I spent 2 hours last night and 5 hours today, cruising around on my hubby's new toy (he says "ours" but we all know I wouldn't have bought this myself). I was totally against the idea, but it's been hubby's dream *forever* to have a Harley. I was scared, because we have 3 friends with permanent disabilities from motorcycle accidents, and my nephew was killed on his bike a few years ago. They were all on the little "hot-rod" bikes that young people like. Ours is more of an "old folks cruising on Sunday afternoons" type of bike. ;) I still worry, but not quite as much. I'm surprised at how relaxing it is to sit back and enjoy the ride!
Yesterday, hubby went to the Bikers for Christ rally at a church in Greensboro. A pastor there actually blessed his bike! He laid hands on it and hubby and prayed for protection and safety. I thought that was very cool. And it does help me feel more at ease about it, I know that God is ALWAYS in control anyway. :)
Last night we drove around town, to Ridgeway, VA and back home. Today, we spent 5 hours on the road - driving up to Rocky Mount, VA, stopped by my beautiful niece's new home to show her & her hubby the bike, and got a yummy slice of mixed fruit pie with homemade whipped cream while we were there! Did I mention it was still warm from the oven? YUMMMMMM!!! Annnnnnnd, it was healthy! No added sugar, just pure fresh fruit...~drooling~
Oh, where was I? Oh yeah, hubby and I now own a Harley - and it's all good. We're gonna have fun with it. :)
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
I haven't blogged in a few days, so I'm doing double-duty by posting something and dialing down the stress-o-meter after a full day of shopping. As many of you know, this is one of the most Blessed of Times for us coupon-a-holics. Yes, our wonderful Harris Teeters are TRIPLING coupons again! It seems they are tripling nearly every month lately. One manager (Pisgah Church store for the locals - aren't they the best???) told me last year that they were thinking of doing this "because of the economy, we just want to help our customers out however we can." Am I the only one that has chills reading that?? Seriously, for a huge corporation to actually CARE about their customers these days is pretty amazing. Yes, I'm sure they rake in a lot during triples events, but I say let 'em rake it! And here's why...
In the past two days, I got $472 worth of groceries for $133 and change. I used to spend more than $133 a WEEK on groceries (I don't like to think about those dark days, but it's part of who I am that I need to accept. LOL) With what I got today, we have enough food to last several months.
In case you missed it - that's $339 worth of FREE FOOD (and some cleaning/paper goods in there too).
Ok, so we didn't really "need" all of the things I bought. BUT, I'm not one of those people that buys stuff just because it's cheap or free, either. I got mostly things that have a long or no expiration dates (rice, beans, condiments, frozen foods, cleaning products, paper goods). I don't have yard sales to sell my excess. Not that there's anything at all wrong with that - couponing is hard work when you do it well!! I just don't have storage space or the time to deal with pricing and sorting stuff. Maybe one day I will, though. ;)
What I do - store what I can, wherever I can. LOL My 16yo daughter told me I had officially gone off the deep end when I took over a drawer in one of her dressers to put excess Pantene shampoos and conditioners and Planters nuts last year. (Hey! They were FREE!!!!) But, now my laundry room is full (wonder how long it'll take to use up 27 boxes of Electrosol - anyone want to start a pool?), I have enough laundry detergent to, hopefully, last until the end of 2009 - that's my goal, anyway. We have enough Wacky Mac and Knorrs Side Dishes that my family is going to go into a carb coma one day. And hubby better love mustard, cuz he's got plenty for his sandwiches now! :) My plan is to spend this evening re-organizing all my storage space and getting better organized. It's gotten a little messy and it's grating on my OCD nerves.
I also try to give away what I don't need to those who do. If there is a friend that I know is struggling, I like to offer to help with a couple of bags of food. I've been there, I've wondered how I'd make my dollar stretch until payday with a few little mouths to feed. And there was always someone there to lend a helping hand. I'm just paying it forward. I hope all of my coupon pals do the same now and then (I know that many already do - if you don't, please consider it). "There, but by the Grace of God, go I..." My kids and their friends also love to go "shopping" at my house. Of course, they never seem to PAY for anything they "buy", but I guess the smiles and hugs are more than enough for me. :)
On a semi-funny note: Does anyone else go into a sort of little panic mode when you see something is running "low"? We have exactly 9 rolls of toilet paper left. I know this because I somehow let us get down to ONE roll the other day ~hears gasps from couponing friends~ and had to make a dash to get a 6-pack before triples started - drat! Hey, that's what happens when you only buy something a couple of times a year (or get it free a couple of times a year)! You tend to forget that you might need to buy it again in a few months. Whenever I think about it, I get this little ...shudder... (for lack of a better word). Like "OMG, what if I don't find a sale before we run out??" I hate to pay full price for anything anymore, but I have to keep reminding myself that there's always another sale just around the corner. Just gotta keep my eyes open and coupons ready... cuz that TP is disappearing one flush at a time!
Anyway, I had said I wasn't going back to the store, because we're all stocked up on everything now. BUT, then I remembered that my wonderful friend, Linda Tenenbaum, is sending me a bunch more coupons that should be here tomorrow. Linda is AMAZING! If you ever need coupons, email her: Coupons4Cancer@aol.com. She collects donations for the American Cancer Society in exchange for her time clipping, sorting, and mailing coupons to those who need them. She takes no money for herself, and gives every single penny to ACS! Get your coupons & a tax deduction at the same time. :)
Included in that envelope are 18 coupons for Viva paper towels, that will make them FREE, and which we desperately need to keep on hand for our pup Bebo (aka "Pee-bo") since he's still not 100% recovered from his IVDD yet. So, looks like I'm back to HT tomorrow...just for a few more things. :)
If you've read this far, you're probably wondering what frapps have to do with any of this. Well, I've been sipping on a Starbucks Frappucino while I typed this...it was free, of course. :)
Monday, May 25, 2009
This is a strange post for a day that is traditionally celebrated with cookouts featuring moist hamburgers, perfectly grilled hotdogs, thick steaks, and so on... But I'm just not in a meat mood lately. I'm seriously considering going vegetarian. Not vegan, I can't begin to imagine giving up cheese! But using beans and other high protein foods in place of meat-filled meals, and eating lots more fresh fruits and berries and veggies. Perfect time for that, right? With the gardens about to overflow with fresh produce!
Sometimes just the texture of meat turns me off - I've been known to spit out a bite when the thought crosses my mind "This is something's flesh I'm chewing!" (don't worry, I do spit it out in a napkin, and have mastered the art of making it look like I'm just wiping my mouth) It's funny, I called my sister today to ask her a question about making homemade granola and she told me that she has been feeling the same way lately about eating meat. Not that it's a protest against animal cruelty, or even for health reasons (though that is certainly a benefit!) - but just cuz it seems ....well....gross lately. Maybe it's age? Anyone else change your eating habits for no apparent reason the older you got? Please share!
Anyway, I went to Earthfare today and got some really yummy, organic stuff to make my granola. And I got my very first wheatgrass shot! I had seen some show on tv where the people were drinking it and gagging and like it was just the nastiest thing EVER. But I was pleasantly surprised. It was kind of a ...well...grassy taste. LOL Fresh, not bitter, went down very easily - and I got a little psychological boost for doing something "healthy for my body" (even though some people debate the claims of many "wheatgrass pushers", one thing is for sure - it's packed with vitamins and minerals by all accounts).
I've also been drinking green smoothies for a few weeks now, and I can REALLY tell when I don't have one in the morning. I didn't have time today, and after running my daughter and her friend all over the place shopping, I was a little sluggish by the time we got home. I'm almost certain if I'd had my green smoothie before we left, I'd have had a lot more energy. My favorite smoothie is just a combo of mixed frozen berries (blueberry, strawberry, blackberry), a little OJ to help it mix up, and all the spinach I can stuff in it. I use my Magic Bullet and it makes the perfect, single-serving every time. Blend the fruit and OJ first as a base, then just keep adding organic spinach and blending until you have a full serving. Sound like it would be pretty nasty - but it's one of THE best smoothies I've ever had - and a lot cheaper than buying one at some expensive smoothie bar! Try it yourself and play around with flavors you like - I bet you'll be hooked. :) Oh yeah, don't be alarmed if your berry green smoothies don't turn out green - they still taste great! (I've had a couple that were more like a brown...but they were also the yummiest!)
Anyway, not really sure why I felt the need to share all of that here...I guess I don't really have much else to report these days. Been a really busy weekend, but nothing very interesting. So...for Meatless Monday - I'm
Melinda, signing off and going to make some granola! :)
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
This morning, I wasn't feeling very well when I woke up. I decided to stay home from church, which I hate to miss. :( But since the stomach bug is going around and IF that's what's coming on me, I certainly don't want to 'share' it with my friends!
I took my coffee out to the deck for my morning Quiet Time. I opened my Bible and it landed on Isaiah 41. As is often the case, I've read these verses many times before, but today I read them in a new way... Beth Moore has a book called Praying God's Word - and it's really amazing what a comfort you feel when you apply the Bible to you. I read over and over these verses this morning, then it hit me right in my heart....and I couldn't help but sit there smiling ear-to-ear:
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you. --- He took me from my own pit! He saved me?! Me??
I said, 'You are my servant'; -- He thinks I am worthy of serving Him?? Me??
I have chosen you and have not rejected you. - after all the sins and weakness I have, the truly horrible things I've done? He doesn't reject me!? Ever??
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -- This speaks for itself...these promises are worth more than anything that this world can give!
11 "All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced; -- I need not worry about those who hate me, God is in control. My time is better used focusing on HIM.
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish. - they are "nothing" to me, they no longer matter!
12 Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them. -- because of the change in me, I can no longer find the many 'enemies' of my past...my heart has changed toward others --- simply put: no more drama!!
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all. -- How can I let others bring me down when I have the love of GOD?? How can I let those who hate me affect my daily life, when Jesus is my best friend??
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Couponing is one of my favorite hobbies. Lately, I haven't been doing a lot (well, not as much as I did at first, anyway) since we have plenty of stock built up now. A few items are getting "low" (my family laughs when I go into panic mode and say "We only have 12 rolls of toilet paper left!" LOL) so I'll have to restock a few things in the coming weeks.
Anyway, I finally found time to take some pics of my small stockpile. I'm not nearly as good as some of my couponing friends, but we have enough for our family and to donate to others when needed.
Hover your mouse over the images for description or click on "View all" to see my commentary on each pic, if you'd like...
Friday, May 15, 2009
Since I started browsing blogs more the past couple of weeks, I've noticed a recurring theme in nearly every one that I've read: time management and prioritizing life.
More specifically, setting aside quiet time with God every day - something I manage to do sporatically, then "life" gets in the way and I get "too busy" and .... enough excuses. I recently read ReFuel, by Doug Fields - a great little book about how to connect with God in little snippets throughout the day. Now that, I do just fine. I pray, it seems, all the time. I'll talk with - I should say to - God at stoplights, on my way to work, at work (oh yes, LOTS of praying there!), sitting and waiting at the ballpark for my daughter to finish practice... But setting aside Quiet Time every day, just for the purpose of connecting with God? I don't do so well.
It's hard for me to be still. Always has been. I have to be moving, doing something, fidgeting, cleaning, driving, walking, reading, watching tv, ...something. There are probably some deep-seated emotional reasons for this - that's a whole 'nuther blog entry for another time. But it's hard for me to just BE.
Which makes it kind of funny that one of my favorite Bible verses is
Psalm 46:10 - "Be still, and know that I am God."
I even have a little window cling on my front door with that verse on it - so I will see it every single time I enter my home. My goal was to let it serve as a reminder for my family that when we enter our home - to calm down, stop running, BE STILL and give all the stresses that follow us home over to God.
The good news is that it seems to work quite well for my hubby & daughter! My husband is one of those guys that doesn't seem to have a care in the world most of the time. He comes home from work, kicks off his boots, plops down in the recliner and watches a ball game - or goes out to the shop to practice his banjo or tinker with his car/s or water the garden. My daughter is the same way - she'll come in from school or ball practice, take a leisurely shower, watch a little tv maybe, or journal, or talk to her friends on the phone, read a little ...then it's bedtime. (Note: they do help out whenever I ask...of course, do we ever ask for help often enough? I know I don't.)
Neither of them come home and think "Ok, I need to do this, this, and that by 7pm. Then I need to make sure this, that, and the other thing is all taken care of before 9... then MAYBE I can get to bed by midnight - oh wait, I forgot that I need to do this other thing!"
I'll give you a moment to try and guess who's internal monologue that is... :)
This is something that I have struggled with for years. But I think I'm getting it...finally. I can slow down. I can stop having self-imposed deadlines for every little item on my To-Do List. I can take time to do something that renews me - spiritually, emotionally, physically. I've started working in my garden, and creating some Trash-to-Treasures like my friend, Michelle. I'm reading more for pleasure. I'm allowing myself to relax more often. I'm preparing dinners ahead of time to avoid the crazy-dinner-rush after work. I'm taking pleasure in doing things for my family, not feeling as if I have to do everything myself.
Far more important than anything else - I am giving God my quiet time every day.
Not because He demands it - my salvation does not, and never will, depend on it.
I am giving it to Him, selfishly, because I need that time with Him. I need to "Be still..." and allow myself to hear Him. I am giving it to Him as a part of my worship. I can sing songs along with K-Love, I can listen to sermons on the radio, I can read books about being closer to God, I can even "pray without ceasing"...I consider all of those things worship. But if I never stop, be still, and LISTEN to Him ...what good is all of that?
I am giving it to Him because NOTHING is more important. Nothing. What could be more important than spending time with my Creator?? I have learned over the years, that no amount of "doing" can make it all be "done". I've spent too many minutes, hours, days, and years that are forever gone to doing so many things that don't matter one bit today. And when this life is over for me, no one will care how clean my house was or wasn't, if my kids outfits were color-coordinated every day, how big my garden or bank account was, how many clothes I had in my closet or whether my laundry room was constantly in a state of madness. No one will care how much I saved every month on groceries by using coupons religiously, or if my carpet had stains or my baseboards were dusty. No one will care if I finished reading the Twilight series in a week, or if my dogs were walked exactly at 8:30am every morning (they aren't, btw, another thing on my list...). All that will matter is that I am with my God, for all eternity.
If you're spending eternity with someone, you should probably get to know Him before you arrive, don't you think? :)
As Jason Jackson says, "...we need to drop our hands, go limp, relax, and “chill out.” Christian people ought to “come, behold the works of Jehovah,” (v. 8) that we may enjoy a calm confidence in him who gave us his Son."
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Deep Thought for Today: "Never be afraid to sit awhile and think." ~ Lorraine Hansberry
I need to do much, much more of this.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
So...blogger seems to have lost my previous blog and all it's glorious content (that being the fascinating minutea of my daily life as of a few months ago...I'll give you a moment to grieve).
So here I am, starting yet another blog. I've become quite addicted to reading other's online exploits - thanks to my friend, Michelle @ Raising Little Women who has a FABULOUS place on the net of her own. Check it out! :)
Hopefully I'll have more time (when I'm not at work, as I am now - shhhh!) to add lots more content here and maybe a story or ten from my daily life as it unfolds.