Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another Ode to Mary Mary Commentary

OK, this is not really an ode. And this isn't even an original idea. I stole it from The Bishop's Wife. But it was a great idea (The Bishop's Wife has many good ideas), so I decided to copy her. Don't Hate Me Bishop's Wife!

I don't exactly remember meeting Mary for the first time. But I do remember thinking that she had that look that I liked. The striking dark hair, the funky cool glasses, the retro cool skirts. (Despite liking this look, I have lots of grey in my naturally dark brown hair that I color light brown to try and hide the grey, glasses so ugly that I almost always wear my contacts, and fat-lady looking skirts. Because, um, those are the only kind of skirts available for uh, fat ladies.)

Oh, I do remember now. She was eating at a Chinese restaurant near our house. It was our favorite restaurant back then. It has since moved, and a new Chinese restaurant is in its place, but I digress.

I had seen her and her family at church the week before, and decided that since she was new, she wouldn't know that I wasn't usually the type of person to just go up to someone in a restaurant and say Hello.

So I did, and she didn't seem to think I was so strange. We got talking about our kids, and found out that her third child was close to Flower's age, and that Jelly Bean (who was a baby at the time) and her oldest daughter shared the same name, although neither of our children went by the formal version of the name.

And then things just went on. I don't remember when we started being friends, but I remember how she was always so sweet. She would say to me in the hallway "I'm so happy to see you!" and it didn't sound fake. And it always came at a time when I was stressed, or lonely, or unhappy, and made me feel all warm and glowy.

One day, we got talking about our families and our lives, and we discovered that our families knew each other. In fact, she lived very close to my parents when we were all living in Utah (I was living in the dorms in the same town, but I lived at home during the summers.) We knew some of the same people, and all the local places. What a small world.

And then when she started coming to Girls' Night Out things, she became my idol. She was just the kind of mother I wanted to be - natural, but practical. Thoughtful and purposeful, yet real. And just loved being a mother. You can see it in her face. Even if she didn't have any of her 5 children with her, you would know that she was a mom. And not because she is frumpy (she's not!) or she has spit-up in her hair (none that I've ever noticed).

And she was a reader. She IS a reader. I was a reader in a former life, but I've let my life become my excuse for not reading anymore. (Although I just finished Matters of Faith last night. Review coming soon.) But she has 5 kids - two more than I have, and still manages to read. We were at Women Living Wisely recently, the one about Books, and we were talking about books that we loved as kids, and she listed all the books that I read back when I was 12, 13, 14. I said to her "Too bad we didn't know each other back then. We could have been book friends!" On Sunday, she said to me "You know, we can still be book friends!" So I'm really going to try and do better about reading and reviewing. (I promise, I'll post my review soon.)

And she loves flowers. And cool, antique stuff. And lives in a great, old house with all of its quirks (and lack of air conditioning apparently. I'm so sorry Mary.)

When I got pregnant in 2006, we decided that we wouldn't tell most people until I was about 20 weeks along. Sadly, I lost the baby at 13 weeks. I had told a couple of people, however, and someone told Mary. Mary came to me, and said "I'm so sorry. And if you ever need to talk, I'm here. I lost a baby once at 11 weeks, and we hadn't told many people either." It was just comforting to know that I wasn't alone in my pain. And that she got it - that it was still devastating, even though we had been blessed with 3 children. She got that I loved my kids, and that I knew that I had blessings, but that it was sad. And hard.

And then she had her 5th baby, a lovely, precious, little boy on March 28, 2008. He entered this world the same day that our lovely, precious, little boy left this world. Some people would think that it would be painful to have that connection with a friend, but for me, it has helped me. In many ways.

Happy Birthday Mary. Hope you had a lovely day.

What I'll do to get things for free -

Today, I decided to drive to a nearby subdivision because they had a garage sale sign. It appeared that it would be a whole subdivision sale, but it ended up being a big garage sale at just one house. I picked up a bunch of Magic School Bus books and a book about preserving food, all for $3. As I was driving home, I saw a Little Tikes kitchen by the curb in front of someone else's house, next to their garbage cans. I decided to go ahead and grab it. So I get out of the car, but I left the driver's side door open. I go to the back, and the stroller is in the back of the van. Doh! So I go to put the stroller in the passenger side. Just then, the garbage truck is pulling up behind me. The kids are all in the van, and they are yelling"Don't let the garbage truck take it!" I yelled back that I wouldn't, so I grabbed it and pulled it into their driveway, but then realized that my van was blocking the trashcans, and that my door was still open. So I ran, pulled the car forward, reparked the car, and mumbled a "Sorry" to the garbage collector. He grunted back at me, which might have offended me, if he hadn't been so attractive.

So I go to lift the kitchen in the back. I lift it from the bottom. There is some mud on the bottom of the kitchen. No big deal, it will clean off. I scrape some of the mud on my shirt as I'm putting it in the trunk. It is too tall to stand up, so the girls hold the top, while the bottom part sticks out the back. Hey, what is that smell? Did I step in dog poo when I was moving that kitchen???? Uh, no. Oh, yuck. That's NOT mud. And it is on my hand. And my shirt. And sticking on the bottom of the kitchen as I drive home. Thank heavens for baby wipes in my car for my hands, but I had to drive home in that shirt.

After I got home, I went back out to do some more garage sale-ing, and ended up with a free table and school desks. No poo involved in that pick-up thankfully.

Still looking for that ever-elusive Little Tikes/Step 2 climber and bookshelves, but my list of stuff that I need for Montgomery Academy is getting very short! And it is only June!

Life has a way of getting in the way of my plans -

I kept trying to get to my blog to post FSD (Food Storage Deals) but every day it was something else. This summer has been so busy. Flower is on swim team (pics coming soon) this summer and they have practice in the AM and PM, and meets every Tuesday night. Jelly Bean and Super are in baseball and have stuff on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturdays. So mornings and evenings are crazy busy. And then during the day, we are at the library, or somebody needs to be fed, or someone is getting picked up, or someone needs to go somewhere, or someone is having a playdate. We are having a good time, but things are busier than I expected.

And hotter. I don't remember a June this hot in years. And when it wasn't 100 degrees outside, it was raining. I do remember June is usually raining. Of course, since the heat started, they hasn't been much rain, and so some of our late planting is frying, but of course, the weeds are growing nice and tall! Ugh! Our beans and peas didn't make it, and we are trying to get more beans planted, but it has been rainy, or hot, or I've been busy. Oh, I think I mentioned that already.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Food Storage Deals: CVS and Walgreens

CVS (prices valid from 6/14/09 - 6/20/09. Prices valid with CVS card. Need to register for a card at

Xtra 2X 28 loads laundry detergent 2 for $3 (limit 6)
Ice Mountain 24 pack/16.9 oz. $4.99/ea. (limit 3)
VO5 Shampoo or Conditioner 15 oz. .77/ea.
Selected Kellogg's Cereal $1.88/ea.
Sun-Maid or Sunsweet Raisins or Apriconts Buy 1, get 1 free
CVS Storage/Sandwich/Freezer bags Buy 1, get 1 50% off
CVS Multi-pack toothbrushers Get $2 Extra Bucks back

Walgreens (prices valid from 6/14/09 - 6/20/09.)

Nestle Spring Water 24 pack/16.9 oz. $3.99 (w/Walgreens flyer coupon) (limit 2)
Barilla Pasta 16 oz. 3/$3 (w/Walgreens flyer coupon) (limit 3)
Sun Light Dish Liquid 12.6 oz. Buy 1 at $1.99, get one free (w/Walgreens flyer coupon) (limit 4)
Chicken of the Sea Solid White Tuna 5 oz. 4/$5 (w/Walgreens flyer coupon) (limit 4)
Right Guard or Dry Idea 2 to 3 oz. .99 (w/Walgreens flyer coupon) (limit 3)
Walgreens Aluminum Foil 20 ft. 2/$1 (w/Walgreens flyer coupon) (limit 4)
Kleenex Facial Tissue 90 or 110 .89 (w/Walgreens flyer coupon) (limit 3)

Arm & Hammer 2X Laundry Detergent 26 or 32 load Buy 1 at 6.99, get one free (limit 4)

Of the following items, Buy 8, get $8 in Register Rewards back. Buy 6, get $4 in Register Rewards back.
Skippy Peanut Butter 16.3 oz. 2/$4
Ragu Spaghetti Sauce 26.oz 2/$4
Hellman's Mayonnaise 22 to 30 oz. 2/$7

Food Storage Deals: K-Mart and Target

Starting Next Week, I'll do the Food Storage Deal posts for the non-grocery stores on Mondays and the Grocery Stores on Thursday.


K-Mart (prices valid from 6/14/09 - 6/20/09)

Buy 1 Kellogg's Cereal, get one free
Purex 24-32 load liquid detergent 3 for $9

Target (prices valid 6/14/09 - 6/20/09)

3 pk. Target facial tissue 200 ct. boxes or 100-ct uprights $3.79
Market Pantry cheese (8 oz. blocks or shreds) 4 for $7
Secret (2.6 or 2.7 oz.) Deodorant $1.99
Buy 1 Skippy Peanut Butter (15 or 16.3 oz) at $1.79 and Welch's Squeezable Grape Jelly (22 oz.) and get 24 oz. Brownberry bread FREE!

Get $5 Target GiftCard with purchase of any 3 products listed below
Huggies Jumbo Packs $8.99
Scott 23 pk. regular or 8 pk mega roll bath tissue $6.99
Viva 8 pk regular or 4 pck double roll paper towels $6.99

Food Storage Deals: Meijer

Meijer (prices valid from June 14th through June 20th)

Heinz Ketchup (40 oz. bottle) $2/ea.
Kraft Regular or 2% Chuhnk Cheese (6-8 oz.) 3 for $6
Jumbo Cantaloupe 2 for $3
Buy any two Dannon Yogurt (32 oz.), get one 1 lb. strawberries for FREE!
Strawberries (1 lb.) 3 for $5
Californina Sweet Cherries 2.99/lb.
Ground Angus Beef Chuck 1.99/lb.
Meijer Bone-in Split Chicken Breast Family Pack 1.29/lb.
Boneless Chuckeye Steak or Roast 1.99/lb.
Selected Kellogg Cereal $1.75/ea.
Selected General Mills Cereal 4 for $9
Del Monte Canned Fruit 5 for $5
Pioneer Sugar $1.75/ea.
Meijer Extra or Whole Wheat Pasta .99/ea.
Meijer Rice (32 oz.) 2 for $3
Absopure Spring Water 35/16 oz. or 30/8 oz. or 24/25 oz. $3.99

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Food Storage Deals: Aldi's and Cub Foods

Aldi's (Prices valid June 17 - 23)

Blueberries 1.49/pint
Peaches .25/ea
Bananas .45/lb.
Nectarines .25/ea
Southern Grove Peanuts 16 oz. 1.99/ea.

Cub Foods (Prices valid June 14 - 20)

Value Pack Ground Chuck 1.99/lb.
Value Pack Split Frying Chickens 1.29/lb.
Value Pack Spareribs 1.88/lb.
Rancher's Legend Angus Beef Back Ribs 1.89/lb.
Chicken Leg Quarters .59/lb. (10 lb. package)
General Mills Cereal (8.9 -12 oz.) 1.77/ea.
Dial Basis Hydroallergenic Bar Soap 10 for $10
Band-Aid Bangages (30-60 ct.) 1.69/ea.

From Cub Flyer - Penny Pinching Coupons
Fisher Dry or Honey Roasted Peanuts (14 oz.) 1.63

Food Storage Deals: Jewel

Jewel (Prices include using a Jewel Card.) Prices good from June 18-June 24.

Hunt's Ketchup 10 for $10
Hunt's Tomatoes 10 for $10
Boneless Pork Chops (5 oz.) or Grillers (5.5. oz.) 10 for $10
Scotties Facies Tissues 10 for $10
FarmStand California Peaches or Nectarines .99/lb.
Asparagus 1.99/lb.
Jewel Chunk Tuna in Water 5 oz. .89/ea.
Butterball Boneless Turkey Breast (3 lb.) 9.99
Hunt's Manwich 1.29/ea.
Ice Mountain Spring Water 12 pack .5 Liter 2/$7
Aim, Pepsodent or Close-Up Toothpaste 6 oz. .99

Food Storage Deals: Kroger

Slight change, by the way. For right now, I'm just go to list the deals and not match them up with coupons. I will hopefully add that piece in the future. For now, check in my coupon blogs/website area to try and match them up plus get coupons & freebies for non-food storage type items. Tomorrow, I will also give you some tips on how to load coupons on your Kroger card, and how to get coupons for your favorite products.

Kroger (Prices include using a Kroger card) - Prices good from June 18-June 24th

10 for $10 items (mix Or match)

** Kroger Sandwich & Hot Dog Buns
** Dole Classic Salad Mix
** Kroger Canned Fruit
** Aqua Star Tilalpia, Salmon, Pollock or Swai filets
** Softsoap Elements Hand Soap
** Kroger Hand Soap
** Aquafresh Toothpaste (4.6-6.4 oz.)
** Suave Deodorant
** Blistix Lip Balm
** Kroger Dental Floss
** Barilla Pasta
** Hunt's Pasta Sauce
** Ice Mountain Water (3 liter bottle)
** Kroger Water (6 pack)
** 4 roll Angel Soft toilet paper

Other Deals

Purdue or Tyson Boneless Chicken Breast 1.97/lb.
Gold Leaf Leg Quarters (10 lb. bag) .59/lb.
Flavorseal Ground Beef 5 lb. 1.58/lb.
Drumsticks or Thighs 1.19/lb for family pack
Bone-in Pork Steak or Western Rib 1.69/lb. for family pack
Boneless Half Pork Loin 1.87/lb.
Chicken Wings 1.79/lb.
Catfish Nuggets 1.89/lb.
Kroger Value Whole Fryer .88/lb.
Strawberries 1 lb. .97/lb.
California Peaches & Nectarines .97/lb.
Kroger Value Mixed Fruit 5 lb. bag 3.49
Bunch of Tomotoes on vine .97/lb.
General Mills Cereal 2 for $4
Arm & Hammer Liquid Detergent (26-44 load) 2.99
Kroger Value Russet Potatoes 2.98
Kroger Value Salted Butter 1.88
Kroger Value 4 lb. bag Sugar 1.88
Kroger Value Raisin Bran .99

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday: Literacy and Education - Books, Books, Books!

That is our topic for Women Living Wisely (a women's group that I belong to. We get together on the 3rd Friday of every month and discuss/do a project, etc. related to one of the six areas of provident living.

I'm really psyched about this meeting. We are doing a book swap, and then we are all supposed to bring a book to discuss with the group. The catch is that you are supposed a book that changed your life. I'm still thinking on this one. So many books, and so many different times of my life, that it is hard to narrow it down to one life-altering book. The last thing we are doing is making little handmade journals/mini-books.

But I'd love to hear from any of my readers that don't plan on going to Women Living Wisely - What is the book that you read that changed your life??? And Why? Or How??


Post Script - By the way, I've felt much happier the last few days since I shared my little vent. Something to be said for letting it out, I guess!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This is not my typical cherry, living simple is wonderful post


But I figured if I can't complain/vent on my own blog, then where can I? If you don't want to listen to me moan and whine, you are free to go ahead and click away from here. I won't be offended.

1. I'm tired of having junky furniture. I know that I'd be mad if the kids wrecked nice furniture, and we don't have the $$ to replace it, but ugh. I'm so tired of scratched-up/cheap/non-wood/ugly furniture.

2. I'm tired of cleaning. To be a little more precise, I'm tired of being the only person who cleans around here. I realize that most of the time, I'm the only grown up in the house, and that most of the cleaning will fall to me, but dang it, most of the messes aren't mine! I'm SOOO sick of walking into a room, and finding random things like a sock, a game piece, a marker, a wet towel, etc. It takes me a half hour to clean up any room because there is one or two things from each room in the house that DON'T belong in that room.

3. I'm tired of my children not listening to me. I might find it slightly more tolerable if they would listen even after the second time I say something. But by the time I get to the third time, I'm starting to get pretty frustrated.

4. I'm tired of being fat. I realize that there are reasons why I'm fat, and things that I could do to change it. But, I'm just saying. I've been fat for entirely too much of my life. I have friends that I've had for 10 years that have never known me at what I think as my "regular" weight.

5. I'm tired of not having enough money. I know that financial people say that even if I did have more, then I would want more money. I promise, I'd be satisfied with just a couple hundred more every month.

6. I'm tired of feeling like don't have options. This is a long-standing problem with me - ask my mom. I am definitely a black/white person, especially when it comes to be life things like school, marriage, career, where to live. Once I get on a path or off a path and onto another, I can't see anything else. Even if I want to be on a different path. Or blend paths. Or even think about another path.

7. I'm tired of being kind of lazy. This sort of goes back to the fat thing. I realize that I could do something about it. And some people would say "Lazy? You are one of the most busiest people I know." Well, I am busy. That's true. But I use my busy-ness as a rationale to act like a slug when I'm not being busy. I could use my time so much more effectively, but I don't. And then I run around in the mornings/before church/before games/before meals/before I teach because I was playing around on the computer or watching my 3,000 episode of Law & Order: Whatever Unit. And all my plans for reading, writing, sewing, exercising, go out the window because "I'm tired" or "I've been running around all day and I just need a break."

8. Did I mention the money thing?? Ugh. And you know, I don't want more money so that I can get something extravagant. I'd like to get some preschool materials that I've been wanting to get FOREVER. And homeschooling books. And bookshelves (and some non-junky bookcases, please???) And new carpet (my 7 year carpet is so embarrassingly filthy, despite being professional cleaned on many occasions) and paint (my living room and hallways still have flat, carpenter beige paint that shows EVERY, and I do mean EVERY fingerprint and smudge from every time any child touched the wall.)

9. I'm tired of being disappointed. I know, I should just suck it up. And honestly, I really expect to be disappointed. I'm an UBER pessimist. But you know, I swear, I'd be willing to try and at least entertain the idea of being more positive, if I didn't have SO MANY EXAMPLES of things uh, not working out I'd planned.

10. I'm tired of having faith and hope. I was taught that if I chose the right, did my best, and just basically was a good person, then I'd be blessed. Maybe not blessed every moment of every day, but blessed. I know my life could be worse, and I know I have do have blessings, but you know what? I've had a whole lot of NOT blessings too. But it feels so, hopeless?, to just assume that things will always be like this. And I hate assuming that.

I really wish that we could move and live in a simple, beautiful, clean, happy house where everyone enjoyed being around each other, and helped each other, and where I felt joy, at least sometimes. A house with land to grow things, and for the kids and I to run around on. And that I swear would be enough. Well, maybe with some of that nicer furniture. And a house that had Diet Pepsi that ran out of the cold faucets, and hot chocolate out of hot. Just Kidding. Mostly. OK, maybe just one sink like that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

To Everything, Turn, Turn, Turn

I often say to myself "time and a season" to make myself feel better when I can't do everything that I want to do RIGHT NOW. And I'm really trying to appreciate my life, whatever it is, right now, because things change so fast. I already can't believe that it has been almost 10 whole years since Flower was born.

I was also thinking the other day about the actual seasons themselves. Anyone who has been around me over the past few years knows that I HATE to be cold. And so, since I've always lived where there is 4 seasons and there is a time of year when it is cold, I have mostly complained for the 12 weeks (oh, let's be honest, here in Illinois, it is never cold just for the 3 months of winter. It is often more like 16 weeks, sometimes close to 20) of winter. And longed for the lovely, warm, relaxing days of summer.

But over the last few years, I've really tried to embrace the nuances of each season and appreciate the seasons. I've tried to get out and really do things each season that help define the season. My children, by the way, love doing these sort of activities, and if we do it once, then it is a "tradition" and I have to do it the following year.

But I still haven't loved winter. I decided to at least try and stop complaining about the cold this year, and it did help. It didn't seem quite so long. Or cold.

The other night, I was at Super's baseball practice and I was watching other kids tossing a football, playing on the playground, having a picnic. I was thinking about how easy it was to be outside now - it is mostly warm now, and it stays light until around 9 pm. It just made me happy to see. I thought to myself "I should really try and get out every day in the winter too. We should make things in the snow, go on walks, look for tracks, and . . ." and then I stopped. Now, I'm not saying that those things aren't good things to do in the winter. I'm not saying that we won't do those things sometimes in the winter. But I was doing with the seasons what I try to do in my life. I want to do it all RIGHT NOW.

In case you hadn't realized it, it is harder to get outside in the winter. Especially if you have young children. What is easy is to cuddle together under blankets, make hot chocolate, and play board games for hours. It is easy to crochet while watching the kids make art. It is easy to watch the snow fall. And those aren't bad things. They are GOOD things. All of a sudden, I realized that I could love winter for being able to do these things instead of trying to love winter by trying to turn summer activities into things we could do in the winter.

And the things that I am doing now in my life aren't always the things that I thought I would be doing right now. But the things I've done in the past weren't the things I thought I'd be doing either. I'm sure that I won't be able to do all the things I want to do at a different point in the future. But it is o.k. Every season is different. And I think I'll be happier if I try to make it memorable instead trying to fit my idea of what it should be/what I want it to be.

OK, Wednesday came and went and

I didn't get my post up about coupons/deals. It is a little bit more work than I had anticipated getting things set up. I'm working on it, and I might get it up sometime today, but I will get it up by next Wednesday. Once I get things set up, doing it week to week should be much easier.

Until then, I'm going to update my blog links to include some of the blogs and coupon sites that I use, so if you want to put it together on your own until I get it up, you can.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday: Education and Employment - Book Clubs?

A bunch of my friends are part of a local book club, and I see signs at the library for different book clubs, but alas, my schedule just doesn't really lend itself to going to an actual meeting. Which is really too bad, because I enjoy coming together with a bunch of people and talking about a book, and seeing how people view it differently, and it really helps me make connections to things in my life/different subjects that I'd never have thought of just reading it by myself.
But as I said, alas . . .

But I do have a plan to do a lot of reading this summer (from my plan to follow the Well-Trained Mind's curriculum for 9th graders during the summer.) But I want to have a book or two for "fun." I am going to find a couple, and share my summer book list with my readers, and I'll review them when I'm done. Then any of my readers could comment back, and it would almost be like a book club.

I will let you know in advance though - I am a fiction snob. Sort of. I read a lot of children/young adult fiction when I was younger. When I went to college, I was an English major, and read/studied/analyzed "the classics" and I especially enjoyed the writing of the American Romantics - Natathaniel Hawthorne, James Fenimore Cooper, Mark Twain, etc. After that, I couldn't really get "into" contemporary fiction. I'd pick one, and the writing would be so awful, or often, at best, just average. And I was also SO overwhelmed with the volume of fiction. There was just so MUCH fiction and I didn't know enough about any of the authors, and I hate to spend the time reading a 400 page book, only to be mad at the end because I felt like I wasted my time. So I have read very, very, very little fiction in the last 20 years. I read mostly non-fiction because it is a little more "what you see is what you get." And I can pick things that are in line with my interests and my my real life. But I plan on getting one fiction and one non-fiction at a time. And hopefully, I'll find myself a little surprised at the fiction I find.

(I'll also post my WTM reading list soon, and anybody is welcome to read/comment about those too, which I would love it if you did, but it is classical literature, and not the typical easy breezy summer reading books.)

We are also reading The Penderwicks as a family in the evenings (although we probably will need to move this to the mornings, evenings are too crazy), and I picked up The Willowboughs on CD at the library today for listening in the car. I'll review those too when we finish.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What are we doing today?

7:00 AM Took Flower to Swim Team Practice, only to find out that they aren't having morning practices until tomorrow.
7:30 AM Daycare Baby arrives. Kids play in the living room.
8:00 AM Breakfast.
8:30 AM More Playing in the Living Room.
9:00 AM Clean up and go downstairs. Watch TV on Sprout.
9:30 AM Feed Daycare Baby and put him down for nap.
10:00 AM Kids pick activities off shelves downstairs. (I'm still working on putting the school activities away. Some will stay up all summer.)
11:30 Lunch
12:00 Run Errands. Today that includes getting the oil changed, going to the bank, going to the post office, dropping off things at the library, and going to Target to get sketch books and colored pencils.
3:00 Friends 1 and 2 coming over for a playdate. Go to the park.
4:30 Friends go home. Clean up
5:15 Dinner
5:45 Drop Flower off at Swim Team practice
6:00 Take Super to Wee Ball practice
7:00 Super down with Wee Ball practice. Take Jelly Bean to Pre Ball practice
7:30 Pick up Flower from Swim Team practice and go back to Jelly Bean's practice
8:00 Drive home.
8:30 Put kids to bed.
9:00 Work on the house - I need to continue to pack up the school materials, general cleaning, and get ready for my garage sale on Saturday.
11:00 Go to bed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

When All is Said And Done . . .

I didn't write this poem. I found it on the blog High Desert Home. Here is a link to the original post, and a copy of it is found below too. But I agree wholeheartedly with her. And need to remember these words, when I feeling bogged down with Life.

When All is Said and Done...
Make a life.
Know who you really are.
Do what you love.
And don't copy others.
You are not them.
God made you you.

He has given you gifts, desires, talents, and inclinations.
Pursue them with gratitude and great joy.
They are God's gift to you.
Make them your gift to Him.
Even if no one understands.
If no one is impressed.
He is honored and pleased.

Enjoy stillness and quiet.
Appreciate His created beauty.
There is loveliness all around.
Choose to see it, hear it, feel it, smell it, taste it.
Open your eyes to wonder.
Then create.
Make your own kind of beauty.

Smile, inside and out.
Laugh heartily and often.
It's contagious and brings good health.
Choose to enjoy each day.
It is a gift.
And enjoy others.
They are a gift, too.

And take yourself lightly.
Rather, think much of others.
Be attentive.
Be magnanimous.
Share your life.
Give your life.
"Be the change you want to see..."

Sometimes life really is hard.
But "count it all joy."
Because we have hope.
And we have purpose.
And we have Strength.
And, anyway, we're just passing through.
We might as well do it joyfully.

Let go of expectations.
Hold things lightly in an open hand.
Let them flutter freely away.
It simply means there's one less thing.
And a little bit more freedom.
Let go and find peace.

Because, when all is said and done,
Only three things remain.

And the greatest of these is Love.

And when we have that, we have Everything.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Something else for the locals . . .

Although this time, I'm not asking you to help me. I'm hoping that this will help my local readers a bit.

On Wednesdays, starting next Wednesday, I'll be posting the deals that I've found for food storage items/stockpile/non pre-packaged food from the local grocery stores (I'll be posting about Wal-Mart, Meijer, Kroger, Jewel and Schnucks. I'll only post about Cub Foods if there is something really extraordinary. Same with Aldi's. I will not be posting about Sam's Club because their prices don't really fluctuate. And not everybody has a membership.) I would recommend that you go to these stores though and look at prices on things that you buy often and could stockpile, and decide if it makes sense for you to buy certain things there. (For example, I buy most of canned goods and pasta at Aldi's. And almost all of the food that I provide for lunch at Montgomery Academy.) I will also post about deals from Walgreens, CVS, and KMart and Target. I won't list every store every week, just if they have at least two items that could be used in your food storage.

If there is an internet coupon for these items, I will also put a link for them here. (Sort of like the coupon links on Money Saving Mom or Common Sense With Money but more specific for food storage type items instead of just a big list of every deal/coupon.)

Now, you are sort of at the mercy of what I think is an item worth putting in your food storage/stockpiling. For me, it is meat on sale for under $2.00/pound, really good deals on fresh produce, baking supplies, oatmeal, pasta, water, broth, toothpaste, soap, shampoo/conditioner, toilet paper, first aid items, etc. However, if something is a super great deal, and doesn't necessarily fit the criteria of being a "staple" in food storage, I'll still list it. Just remember though, just because it is a deal, only buy what you can use in a reasonable time. No need to buy 50 of something just because it is nearly free!

What are we doing today?

** Ate breakfast. We aren't feeling like oatmeal, eggs, pancakes or anything hot, so we've been working on all the cereal that I've been stockpiling lately. Today we ate Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, and Cocoa Puffs. I don't usually have so many "sugared" cereals around, and the kids normally don't mind, but they also don't mind eating the sugary ones either!

** Chores. I'm using my mom's mantra of "Work before play" and having all the kids, even the 5 year old daycare child, do a chore before we do anything else during the day. I've found that less structure usually involves more mess, so I've also begun to have a 5 minute clean-up time after every meal so that the house is at least sort of cleaned up at least 3 times a day.

** Little kids played in the living room with the trains and the mega blocks while the older kids read their library books.

** Went to an activity at the library. Listened to A Pig Tale by Olivia Newton John, and then made a fish out of cd's and cut out pieces from wallpaper sample books.

** Went next door to the Ecology Action Center. Saw "garbage art" on the wall, held some worms, looked the snapping turtle, and I talked to the director about her house that she is trying to sell - an old farmhouse on two acres with 30 fruit trees and it is about 15 minutes outside of town. She said there was plenty of room for a garden, and a place for chickens. It probably won't become the Simple Farm, but it was fun to talk about it with her.

** Went to the grocery store and asked the kids about 10 times to please be nice to each other. Got some sympathetic looks from moms who were there without children.

** Little kids napped while the older girls watched a movie they rented from the library. I read a bit, used the computer a bit.

** Leaving to go to the park soon.

** Super is singing tonight with his Sunday School class at his Sunday School teacher's wedding reception. He is singing the chorus of "A Bicycle Built for Two."

Frugal Fridays: Don't Eat Your Money

I was at a financial informational meeting recently, and one of the participants said the above comment - "Don't Eat Your Money." And I'm not talking about ACTUALLY eating money, of course, although I did eat a quarter once because I was mad at my mom and I didn't want to go somewhere and I thought if I ate the money, I wouldn't have to go. No such luck. Anyway, I'm talking about using your money to go out to eat or buying prepared/convenience/pre-packaged, etc. food.

Now, the flip side to this, and the thing that people don't often address is that you will need time to devote to making food from scratch. This is why doing once a month cooking is REALLY helpful for me. I don't usually have an hour-plus "free" time in the afternoon to prepare dinner. It is also really helpful, in many ways, to have a menu. It will help you plan on how you will use the non-packaged food, and how much of it you will need, but it will help so that you don't have to deal with that "What's for dinner?" question at 4 pm. You will know a week or a month, depending on how long in advance you menu plan, in advance what will be for dinner. And breakfast. And lunch.

And if you have wheat, get a grinder or find someone who does and grind it, and Use it! Take the beans that you have and grind them and turn it into bean flour, and Use it! Many of the things that are staples in long-term food storage are inexpensive. But it doesn't do your family any good if it just sits in storage. Find recipes/ways for you to use the food that you store. And make sure that you store what you will use.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

OK, now we CAN relax . . .

and just wait until it is harvest time because we are ready now. My parents were in town this week, and my mom had agreed to get her two daughters a lovely, lovely present. One that we had actually asked for. We asked for the thing that all women want - canning supplies.

In all seriousness, we both did ask for them, and so tonight, off we went. We hit Farm and Fleet first, and bought this pressure canner, a set of 12 quart jars, and a strainer/sauce thing, that hopefully will help us make our tomato sauce much easier & less messy. We decided to go next door to Wal-Mart and look for a cold bath canner. We found one, and we also found the very same pressure canner except that it was $11 cheaper. So we hurried, bought the cheaper canner at Wal-Mart, and then hurried over to Farm and Fleet to return the more expensive one. We had to hurry because Farm and Fleet was closing in 15 minutes, and my parents were leaving in the morning.

So for now, we wait. And hope for a bumper crop. And that our children will be good while we are canning our "Simply Tomato Sauce". And beans, if they ever start growing. And applesauce. And peaches. And jam.

I'm getting hungry now.