Thursday, October 30, 2008

Deals O' The Week

There's a great stock up deal going on at Meijer this week. I plan on going back several times before it ends next Wednesday.

Here's how I'm working it:

First Trip:
4 boxes of cereal @ 4/$10 (The kids are about to flip out that they are going to have something besides oatmeal- hey, I'm a nice mom like that:)
4 Kraft Deluxe Mac and Cheese @ 3/$5
6 boxes of Jello @ $.50 each

Use 2 $2 off 2 mac and cheese Meijer Mealbox coupons
Use 3 $1.50 off 2 Jello Meijer Mealbox coupons
Get instant $2 off for buying 4 cereal

Cost $9.39
Received $5 off next purchase coupons

The greatness of Meijer is that you can print as many coupons as you like from their site. I use the self check and scan my own coupons (just be sure to clip them ahead of time) and have never had any problems. Usually I can get in and out of there in less than 10 minutes.

Returning visits:
Same purchases - coupons - $5 coupon = $4.39 + another $5 off next purchase

After stocking up, I plan to use the remaining $5 coupon to buy eggs. They are on sale $.88/doz this week.

While waiting during piano lessons today, we went to Goodwill and found these goodies for the bedroom makeover. Two brand new bedskirts from Target and a sheer window panel. Because some of them were red tagged they were half priced. In all, I spent $12 and saved $6.

I love the satin material on these skirts but they are most definitely the wrong shade of brown. The plan is to dye them. Never attempted that before. Has anyone done this and have any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Growing Older

Today during school I was talking with the girls and one of them asked, "Mom, are you going to get your hair colored soon?" They were each staring at my temples and the white hair shining through. Elizabeth (7) started to get teary. "Mom, I didn't know you had white hair. I don't want you to be old." The older girls comforted her with the fact that I was going to get my hair "painted" again soon and look just like myself.

In my mind I am about 23. Sean is 23. When I watch basketball, those players and myself are the same age. Really, we are. But the calendar and the pictures and the aching back are telling me a different story.

I have been blessed in my life to know many Godly, beautiful white haired ladies. Truly they are living life to the fullest and are vibrant. They are wise and generous. But, I know at one point they were middle aged mid 30's, house full of kids, never caught up women like myself.

It's more evident to me each day that we live in a youth culture. And just as much as that youth culture trickles down to the younger ages, it trickles up as well to us 30ish women who are moving into a new phase of life. The world tries to make it about appearances, hair, clothes, figure- the things we can "control". But the Lord is calling us to a different set of standards. I'm just wrestling with what that fleshes out to be in the everyday.

Whatever your phase of life I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Window Mistreatment Exhibit 1

Our house gets really cold and drafty in the winter, so we are going to do some things to try to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. Heavier curtains downstairs is the first step.

I've been researching on window treatments, looking at blogs for inspiration and gathering fabric swatches for about two months. But there are two obstacles that must be overcome, the lack of money and lack of sewing ability.

I was getting kind of discouraged, but then I remember something that Catherine wrote about last year, which led me to this blog, which gave me the courage to be creative with what I have. So here it is. This is the sliding glass door in our kitchen before, a simple tab curtain. Very utilitarian, I know.

And now:

But lest you think that is all. I plan to have tie backs on the wall which will reveal this bit of color:

This mistreatment was done with 2 window panels from Walmart clearance ($8), 2 drapery panels from Goodwill ($8), a can of black spray paint ($2) and hot glue. Yep, I spent $18 and didn't sew a stitch. How's that for a mistreatment?

We have an open floor plan, so all the windows look at each other. This creates an interesting design challenge. But I have plans, two more identical panels and more hot glue.

Friday, October 24, 2008

You'll be sorry I told you this

You know what I just discovered?

If you take 2 Tablespoons of brownie mix and 1 Tablespoon of vanilla yogurt and mix them together in a small bowl and microwave it for 1 minute you will have a perfect mix of gooey, warm, chocolate instant gratification. If you top it with whipped cream it's even more perfect.

**I've served this to our family of nine twice and am still using the original box of Brownie Mix. Not bad for a $.97 investment. Also, I found that sour cream was a delicious substitute when we ran short on yogurt.**

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Out on the Town

Sometimes I forget that the kids need to get out much like I do. Sometimes there needs to be a little something to look forward to at the end of a routine week. Sometimes we need to interact not as teacher and student, but as mother and child.

We have always encouraged to kids to come to us with what they need emotionally and relationally. So when they are desiring some personal time they "ask for a date." Being that Sean and I rarely go out and spend money on dates ourselves, these outings need to be of little or no cost. Normally, a trip to the store will pacify the younger kids, but I'm finding that we need to get a little more creative with the older ones these days.

Tonight Lydia and I slipped away after dinner for a date. We took our time looking through the racks at Goodwill for skirt or dress material that could be made into throw pillows for the bedroom makeover. We came away with these goodies to add to our collection.

Next we headed on over the Barnes and Noble for a free cup of hot tea with sugar and cream. Heather's hospitality has us hooked on our new beverage of choice. We sipped our tea at Bed Bath and Beyond while sitting in massage chairs and enjoying one another's company.

It seems that the kids have a lot more energy at the of the day than we do. It takes effort for Sean and myself to either go or to stay behind for such excursions. But there is only one today.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Everyday life

Learning to Knit

Making clip art magnets

Taste testing

Getting caught

Monday, October 20, 2008


Earlier today I was expecting an email that had not arrived. Impatiently, I went into my spam file on gmail to see if it had been placed there. Yes, I have at this moment 8117 pieces of spam. Much of this junk mail is due to the fact that I sign up for freebies and register at websites to access coupons. Nonetheless, I was surprised by some of the subject lines. About one in ten had a questionable subject.

So I decided to check out Sean's spam box. I have no reason to be suspicious, but I was just curious. I know that he doesn't put his email address out there nearly as much. He had only about 500 spam messages, yet I was disturbed by what I saw there. Nearly fourth of them were of an inappropriate and sensual nature. They had never been opened, yet there they were just a click away. I've heard it said that it only takes one image to change a man's life.

I was driven to my knees in prayer. Our men, our sons, our nephews, our son-in-laws, our grandsons, our leaders are being attacked at every side. It certainly is one thing to seek out and entertain sin of this nature. It is another thing to be bombarded with images on the streets or to see it on a public computer screen at the library (this is a common problem for us.) I consider it an outright attack for one's email address to be likely sold for a profit and then to be sent message after message inviting and enticing men to look further.

There is no mistake. Each man (and woman) is accountable for their own choices. Yet, it is clearer to me than ever that the enemy is on the hunt for the eyes and hearts of our men boys and men.

I began to ponder the solutions. More filters for the computer? We already subscribe to Covenant Eyes. This provides accountability, but additional filters would be good. Legislation? Contact appropriate authorities about internet pornography/email and privacy laws. Boycott the internet? Possibly. At this point my children do not have access, but currently Sean's job requires internet access for him to complete his work.

Truly my solutions may help (me feel better, mostly), but they fall short. God's Word does not.

His Word is our filter and through it our minds can and will be transformed.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5
"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

Psalm 119:9-11
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.

I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you."

He is our Authority and He supersedes all the schemes of the Devil. He is strong to save.

Psalm 147:6-7
"Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.

Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me."

His Spirit is in us to empower us to live in this world for Christ's sake, but not be become part of it.

1 John 4:4 "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."

Now more than ever, we must be women of prayer and careful attention to God's Word. We must be aware, alert and not ignorant to what our men face each and every day. We must be proactive. We must assume responsibility for our own actions- what we watch, subscribe to, read and wear.

Game on.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jefferson's Ten Rules

This reading came up during school today. Some principles are timeless.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.

Never spend your money before you have earned it.

Never buy what you don't want because it is cheap.

Pride costs more than hunger, thirst, and cold.

We seldom repent of having eaten too little.

Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.

How much pain the evils have cost us that have never happened.

Take things always by the smooth handle.

When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, count a hundred.

Monday, October 13, 2008

9 weeks

Today marks the beginning of the second nine week term of our school year. My how time has flown! We are one fourth of the way there.

Many things are working well this year. For the first time I am giving regular quizzes and tests and thus there are grades. I've even assigned homework over the weekend. Sean presented them with their report cards Friday night with a commentary on each subject and their achievement. There were beaming faces all around.

I wasn't sure how the girls would respond to receiving grades, but they have embraced it completely. For those who are competition driven, it is a huge motivator. For others it serves as proof that they can and will will be rewarded for their hard work and study.

I just told Lydia to put a bean in a bag with a wet paper towel. She's taken it to a whole new level. We might have a botanist on our hands.

We are, however, going to have to revisit our list of rules and daily schedule. It's so easy for us all to get off track here and there which can really make a wreck of things. Oh, how I love spontaneity. I'm feeling a bit discouraged these days with the house and its sad condition. It is getting picked up (mostly), but not really cleaned. My room is full of winter/summer clothes bins, piles of clean clothes to be folded and dirty ones to be washed. It really is not an encouragement to open one's eyes each morning to this mess. There are shoes missing and stacks of papers to be filed. I just have no energy or motivation at the end of the day to get to these every growing piles.

This is our school room. As you can see, it's also our play room.

Homeschooling has so many implications for the daily life of a family and the house they live in. If anyone knows how it is that a family can manage a school, cafeteria, home office, playroom, laundry mat, clinic, library.... under the same roof in an orderly fashion, could you please enlighten me? This teacher, cook, secretary, entertainer, wash woman, nurse, librarian.... is getting a bit overwhelmed it seems.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I don't know if everyone in this town is on the bargain hunt or if the the Kroger man has just been stockpiling the Manager's specials. I've been stalking the clearance table for several weeks, but to no avail.

Friday, I went expecting nothing and walked away with all these goodies for our pantry: 11 boxes of snack crackers, 7 pounds of ground beef, several cans of refried beans, black beans.... Altogether about $51.oo was spent and and $62.00 saved.

Continuing to bargain hunt for the girls' bedroom make-overthis week, I bought this beautiful coverlet and iron curtain tie-backs for a grand total of $11.15. The original price would have been over $55 combined.

I stopped by the local paint store to ask about paint that they have returned due to color mistakes. The nice lady took me to the back room, gave me a screwdriver and a hammer and left me there to discover what they had. The colors were beautiful, but not quite what we need. They sell these paints for $2.50 a gallon. I'll definitely be going back until I find what we need.
It certainly never hurts to ask.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Frugal Room Makeover

The older girls are a bit weary of their bright room and have been asking for a makeover. Currently it is a very cute with about every color in the rainbow present.

Now they are wanting a something a bit more grown up. Secretly I'm happy because I want to use their room as a guest room and this look might be more pleasing to the eyes of our guests.

I told them to pick out a color scheme they both love. They've chosen the ever trendy blue and brown. I think if they get tired of the blue that it will be easier next time to make a change.

So now I'm bargain shopping. So far we have curtains for $8 and and four flat sheets for $2 each. I plan to make duvet covers out of these for their existing comforters. We also have great plans to adorn these curtains. If possible, I'd like to spend less than $50. There's still paint, pillows, bed skirts and accessories to be made/purchased.

It's been fun planning and looking around for ideas. We are going to make the switch on our winter break.

How have you saved money when redecorating? I'd love to here of any ideas or resources you may have!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

On the Road Again....

Sean had a four day weekend for Fall Break and we joined him on a little road trip to Northern Indiana. He was attending/speaking at a teacher's conference. I know that our vacation last summer was a once in a lifetime experience. We discovered that going places as a family brings us together in a special way. It doesn't have to be a month on the beach. It can be a trip up the road to see something new to us or a leisurely walk in the forest or a night together in a tent. It's good to go and it's even better to come home again.

God is good to provide opportunities such as these. The room was already paid for and Sean received a stipend for speaking. We won't be eating out again in October, but that's okay by me. It was more than worth it. And even better, gas prices went down at least $.50/gallon in the last week and we received a gas card upon checking out to the hotel. All good things come from His hand.

Our first stop was at Amish Acres. We arrived when the farm had already closed, but that didn't stop us from enjoying a family style meal in a huge barn. All of the food was locally grown and prepared from scratch. It was possibly the best fried chicken I have ever tasted.

After the huge meal came the deserts....Lemon, chocolate, shoe fly, banana cream, pumpkin, pecan, pumpkin pecan, cherry, apple or blueberry pie, apple dumpling, apple crisp, or apple cake. The children were thrilled to choose their very own piece from this tray.

Before leaving, we took our own mini tour and enjoyed the fall decorations outside.

While Sean was at the conference the next morning we set out to see what was in South Bend. Elizabeth asked the intelligent question, "Why is it called South when it is north?" Joseph was quite pleased with himself to learn that this city is on the south fork of the St. Joseph River. You would have thought they named it after him.

Using my favorite resource, "Kid's Love Indiana", we spent a few hours at the Healthwork's! Kid's Museum. (Sorry, forgot the camera.) We played in the exhibits and saw two science demonstrations. We got to experiment with healthy pig lungs and pig lungs infused with tar from cigarettes. Interesting. I think the consensus was, "Mom, I don't ever, ever, ever want to smoke! Ever!"

Next, we scooted on over the the South Bend Chocolate Company for a tour and some treats. Can you imagine the delight in the heart of our chocolate man?

Ignoring that fact that John snagged some forbidden chocolate off the production rack from the stroller and that Joseph almost sneezed into a vat of chocolate, it was a huge hit with all the kids.

On the ride home we visited Potato Creek State Park and ran around in a prairie grass maze.

We are having fun planning up our next winter excursion. Looks like it might involve tobogganing down a luge at 40 miles an hour. Stay tuned.

But as always, it's good to be back home again. Looking forward to a day of worship, rest and reading in God's Word tomorrow.