Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekly Movie Reviews

Since hubby was out of town all week last week, I took the opportunity to watch a few movies to pass the time. There were a couple of good ones and a few that were not so good :-o) I'm finding that it's hard to find a well made movie these days.

My favorites were:

Things We Lost In The Fire ~ Synopsis: A recent widow invites her husband's troubled best friend to live with her and her two children. As he gradually turns his life around, he helps the family cope and confront their loss.

**I really liked this movie although it started kind of slow. The story was sad, tragic, troubled, and in the end, healing. I really liked Jerry. It was nice to see him rise from the ashes and start dealing with his drug addiction. Halle Berry's character got on my nerves and I felt like this was some of her worst acting. However, someone else in this role could have made the movie even better. Apart from that, a good movie.

The Kite Runner ~ Synopsis: After spending years in California, Amir returns to his homeland in Afghanistan to help his old friend Hassan, whose son is in trouble.

**This was another movie I really enjoyed. I haven't had the opportunity to read the book so I was excited to get to see the movie. Again, great story and a well made movie.

The others I watched and did not care for where:

  • Georgia Rule - language and content was the biggest reason I didn't like this one.
  • In the Land of Women - The leading male actor was funny but this was just an "I don't get it" movie for me.
  • Jack & Jill (Freddie Prinze Jr.) - The leading actress in this one was terrible. It could have been a good movie. The story line was good and Freddie Prinze Jr. did a good job. Everything else was terrible.
  • Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium - I took the girls to see this one mid-week since the local theater has the summer movie thing going on. Admission was only $1 per person and that was great. The movie wasn't bad. I just don't care for most fantasies. Not terrible, not great either. Just mediocre for me.
  • Blonde Ambition - Don't waste your time. Jessica Simpson plus movies......well, I should have known how that would go. Her acting killed the movie.

Keep in mind that I was trying to watch movies that I thought hubby wouldn't like since he was gone all week. Basically, almost all of the movies I watched while he was gone bombed. The only one that was even worth mentioning was Things We Lost In The Fire. He did watch The Kite Runner with me and he liked it pretty well. Overall, not a good movie week :-o) Maybe next week will be better.

What did you see this week?

Seven Things Meme

I was tagged by Shawna to do this meme about my children. I never pass up an opportunity to talk about them so this should be fun! Here are the rules:

1. Link your tagger and list the rules on the blog.
2. Share 7 facts about your kiddos on your blog…random, weird, funny…whatever you want!
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post
4. Don’t forget to let the tagged people know!

Since my daughters are polar opposites, I will list seven facts about each of them.


  • Loves, loves, loves to read.
  • Is currently fascinated with candles and unique candle holders. Her room is full of them :-o)
  • Loves, loves, loves animals. Mostly cats, which she is wildly allergic to. LOL!
  • Eats ketchup on everything, and I do mean everything. It's gross :-o)
  • Loves to embroider.
  • Would rather chat online with church friends than eat.
  • Has the thickest hair I've ever seen in my life


  • Loves, loves, loves WebKinz.
  • Is a very good speller.
  • Has more freckles than I've ever seen on any human.
  • Could live off of mac'n'cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese.
  • Loves pink, just like her mommy :-o)
  • Loves to write letters to her church friends.
  • Is very hard to wake up in the mornings.

I can't think of seven people to tag so if you want to play along, consider yourself tagged. Let me know if you join in so I can come read about your children.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When Hubby's Away.....

The girls will play........Well, not exactly.

While hubby is away this week, the girls and I have a top secret project planned. Last year, we painted the shutters and front door and didn't tell him what color we'd picked. He had no idea until he returned home at the end of the week. We had a blast surprising him. This year is no exception. We didn't even tell him we were doing a secret project. In case he reads this post, I can't share the details. Just know that it's a big project and we are having a blast doing it. I think we have so much fun because we know he'll be extra happy about this one. It's so much fun to plan how we'll reveal it to him too!

At first we were thinking we'd get him a cool gift, like a Luminox Navy SEAL Watch. He loves cool gadgets like that. However, we realized there was really no way we could order something without him knowing. Plus, what would happen if it didn't arrive in time? We finally resolved to doing this project for him instead.

He comes home on Friday evening so I'll share our project on Saturday. We're working hard today to finish it so that we can take off tomorrow and see a movie. Some local movie theaters show cheap or free movies for children in the summer. We'll be going to see Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium and admission is only $1 per person! Can't beat that with a stick so we jumped on it. Christian Spotlight gave it 5 stars for quality and a better than average rating for content. Sounds good to me. I'll review it for you on Sunday.

I hope you're have a great Tuesday!

Rite Aid Deals 6-23

I'm pretty happy with my RA haul today. I'll be requesting my monthly rebate check this weekend and I'm amazed by how easy this has been. There's nothing like getting free or nearly free items! Especially when those items are things a family always needs.

Here's the breakdown for today's trip:

Charles Worthington Big Hair Sea Salt Spray: $4.99 with $4.99 scr (free after rebate) *Limit 1 rebate*

Finessee shampoo and hairspray: 2/$6 with $5 scr ($1 for both products after rebate) *Limit 1 rebate*

Freeman Sea Kelp shampoo and conditioner: $2.99 each with $2 scr on each item ($1.98 for both items after rebate) *This had a limit of 2 rebates*

Crest Pro-Health Night toothpaste: $2.99 with $2.99 scr (free after rebate) *Limit 1 rebate*

So, after rebate, all of these items cost me $2.98. Because most Rite Aid stores are not internet coupon friendly, I try to only shop there for the items that are free after rebate or very cheap after rebate. This works well because usually those items are things we can really use so I stockpile them. I can't believe I'm only now learning all of these things. If I had started this several years ago, we would have saved a lot of money. Oh well, better late than never, I suppose.

Food City has a pretty good sale going on right now also. There are several BOGO deals and a handful of good BOG2 offers. I stocked up on these items:

Fischer bologna ($2.28 each on sale BOGO). Used 2 - 40c coupons so I ended up paying 74c per pack

Food City diced tomatoes (select varieties) $1.29 each on sale BOG2. OOP was 39c per can

Dole pineapples (crushed, rings, tidbits, etc.) $1.29 each on sale BOG2. OOP was 43c per can

Food Club soda $1.49 each on sale BOG2. OOP was 49c each

Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce $2.79 on sale BOG2. OOP was 93c each

Chex Mix $2.49 on sale BOGO. I used $1 printable Qs. OOP was 74c each. More than I wanted to pay but a good deal to use up my extra Qs that expire soon.

While I shopped, Caroline collected these:

We were gone most of the evening and starved around 6pm. We made turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, and biscuits for supper. Caroline treated us and made some yummy brownies for dessert.

It was the perfect end to a nice day.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

CVS June 22

Hubby left today for Valle Crucis, NC to attend NAAPD. He'll be gone until Friday so the girls and I will be trying to keep ourselves busy until then. We're usually bored when he's gone. He left shortly after coming in from church so I took to clipping my coupons from today's paper. I clipped some good ones and can't wait to work up some deals on those items. I went ahead and made a CVS run since it's less than a mile from our house. I didn't find a lot of deals but here's what I came home with:

Transaction #1

CVS Mens Aftershave $2.59

Used $2 CVS coupon

Paid 64c OOP

Earned $1 ECB

Basically, CVS paid me 34c to buy this. I love it when that happens!

Transaction #2

Aussie Leave In Conditioner Spray $2.99

Used $2.99 ECB

Paid 0 oop

Earned $2 in ECB

Transaction #3

4 Soy Joy Bars 4/$4

Used $1/3 man Q

Used BOGO man Q

Used $2 ECB from transaction #2

Paid 16c OOP

Earned $4 ECB

Transaction #4

2 Colgate Total Advance toothpastes $5.98

1 Colgate Spongebob toothbrush $2.99

Used 2 - $1.50/1 Colgate Qs

Used $5 ECBs earned from transactions 1 & 3

Paid $1.34 OOP

Earned $6 ECBs

Trip Breakdown

Spent $2.14 OOP for $18.60 worth of items

Used $9.99 in ECBs

Earned $13 ECBs

For anyone who can answer, my receipt says that July is Extra Bucks month and that my 2% earnings will starting printing at the register July 1st. I had no idea this happened. Seems I read it somewhere before. If I understand correctly, it means I'm going to receive free CVS money. Can someone fill me in? How does this work?

Tip: I purchased some Rainbow Twizzlers (my fav) from Kroger last week while they were on sale. On the back of the package, I noticed that there was a Mega Movie Bonus proof of purchase. As I read on, I found that when you collect 15 mega movie bonus points, you can send them in and receive a free movie admission. On these bags, the bonus was 3 pts but you can buy other Hershey's , Reese's, and York products that have 5 points on them. If you get the Twizzlers on sale for $1 a bag, you'd need to buy 5 bags to earn 15 points. So, you'll spend $5, send it in, and get a movie admission certificate. Around here, movie tickets are $7.50 - $8 so you're still saving a little bit of money. In my book, any money saved is a good thing.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saving and Recycling

The coupon clipping is going well. I've collected quite a few so far and look forward to adding lots more to my binder. Our local Sunday paper usually carries a small selection and I've called my relatives to ask them to save theirs for me, provided they don't use them. I've been able to get some pretty nice deals recently so I definitely see the benefits that come from using them strategically. Last night at Walmart, I got an 8pk of Zantac, two Buddy Bars of soap, a can of shaving cream, a box of Honey Nut Cheerios, and a pack of notebook dividers all free. In order to get them free, I simply had to print out online coupons and clip a few from the paper. A small sacrifice for what I got. Jeff was with me and was impressed. He would be more impressed if our food stockpile would grow and I'm working on that.

I've also started working on ways to recycle more and not waste so much. About a month ago, I joined our local online FreeCycle group. If you haven't heard about FreeCycle, I urge you to read more about it. I'm starting to really see the benefits of joining the group, as I have been able to bless others with things I could no longer use or no longer wanted. These are things I would have otherwise either thrown away or taken to a local charity where they would have resold the item. Yes they would have resold it at a cheaper price but by placing it on the FreeCycle chain, I was able to give away a perfectly good medicine cabinet this week. Anything goes really. I even gave away a brand new bottle of self-tanner. I was just too lazy to put it on everyday and it would have gone in the trash had it not been for FreeCycle. A few other things I've freecycled are an old shower curtain,construction paper, clothing, and toys. I'm really enjoying this because all of the people I've given things to have really been eager to put those things to use. It's nice to know it's in someone's home rather than in some landfill somewhere.

I'm hoping to set up recycling bins in our garage next week. We have a recycling drop off point within two minutes of our house. They take paper, plastic and cardboard and we go through a lot of that. I've also vowed to save the return envelopes you get when you receive your bills. For example, when I get my electricity bill, they always include a return envelope. I used to just throw it out because I pay most bills online so I had no use for the envelopes. This week, I realized we were running low on regular envelopes and that I needed to buy some. It just so happened that I got bills in the mail and they all had return envelopes (the ones with the clear windows in front). So, I'll be saving those from now on and utilizing them when I need to mail something. I'm not sure why I didn't do this before.

I've also been seeing a lot of news reports on Freegans lately. While I can't imagine myself doing this, it's amazing to watch online videos to see what these people recover from dumpsters. What's even more fascinating is that many of the people who do this are well-educated adults with good paying jobs. They are just disgusted by what we waste and chose to dumpster dive for it. It seems the biggest waste is by restaurants. I can't understand why they don't donate things to local food banks. I think it's probably mostly because these companies are afraid of lawsuits and since our government has made it so easy to file suit against anyone for anything, the restaurants have to be careful. I do know that our local Atlanta Bread Company will donate their leftovers at the end of the day because they've been gracious enough to donate it to our homeschool co-op group on several occasions.

All in all, for me it's about not being wasteful. I want to be a good steward of what God has given us. These are just a few of the things I'm trying, apart from dumpster diving. I just don't have the stomach for that!

Looking For "Green" Ideas

Today I realized that I'm not a spring chicken anymore. I don't feel like I'm almost in my mid-30s but I have noticed that I look like I am. For example, I noticed today that when I laugh, I have major lines around my eyes. Where did those come from? I'll take any and all suggestions for the best wrinkle cream you know of! It's funny how I had never noticed those lines before.

I also realized that I'm not near as handy as I should be. I've come to depend on electronics so much that to be without them seems rather strange. I've wanted to learn to sew clothing for several years and have tried to rope my mom into teaching me. She never has the time so I just pushed that aside. I want to scrapbook more but we all know that's more fun when you've got someone to do it with. I want to exercise daily but just don't have the motivation. Recently, I've decided that I want to live more "green." I want to recycle more than I do. I want to find ways to cut water usage. I want to make a compost pile.

All of these are things that I can do. I need to invest a little bit of time to get them all going but after that, these things will become as easy as getting up in the morning. As I find neat ideas, I'll share them. If you have any, I'd love to hear about them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who Ya Gonna Call? Not Roto-Rooter!

Ok, so the new plumber came last Wednesday. Remember the name Roto Rooter. I know you've heard it before. They sent two guys to our house to look things over. They told hubby that he needed to do some work before they could get started. That work amounted to pulling out the bathroom vanity, sink, medicine cabinet, light fixture, and cutting through the drywall. They wouldn't do any of this because of the liability. I do not understand that to save my life but whatever. I've never known a plumbing company that made you do all of the work for them. LOL! Anyway, we got all of that done and one of the guys came back Thursday. He worked all day long and accomplished nothing. When he left for the day, he left us without a way to access the water at all. Friday he came back and worked all day but again, he accomplished nothing. He told us he'd be back at 9am on Saturday and would bring his boss with him. Again, he left and did not hook anything back up so that we could use the water. We got up early on Saturday and waited patiently for him to arrive. At 11am, some guy we had never seen before came to the door. He took the faucet and said he would return in an hour. At 4pm, we were still sitting here waiting for him to come back. Hubby finally called into the main office and explained the situation. They tried to locate the guys who were working for us and eventually about an hour later, one of the men called us. He was upset because his boss had called and got onto him because of this whole mess. He kept asking hubby what he could do to get our problem fixed so that his boss would get off his back. Hubby told him they were fired and not welcome back to our home. It was a nightmare. The problem still isn't fixed but we did manage to cap off the problem lines so that we could turn our main water back on. We went for ten days without water. It was not a fun experience and I do not wish to try it again. Thank goodness our in-laws live close so we were able to take showers there.

All of the stress from this caused me to hop off the wagon. I ate terribly because I was so frustrated and bored. It's amazing how limited you are without water. Things are finally settling down again and since diet pills aren't an option, it's back to WW recipes. I'm looking forward to it, especially since we were forced to eat out so much while we were without water.

I guess all of this is to say that I'm still in shock over the way these men behaved. The young man who worked on the problem for two days just had no clue of what he was doing. He was not prepared when he came to the house and apparently they don't stock their trucks with tools or parts. The guy used hubby's tools the entire time! We have never had a good experience with plumbers. We probably will never call another one. We'll probably learn to fix things ourselves and deal with the problems as they come. I'm not through with Roto Rooter either. I will be calling the corporate office tomorrow and I'm also reporting them to the Better Business Bureau. I needed a few days to gather their names and phone numbers before turning it over to these places. I honestly don't like to get anyone in trouble but their behavior was totally unprofessional and unacceptable. I would hate for anyone to endure what we had to endure with these guys. We knew we were in trouble when they started asking to use our tools. LOL!

Lesson learned: DO NOT USE ROTO ROOTER!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dave Crowder Band Giveaway

I'm one for a good giveaway and this week I found a great one! Coach J is hosting the giveaway and the winner will receive the latest Dave Crowder Band CD. Go check out the details and put your name in the hat. Thanks also to EMI for giving Coach J the opportunity to offer up such a fabulous prize!

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Ron Paul 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Deals of the Week

Recently I started researching money saving tips on the internet. I have some friends at church who have become very good at frugal living and stockpiling. I have been inspired by this family and when they gave a coupon class at our local library, I jumped on the chance to go. I walked away armed with lots of helpful tips and plenty of useful information. I was even more inspired when their oldest son (who is not yet a teenager) started explaining great deals they had caught at various stores. He explained it like a seasoned pro. "I can do this," I thought, so I set my mind to it and got to work this week.


Walgreens 6/13/08

  • Multi-Betic Multi-Vitamins 60pk ($9.99, FAR)
  • Walgreens Gluco Shot ($1.99, FAR)
  • Walgreens Calcium Creamies 75pk ($5.99,FAR)
  • Theragran 130 pk ($4.99, FAR)
  • Ecotrin 45pk ($2, FAR)
  • 3-pks of 40ct Band Aids (on sale for .99)
  • Scrubbing Bubbles Fresh Brush Max Pads (on clearance for $2.29)
  • Scrubbing Bubble Automatic Shower Cleaner Kit ($19.99, $5 rebate)
  • Electrasol Power Balls ($2.99, $1 rebate)
  • Used 3 - .75 Qs on the band aids
  • Used .50 Q on the Electrasol
  • Used $7 Q on the shower cleaner kit
  • Used $5/$20 Walgreens Q
  • Total OOP (after rebates and Qs): $11.95 (tax included)

A couple of these things will be donated and a couple of things are items I splurged on (the shower cleaner kit). The rest is stuff I will use right away or add to my stockpile. Overall, I feel that my first Walgreens savings transaction was a success. I was a little apprehensive about trying this at Walgreens because I had just become used to the CVS transactions. However, I'm feeling good about it and I think I will try using Walgreens too. Hey, being able to save lots of moolah in two places, well, that's just priceless!

CVS 6/10/08

Transaction #1

  • 2 Garnier Nutritioniste Scrubs $11.98
  • Used $11 in ECBs,
  • OOP: $ .98
  • Earned $10 ECBs
  • Didn't have any Man Qs for this but it was a great deal anyway!

Transaction #2

  • Listerine Smart Rinse $3.49
  • Oral B 2pk $6.99
  • 2 - Ajax Dishwashing Liquids $1.76
  • Used $1 off Listerine Q
  • Used $10.48 in ECBs
  • Earned $10.48 in ECBs
  • OOP: $ .83

Food Lion 6/10/08

  • 2 - Kotex 24ct pads BOGO ($3.59 each)
  • 3 boxes of Curves cereal on sale for $ .99 each! (The normal price at FL is about $4 a box)
  • Used 2 - $1/1 Kotex Qs
  • Used $1/1 Curves cereal Q
  • OOP: $4.13
  • As a side note, they were out of Curves granola bars and Strawberry Chex cereal. Both were on sale for $ .99 so I marched myself right up to the customer service desk and got rain checks for those! Sweet!

I've got a few more deals to take advantage of tomorrow. It's been a pretty good week! I'm looking forward to more great purchases and getting better at finding deals as I go.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Double Whammy

The stress of broken plumbing really had me down this week. To recap, I'll start by telling you that I had a couple of temporary crowns put in by my wonderful dentist. At least he was wonderful until this incident. I guess I should preface all of this with the fact that I have a very high tolerance for mouth pain or discomfort. Once during a root canal, my numbing wore off and I endured the rest of the drilling without any medication. It was so painful that I cried. I gave him the benefit of the doubt on that occasion because he was kind of in a bind. It wasn't like he could stop and numb me. I could have really had more trouble had he done that. However, this week when I went in for my crowns, I really thought I'd be in and out in an hour and pain had not even entered my mind.

My appointment was at 1:00 and Caroline decided to go with me so that she could get her hair cut (and she did....six inches whacked off). She sat patiently in the lobby, by herself, while I went back. FOUR HOURS later, I walked out of the dental office. Those were four tough hours. Again, no numbing but lots of drilling. Lots of painful drilling. I'm not sure what took so long except that there was one emergency that came in. I still feel like it was very unreasonable to keep me there for that long. Just send me home and reschedule my appointment for goodness sake. As for the numbing, or lack of, nothing comes to mind. I'm not sure what this man was thinking. I really believe that since he knows I have a high tolerance for this type of pain, he takes advantage of that. After all, it takes longer to do these things if you have to give a shot and then wait for it to kick in. I left there very frustrated, not to mention my day was wasted and sweet little Caroline had been bored to tears in the waiting area, all alone for four hours. Not fun! I came home and told Jeff that as soon as my permanent crowns are ready and put in, I will find a new dentist. This guy is really good but I've just had all I can take of him.

The rest of the week went about the same way. On Thursday, our main bathroom tub sprang a leak. Turns out, there's a broken piece up in the pipes. There's no way to cut the water off to the tub so we've had to turn the main water off. When we finally got in touch with a plumber, he told us he couldn't make it until Saturday. Ok....we found a way to cap off the pipes and were able to use the water sparingly. We just had to turn it off once we were done. By Saturday morning, the leak was much worse and we weren't able to turn the water on for more than a few minutes. We did manage to grab a shower but that's about it. Saturday the plumber calls and says he can't come until Tuesday. We couldn't get anyone else to call us back so we just had to deal with it. On Tuesday, we waited all day for this guy to show up. We called but couldn't get him. At 9:00pm, he calls and says he had a really bad day. What?!!!! I mean, I'm sorry for him but why did he wait until 9pm to call? By this time, we had called and touched base with another guy who was to show up Wednesday morning. Thankfully, he did show up. Unfortunately, he could not fix the problem. His license only allows him to do so much and this problem is major.

Now, here we's a week later and still no water. There's supposed to be a new plumber come today but it's after 2pm so I'm not very optimistic. As soon as we get this horrible mess behind us, I've got plenty of happier things to share!

How is your week going?

We ~Heart~ Animals

Who could resist this?

If you read here regularly, you know that we have many pets and love them all. Currently, we have a miniature schnauzer and four cats. Our dog, Sadie, is like one of our children. Our cats, Lucy, Molly, Tabi, and Mr. Tumnus, bring lots of joy to our lives. It's hard for us to imagine anyone living without a pet.

Recently, we learned of an online social network for pet lovers. At zootoo we found like minded people who love their pets and love to help other animals. There is so much information available and all very helpful. For instance, do you have a general pet question? Do you have questions about pet products or services? Do you want to read pet news? You'll find all of this plus a lot more. One of my favorite areas is the free pet samples. Here you can sign up to try out and review pet products. This is especially helpful if there's a product I'm curious about but unsure of whether to invest in it. Another favorite place is the pet video area. The kids and I usually spend an hour or two a week just watching pet videos online. There are also ways to help a shelter get a make over or generate income for them by becoming a member of zootoo. We are always looking for ways to help animals so this was a no-brainer for us.

There are so many ways we can help animals so I encourage you to see what you can do to help shelters in your area. Start at zootoo and go from there. Animals bring so much joy to us. Why not return the favor?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hannah's New Car

Have you tried buying a car lately? Sheesh! A few weeks ago, we co-signed a loan for my niece so that she could get a newer car. We thought it would be a fairly simple process but it took about three days to complete everything. Our niece, Hannah, is only 19 and she doesn't have any credit built up so she came to us for help. She and hubby spent a day or two looking and finally found a car. They went back the following day to do the paperwork and get things squared away. Well, things were going great until the dealership realized Hannah didn't have any insurance. She was planning to get it as soon as she left the car lot. We thought she had existing liability insurance that would cover it until she got to an insurance place to bump it up to full coverage. What happened was that she canceled the liability insurance that day and decided to go to another agency to get full coverage. When this agency proved too expensive, the only option she had was to do a car insurance comparison. That took an entire day. In the meantime, the car she had just bought was sitting on the lot. She wasn't even able to bring it home. She was upset but in the end, it all worked out. She got the insurance she needed and was able to pick up her car. She is now the proud owner of a 2004 Saturn Ion. She is thrilled. It's been tough for her and her brothers since my BIL passed away. He would be very proud of Hannah. I know I am.

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Ron Paul 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Blog Tour: Washington's Lady by Nancy Moser

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Washington's Lady

(Bethany House June 1, 2008)


Nancy Moser


Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and eighteen novels, including Solemnly Swear, Just Jane, and Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, giving seminars around the country. She has earned a degree in architecture; run a business with her husband; traveled extensively in Europe; and has performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in the Midwest.


It has been said that without George Washington there would be no United States. But without Martha, there would be no George Washington. He called her "my other self."

Who was this woman who captured the heart of our country's founder? She dreams of a quiet life with her beloved George, but war looms...

Though still a young woman, Martha Dandridge Custis was a wealthy, attractive widow and the mother of two small children with no desire to remarry. But when a striking war hero steps into her life, she realizes that she is ready to love again. She is courted by, then marries the French and Indian War hero.

Yet she wonders whether this man, accustomed to courageous military exploits, can settle down to a simple life of farming and being a father to her children. Even as she longs for domestic bliss, Martha soon realizes she will have to risk everything dear to her and find the courage to get behind a dream much larger than her own.

Her new life as Martha Washington took her through blissful times at Mount Vernon, family tragedies, six years of her husband's absence during the Revolutionary War, and her position as a reluctant First Lady.

Known for moving first-person novels of Nannerl Mozart and Jane Austen, in Washington's Lady, Nancy Moser now brings to life the loves and trials of the First First Lady of the United States.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Oh No He Didn't!

Our neighbor had to go out of town for work this week. While she's gone, she asked if we would tie her dog up in the yard during the day and put him up at night. Make sure he has food and know the drill. Jeff told her that we would be glad to do this for her so she left cute little Gabe (I call him Gizmo because he looks like a Gizmo) in our care this morning. We tied him up in our yard and let him romp. Midday, I noticed it was pretty hot so I went out to check on him and make sure his water was filled up. I had been purging the house all morning and decided I'd take a break. I plopped myself down in the yard, within Gabe's reach. He came over and let me pet him and then proceeded to sniff me. I started talking to Jeff and Gabe was behind me, breathing on my back. At least that is what I thought! I was thinking to myself, "his breath sure is warm." No sooner than that thought popped up, I realized it wasn't Gabe's breath. He had hiked his leg up and peed on me!

So, he's officially marked his territory and I belong to him now. I wonder what my neighbor will think of that?

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Ron Paul 2008

You Say Goodbye & I Say Hello

Dear Turtle Chex Mix,

I'm sad to say it but we must part ways. I've enjoyed your chocolate covered chex squares, caramel popcorn, and crunchy pretzels the past few days. You've tickled my taste buds way too many times lately. You left chocolate residue on my fingertips. You tempted my nose with that wonderful chocolaty smell. You made me forget all about last week's dental woes. You made my tum-tum happy.

While I think you are wonderful, my waste line does not like you. My favorite clothes are lonely. It's been far too long since I've pulled them on. This affair must end. I'm leaving you for something healthier. It may not have that wonderful chocolate aroma or taste but it will allow me to get into my favorite jeans again. It's sad, I know. Someday we will meet again. Maybe until then, you can work on being more nutritious while still being your same delicious self. Until then, (or until this last seven pounds is gone) I bid you farewell.

Goodbye Turtle Chex. Hello Smart Ones Double Chocolate Cake and my beloved exercise equipment. I've missed you!

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Ron Paul 2008

Two New Loves In My Life

Here's the deal. Gas prices are ridiculous. Food costs continue to rise. Everywhere I turn, someone wants more of our money. It's getting out of hand. Something has to give. Since no one is going to allow drilling in Alaska for oil, it's up to all of us to learn to save and stretch our dollar. For me, it has become a goal to save as much of our money as I possibly can. Long gone are the days of going to Walmart and buying that cute little shirt or that new board game on a whim. Nope. Not going to happen anymore. So, what am I going to do you ask? Well, I've already started. I started two weeks ago and I'm on a mission.

It all started when a friend at church suggested trying the Grocery Game in order to save money on groceries. I remembered the GG because there had been a piece on the Today show about it a few months earlier (I blew that off). I decided that I would spend the $1 trial for four weeks and see how it went. Shortly after I signed up, my MIL had a heart attack and not long after that, my BIL passed away suddenly. Needless to say, the GG was pushed to the back burner and I forgot all about it. Ok. No problem. Well, not quiet. Because I didn't cancel my trial subscription, I was charged the regular fee for the next eight weeks. After I picked myself up off the ground, I decided that I was just going to have to use the GG to my advantage until the eight weeks were up. Then I would cancel. Those next eight weeks proved very eye opening. With the GG, I was building a stock pile and saving a little bit of money. Instead of canceling my subscription, I renewed and have been using it ever since. **If you've never heard of GG, please visit the site and read about it. If you have questions, email me and I'll try and help explain anything I can.**

The same friend told me about their CVS shopping trips and all the extra care bucks they were earning and using to their advantage. I decided to give that a whirl too. On the first shopping trip, you have to invest a little bit and purchase at least some things that earn ECBs. I needed several things and they had a pretty good sale going so I purchased about $40 of stuff. I walked out of there with $21 in ECBs to use on my next purchase. The next week I made my shopping list, purchased a few items that would earn new ECBs and paid for my stuff with the ECBs I had earned the week before. Now, I didn't quite work things right so I ended up spending more out of pocket than I wanted. However, this was a learning experience and although I was mad at myself, I knew it would take a few transactions to catch on. Yesterday was my third trip to CVS. A new ad was out and a new monthly ECB catalog was available also. I did plenty of coupon researching over the weekend, I bought two Sunday papers (because there were really good coupons in it), and I wrote out what I wanted to buy. I worked out my transactions on paper (and I was sure to take it along when I went shopping) and got my coupons and ECBs in order. Here's what I walked away with:

Transaction #1

1 Listerine 3.49 (earn $3.49 in ECBs)

2 CVS band aids 3.98 (earn $3.98 in ECBs)

4 CVS cotton swabs 12.76 (earn $12 in ECBs)

Used $1 off listerine and $18.97 in previously earned ECBs

OOP: 38 cents

Earned $19.47 in ECBs

Transaction #2

2 Dawn $2 (earn $1 ECB)

1 Brut deo $3.39 (earn $3 in ECBs)

Used 2/.25 dawn coupons, $1 off Brut coupon, and $3.89 in ECBs

OOP: 14 cents

Earned $4 ECBs

Transaction #3

1 Listerine $3.49 (earn 3.49 in ECBs)

2 Oral B 2pks $13.98 (earn 13.98 in ECBs)

Used $1 off listerine and $15.47 in ECBs

OOP: $1.19

Earned $17.47 in ECBs

Transaction #4

1 Gillette Phenom Razor $9.99 (earn $4 in ECBs)

1 CVS cotton swabs $3.19 (earn $3 in ECBs)

Used $4 off razor coupon and $7.48 in ECBs

OOP: $2.23

Earned $7 ECBs

Later on in the evening, I had to take some movies back. It just so happens that there is a CVS in the same shopping center as the movie store. So, I just had to go in and see if they had any more Brut deo (my CVS only had one). I was happy to find that they did have more so here's what I did:

Transaction #1

1 Brut deo $3.39 (earn $3 in ECBs)

Used $3 ECB

OOP: 43 cents

This deal could have been better IF I had more of the $1 off Brut coupons but I didn't.

Transaction #2

2 Brut deos $6.38 (earn $6 in ECBs)

Used $6 in ECBs

OOP: 85 cents

Again, if I had more of the $1 off Brut coupons, this would have been an even sweeter deal. I can still purchase one more stick of deo before I hit the limit so I'm waiting to see if I run into another one of those coupons. Even without the coupons, I got plenty of deo for a little of nothing. I made ECBs to roll over and I'm pretty happy with my purchases. Doing the CVS thing is a learning process and I know I'll get better at figuring it out as I make more purchases. Once you make your initial investment, as long as you purchase wisely, you can keep rolling the ECBs and really save yourself a lot of money.

I want to say a special thanks to my friend A and her hubby, who introduced me to all of this. Secondly, my faithful friend, Jenny, is always quick to answer my questions. She has lots of patience with me. There are so many helpful blogs out there. I can't name them all but I do want to mention Alyssa over at Keeping the Kingdom First. She has answered every question I've thrown at her and I believe she truly wants to help others learn how to save money. As an added bonus, she's pretty cool too! I'm happy to have her as a new friend! Check out her blog if you are interested in saving money by shopping this way. She has really inspired me to be more frugal about how and where I spend our money.

If you're totally overwhelmed by all of this, welcome to my world! It does seem overwhelming at first but the ultimate goal is to be good stewards of what God gives us. All it really takes is a little bit of preparation and you can save your family more than you would imagine.

**No pictures of my stuff because I sent the camera to West Virginia with my girls**

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Ron Paul 2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008

For One More Day

The in-laws 50th Wedding Anniverary (Mike is on the far left)

Wow, it's been a busy week or two. June is usually our busiest month but this year, May almost got the best of me. I have no idea how I got anything done when I had a full time job! My posting has been sporadic. My house really needs a good going over. There are still things to plant in the garden. I won't even mention the landscaping projects we have going on. We'll get it done. It'll just take lots of elbow grease to get there.

We spent Memorial Day with my in-laws. It was nice but a bit sad. It seems that we really miss my BIL on holidays. Those are the times that we were all together, cooking out, playing board games, or listening to the men play their bluegrass favorites. We did cook out this year and we also made a trip to the cemetery since the in-laws wanted to put some silk flowers on Mike's grave. It's in a beautiful country location and he loved this area. It was all he ever knew. I wish everyone could have known him. He was such a gentle, caring, compassionate person. He never knew a stranger and never had an enemy. He was fun to hang out with. He was smart and had wonderful writing skills. He spent most of his life trying to help kids in some capacity. He had one of the softest hearts I've ever known. I loved cooking his favorite desserts when I knew he was coming over. I think the last thing I made him was a big batch of "puppy chow." You know, the chex mix, smothered in chocolate, and then covered with powdered sugar. He loved it. I had to be careful how much I put out because if I didn't watch, he would eat an entire gallon ziploc bag full. Since he was diabetic, I always tried to put out just enough so that it wouldn't make him sick later on.

We've definitely entered a new phase in our lives. It's different without him around, but we rejoice with the knowledge that he is with the Lord. I hope that the sting of his death will be short lived and that we can spend our days telling our children wonderful stories of their favorite uncle. I hope that my in-laws will find more comfort in the Lord as each day passes. I pray that the end of their lives will be lived out in joy and peace, remembering the wonderful 47 earthly years they had with him.