Friday, February 29, 2008

Frugal Fridays 2-29-08

One of the things that I encorporated several years ago that saves my family money and calories is I stopped buying processed snack foods. These foods are usually full of unwanted chemicals and filled with fat and sugar. About the only thing that we buy are whole grain granola bars and/or protein bars and I am testing out a recipe for the protein bars this weekend. I will let you know how they turn out.

However, something that I like to make ahead of time and keep in the freezer in small snack size bags are my own brownie bites.

Several times a year boxed brownies and cake mixes are on sale in the local grocer. Combined with coupons you can realistically get a box of brownie mix for pennies on the dollar and yes, sometimes even free!

This is what I do with a humble box of brownie mix. I add applesauce to the mix instead of the oil it calls for and sometimes I also add water instead of the egg. I mix well and then I add crushed nuts, sometimes a few mini chocolate chips, marshmellows, etc. I have several large pans that are the mini muffin pans. I spray them with a cooking spray and then fill them up. I bake according to directions on the box and then take them out to cool on wire racks. Once cool I bag them three or four mini brownie bites to a small snack size bag. I then place these bags inside of a large 2 gallon freezer bag and place in our freezer. When the kids are making their lunches they can grab one of these bags and place it in their lunch sack. It helps keep their lunches cool and the brownie bites defrost in time for lunch. Sometimes they like grabbing them out of the freezer and munching away on their frozen sweetness. They are the perfect size and they satisfy their craving for something sweet and chocolate.

You could also use a cake mix and do the same thing. During the fall I took a spice cake mix and instead of adding the items the box suggested I added a can of pumpkin. Mixed it up, threw in some nuts and made small mini muffins and small loaves of this spicy pumpkin cake mix. The kids loved them.

There are lots of things you can do with an inexpensive box of cake mix besides making cake.

For more frugal friday ideas head over to Biblical Womanhood.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

WFMW - 2-27-08 The Best Laid Plans

Tuesday night the plan was to have Tostadas. Somehow with all the sickness going around our home the last two weeks, and my inability to function up to par, I totally forgot that I had no tortillas until that magic hour when I arrive home from work and realize I need a 'Plan B' and quick!

Something about growing teenage boys in the home really adds to the stress of getting dinner on the table since they are ALWAYS hungry plus they point out how hard they worked out at practice after school, etc.

I threw something together that we will recreate again! I thought I would share it in blogdom.

I had about a pound and a half of already cooked and seasoned turkey meat in the fridge. I opened my last two cans of pork and beans and put them in a greased 9 x 13 pyrex dish. I added the turkey meat. I threw in probably a 1/4 cup of brown sugar, the last bit in a bottle of barbeque sauce, mustard, a little ketchup, a sprinkle or two of worcheshire sauce then stirred it all up together. I took two cornbread mixes I had in the freezer and quickly opened them up and added a little milk (I never read directions....I love to create) a few dollops of sour cream, a handful of cheddar cheese from the freezer and mixed it up. I spread it out on top of the meat and bean mixture. I then topped it off with a little more cheese. I popped it in a pre-heated oven 400 degrees and set the timer for 20 minutes.

I pulled it out once it was a golden brown on top and actually it was in the oven around 26 minutes. Meanwhile I took a few more dollops of sour cream (probably was around 4 oz) and mixed in our favorite seasoning of the moment, Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning. I mixed it up and once I served the hot dish up everyone who chose to added a little bit of the spiced up sour cream on top.

In the words of my 16 year old son, "This is delish....make this again Mom", our 13 year old daughter, "Oh man this is great...I love this!" and finally our super duper picky 19 year old son, "This is good, will you make it again?" Our 15 year old son missed out because he was at a friends house. It had a great flavor. I wished that I had not ran out of our favorite barbeque sauce but I had enough to give it a little flavor.

It sounds like a weird combination but I had to think fast and put something on the table quick. It is not something I can eat very often because I feel it is not on my healthy eating plan and I am not aware of a healthy cornbread. I wanted to take a picture of it when it came out of the oven but the group was circling and they were hungry!

I must say that when I have times like this and I create something out of almost nothing the meals are always the best. I am not some great, fantastic cook. I like to get in and get out. I have learned though to not get so uptight in the kitchen and for the most part, my teenagers are not picky.

So this one goes down in the infamous kitchen notebook to be brought out again very soon!
For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas go to Rocks in My Dryer!

Monday, February 25, 2008

MPM 2-25-08

Update: The skillet lasagna was a HUGE success!!! My 16 year old son got everything ready while I was still at work and we put it together upon my arrival at home. We used whole wheat noodles and regular Ragu sauce. It was DIVINE! My husband and sons especially have requested it again! I just wanted ya'll to know that it is scrumptious dillyumptious!
Finally, the illness seems to have run its course through our home and we are all on the mend. This week I hope to get back to my usual daily posting on my blog. I am excited to finally have a Menu Plan Monday!

Monday – Quick and Easy Turkey Lasagna
I saw a recipe in a advertisement in a magazine this weekend. I can’t recall the magazine but will update later on this evening if I find it. The gist of the recipe is that you can make lasagna quick and easy in a skillet. Boil your lasagna noodles as described on the box. I am planning on using whole wheat noodles. Then in a skillet cook an onion and garlic, add turkey meat (the recipe called for Italian sausage), seasonings, and then add tomato sauce (You could use Prego or Ragu). Once the noodles are cooked put some of the meat and sauce layer in a separate bowl for a bit. Add a layer of noodles, put on top a couple of scoops of ricotta cheese (I am going to mix mine with some parmesan cheese too) add sauce and repeat. Cook on top of the stove until nice and bubbly. I am anxious to try this and since I am a wing it type cook I am going to put mine together how I normally make lasagna and see how it goes. I will let ya’ll know next week!

Tuesday – Our old standby Tostadas with black bean and corn relish, salad

Wednesday – eat at church

Thursday – Turkey Burgers with oven fries, baked beans

Friday – Pizza Night!

Saturday – Potato Soup and cornbread

Sunday – Eat out with family

For more menu ideas head over to Laura’s OrgJunkie for more Menu Plan Monday!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Frugal Fridays 2-22-08

I have been so out of the loop the past few weeks due to sickness running rampant throughout our household and our city for that matter! The one thing that I really love and look forward to each day is my time to blog, however, lately I have been so sick that blogging was the farthest thing from my mind. But, tonight I am so excited to get my Frugal Fridays post ready!!!

Today I want to give a little shout out to some of the sites that I love to read and have gleaned valuable information.

Some of the first that I ever discovered in the early days are:

The Dollar Stretcher - I discovered this site more than ten years ago. I still get the weekly email from Gary.

Living on a Dime - I found this site many years ago when I first heard about Dave Ramsey. He always talks about living on beans and rice and rice and beans so I did a search one day and found Tawra Kellam, who happened to have authored a book that year called, Not Just Beans! 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites. She always had some great ideas on budgeting that really resonated with me when I was a single mom.

Miserly Moms - I bought Jonni McCoy's book many years ago and it is dog-eared and has been loaned out to numerous friends in the past. I still make her granola recipe to this day.

Here are a few blogs that I am faithful to check each day that have helped me develop my skills in saving my family money and becoming more of the woman I need to be:

Money Saving Mom - I love this blog and I check it not once but numerous times a day. I have learned so much from this young mom. God has really used her to push me out of my comfort zone and in the process I have been saving our family a lot of money!

Biblical Womanhood - This blog/website is also by Crystal Paine, who has Money Saving Mom. I can't say enough wonderful things about Crystal and her writings, testimony, examples, and ideas. Great site!

The Bargain Shopper Lady - I can't even remember exactly how I stumbled upon this blog but I am so glad I did! I love her heart and she has such great bargain ideas!

No Credit Needed - I always check out what is going on over at NCN. Another Dave Ramsey devotee and I have enjoyed following his budgeting tales/savings scenarios.

One Frugal Chick - A fellow Oklahoman and a new blog about saving money. I love this site and check out what savings Sarah has come up with each week. I find it incredible that so many young marrieds and young families have this medium at their fingertips to glean valuable information that years ago was almost impossible. How I would have LOVED to have the Internet available as a young married/mom

I have just touched the tip of the iceberg with these sites. I will post more next Friday. Happy reading!

For more Frugal Friday ideas head over to Biblical Womanhood!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Sick House

I am going to attempt to type a quick entry and then head off to watch American Idol. Our 19 year old came home sick last Friday with this wicked stomach virus going around town. On Sunday morning I came down with it and am STILL sick! Two more of our children became ill on Sunday night. My dear, precious, sweet husband took over all the household duties and caring for everyone that was ill plus he had to do all the grocery shopping. I could have not made it without his help. Two days breezed by and I really did not even know what was going on. Hopefully we are all on the mend and the other two will not get sick. I hope to post a Works for Me Wednesday tomorrow.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Super Saving Saturday 2-16-08

For the past few weeks I have had great pictures to show our savings, however, this week I have no pictures nor do I have lists of fantastic buys that I purchased this week. I think the greatest savings that I have had over the past week has been the money that has stayed in my pockets.

This week the outflow of money from our account has been extremely minimal. Matter of fact, I wrote my first check of the week yesterday evening and spent no cash during the week! There have been a few meals out (Valentine's) and last night we purchased Little Cesears instead of making our own pizza but overall it has been a fairly money free week.

I was not that impressed with the CVS savings this week and right now there is not anything that we are needing for our personal care items. I am on the hunt for canned goods to be on sale but in Oklahoma we do not have all the great grocery stores that my friends have in Texas. Gosh the sales have been great down there!

I did stumble on a few good savings yesterday as I was picking up ginger ale and saltine crackers at the local grocer (stomach virus has now invaded our home....again). I bought the last three boxes of Valentine cookies for those that are not sick at home to share. The iced sugar cookies were 50 cents and the heart shaped shortbread cookies were .35 cents. Can't beat that!

I am gearing up for this next CVS ad and checking out what our grocers have in store. It is time to restock my canned goods since they are starting to get low.

This week I have been able to resist the urge to shop and check out the sales on my lunch hour. A penny saved is a penny earned and this week our family of six saved quite a few!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Frugal Fridays 2-15-08

Last week I posted the top five things I am doing to save my family money. I thought this Friday I would make the list a perfect '10' and post five more.

  1. We have been gathering items to sell on Craigslist and Ebay. Trying to rid our home of clutter and unneccesary items, outgrown clothing, tools, etc. Going to list some items this weekend!

  2. Went on a clothing fast and declared the first quarter of this year as a 'no clothing shopping quarter'. After I posted about Uganda earlier this week and reading many of the blogs of those that are on this blogging trip with Compassion International, I became very convicted that we have more than we need. The poverty level there is unimaginable. We have all we need and then some. We live very modestly but truly we are very rich compared to Uganda. My children certainly have matching shoes that fit. This week the stories and pictures have made me feel very selfish for wanting to save up for a flat screen television. Our old 25 inch will do a while longer...perspective.

  3. I am trying to be more faithful to use a grocery list and consistent menu planning. Our local grocer, Crest Foods, always has closeouts and bargains that we do not anticipate. They do not advertise so we never know what to expect on sale. I keep a running list in my purse of our needs and what is currently in our pantry.

  4. Have cut out the quick trips to the store or Wal Mart. I shop now with more purpose than before, even though I have always been a bargain shopper I am now a more purposeful shopper.

  5. Signed up for the Grocery Game this month.

For more great frugal ideas, head over to Biblical Womanhood and join in the frugal Friday fun!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Uganda - Compassion International


I have been deeply moved by several bloggers that are traveling in Uganda with Compassion International. Their words and pictures have moved me like no other. This evening my husband and I talked about sponsoring a child. My heart breaks for these people that have so little but love Jesus so much!

I want my children to realize that tonight as they lay their heads down on their comfortable mattresses in their heated/cooled rooms amongst their possessions that halfway across the world there are children that have lost their parents to AIDS and have a 6 by 6 room that is their home. I want my children to be sensitive to their plight.

Below are a few of the blogs that I have been reading. Please be in prayer for this team as they are traveling and away from their families.

Carlos Whittaker
"Ragamuffinsoul" by Carlos Whittaker, innovative worship leader
Read Carlos' Blog.
"BooMama" from Sophie, author of this hilarious women's blog
Read Sophie's Blog
Anne Jackson
"" by Anne Jackson, who is a writer and serves on staff at
Read Anne's Blog
"Rocks in My Dryer" by Shannon, a 30-something stay-at-home mom, featured in Good Housekeeping
Read Shannon's Blog

Today my heart was pierced and anguished within me for the things that I take for granted. I have been in prayer for these bloggers as they are ministering with Compassion. My mother's heart has been very tender for two of the bloggers whose blogs I have read for over a year...Sophie aka Boomama and Shannon aka Rocks in My Dryer. Over the year they have made me cry, laugh hysterically, and have many aha moments....I know that they have been changed and through their writing I feel a whole gamut of women, moms, wives, friends, sisters will have their lives changed as well.

Take time to visit these blogs I have listed. If you would like to see all 16 blogs click here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Blast Out Blog Tour for Trish Berg's Latest Release

I am so thrilled to present to you today an interview with Trish Berg and to be a participant in her BLAST OUT Blog Tour for her Latest Release… Rattled Surviving Your Baby’s First Year without Losing Your Cool!

I have a copy of Trish's new book to giveaway to my readers! Please leave your comments with your best Mommy tip and on Thursday, February 14th, I will randomly draw a winner!

Can you change a diaper faster than a rodeo cowboy ropes a calf?

Need more sleep,more laughter, and ten minutes in the bathroom – alone?

You must be a mom….Don’t let the clutter, chaos, exhaustion and Cheerio-dust get you Rattled.

With practical advice and scriptural reminders, author Trish Berg can help you not only survive the chaos and clutter of motherhood, but get back to the simple joy of being a mom.

I am excited to welcome Trish Berg, joining us today to talk about her new mom book, Rattled, Surviving Your Baby’s First Year without Losing Your Cool!

Trish is a national speaker for Hearts at Home, author of The Great American Supper Swap and Rattled. She has been published in Today’s Christian Woman, MOMSense,, P31 WOMAN, and numerous regional and national publications.

Trish earned her MBA before leaving the workforce for motherhood, then earned her Doctorate in Diaper Changing in Ohio where she and her husband, Mike, keep busy raising their four children on their family cattle farm.

Trish, welcome. Thanks for taking time to be with us today.

Thanks for having me.

So why is it so easy for moms to get rattled during their baby’s first year?

Motherhood is simply draining and exhausting. Hands down the toughest job I have ever had.

But moms are not alone, and I want moms to know that God walks with them through these exhausting years.

What stresses moms out the most?

I think moms put a lot of pressure on themselves to do it all by themselves, and to do it all the right way. They need to simplify, let go of many details, and ask for help, from their husbands, and from neighbors and friends.

Rattled actually begins by looking at the months of pregnancy. How can moms use this time to prepare to survive baby’s first year?

Nine months is not nearly enough time to fully prepare for motherhood. I am not sure there is enough time to fully prepare.

I remember when our first child, Hannah, was born, I felt that my world had been turned upside down. Hannah did not like to sleep, and so we spent many nights walking the floor, bouncing her up and down, trying desperately to settle her down. My husband, Mike, and I took turns walking laps around the house, like the Indy 500 with a lot more bouncing.

I am not sure I could have prepared for that.

But during your pregnancy, you can prepare in other ways. Like arranging for help. Ask your mom or mother-in-law if they can spend one day with you each week during the first few months. Just knowing someone is coming in the morning to help with the baby can make the being up all night not seem so terrible.

You talk about surviving motherhood. How do you help moms do that?

In Rattled, I talk about a mom’s survival kit. If you were thrown out into the wilderness, you would need FOOD, SHELTER, FIRE and WATER to survive.

Well, moms have been thrown out into the wilderness of motherhood, and to survive, they will need:

Water from the word (2 Samuel 22:3a) –To be in God’s Word.

A fire like desire for prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – Moms can pray their way through their day.

Nourishment body, mind and spirit (1 Corinthians 13:13) – Love on all levels nourishes us.

Shelter from life’s storms (Proverbs 17:17)-Friends to lean on, trust, and support us.

In Rattled, I spend some time talking about how moms can use that survival kit to get back to the joy of mothering.

You spent a lot of time listening to what other mothers had to say. Share with us your best advice for new moms.

I would tell moms to relax. No one does it right all the time. Let the laundry pile up. Leave the dishes in the sink, and just enjoy holding your baby today.

Don’t worry about doing “it” right, just enjoy the moments you have.

That is sound advice...

But what about dads? Give us a few tips into what dad is going through during the first year.

Dads are just as insecure as moms are about parenthood. Even more so in many cases.

Moms do much of the baby feeding, diaper changing, and baby care. So dads can sometimes feel left out, and incapable of caring for their own baby.

One thing moms can do is encourage dad to be involved. But in doing so, moms must let go of “their way” of doing things, and let dad discover his own way.

For example. When Hannah was a baby, every time Mike would change her diaper, I would criticize the way he changed it. I tried to teach him how to put his fingers under the leg elastic and make sure it wasn’t bunched up, preventing a future leak.

But every time I criticized him, he stepped back and became less involved. And you know what? Even when I did the diapers the “right way” they still sometimes leaked.

So I had to learn to let Mike change her diaper his own way. I let him put her to bed his way, bathe her his way, and be the dad God wanted him to be.

That can be difficult for moms who can tend to be slight control freaks when it comes to baby care.

But let me just encourage you that the help you will get from dad if you can let go of those details will bless you in more ways than you can imagine!

In Rattled you’re very open about the loss of your own pregnancy in 2002. How has that loss changed your outlook on motherhood?

I in the 2nd trimester of my fourth pregnancy when I went in for a regular check up. I was not having any problems at all, and went in alone.

My OB/GYN performed an ultrasound just to check for twins, and suddenly my world turned upside down when he could not find a heart beat.

I was completely devastated. Mike and I had two weeks of further testing before we had assurance that our baby had died. And through it all, I prayed for a miracle, my miracle, that my baby would be alive again.

But in the end, God’s miracle was not that my baby survived. God’s miracle was the reassurance that He used me as a vessel to bring a tiny soul to Heaven.

A year later, I lost another child to miscarriage.

Today, I have a greater sense of love and appreciation for my four children here on earth whom I hug with my arms, and a closer tie to Heaven where my two babies are waiting for me, whom I can only hug with my heart for now.

Today you’re the mom of 4 happy and healthy children. What do you see as the greatest blessing about being a mom?

I would say learning patience, but my husband would laugh out loud at that…since I am probably one of the most impatient people there is.

So I guess I would have to say enjoying the journey. I live Psalm 118:24 every day of my life.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Life is messy. Things break. Kids get sick. But moms need to remember to enjoy the journey no matter where the journey leads.

Today at the Berg house, our washing machine is broken. Our mini van needs new tires. We are hanging onto Mike’s 1986 Jeep on a wing and a prayer, hoping it makes it another year or so.

There is mud on my kitchen floor, crumbs on my carpet, and I can honestly say that I love my life. Just as it is.

Now, I certainly have moments where I get stressed and discouraged, and can even lose my temper (just ask my kids), but I am also learning to enjoy each moment of every day as a gift from God.

And thorough it all, my simple hope and prayer is that I can be the mom that God wants me to be.

Where can readers learn more about you,
Rattled, your other books, and your ministry to moms?

My website at offers tons of FREE resources, links and downloads for moms, as well as mor information on my books and ministry.

Moms can also purchase their own copy of
Rattled by clicking here.

And I will be speaking at all 3 Hearts at Home Conferences in 2008, I would LOVE for you to join me there. The National conference is in March in Illinois, and in the fall there is a conference in Michigan and Minnesota. You can get more information and register at

Thanks, Trish, for joining us today. What a joy to meet you and learn more about your new mom book

Thanks for having me. Blessings to you.

You can catch up with Trish all week long on her BLAST OUT BLOG TOUR by going to the following sites. There will be FREE book prizes, and great moms to connect with at each blog.











MPM 2-11-08

Here is what I have planned for this week.

Monday – Turkey Patties, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Tuesday – Chicken Legs with Raspberry Chipotle sauce, brown rice, salad ( am going to bake the chicken legs with a coating of this new sauce I found at Sam’s!)

Wednesday – Eat at church

Thursday – Tortilla Soup with Chips, Salsa, and Guacamole, heart shaped individual cakes for the kids (hubby and I will eat out to celebrate Valentine’s)

Friday – Pizza night with salad

For more great menu plans and recipes head over to!

Also check out Trish Berg’s Blast Out Blog tour I am hosting for her new book, Rattled-Surviving Your Baby's First Year without Losing Your Cool! Enter for a chance to win your own copy!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Trish Berg Blast Out Blog Tour tomorrow!

I am so excited to welcome Trish Berg, to Pursuing Simplicity tomorrow to talk about her new mom book, Rattled, Surviving Your Baby’s First Year without Losing Your Cool!

Trish is a national speaker for Hearts at Home, author of The Great American Supper Swap and Rattled. She has been published in Today’s Christian Woman, MOMSense,, P31 WOMAN, and numerous regional and national publications.

Come back tomorrow for the interview with Trish and the chance to win a copy of her new book Rattled!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Super Saving Saturday 2-9-08

Today over at, Crystal is asking how many stores we shop at each week.
I go to our local grocer at least once a week, to Sam's at least twice a month, and I have now started going to Homeland for the deals, and of course my all time favorite now CVS!

The picture above is not complete. Missing in action are the cookies, MMs, a couple of kingsize Snickers, and my daughter's makeup, which is with her this weekend at her church function.

Since this week has been so chaotic for our family with events and sick children (as well as parents) I am going to share what I purchased, how much OOP, and how many ECBs I still have to use. I am wanting to make haste while I have three of my four teenagers gone until tomorrow after church. I have a huge 'to do list' and I want to get busy. Here goes:

The purchased above are from last Saturday (3 CVS stores - 2 cards - mine and my husbands), Sunday morning (CVS), Monday evening (CVS), and last night at Walgreens.

Saturday 1st CVS - Total value of product - 30.75 - 19.00 in coupons and ECBs = 4.13 out of pocket and I earned 10.00 ECBs this transaction. I had purchased the Phenom razor, Arm and Hammer toothpaste (which I now realize is not in the picture), and a Crest Pro Health 2 bottle special that was dated to be sold from 2-1 - 2-8 with 2 ECBs back and I only saw this at one CVS. They had to put the ECBs on a gift card because it did not ring up. I also bought some Loreal eyeshadow .75% off for .99 cents!

Saturday 2nd CVS - Total value of product -20.36 - 12.29 in ECBs-4.89 OOP and I earned 8.00 in ECBs.

Saturday 3rd CVS - Total value of product - 52.67 - 22.00 in ECBs - 8.00 in coupons = 22.68 OOP....I know a lot of out of pocket but I made a miscalculation...hey I am still new to this! I earned 16.00 in ECBs so in reality I was out 6.68.

Saturday 4th CVS - Total value of product - 42.18 - 9.00 ECBs - 12.18 in coupons and deals = 21.70 OOP, another big out of pocket but I earned 13.29 in ECBs.

Sunday CVS - I ran in and bought 2 Maybelline eyeshadow trios, the Exedrin deal, and since I can't find my receipt at the moment I can't remember but I DO remember it was over 30.00 in value and I paid with all ECBs except for 1.15 in OOP. I also earned around 30.00 in ECBs

Monday CVS - I did the Colgate deal, bought the manual Phenom razor, and a few fillers of items I needed. Total value of items purchased 33.21 - ECBs and coupons 26.98 = 1.05 OOP

Last night at Walgreens - I ordered the Valentine Family Portrait package for both my husband's account and my account at Walgreens. Each packet was worth 4.99. We each received them free. I have photos of my husband in his uniform for me and the kids plus his Dad and my parents. I also have photos for my 16 year old to give to his friend.

Total value of items this week:
Out of Pocket this week:
UPDATED: 55.60, I made an error on my calculator and posted the wrong amount that I spent OOP. After reading the post again this morning I realized my mistake, to the tune of 20.00. oops!
ECBs earned
My goal for this next week is to not have so much OOP. I do understand though to get started I needed to spend some out of pocket. I have had great success and then some miscalculations. It is frustrating that I can't find the deals that I have 'ready' when I go to the store. I then have to re-figure and sometimes I just don't have the time to stand there in the corner of the store and recalculate. I truly wish I could find the Sambucol!!! I don't care about the ECBs so much as I care about the price and the product. We use this product. We have bought it in the past from the health food store for 17.99! We are almost out of ours and I have not been able to find this at the five or six CVS stores I have repeatedly checked. I am praying to find Sambucol this week!!!
Head on over to and see how people saved money this week!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Frugal Friday 2-8-08

My Current Top Five Frugal Things I do to Save My Family Money
  1. Started clipping coupons in December and began using them in January when I had a pretty good stash saved up.
  2. Started CVS-ing and use the Easy Care Card to earn Easy Care Bucks. I have been able to get items for my family for free or nearly free since January.
  3. Keeping our thermostat at home set in the winter at 66 degrees and in the summer we keep it around 75 during the day; turning it down when we arrive home. Turning our heat down has had huge savings in our utility bill. Everyone has sweats and we all like to cuddle up with quilts or afghans when we watch t.v. together so it works out great. We find we sleep better when it is colder in the house.
  4. Started replacing some of our lightbulbs with CFL bulbs. I do not like their light to read by but they work wonders in our outside lights and I have used them in some random lamps in our home.
  5. I read my favorite magazines at Barnes and Noble on date night instead of buying them at the checkout stand when I am shopping. If I find something that would be beneficial to our family I really think about it before I buy the magazine.

For more Frugal Friday ideas check out Biblical Womanhood.

I am so glad the Church is not a building but its People

Today around 4 p.m. a dear friend called and told me that she had sad news. Our former church buildings were on fire. Our church built a new complex around three years ago. We sold the church and grounds to another local church in our city, New Covenant Methodist Church. The portion that is burning was the original building that my parents first visited when I was around 4 years of age. They joined this church, Henderson Hills Baptist Church, when I was six years old.

It is so sad to see it burning and the many memories going up in flames. The fun in the fellowship hall, the baptism area where my siblings and I were baptized, the Sunday School rooms that we grew our faith in and the hallways that we ran down during youth lock ins in the 70s. It is all going up in flames as I type this post. My heart is sad but it is only temporary. The Church is not in a building but in the hearts of His people. I am so thankful for that but tonight I am also a little sad. My parents were a young married couple with two small children when they joined this church in the mid sixties.

So many memories were flooding my heart and mind as I watched the news coverage. I ache for the youth at New Covenant who just completed a huge refurbishing of the youth area in the church. My heart hurts for the Chinese church that meets there each week in the old sanctuary.

Right now it is raging again and I pray it does not take the old sanctuary with the lime green shag carpet! It was quite popular in 1974! I was a freshman in high school the day they dedicated the building. My grandmother's funeral was held there and our weddings too. Many, many memories that I will cling to in my heart. Spiritual markers that molded and developed my character and faith. Those things will not pass away. For that I am eternally grateful.
Please pray for our sweet friends at New Covenant. I saw some of the youth girls on television and my heart just broke seeing their sadness. Thankfully no one has been injured. In the days ahead they will need our prayers and support.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Big Weekend

This weekend is huge for the youth of our church, which my three youngest children are a part of the group. Our church has always had a 'Disciple Now' weekend where the youth are put up in church members homes and spend the weekend in worship experiences, small group Bible study, and of course fun times getting to know one another. A few years ago this grew into a much larger event called "Big Weekend". Several churches from the area now particpate in this awesome event. Tonight my teens found out where they will be staying and with whom. Friday evening it all starts!

They anticipate between 700-1000 students at the events. Charlie Hall is leading the music again this year. His drummer, Dustin, grew up in our church. It is so cool to see him a grown young man living out his dream in a Christian band. Travis Crim is speaking. My teenagers have been ready for Big Weekend since it ended last year!

If the Lord so leads you, please pray that this weekend the lost will find Him and the hurting will find peace and comfort in Christ. Pray protection over the sponsors, youth, speakers, and musicians. This is an awesome opportunity for kids to really go deep and live out their faith.

WFMW 2-6-08

Today is a theme day at WFMW and it is about online shopping. I admit that I was never much of an online shopper before 2007s Black Friday. I was super sick during the Thanksgiving break and had so many deals I was prepared to purchase but could not shop due to the flu. I discovered I could purchase most of everything I had on my list online and still receive the Black Friday sales. So I was hooked!

I love to shop online at Bath and Bodyworks, Best Buy, Circuit City, and Macy's. I have been added to their email lists and I receive coupons and notices from them regularly about deals that have not hit their stores yet. I love it! Works for Me! For more ideas, go to Rocks in My Dryer!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

MPM 2-4-08

This flu like bug that half of us have had is now making its way through the other three. I have no idea what the week will be like. Here is what I plan on having:

Monday - Crock Pot Baked Potatoes with all the fixins, salad, fruit

Tuesday - Turkey patties with brown rice, green beans, and salad

Wednesday - Eat at church

Thursday - Quick meal due to daughter's performance tonight - probably Tostadas

Friday - Pizza (trying out a whole wheat crust that was emailed to me)

Saturday - Pulled Pork sandwiches and chips for the kids; date night for us

Sunday - Trying Laura's Lemon Chicken

For more menus head over to Laura's at

My name is Vickie. I'm a CVS addict

I became convicted of my shopping/spending patterns many years ago when I was a struggling single parent. I never gave much thought to coupons, CVSing, Walgreens, etc. I was more determined to pay off my debt and stay out of the mall.

I cut up my cards and even wrote nice little letters to those places in the mall that I had been a VALUED customer, expressing my radical change of mindset on becoming frugal. I had checked out Amy Dacyczyn books, The Tightwad Gazette, and went on a quest to try and make my meager salary cover all the essentials that my little boy and I needed.

Back then, when I had the urge to go to the mall, I called it my "500.00 Days". I knew in my gut I would find a 'sale' and would charge up my cards, and walk out of the shoe store with a pair of pumps in every color to match my beautiful 'bargains'. Through prayer and much retrospect I learned that I took great pleasure and peace from shopping. It filled an area of my life much like any addiction.

I realized that this addiction to shopping went hand in hand with my tendancy to eat emotionally. I was taking the pain in my life and transferring it to these two areas that were a detriment to my heart and life. I truly knew the only thing that could fill up my heart was a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father, but as with any addiction, I just could not pull myself away. It is hard work and something that I still have to fight in the area of eating emotionally.

After some time of getting my priorities in order and my heart right with the Lord, I would tell my pastor that I felt like the Lord was getting ready to do something really big in my life. I could sense a big change coming. I had been working on my body, mind, and spirit. I knew that I had to get all areas of my life under His authority and control.

I went about my business of becoming what I thought was 'frugal'. I got into the Once a Month Cooking, and the 30Day Gourmet, plus I planned my meals. I quit going to the mall so much.

All the while my heart was changing and my methods were growing in how I tried to save money but still no coupons or CVS stuff.

Seven years ago I had a big change breeze into my life alright. My handsome husband literally walked into my life and with him came three more precious children. I feel that the Lord was preparing me for this life change! I already had in place some great things that would help us as a family.

Lately, I began to feel that I could do more for my family. I felt that same sort of conviction fall over me in the area of being a Proverbs 31 Wife and Mom. I remembered when I was single I really studied Proverbs 31 and wanted to be that woman. I prepared my heart and mind for marriage even though I was single and unsure if there would be a marriage in my future.

About two months ago I decided that I would give the couponing 'ONE' more try and would even attempt to figure out this Easy Care Card from CVS. Too be honest, I did not like CVS or Walgreens because I felt like I could do better at the big box stores. However, now that my mind has been opened to the possibilities that are out there, I know that I am headed in the right direction for my family. I am on a first name basis with my local CVS cashier!

Currently, my teenagers don't see it. They think I spend too much time talking about it, reading about it, and getting my lists together. However, my daughter thought it was pretty cool she was able to get two eyeshadow trios for FREE at CVS. That really resonated with her. I ran in to get a few things and rolled over my ECBs and spent only 2.11 out of pocket and came out of the store with almost 30.00 in new ECBs. She was impressed; ever so slightly.

So now they call me the coupon mom. I used to be called the Internet Queen, somehow I think that Internet Queen holds a lot more weight in their eyes but this is one addiction that is good for me and my family. I go by a list and only buy what we use or need. Okay well not all the time. We DO NOT NEED the candy that I have gotten free lately. The metabolism of teenagers is enviable. Candy, soda, and junk food were one of the things that I gave up as a single parent. So we have not had those things in the past seven years except for special events. Matter of fact, I was quizzed by the kids when we were about to become a family. They asked me these questions:
1. Do you buy candy?
2. Do you buy soda pop?
3. Do you have junk food at home?
Uh, no. They had the total look of horror on their faces. So I guess seven years later they are LOVING CVS but not quite ready to fess up to good ol' Mom.

So yes, my name is Vickie and I have become an addict to saving money for my family. I predict this addiction will have great rewards!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner! Using the Random Integer Generator the number chosen out of the 134 comments was 49! Which is Leah at Radiance in the Routine. Congratulations Leah! Please contact me by email with your address and I will get your gifts off to you right away!

Thanks so much to all of you for participating in this Bloggy Giveaway! I enjoyed this giveaway so much I am going to have another one in a about a week! Stay tuned!

Blessings to all of you that participated!


Friday, February 1, 2008

Super Saving Saturday - 2-2-08

I can't believe I have waited until this weekend to make this post! I have been SO excited since Tuesday night but I guess having the flu has made me forget a little about wanting to post my savings so badly!

Tuesday evening I had to drive across the other side of town to take our 15 year old to watch the varsity play basketball against one of the other high schools in our school district. I realized that I was near two CVS stores that are about two miles apart. I decided to try and find some of the items that I have had trouble locating. This was going to be my third attempt at CVSing, as I call it.

I gathered up my coupons and my list and entered the store. They had some slim pickings but I did find a few things that I needed. They also had one of those scanners where you can scan your card....I had never seen one. I kept going over and over things on my calculator and in my head. I waited until no one was around at the checkout since my first two times were humilating with my not knowing what to do and people waiting around for me to finish.

I began my transaction and at first seeing the amount on the little display screen I was freaking out because I began to think I had miscalculated and was already mentally beating myself up and really felt like giving up this whole CVS thing. I handed over my coupons, which I wished I had printed a coupon for 50.00, I can' t remember if it is 5/50 or not but I gave my 5/30 coupon and then all my manufacturers coupons. Finally, I handed the cashier my ECBs that I had been collecting from my previous two transactions. I was nervous because I felt like I had made a mistake when suddenly I heard the cashier say, "Ma'am, I can't pay you and right now I owe you .87 cents" I suddenly remembered fillers....I grabbed two King Sized candy bars and when I gave them to the cashier the crowd that had gathered behind me began to cheer! I was red-faced again but this time with total shock and amazement!

The sweetest little old lady ever behind me said, "Honey, do you want me to take your picture?" It was hysterical and I was so excited. I told her "No thanks" and went on to tell her that I could not believe what had just happened! She and her little friends all had their baskets loaded up and their EasyCare Cards in hand. They told me that they were Coupon Freaks! COUPON FREAKS I say! It was so cute.

So I ended up paying 2.56 for 56.00 value of items AND earned around 20 ECBs. I was so pumped that I called my sisters and my Mom. I would have called my sweetheart but he was asleep since he was working an all nighter later on. I then drove to the next CVS and bought some more shampoo, cereal, Garnier Fructis Skincare and some food items that have already been eaten at my house plus the Soy Joys. I wanted to hang on to my ECBS since I am just starting this and do not have a lot to spend plus I had just earned the most ever! I paid out of pocket 29.00 (I know, I know probably not the best idea) and then the manager went a good way....he said, "Oh my goodness look at all the ECBs that are printing out!" He counted them all for me before he ever handed them over...almost 26.00 worth of ECBs printed out!

People, I am pumped! I love the Soyjoys, my daughter is in heaven with the shampoo, the boys love all the candy that I never ever buy, and my husband is so proud of me.

Don't give up you newbies out there! I still feel a little unsure of myself but Crystal gave me very wise advice when I emailed her early on in this adventure. She told me to start small. If you look back at my pictures some of them are mighty slim. This picture does not have that much item wise and it is the culmination of two trips but I am getting there!

If you want to see more Super Savings Saturday head over to Money Saving Mom!

Frugal Friday 2-1-08

Frugal Valentine favors for children

Each year I would haunt the sales aisles looking for favors and items for the next year. One thing I have found is if you are prepared and are patient you can find all sorts of wonderful things that you can save in your gift closet for the next year. Valentine’s Day is one of those perfect times to load up on the sales.

This is a great time to buy items for Valentine’s Day next year. Most items are now on sale more than half with some stores offering items at 80% discounts. I would always purchase my napkins, cute plastic tumblers, decorating items, cards, pencils, stickers, etc for use in Valentine’s Day parties.

When you have small children it really does not matter if these items were ‘last years’ model. Now is the time for all frugal Moms’ that have young children, to go out and conquer the sales so that you have the items you need. I did this for each holiday season and always had on hand the cutest items. It was so exciting to pull these out each year and see what I had purchased the year before.

I might also suggest hitting Hobby Lobby to purchase scrapbook paper when it is on sale to stock up on all the cute Valentine prints that they have and stickers too. It is so fun to make homemade cards with your children.

I miss those days since my children are now teenagers.

It takes a little planning to purchase ahead but once you do and you realize the savings that it provides you will wonder why you did not do this before!

For more Frugal Friday information head over to