A church to go to
  • A place to learn
  • You can read
  • You can put words together and form sentences
  • You rarely worry about your safety
 I could go on, and on, and on ... So, tell those who you love how thankful you are that they are in your life and do it now. We are not promised tomorrow. Quit being angry about what you THINK people should be doing for you in your life & just do for them what you KNOW is right. Give without the expectation of receiving. Cherish every single second with the people that you love. Thank God for all that He has done & continues to do for you. You will be amazed at how your life changes when you change the way you think !!

Monday, July 18, 2011

CVS, Walgreens & Target Purchases Week of 7/10/11

So, I did a little bit better on my second week of Walgreens shopping !! :D

Transaction #1

* 58-count box of Pampers Diapers for $21.99 - $1.50 coupon = $20.49 & I got a $5 Register Rewards (RR), making it like I paid $15.49.  
* 2-pack of G-U-M Micro Tip Soft Toothbrushes on sale for $2.  I got a $2 RR, making them FREE.  I paid $24.17, saved $4.49 in Walgreens Advertised Savings & Manufacturers coupons PLUS got $7 in RR.  

Total Paid : $24.17 but it was like I paid $17.17 after RR towards my next purchases.

Transaction #2
Airwick Freshmatic Ultra $7.99 - $4.00 Coupon = $3.99, plus received a $3 RR, making it like I paid .99.
Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste $1.00 - .75 coupon = .25.
FINISH Electrasol 20-pack $3.49 - $1.00 coupon = $2.49, plus received $1 RR, making it like I paid $1.49.
Playtex Gentle Glide Tampons 18 ct $3.99 - $1.00 coupon = $2.99, plus received a $1 RR, making it like I paid $1.99.
Infusium 8 oz. Leave-In Spray $5.99 - $1.00 coupon = $4.99, plus received a $4 RR, making it like I paid .99.
Charleston Chews $1.00
Twizzlers $1.00
Purchase Total : $11.37
Saved $27.05 in Walgreens Advertised Savings & Manufacturers Coupons & got $9 in RR plus a $2/2 Playtex Gentle Glide Tampon Walgreens Coupon.

So, I paid $11.37 but it was like I paid $2.37 after RR towards my next purchases.

Transaction #3

* Finesse Pure & Simple Conditioner $3.99 - $1.00 coupon = $2.99
* Finesse Pure & Simple Shampoo $3.99 - $1.00 coupon = $2.99
(I also have a Try Me Free MAIL-IN REBATE up to $3.99 that was on the outside of the bottle, and you have to put the price you paid after discounts/coupons which was $2.99 for me for the conditioner, making BOTH THE SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER FREE)
* Dove Hairspray $4.49 - .75 coupon = $3.74
* Dove Deodorant for Men $4.49 - $2.00 coupon = $2.49
* Dove Body Wash for Men $4.49 - B1G1F coupon = $4.49/2 or $2.25 each
Plus got a $5 RR, making it like I spent  $5.72 for all 4 products.
* * 2-pack of G-U-M Micro Tip Soft Toothbrushes on sale for $2.  I got a $2 RR, making them FREE.
* 2 X M&M's @ $1.00 each = $2.00
TOTAL PAID : $11.39
SAVED : $33.79 in Walgreens Advertised Savings & Manufacturers Coupons
So, I paid $11.39 but it was like I paid $1.40 after RR towards my next purchases and the TRY ME FREE REBATE.

Transaction #4
* 3 X 50 LOAD XCEL 2XL Laundry Detergent $1.99 with in-store coupon
* FINISH Jet Dry $3.49 - .55 coupon = $2.94, plus $1 RR, making it like I paid $1.94
* Playtex Sport 18 CT $3.99 - $1.00 coupon = $2.99, plus $1 RR, making it like I paid $1.99
* Airwick Freshmatic Kit $7.99 - $4.00 coupon = $3.99, plus $3 RR, making it like I paid .99
TOTAL PAID : $10.39
SAVED : $12.55 Walgreens Advertised Savings & Manufacturer's Coupons

So, I paid $10.39 but it was like I paid $5.39 after RR towards my next purchases.

Transaction #5
*1* TUF Paper Towel Roll .99
*1* EOS Shave Cream $3.49 - $1.00 coupon = $2.49
*1* EOS Shave Cream $2.51 - $1.00 coupon = $1.51, plus $4 RR, making it like these were FREE
* W Bar Soap .58

TOTAL PAID : $2.10
SAVINGS : $7.31

I paid $2.10 but it was like I made $1.90 after RR towards my next purchase.

Transaction #6
* FINISH 20-pack $3.49 - $1.00 coupon = $2.49 plus $1 RR, making it like I paid $1.49
* EOS Shave Cream $3.49 - $1 coupon = $2.49
*EOS Shave Cream $2.51 - $1 coupon = $1.51, plus $4 RR making it like these were FREE
* TUF Paper Towel Roll .99

Total Paid : $7.21
Savings : $7.30

I paid $7.21 but it was like I paid $2.21 after RR towards my next purchases.

Transaction #7
* EOS Lip Balm $3.49
* EOS Lip Balm $2.51 - $1 RR, plus $4 RR making it like I paid $.50 EACH.

Total Paid : $5.42
Savings : $1.98

I paid $5.42 but it was like I paid .71 EACH with tax after RR towards next purchase


Transaction #1
Sharpie Permanent Marker 2-pack $1.00 - $1.00 coupon = FREE
Papermate Pens 10-pack $1.00 - $1.00 coupon = FREE
*2* Bic Pen 10-packs $1.00 each X 2 = $2.00 - $1.00 coupon = $1.00 or .50 each
Scotch Tape $1.00 - .50 coupon = .50
*3* Kellogg's Poptarts @ $1.67 each X 3 = $5.01 - $1/3 Target Coupon - $2/3 Manufacturer Coupon = $2.01 or .67 each

TOTAL PAID : $2.69

Transaction #2
Papermate Pens 10-pack $1.00 - $1.00 coupon = FREE
Sharpie Markers 2-pack $1.00 - $1.00 coupon = FREE
Scotch Tape $1.00 - .50 coupon = .50


Buy 3 COKE Product 12-packs for $10, Get 1 FREE
Bought 3 COKE ZERO 12-packs & 1 SPRITE ZERO 12-pack
TOTAL : $10.69
SAVINGS : $9.97

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Very First Walgreens Trip ...

Okay, so I am SO not an EXTREME COUPONER !! LOL  BUT I think I did pretty well for my first time ...

Here is what I got ...

Transaction #1 ----->
Gillette Fusion ProGlide Shave Set (1 Razor w/ 1 Blade, Cooling Gel, Body Wash & Face Scrub)

$5 RR WYB Gillette Fusion ProGlide or Venus Razor System at $9.99
$9.99 - $4.00 Coupon from PG 6/05
Paid $6.69 with tax and got a $5 RR, so it was like getting it for 1.69 with tax.

Transaction #2 ----->

* Joy, 12.6 oz, or Gain, 11 oz, Dish Liquid, 89¢ w/in-ad coupon (I got the max you could get, 3)
* Jif Peanut Butter 18 oz or Smucker’s Strawberry Jelly, 20 oz, $2 each w/in-ad coupon
-.55/1 Smucker’s jam, jelly, preserves or fruit spread, RP 5/22
(I used *2* .55/1, making it $1.45 each, which is cheaper than the Wal-Mart brand at the same size that is about .40 more & yes, I checked LOL)
* NOW ... I screwed up & got the wrong size of the Crest Pro-Health Mouth Wash that was supposed to get me another $1 RR, but I did use a $2 off Crest Rinse, 946 mL+, PG 6/05 so I only paid $2.99 for that ... **SIGH** I really have GOT to pay more attention, but it was my first time & I was FLUSTERED ...
* Arm & Hammer 2X Laundry Detergent, 25-32 loads, $2.99 (-$1/2 Arm & Hammer Laundry detergent or 100 ct + Fabric Softener sheets PRINTABLE) ~ Makes them $2.49 each 
* 1 pack of hair clippies for $3.99

So, I used my $5 RR from the first transaction & paid a grand total of : $13.84 for all of the stuff pictured above including tax.  I saved $22.78.

AND on July 3rd, I scored *4* of the 88¢ each Pepsi Product 2 Liters (3 Mountain Dews & 1 Pepsi) AND got a raincheck for the maximum number of $1.99 24-packs of water (3).  My store is still out of the water & I went to two other Walgreens & they were also out of the water, but I was told that the raincheck doesn't expire.  The total for my *4* 2-Liters was $3.77 with tax & I saved $4.04 on that trip.

So, I spent a total of $24.30 for over $54 worth of stuff.  Not too shabby for my first try.

Anyway, I am going to be very strict about only buying stuff we use & need and not go crazy just because it's a "good deal."  I am also going to set a budget aside each week for this type of shopping & stick to it.  I was pretty bummed I didn't get any of the FREE Oral-B Indicator Toothbrushes ... All 3 stores I went to was out of them ... 

Also, I am not sure how much CVS shopping I will be doing ... I checked out their sales this week & just didn't see anything that caught my eye or that I thought was even a good deal on some of the things that we use ... We shall see about the coming week of 7/10 ... But so far, I like Walgreens MUCH better ...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Red, White & Blue ... Strawberry Shortcake

The Fourth of July is one of my FAVORITE holidays & I decided to make a YUMMY dessert to share with my family this year !! It was super easy & didn't take much time AT ALL !!  It was also really good, if I do say so myself !! ;)

The recipe is here :

Red, White & Blue Strawberry Shortcake

And this is what it looked like before we gobbled it up :

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Judahs In Our Lives ...

This afternoon at church, the pastor spoke on the Judahs in our lives & it really hit home for me (we're studying the Bad Boys of the Bible).  If you don't know the story of Judah, you should read it in the book of Genesis.  He sold his brother, Joseph, into slavery, he had sex with his daughter-in-law, Tamar, who was disguised as a prostitute & then became pregnant with twins .. Judah should have had the worst of the worst things happen to him, but they didn't ... Why ?  Well, I will explain to you in a moment.

Amazingly, Judah turned his life around & he changed his life ! Why ? Because of GRACE !!! Joseph showed him grace, even though Judah had sold him into slavery.  He forgave him & took the family back into his good graces.  Tamar could have exposed Judah for his sins, but instead showed him grace by quietly letting him know he was the one who had gotten her pregnant ... Jacob's (Judah's father's) blessing of Judah, in Genesis 49:8-12, includes a passage that is traditionally understood by Christians to mean that Judah's descendants would rule over the land of Israel, culminating with Jesus.  And Judah was GRATEFUL for all of this grace shown to him !! He appreciated it & learned from it !!

So, what exactly did Judah ever do to deserve all this grace ? Absolutely nothing ! He didn't have to.  Jesus died for all of us & we all deserve God's grace & blessing upon our life. We all have Judah's in our lives.  We know people who may not be living the best life in our eyes or are the meanest, most hateful person to ever walk the Earth yet things always seem to go right for them.  If we just change the way we look at each & every person as deserving of God's grace & love, just as we are, and show grace to each & every person we come into contact with, just imagine how the world would begin to change !! 

This message really made me think about my life & what I can do differently and how I can treat people differently in the future.  I hope maybe some of you will get at least a little something out of it as well.

The Altar

I'm at the end of myself, I just dropped out of the running
I don't recall when I last pulled the shades and said "here comes the sun, here comes the new day"
Someone remind me again that joy might show up on occasion
I'm sitting here with my hands on my head, and my eyes on the ground, wondering if I'll be found by You

Will you make me new? Will you take what's left of me?
I guarantee that it won't be a fair trade.
Will you set me free from what's keeping me afraid?
I know I've prayed it all before, but I'm back on the altar

I don't believe what they say about one foot in front of the other
If my life was a map, you'd see every last step just circling around, still lost, never found by You

So will you make me new? Will you take what's left of me?
I guarantee that it won't be a fair trade.
Will you set me free from what's keeping me afraid?
I know I've prayed it all before, but I'm back on the altar

Maybe last year I'd have made empty promises
Maybe last month I'd have tried to pull strings
But I don't have one single chip left to bargain with
The only thing left is me needing You to make me new

Will you take what's left of me?
I guarantee that it won't be a fair trade
Will you set me free from what's keeping me afraid?
I know I've prayed it all before
But I'm back
On the altar

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

God, If You Want Me To Carry It, I Will ...

God, I don't know why You want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it & it's awfully heavy. But, if You want me to carry it, I will ...
I found this today ... And it sums up my life right now in a nut shell ... I feel like I am carrying an awfully heavy, no good load, but if God wants me to carry it, then I will !!
For the most part, I try to live a good life.  I have a wonderful husband, 5 beautiful & healthy kids and a very select few good friends.  I try to bless people when I can with positivity & keep my mouth shut when I can't ... Sometimes, I fail miserably at this !! I'm only human, after all ...
There are people in my life that I wish were not there... I can't do anything to change that.  So, instead, I pray that God gives me the wisdom & the strength to deal with them in the best way I can & to ignore the things that they do that cause me hurt.  I pray that God shows me the positive in why I am forced to deal with them & helps me over look the bad.
I have had a tendency lately to have the attitude that if people ignore me & the things that happen in my life, then I am going to ignore them.  God has laid it upon my heart that that is the wrong attitude to have ... Just because people do me wrong, doesn't mean that I should return the favor.  Instead, I should do the exact opposite.  I am slowly & steadily trusting in God and realizing that He is, as always, right and I feel much better for it ... So, I began to do that just today.  I make the effort when I really would rather just sit & sulk and gripe to myself about the person.  I pray for them instead !  I don't want to just "get over it" anymore.  Instead, I want to trust God to get me through it.
It is amazing what a new attitude can do !!
Matthew 7:7 "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thankful ...

Be thankful that you don't already have 
everything that you desire.
If you did, what would there be
to look forward to?

Be thankful when you know you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times. 
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
Because they give you opportunity for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes,
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
Because it means you've made an effort.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they will become your blessings.
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