Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My 100 Things

I'm continuing on with my 100 Things list today as I don't have much on my mind right now. I realize that last time I said I was only going to do ten at a time and then ended up with eleven so in the interest of balance, I'm only giving you nine today.

89. I'm a frustrated scrapbooker. I love scrapbooking once I'm finished with a page but the process of actually doing the page drives me insane while simultaneously bringing me joy. I can't explain it but if you scrap, I think you get my drift.

88. I hate doing dishes and laundry but, for some reason, I'm happy to scrub the toilets. Hmm...maybe this is a self-esteem issue. *Amanda makes a note to explore this further*

87. I prefer to be barefoot whenever I can. I'm not a shoe girl by any means. If it were acceptable, and the pavement weren't so dang hot here in AZ, I'd go everywhere barefoot.

86. Once, while in Army bootcamp, I fell asleep at the grenade range. Yes, while live grenages were going off just yards away from me. You become really tired at bootcamp. Really tired.

85. I once fell asleep at a Sting concert. Yes, while Sting was up there on stage singing just yards away from me. I curled up on my blanket on the grass and went to sleep - on purpose. You become really bored at Sting concert. Really bored.

84. Yet, despite numbers 85 and 86, I can't sleep on a plane or in a car to save my life.

83. I cannot, cannot, cannot handle "mouth sounds". I hit the mute button on my remote anytime a Carl's Jr. commercial comes on and would personally like to slap the advertising executive who handles their ads. I leave the room whenever my dear husband pours himself a bowl of cereal. And for all that is Holy in the land, do NOT chew gum around me. I will not be held responsible for my actions.

82. I've watched Poltergeist and Rocky II so many times, I can say the lines along with the actors.

81. I can name all 50 states in alphabetical order in under 30 seconds. You can test me on this.

There you have it. Nine more tidbits about me. Since your day is now complete you may as well go back to bed. I mean, really, what more is there?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mommy Tip Tuesday


Good Morning! It's Mommy Tip Tuesday again. If you have a tip to offer other moms today, we'd love to hear it. Remember, your tip can be about anything mom and/or kid related such as, getting kids out the door for school in the morning, craft ideas, fun & healthy snacks, potty training, keeping kids happy on long car trips, etc. Share your wisdom! I know I could sure use it! Blog about your tip then add your name to the Mr. Linky below so others can check it out. Be sure to link back to me in your post so others know where to find Mommy Tip Tuesday and join in the fun next time.

Today, I'm doing things a little different. Instead of offering you a tip, I'm looking for a tip or two from you. As I've said before, I struggle with getting London to eat. I'm happy with the smoothies in the morning but don't plan on feeding her smoothies 3x a day just to get something healthy into her.

And, really, WHAT she eats is not the problem I'm struggling with right now, it's WHEN. I'm struggling with snack-time. If I left it up to London, she would just snack, snack, snack all day long. And I don't mean on your typical "junk/snack foods" I mean yogurt, bananas, organic cereal bars, goldfish crackers or dry cereal. I don't have a problem with these foods, it's just that when it comes time to eat a meal, specifically dinner, she is not hungry and then it's a struggle to get her to finish her meal.

I've cut off snacks after 4 pm and this seems to be working pretty well. She's then hungry enough at dinner to finish her meal. She will then say that she doesn't want anymore but will immediately ask for a snack. If I feel she's eaten an adequate amount of dinner, I will allow her a snack. All this takes place around 6 pm in our home. She will then repeatedly ask for more and more snacks for the next 2-3 hrs. It's insane! I ask her if she's really hungry or if she just wants to eat because she likes it. She tells me she's hungry.

We've tried getting her to eat more dinner or tell her that she's allowed ONE snack after dinner. She is not happy with this new rule and will continue to ask for snacks. I have to literally get upset with her and sternly warn her not to ask again to get her to stop. But, if she's really hungry, I want her to have something. Argh! You can see why I'm pulling my hair out!

What are the snack rules in your house? How do you handle after-dinner snacking? Is there some trick to knowing if your child is really hungry or just wanting to munch out of habit?



Monday, April 28, 2008

Meyer Monday

The God-kind of love bears up under anything and everything that comes. It endures everything without weakening. It is determined not to give up on even the hardest case. The hard-core individual who persists in being rebellious can be eventually melted by love. The Bible says, "While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).

It is hard to keep showing love to someone who never seems to appreciate it or even respond to it. It is difficult to keep showing love to those individuals who take from us all we are willing to give, but who never give anything back.

We are not responsible for how others act, only how we act. We have experienced the love of God by His mercy, and now He commands us to show that same kind of love to the world. Our reward does not come from man, but from God. Even when our good deeds seem to go unnoticed, God notices and promises to reward us openly for them: "...your deeds of charity may be in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:4).

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~ Joyce Meyer, Being The Person God Made You To Be

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

I didn't hit CVS or Walgreen's or the grocery stores this week. Just didn't seem to find the time to squeeze any of it in plus the deals just weren't really deals for me this time around. That's okay, though, as I hit several garage sales last weekend and scored some major finds!

I had hit a consignment shop about a month ago hoping to find some sweaters on clearance for next winter only to find they were all gone by then. So happy was I to find a woman my size selling several of her sweaters & a denim skirt at $1 a piece! That is waaaaay better than I would have found even on clearance at a consignment store. Elsewhere I found two pair of great looking jeans at $2 each, 3 pairs of shorts and a shirt for London .50 cents each plus a cute flower for her room for a quarter. All total in the above picture: $13.25!

Next, two pair of like-new jammies and a pair of barely worn Hello Kitty shoes at $2 a piece. I think the flower jammies look dirty at the knee in the picture but really they are not. I'm not as excited about these prices but the garage sale lady...well, uh...she kind of scared me and I didn't want to mess with her, so I just paid her asking price and ran to my car yelping like a kicked puppy.

Moving on...

I don't know how the jeans made it into this picture but there they are. Other than that, I scored a couple of things for Kirby - a pair of swim trunks and a pair of Bob The Builder shorts, both a quarter each. The other items I got for a girlfriend of mine. I normally don't blindly buy for friends but the NICE lady at this garage sale was selling all the clothing for .25 cents a piece! That's hard to pass up. So I ended up getting my friend eight pieces of clothing for her little guy for only $2!

Plus, I was able to walk to my car with my dignity at no additional charge. Bonus!

Last two items I got for $1.25. The cutlery box on the left makes for a cute pen/pencil holder on my desk and the metal bucket will be used as a base for a small gift basket for my Secret Sister at church. Both of these items are in excellent condition.

I'm really happy with the great deals I got this week and am looking forward to finding some more next week. You can check out all the great deals that were had this week over at MoneySavingMom. com. Blog about your finds and you can join us next week, too!

Friday, April 25, 2008

My Baby Girl is FOUR!!!

I can't even believe this! Where did the last four years go? Looking through all of her pictures and trying to pick out just ten of them was not an easy task. First of all, I actually ended up with twelve but the rollercoaster of emotions this day has brought is just a little too much for me. Instead of going over each picture with a cute caption, I'm just going include lyrics to the song I used to sing to her when she was a baby, You Are The Love of My Life by Sammy Kershaw.


You are the love of my life,
And you are the reason I'm alive.
And baby, baby, baby
When I think of how you saved me,
I go crazy.

I've never known love like this
And it fills me with a new tenderness

And I know, I know, I know
You're in my heart, you're in my soul
You're all I can't resist


And I need to tell you
The first time I held you
I knew you are the love of my life

I spent a lifetime waiting
Always hesitating, until you.


I was lost so deep inside my shell
'til you came and saved me from myself.
Now all I really know is
I need you.

And you are the love of my life
All the joy and tears that I cry

And baby, baby, baby
You don't have to say a word
I see it in your eyes


As we stand together
I promise forever
'til the day that I die
You are the love of my life.


I spent a lifetime waiting
Always hesitating until you
I was lost so deep inside my shell
'til you came and saved me from myself.


Now all I really know is
I need you.

You are the love of my life.
You are the reason I'm alive.

Anyone else of a big ol' lump in their throat? Just me? Okay. I'm off to find the tissue box.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEET PEA! WE LOVE YOU!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bonded By Blood

I don't like it when my kids bleed. This is not one of the more enjoyable aspects of being a mom. I'm quite sure I'm not alone in this.

Yesterday morning, Kirby decided to take on London's Little Tykes shopping cart in an all-out baby version of "the only rule is there are no rules" cage fighting. The shopping cart won. Kirby, for his effort, received the consolation prize of one fat and bloodied lip. I seriously considered taking a picture of it but thought better of it as it is not for the faint of heart.

And the fact that the boy just won't sit still long enough for the camera to focus.

I handle the occasional broken blood vessel just fine. I'm the picture of calm, cool & collected. I don't scream, gasp, get dizzy or otherwise run around squealing like a four-year-old flapping my hands in the air. No, that's not me. But on the inside...yeah, it's the inside that goes a little Tammy Faye on me. Basically, whenever I see my babies bleed from one injury or another, my heart crumples up in a ball somewhere in a darkened corner of my chest and sobs uncontrollably.

I firmly believe that children should not have the physical ability to bleed until they are at least filling out their applications to various colleges & universities. Preferably Ivy League, of course.

Why is this part of childrearing so difficult? I can handle the occasional bruise, scraped knee, even a kitty scratch (which he received the day before) but when the blood starts to flow outside of their body, mine stops within. I can only imagine it's because their blood is my blood to begin with. I made their blood. Me. I first gave them mine, then made theirs for them, then through the Good Lord's amazing design, taught them how to make their own. And I would gladly shed my own blood for them today.

But this can't be all there is to it, because if it were simply a biological thing then adoptive mothers wouldn't feel that same sobbing heart in the darkened corner that I do. So what is it then? I can only come to one conclusion and it still comes down to a blood bond. A blood bond that runs through the veins of everyone of us making us all, not parents, but children ourselves.

Just like we all would shed blood for our children, our loving and selfless Savior shed His blood for His. Us. It's THAT blood that gets me in the heart whenever I see it flow. It's THAT blood that reminds me what it means to be a loving parent full of grace. It's THAT blood that - No, I didn't make for my children - but was instead given to me as well as them. We are bonded by blood. You, me, your kids, my kids. All of us!

And the blood that causes me to weep, amazingly, heals me at the same time.

Amen!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mommy Tip Tuesday

Good Morning! It's Mommy Tip Tuesday again - won't you join me?

Today, my tip is a book recommendation for those mommies out there with a new baby at home. Specifically, a new baby who may not appreciate being put down and getting themselves to sleep.

When London was fresh-out-of-the-chute-brand-new, I nursed her to sleep for each nap and at bedtime. Soon, it was time for her to learn to fall asleep without me or, more specifically, without my boob.

She was having none of it.

Just about that time, I stumbled across the book, "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp and I quickly snatched it up! Boy, was I ever happy I did!

Dr. Karp gives expert advice on how to lovingly get your baby to sleep without resorting to leaving them to cry on their own. Crying it out was not an option for us with London. Kirby didn't get so lucky and was allowed to cry for 10 minutes or so before falling to sleep. London is the firstborn and, therefore, loved a little more. It's only natural. And the sooner The Boy learns this, the better off we'll all be. Now excuse me while I go throw a handful of Cheerios on the floor for his breakfast and point to where the milk cows are. I'll be right back.

I'm back! However, I'm cutting this short again because as I've been typing this a friend has called distraught with a "clutter emergency" so I'm headed over to help her clear out her living room and other areas. I love dealing with other people's clutter! Call me if you ever need stuff thrown away. I'm really good at it!

Unfortunately, I'm really good at buying more, as well.

Add your Mommy Tip! I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Meyer Monday

A mean, evil individual can be completely transformed by regular, persistent doses of God's love. Because people's religious experiences in many cases have been unfulfilling to them, they have never entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ that is personal enough for them to begin receiving His healing, transforming love.


Religion often gives people rules to follow and laws to keep. It leads them to believe they must earn God's love and favor through good works. That is the exact opposite of true biblical teaching.

God's Word says that "mercy triumphs over judgement" (James 2:13 NKJV). God's goodness leads men to repentance (Romans 2:4), not the keeping of laws and rules. Jesus did not come to give man religion. He came to give man a deep personal love relationship with the Father through Him.

God's unconditional love does not allow people to remain the same; instead, it loves them while they are changing. Jesus said that He did not come for the well, but for the sick (Matthew 9:12). Our world today is sick, and there is no answer for what ails it except Jesus Christ and all that He stands for.

~ Joyce Meyer, Being The Person God Made You To Be

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Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ~ Romans 12:21

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Simple Sunday


Saturday, April 19, 2008

We Have a Winner!

CONGRATULATIONS, MELISSA!


You, my sweet, are the lucky receipient of a $25 e-card to Amazon.com. Woohoo! I will let you know via email the specifics on claiming your prize.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this month's Bloggy Giveaway. Please join me next month - May 14th - for another great giveaway. You could be next!
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Okay, I'm feelin' the need to say something here. Yes, Melissa is my friend here in "real life" as was last month's winner, Kristen, so it may seem as though these little giveaways of mine are a bit rigged. All I have to offer you on this is my word as a Christian - I DO NOT rig these giveaways! I really do print out the comment page, cut out the individual comments, fold them up and have my four -year-old pick one out of a bowl. I honestly debated picking out all of the comments of my friends to avoid looking like a fraud but wouldn't I be acting like a fraud anyway if I did that? That just didn't feel right to me.


No one has commented to me about my giveaways being rigged, I just feel the need to say something upfront. I've always said, "When God handed out guilt, I got in line twice." It's just how I am. I hope you read this as sincere and continue to participate in my giveaways. I LOVE reading all of your comments - especially the ones that suck up to me! *wink*

God Bless and I hope you have a day filled with the Lord's abundance!

Super Savings Saturday


I didn't really take advantage of the sales/ads this week. I did, however, have $71 in ECB's burning a hole in my pocket and thought it was about time I bought something just for the heck of it. I had my eye on a set of four freezable serving bowls for dips and whatnot that were priced at roughly $8.00. I stood there in the aisle and contemplated and contemplated and then contemplated some more but just couldn't bring myself to get them. I know this sounds silly, but $8 is $8 whether it's an ECB or not and I just didn't see $8 worth of freezable bowls. Maybe I'll get lucky and see them on the clearance shelf on down the road. *fingers crossed*

I did, however, have no difficulty getting my daughter a few things. Papa and Grammy are visiting and there is a pool where they are staying. London has a love/hate relationship with water so I thought a couple of floating devices might move her a little more to the love side.

As you can see, I also had no difficulty buying some chocolate on discount. Those bags were marked 90% off making them .35 cents each! Sweet!

And London's birthday is coming up so the almost-four-year-old picked out her birthday candles. You may notice that they are pink, like everything else in her little world.

All total, I walked out the door paying .23 cents OOP. Plus, I still have quite a bit left over in ECB's. Maybe I'll splurge a little on myself next week. We'll see.
Check out MoneySavingMom.com for more great success stories this week!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just a reminder...

Normally, I would be posting a Thankful Thursday at this time. However, I'm going to skip it this week (not that I don't have a great deal to be thankful for, I do!) and catch up with everyone next week. My in-laws are in town and we are headed out to go swimming today with the kids.

I did, however, want to mention my Bloggy Giveaway and remind anyone who has not yet left me a comment on the Bloggy Giveaway post to do so quickly! The winner of the $25 Amazon.com E-card will be chosen on Saturday morning.

Best of luck and I hope everyone has a truly Thankful Thursday!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Product Review

As promised a couple of Saturdays ago, here is my product review of 24.7 Skincare Instant Plump Volumizing Lip Shine.

First, I must confess that I swiped the picture on the left off of CVS's website. My original purchase came all nice & tidy in a lovely red hot little box. Very well packaged, professional and sleek. Something of which the executives at 24.7 (or whoever owns them) must be proud. My initial good impression only lasts so long, however. Truth be told, I have issues with packaging:


I'm dealing with it, okay? Let's move on.

I usually don't set out to purchase lip plumpers. My lips are just fine, thank you very much. But I had a $5 off coupon, plus this brand came with an ECB (Extra Care Buck) offer and I like trying out new products for either mega-cheap or free. These elements combined resulted in this little gem finding it's way home with me. Regular retail price is $19.99. I purchased it for $4.99 but because I paid with Extra Bucks, I really got it for free. In all honesty, if it weren't for the big FREE price tag, I never would've given this product a second look.

I took it home and decided to give it a thoroughly scientific test drive and record my findings. Are you ready? Yeah, you're on the edge of your seat, I can tell. Approximately, ten seconds after application, I began to feel a cool burning sensation around the outer edge of my lips. A little scary, but nothing too alarming. Yet.

After about two minutes, the "sensation" started to HURT! For those of you unfamiliar with the parts of the body that are not supposed to burn, this is in the "not good" category. I literally refrained from kissing my baby boy for fear his little cheeks would start to burn. After about four minutes, the burning started to dissipate and was back to the tolerable "cool burning" sensation after that. Several minutes later, it was completely gone.

Here are my lips before 24.7 Instant Plump:

Here are my lips after 1 minute:
And here they are after 5 minutes:
I do see a mild transformation. But what I want to know is: Are they really plumper? Or do they just appear that way because of the small amount of blood rushing to the outer edges in response to the burning?

Whenever I checked myself in the mirror *cougheverytwominutescough*, they really did seem a bit plumper. I liked the way they looked but, to be honest, I couldn't say they looked any different than when I apply my $1.99 Bonnie Bell lip gloss. All lipstick and gloss give the appearance of fuller lips. Isn't that one of the reasons we buy them? And as I went about my day running errands, doing this & that, I was quite disappointed that no one mistook me for Angelina Jolie (you know, like they usually do). For 20 bucks spent on lips, I want to be mistaken for someone! Geesh! Even getting confused with Sandra Bernhard would've meant SOMETHING!

And here they are at the end of the day:

I kid! I kid! *heehee*

The final analysis is this: For $20 I want a lip plumper to have a little more plump in it. Oh, and I also would like for it NOT to burn! That's always a plus, as far as I'm concerned. Maybe the test subjects who first gave this product a whirl feel differently, I don't know. What I do know is this:

Because of price, pain and plumplessness, I give 24.7 Skincare Instant Plump Volumizing Lip Shine 1 out of 5 Mommy Kisses.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mommy Tip Tuesday



It's Mommy Tip Tuesday again! Won't you join me?

I just realized that I promised a Bloggy Giveaway (see below) on a Tuesday. Oh well! It's a makes the day that much brighter, doesn't it?

My tip for today involves getting more nutrition in to your picky eater. My daughter seems to rebel against food in general. Well, food that doesn't contain chocolate, that is. Hmm...I wonder where she gets that from? *looks around awkwardly*

I don't like fighting about food. It drives me nuts and, quite frankly, I think sets kids up for issues with eating later in life. I am, however, determined to get some good stuff into the girl.Lucky for me, she likes smoothies.

Smoothies are a wonderful way to sneak nutritious food into something yummy. There are a multitude of recipes on the web and recipe books to choose from. I think most people think fruit, fruit, fruit when they think of smoothies which can add up to a lot of calories and sugar (albeit natural sugar) but I'm here to tell you, you can add several veggies and still come out with a yummy concoction. There are several recipes in Green For Life by Victoria Boutenko. This is a raw foods book that will probably be quite extreme for most, but her recipes are scrumptious!

One of my favorites is:

4-5 Kale leaves
a large handful of dark berries or grapes
2 bananas
2 cups ice cold water

Blend the kale and water together first then add the other ingredients. The color is AMAZING and may even put you off a bit, but the taste is worth it, in my opinion. London loves it but I haven't tried it on The Boy yet.

Speaking of the boy, he just woke up. I had another recipe to tell you about complete with nutrient information buy he's rather demanding in the morning, so that will have to wait until next week. Sorry, mommy-duty calls.

And calls loudly!

Please add your Mommy Tip for today and invite a friend to do the same! I look forward to reading them all and learning something new today!

Bloggy Giveaway!

WooHoo! It's Bloggy Giveaway time!

All you have to do is leave me a comment. Any comment will do! Tell me about your day. Tell me a joke. Tell me a lie. I don't care - just leave a comment!

This month's winner will receive a $25 e-card to Amazon.com!

The winner will be chosen at random once again by my daughter. I simply print off all the comments, fold them up into teeny-little pieces and plop them in a bowl. London picks one and that lucky person will wake up to some super-exciting news on Saturday morning.

You know what to do - now get to it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

It's Super Savings Saturday again over at MoneySavingMom.com. Check out all the other Mommy-bloggers who saved BIG TIME this week and join us next week with your fab savings!

Last Saturday, I hit a few garage sales and came up with this:

The Cars book is brand-new and still in the plastic wrap ($1). My father-in-law will love it! I think I'm going to tuck it away until Christmas.

My history-lovin' hubby will love the John Adams audio book on CD (also $1). He wanted the book when it first came out but it's well over 800 pages and he just doesn't have the time or patience for such a lengthy read. He can enjoy this in the car on his way to work.

I spent $3 on the blocks for the kiddos. They love them! Not bad considering I've seen similiar ones retail for roughly $30 elsewhere.

I did some major grocery shopping which I haven't done in a long time because: 1) I was pretty well stocked up and 2) We just aren't big "Every night of the week" eaters. Last week, the grocery stores seemed to have some pretty good deals that I felt were worth taking advantage of. I'm not well stocked in the grocery coupon department but I took what I had. All total I spent $109 for approx. $248 worth of stuff. Not bad, not bad. I'm not complaining but here's the thing: I went to three different grocery stores plus Walgreen's (Walgreen's items not pictured) taking 3 1/2 hours out of my day.

Now, I admit, I went with a half-baked plan and a 4 yr old, so maybe the time spent wasn't necessarily all due to grocery shopping. But still, that seemed like A LOT of time to get some groceries. Do you think a savings of $139 was worth it or am I just being a baby? Educate me, please. While pretty well versed in CVS 101, I'm still quite the newbie when it comes to saving big-time in the grocery stores.

What this picture doesn't show is:

  • 2 gallons of milk
  • 4 Morning Star Farms Vegetarian items
  • 1 box of garlic bread
  • 2 bags of Kraft cheese
  • 1 package of Bartouli pasta
  • 3 Jumbo pkgs Pampers diapers
  • 2 Zone Energy bars
  • 2 jugs of Welch's grape juice
At CVS this week:


Here's my "WOW!" shopping trip of the week. I couldn't beleive this was happening! I went to CVS to fix something from a previous purchase and found a bunch of Easter stuff at 90% off in a shopping cart up front. Not that I needed any of it right now but I like to buy ahead at great discounts for the following year. Anyhoo, I thought I'd check out the clearance endcap in the back corner of the store to see if they had more. There I found several Essence of Beauty items for .30 cents a piece. I took my items up to the register and upon payment received TWENTY DOLLARS IN ECB'S!!! CVS is currently offering a deal that if you buy 3 Essence of Beauty items you'll receive $5 in Extra Bucks back. I had NO IDEA that the clearance items would get me the Extra Bucks!

Can I get a WHOO-HOO? Man, I *heart* CVS! It's better than Vegas!

Oh, and see those clippers up there? I had been thinking that I'll save myself $10 every other month and give my son (who can't talk yet and therefore has no say) haircuts myself. Lo and behold, CVS had those salon clippers marked down to $1.50! Yay!

All-in-all, I think I had a great week. Please, go check out Crystal's site to learn more about how to make your hard earned money s-t-r-e-t-c-h! You won't be sorry!

Anita Renfroe

If you have not yet seen this video, you will love it! It's absolutely worth the 3 1/2 minutes!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thankful Thursday




What could make a mother happy with her living room looking like this? Well, let's see...there is obviously an abundance of toys. There is new, comfy furniture to rest upon. The walls are sturdy, insulated and intact. There are STILL Christmas trees in the corner (hey, I like 'em, okay?) indicating a joyful celebration. The floors are not dirt but, instead, covered and there is a healthy, happy, well-fed little boy sitting in the mist of it all. Sure, I could be furious about the mess - I often am. I get tired of picking up day after day. Heck, hour after hour, for that matter!

But, it's hard to be upset about the little things when the reality is I will never have to face the struggles, fears and dangers this mother does:
This is a Zimbabwean woman and her child fleeing across the border at Beitbridge Border post in South Africa. Can you imagine? I found this picture while going through Yahoo's Week In Photos last week.

I remember as a child, thinking how lucky I was that God could have put me anywhere but He chose to allow me to be born in the U.S.A. As an adult, I came to realize there are many great and wonderful and FREE countries in this world but I still considered myself lucky to be an American citizen by birth.

But seeing the world through a mother's eyes is what will really bring you to your knees in total and complete gratitude thanking the Lord Almighty for the wondrous and generous gifts He pours onto you. That He could have chosen to put me on this earth anywhere and yet He chose to put me here - in the lap of luxury and freedom.

The woman in the above picture has nothing but the baby on her back and no idea what will become of their futures. I have a plethora of possessions that I often complain about. Now, I ask you, what's wrong with that picture?

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for all your continuous gifts and grace upon me. May I know everyday what it is that I could be suffering. I pray for the safety, health and welfare of this mother, her child, and all who are suffering like her. Amen.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Of Course I Blame My Mother! You Can Too!

I mentioned in My 100 Things that I did not play Barbies like other little girls did. I did not dress the up to go to parties or the mall or out on dates with Ken. My Barbies did not work as noble school teachers by day and supermodels at night. They did not live in dream houses or drive hot pink convertibles or own poopfree horses in their artificially turfed backyards. Nope, my Barbies kept it real. Well, as real as it gets on your standard soap opera, that is.

You'll need a little backstory to help you understand:

You see, I was the youngest of four growing up in the quaint, little town of Rockford, Michigan. My father being a mechanic and a welder went wherever the work was and was sometimes gone days, weeks, or even months at a time. My mother stayed at home to raise the kids. Except that she really didn't do that. Now, please understand, I'm not writing what I'm about to write to mom-bash. With lots of self-therapy, deep breathing exercises and the Stuart Smalley "I'm Good Enough" series on audio, I got well past mom-bashing in 1997.

My mom was, well, rather relaxed in her parenting style and probably never put the words "parental" and "interaction" together in a sentence her entire life. She did, however, watch a heck of a lot of TV.

Like all day.

All.the.dang.day.long.

Everyday.

So much so that regardless of the fact that there was not a clock in the room, she knew exactly what time it was by what show was on. Or if Bob was spinning the wheel for the first time or second. Or if Erica Kane was in lingerie or daywear. You get the picture.

As the youngest child and not yet old enough for kindergarten, I often sat with my mother while she watched her soap operas. I can still remember avidly watching "All My Children", "General Hospital", "Days of Our Lives" and, especially, "The Edge of Night" (which is the show where I learned how babies were made - another post altogether) sitting in front of our bunny-eared, turn-dial, slightly green-tinted color TV on our burnt-red, commercial-grade carpeting with my mom laying on the couch behind me.

I won't comment on the fact that she used to call me out of my bedroom to change the channel for her. Nope, I'll just leave that little tidbit out and continue with my every intriguing story. No mom-bashing here, I tell you!

Okay, so how do the Barbies fit in? Well, if you pay attention to your kids at all, and I know you do, you know that whatever they see or experience in real life they reenact in play. So it was with me and my Barbies. Like I said, no trips to the mall, convertibles or colon-free horses for my dolls. Nope. But my Barbies did have unhappy marriages, affairs, divorces, unplanned pregnancies, alcohol addictions, drama, tragedies, murder mysteries, back-stabbing friends and the occasional sexual indiscretion.

Keep in mind - I WAS FIVE!

But the worst of it came years later when my dad decided one day that I was too old for dolls and put everything Barbie into a garage sale while I was at school. He missed, however, one Barbie, a dining table, a small Asian child doll and a few accessories. With what few items I had left, I did what any successful soap opera does - I spun-off!

The new story centered around Barbie and her adopted Asian child doll, Kim as they rebuilt their lives as the sole survivors of a devastating fire that destroyed their entire town. It was an instant hit and had a successful two or three year run. I can't really remember. And I will happily tell you that Barbie did pull herself up by her high-heel, leatherette Gloria Vanderbilt bootstraps and made a good life for her and Asian child doll Kim and eventually did get that poopfree horse in the artificially turfed backyard afterall!

But what I really want to know is:



Did Alexis make top fashion designer/model/shopping mall owner or did her past as a exotic dancer finally catch up with her?

Was Stormy able to quit her ADD medication addiction and get off the street to, once and for all, provide a stable home environment for her daughter Rainy?


Did business rivals Jade and Colt come to terms with their love for one another while in the mist of a hostile takeover? Or did their flames of passion cause their business deals to burn out?


Did Mariah-Rose ever hear back from the Maury Povich show and will she be able to let her Baby Daddy back in her life despite not really remembering who he is anyway?

And will Star be able to escape her captors and make it back in time for her own wedding before her fiance marries her backstabbing maid of honor sister?

Stay tuned!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mommy Tip Tuesday



Welcome to the inaugural post of Mommy Tip Tuesday! Here's my tip for the week:

Cookie cutters aren't just for cookies! My daughter is a picky-picky eater. She will adamantly proclaim she does not like a certain food before ever trying it. She was the only child I knew who didn't like PB&J sandwiches. As one who considers a good PB&J a food staple, this was something I just could not abide!

I remember reading once that children not only want their food to taste appealing but to look appealing as well. So one day, I cut out the center of a PB&J with a bunny shaped cookie cutter and presented it to her that way. It was an instant hit and she's been eating them ever since. We have a variety of cutter shapes and I very wisely allow her to decide the shape each time.

Sometimes it's flower PB&J. Sometimes it's butterfly PB&J. Sometimes it's a house and sometimes it's a sheep. Heck, she's even gotten radical and chosen the CIRCLE cutter, of all things but, hey, as long as she's eating I don't care!

We've used the cookie cutters with pancakes, cheese crisps and pizza, too!

Got a Mommy Tip you'd like to share? Please blog about it and add your name and website to the Mr. Linky below. Please link back to me in your post so others know where to find me and add their own tips. Be sure to come back next week and share another Mommy Tip with everyone!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Simple Sunday


Friday, April 4, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

This is how we CVS, we CVS, we CVS
This is how we CVS so early in the morning!

Happy Super Savings Saturday, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the CVS deals this week like I did and came home fat & happy with ECB's to burn! After a few weeks of, "eh" deals at CVS I was just thrilled with this weeks semi-annual beauty sale, plus many other good deals. Here's what I got:

Trip #1
Okay, whatcha see there is $133.35 worth of stuff. Hard to believe, huh? But there's some expensive stuff in that pile. For example, that little red box right up front is lip plumper by 24.7, priced $19.99! Ouch! Keep an eye out for my Product Review on that little tart. Anyway, with my coupons ($21.53), and ECB's ($29.97) and in-store savings ($28.05) and CVS gift card ($14.36), my total came down to $39.44 OOP.

I left with $39.00 in ECB's. So, all in all, I got everything you see above for .44 cents!

Also, one thing I try to do is walk out of the store with more ECB's than I walked in with. So far, I've been able to do this with every CVS trip! *happy dance*

Trip #2
Since my first trip did not yield me any of the Spa Radiant Body Wash, I made a second trip the next day to a different CVS. In this picture is $43. 78 worth of stuff. After coupons ($1.75) and ECB's ($31.00) and in-store savings ($2.00), my total came to $9.03 OOP.

I left with $38.00 in ECB's. Thereby coming out ahead $28.97. And, again, walked out with more ECB's than I walked in with! *BIG happy dance*

Stuff that makes me giddy.
Two of my favorite things were deals at CVS this week. Neither of these, btw, netted me ECB's but this is just an example of the other great stuff CVS does for their customers. The foundation I prefer is L'Oreal Bare Naturale. Normally, this stuff is $14.99 for one. This week CVS had them B1G1 free, plus I had a $2 off coupon knocking the price for both down to $12.99. Gotta love it! Ultimately, as they were part of Trip #1, I got them for FREE, anyway!

Also, the Colgate ($2.99 ea.) was B1G1 and I had a manufacturer's coupon for $1.50 plus a CVS coupon for $1.00. Yes, that's right, for those of you who didn't know - CVS will let you stack coupons! So, really, I paid .49 cents for two tubes of toothpaste. But, again, not really as they were also part of Trip #1.

But what I really love is - THAT'S PLAIN OL' TOOTHPASTE, PEOPLE! Not that fancy-schmancy whitening/baking soda/peroxide/magic dust toothpaste you see everywhere. I have a booger of a time finding PLAIN toothpaste. Thank you, CVS for keeping us PLAIN folk in mind!

Stuff that makes her giddy.

CVS's quarterly bonus ECBs came out this week and I earned an extra $6.50! Okay, so I'm not going to be taking a cruise with this amount, but still, it's FREE MONEY. Since I had to lug the little people in my life to two CVS's this week and since the pretty blond one was on her bestest behavior and since every.single.time we go to CVS she begs to look at the sunglasses only to leave empty handed, I decided to splurge my quarterly earnings on her. Whatcha think? That's one cute kid, huh? I think so!

Head of over to Crystal's place at MoneySavingMom.com to see the other great deals that have been had this week. And then next week - post yours!