Friday, February 29, 2008
This past Sunday I pulled out the sales flyers for CVS, Walgreen's, Target and Walmart and the coupons from my Sunday paper and I spent the last couple of days perusing these ads/flyers as well as The Coupon Mom's website for her free weekly list of coupon savings at these stores. The thing I like about her website is you can choose what you want from her list and just print off only what you want for each store...which I did - for Walgreens, CVS, Winn-Dixie and Walmart.
Thursday is my day to run errands because I take Dakota to his homeschool park play day - (we hang out with other homeschoolers all afternoon and just play) but yesterday one of his friends came home with us so I only hit Walmart on the way home. I didn't want to bore them by stopping at the other 3 places because I knew they wanted to get home and play.
After Greg got home from work last night I went back out to the other 3 stores. I ordinarily wouldn't do this because the gas usage would probably offset any savings but I actually was looking forward to some "alone" time in the stores to just leisurely peruse the aisles and since all three stores are in the same vicinity I didn't think it would be too bad to do it this time.
First Stop - Walgreen's - Total spent out of pocket $16.37
- Purchased 2 boxes cereal & 2 boxes Quaker Chewy Granola Bars - 4/$10.00
Received $4.00 register rewards (used as cash for my next purchase) - Paid $10.38
- Purchased 2 packs of Charmin Toilet Paper (6 rolls/pk) - 2/$5.00 with coupon; potting soil - .99 w/ coupon; 2 - 6 pks water 2.49 (Buy one get one free) Used my $4.00 RR from previous purchase so paid $5.99
- Gillette Phenom Razor - $9.99 - 4.00 coupon earned $6.00 extra bucks (EB) Paid 6.74
- Revlon eyeliner & eye shadow - used 6.00 EB; earned 10.00 EB Paid 17.18
- 4 bags of Nestle Easter candy (4/$10.00) - used 10.00 EB; Earned 5.00 EB; Paid 0.00
- 2 Degree deoderant (men & women's) on sale for 1.99 & had coupon for 1.00 off; M&M's - buy one get one free + coupon for 1.00 off; used 5.00 EB....they would have owed me change and they couldn't do that so I grabbed a chapstick and told cashier to just ring that up so total paid 1.26
This is so exciting because I normally spend anywhere from $200.00-260.00 when I go grocery shopping but yesterday's total was only $115.55!!!
Thursday, February 28, 2008
We charge $7.00 per person for dinner (pulled pork, rice, beans, corn on the cob, homemade banana pudding for dessert and a variety of drinks.) We had over 90 door prizes (knives, guns, hunting gear, fishing gear, camping gear) to give away with the last and best prize being a 4-wheeler. All of the door prizes are donated every year.
My job this year was photographer! I love to take pictures so I got to walk around the whole evening and take all the pictures. Greg's job was to shuttle people back and forth from the parking lot in the golf cart. When he got done with that he came and relieved me from picture duty so I could eat something (and he snapped this one picture of me and my good friend Nancy.)
I think at the end of this evening we had 38 people accept Christ. :-)
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
Fool's Gold" with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. (It was a cute movie but too much foul language for my taste - I really don't like movies that use the Lord's name in vain repeatedly.)
I think Bailee's 2nd most favorite person here in Pensacola is her Uncle Dakota. She followed him around from room to room to room. If he stopped long enough, her little arms went up just begging him to pick her up....and he always obliged.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
We left last Tuesday afternoon, 2/12, around 3:30 (after Greg got finished with a last minute meeting he had at work which ended up lasting all day - he wasn't a very happy camper) -- we had planned on leaving early Tuesday. Greg had to drive in thunderstorms the majority of the way to Gatlinburg. We had a wonderful drive together though - we were really looking forward to our week away! Around 11:00 pm we stopped at a gas station to stretch our legs and when we walked inside we could smell pizza cooking. Greg LOVES pizza! He asked me if I wanted some and I told him I would eat some of his (my normal response - LOL - saves me from eating so much!) so we walked over and got in line. The pizza place was next to a little chicken place. The young boy behind the counter at the chicken place announced that he was getting ready to close and if anybody wanted FREE chicken they could come get it because otherwise it was all going in the trash. Hmmmm, did he say FREE!?! That FREE beats Pizza anyday! We walked over and said "well, we'll take a chicken breast and a thigh." That boy took two boxes and filled them slam full with breasts, chicken strips, thighs, potato logs, and biscuits!! What a blessing it was!
We arrived around 1:00 am our time (2:00 Gatlinburg/central time). We were staying this first night with another couple in their time share instead of in the chalets with the other 7 couples who drove up early. There were only supposed to be 6 couples plus ourselves who arrived on Tues and the 7 of us were going to stay in the chalet that first night but then at the last minute another couple decided they wanted to go up early too and they were just going to sleep on an air mattress until we told them we would stay at the time share condo with some friends. Not a sacrifice - let me assure you!! LOL This was a VERY NICE condo!
I am so glad we decided to go one day early or else we would have completely missed the snow! When we woke up Wednesday morning it had started with a few snow flurries. By about 10:00 am it was really snowing and the wind was blowing and the temp was dropping. We walked around downtown and took pictures everywhere as the snow began to stick on everything - it was beautiful! The people who waited until Wednesday to come up missed it unfortunately because our temps the rest of the week were in the high 50's and low 60's....the snow was gone!
On Friday we took a group into the Smoky Mountains. So many of the couples that were up here with us on this retreat had never been to Gatlinburg before so all of this was new to them. We had such a wonderful time on this retreat! We stayed in a chalet with these two couples as well as 3 other couples. We were up VERY late every night shooting pool, playing games or learning how to play Guitar Hero on the Wii (my NEW addiction!! - this was soooooooo much fun!)
Me up at Newfound Gap. We drove up there and then over into Cherokee, NC. It was cold up here!
Greg wanted us to walk out there to have our picture taken in front of the Falls. I was scared to death of the slippery terrain. Our dear friends who were holding our cameras have several lovely shots of me on my hands and knees climbing over there to this log! Uhhh, gee thanks!
This shot was taken Sunday morning as we were preparing to leave. It was a sunrise picture my husband captured. The clouds look so neat! We left at 8:00 am for our 8 hour drive back home.
Our last picture before leaving from the chalet. We had such a wonderful week together and with 17 other couples from church - we were all sad to see it end!
We ended up driving home in awful, horrible weather. Greg has a Blackberry for work and he kept getting the emergency weather notification emails through his Blackberry for our area at home. We heard that a tornado had just gone through our area where we live and we knew our family was in church and would be getting out of church soon so we were anxiously waiting to hear from them. We started listening to the radio as we drove because we could tell the weather was turning worse and worse the farther south we were headed. Once our family started getting out of church, the phone calls started - they began calling to let us know that we were headed for horrible tornado weather. We drove through Prattville, AL between tornadoes. We saw destruction, trees down, construction cones blown all over the road and car accidents all day long. We even watched an SUV hydroplane and spin out in the median - praise God they never flipped!
As soon as we got off the interstate near our house we pulled off the road at a gas station and met up with our friends we'd been traveling with (they were in a truck behind ours most of the way)
and we were all praising God for our safe journey home and talking about all the destruction we had seen and thanking God that the sun had come out now and we looked over and saw this rainbow peeking out....I love rainbows....always reminds me of God's promises!
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds,
I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Friday, February 8, 2008
BeingFrugal.net posted a list "What Women Wish Men Knew About Money" in response to another interesting blog by The Wisdom Journal titled "7 Things Men Wish Women Knew About Money."
As far as the woman's point of view...most of that was right on...what about from the man's point of view?
CVS is offering a free 5x7 enlargement or photo collage until 2/10/08. Here's the coupon for that. Remember, it expires 2/10!
Walgreen's is offering a Free Family Value Photo Pack through Saturday only. Go here for more details.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
I recently began thinking about this trip I took with my daughters back when they were in 8th grade. I think it was in 2000. This was to be a leadership building trip full of challenges and self-esteem building activities. I went along as a chaperone. It turned out to be quite a "challenging" trip for me as well. Everything the kids had to do - the chaperones had to do. We were not exempt from anything!
Our first stop was Cloudland Canyon State Park for a strenuous 5 mile hike. It was a beautiful hike but there were parts where we had to rely on one another to help us climb up and down steep enbankments. Everyone was exhausted by the time we were done.
The 2nd day we went to Raccoon Mountain for a Wild Cave expedition. We were told to wear clothes that we could throw away after we came out of the cave because we would be so dirty we would NOT want to keep these clothes! We got our gear on...helmet with light, kneepads, and gloves and began our journey down into the caves. We walked, crawled on our knees, slithered on our bellies, and pulled ourselves through holes and up ropes through the caves for four hours. By the time we got out, our bodies were bruised, battered and exhausted but it was an awesome, amazing feeling of accomplishment at having completed this together.
Yes, "they" were right....as soon as we came out of the caves, we grabbed our bag of clean clothes off the bus and headed for the bathrooms and got cleaned up. We tossed these muddy filthy clothes in the trash (shoes included)!
After we left Raccoon Mountain, we drove to Ocoee, TN and stayed in Horn's Creek Cabins for the remainder of the week. This was a beautiful retreat set-up complete with horseback riding and ropes course. We participated in both of these activities the next day. The only thing I did on the High Ropes Course was the zip line....had to climb up a 40 foot ladder to the top of a tower and was strapped into the zip line and then was supposed to jump off this tower to go flying through the woods 200 feet down the mountain on this "thin" zip line. Yeah, easier said than done! Looks easy until I was actually standing UP at the top of this 40 foot tower looking down!! Then I tried backing out. The instructor informed me the only way down was either the zip line or climbing backwards back down that ladder....which wasn't very comforting....so the zip line won.
He tells me "Just Squat and drop" as in - I don't really have to jump...just squat and push off the side. By this time all the kids below are saying "Come on, you can do it, come on!"
So I FINALLY do it and I close my eyes and SCREAM the entire ride down....then I slam into this large trampoline thing hanging from the trees and it sends me back up the zip line!! WHAT?!
Here I am going back and forth until I slow down enough for the instructor at the bottom to grab me. My daughter comes running up to me..."Mom, wasn't that great!!!????" My legs are like jelly..."umm, yeah, great!"
She starts heading to the next high rope obstacle..."C'mon mom!"
"Hmmmm, I think I'll watch this one." I decided one was enough for me that day!
Our last day in TN we went whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River. I had never been before so this was something I was really looking forward to. I was in a raft with the other teachers/chaperones. We had such a great time!
On the way home the kids were rewarded with a trip to Six Flags over GA. The chaperones/teachers were all so exhausted from the week long trip of "adventure" that all we did was sit and talk in different restaurants and areas throughout the park the entire day. Kids were making fun of us all day because we didn't ride rides or anything. We told them we had had enough adventure for one week!
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Walgreen's has a monthly Easy Saver Rebate program you can participate in. They publish a monthly Rebate flyer which you can pick up at the front of the store for Free or view it online and once you've made all your purchases, you complete the form and mail it back to them and they will send you a Walgreen's gift card with all the rebate money you earned on there. This Rebate flyer is also full of coupons which are different from the weekly ads Walgreen's puts out.
I went to CVS last night to pick up a few things we needed and this is how my purchases went (I was very pleased with what I got for my money!):
2 bags of M&M's: 2/$4.00 received 2 EVB
also used coupon $1.00/2 bags so actually paid $1.50 per bag + received 2 EVB
Purchase $10 of these items get $5 EVB
Irish Spring Body Wash 3.99
Used 2.00 coupon so paid $11.00 + received $5 EVB
Lysol Neutra Air on sale 2/$5.00 and used coupon Buy one, get one free - register deducted the regular price of $2.99 instead of sale price; Advil was 6.99 and received 2.00 EVB so total price paid for this was $9.00 + received 2.00 EVB
Now I have a total of 9 EVB and I used those on the personal hygiene products which cost 12.58 total so after applying my $9.00 EVB I paid $3.58 cash.
Total cash paid for this trip $26.58
I am pleased with this first trip because had I purchased all of these items at another store I would have paid much more than this. I hope to collect more coupons and refine this "art of frugal" shopping this year.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I love to organize events! I run the Women's Ministry at my church and I'm always organizing something for that. If not for that, then I'm sometimes called upon to help plan other activities - for example our 2nd Annual Marriage Retreat in Gatlinburg, TN! We are leaving in 2 weeks for 4 days in the mountains - no kids, just adults...skiing, staying up late, going to a show, hanging out and having a good time. We had so much fun last year on this trip! Just to give you an idea of how to do this, I thought I would share with you the details of our trip. Cost per couple - $400.00 - includes lodging, activities, and all meals except travel meals (basically lunches) and one dinner.
Lodging- Mountain Laurel Chalets - if you pay for 3 nights you get one night free. We have 3 chalets rented and we were originally scheduled to go from Wednesday - Saturday only. When I found out about the free night's rental I gave everyone a choice of arriving early on Tuesday or staying an extra night Saturday. Once people gave me their answers I booked one chalet for an extra day on Tuesday and the other two chalets for Saturday night (at no extra charge!)
Meals - For those of us arriving early on Tuesday and those staying after on Saturday everyone is on their own as far as expenses go...but we are staying in a chalet so we can just purchase groceries and cook together those nights.
The meals I had to provide for with the money each couple paid was Wednesday night, all breakfasts, Thursday lunch, Friday Lunch, Friday night. I have 19 couples going which gives me 38 people so that is a great "group rate" to work with!
Wednesday night - $17.25 per person all inclusive (tax, tip, drink, dessert and choice of meat - several choices to choose from) Applewood Farmhouse Grill
2 free meals w/ group
Thursday Lunch - $7.75 per person all inclusive (1 free meal w/group) Bennett's BBQ
Friday Lunch - purchasing supplies for sandwiches, drinks, snacks for picnic lunch because we'll be driving into the Smokey Mountains for the day and hiking to a waterfall (weather permitting) - no restaurants will be around us.
Friday Dinner - going to prepare lots of chili and have it slow-cooking all day while we are in the Smokey Mountains so it will be ready for us when we get back to the chalets. (dessert, bread, cheese, crackers to go with that)
Activities We'll be having Morning Sessions on Marriage on Thursday and Friday at 9:00 am for about an hour and a half.
On Thursday after lunch most of the group will be going skiing at Ober Gatlinburg from noon - 10 pm. The group rate is $37.00 and includes tram ride, lesson, lift ticket and ski equipment. Those of us who aren't skiing will be shopping or perhaps attending a show of some sort - this is the off-season and a lot of the shows are closed right now (I'm still working on this part - but it will cost about 40.00 per person whatever we do! LOL)
On Friday after our morning session, and weather permitting we will be driving into the Smokey Mountains up to Newfound Gap and over towards Cherokee, NC. My plan is to hike to Mingo Falls because it is a short hike - less than 1 mile round trip.
Friday evening we are going into Pigeon Forge to The Comedy Barn
I will leave you with this clip from The Comedy Barn...it's long (9 mins) but if you haven't seen it, it's a hoot!!
27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues
This passage comes from 1 Corinthians 12 in the Bible. Paul is speaking to the Christians in the city of Corinth and reminding them how important each one of them is to Christ and the churchbody as a whole. They each possess a gift specifically given to them BY God to be used for His purposes.
I've known what my spiritual gifts have been for years. However, I recently took a spiritual gifts test just to see how I "scored" since it's been about 6 years since I took my last test. I was surprised to see how much my score had changed, reflecting my growth over the last few years I guess. Faith has always been #1 - it still is. Mercy and Helps used to be my next two dominant gifts with Evangelism, Wisdom, and Administration at the very bottom of the list. NOW my test came out like this: Faith, Administration, Wisdom, Evangelism, Mercy...(I was really surprised!)
Friday, February 1, 2008
But this reminded me of a particular instance about 7 years ago when my twin daughters were around the age of 13 and wanted to go see teen queen Brittany Spears in concert. (She was actually really cute back then!) She was coming to our civic center here in town and the Civic Center was kind enough to set up a Parent Room at no charge for all of us parents to hang out during the concert if we didn't want to actually attend the concert with our children. For the sake of money, no I didn't want to attend the concert - I already was putting out a bunch of money for 2 tickets; I didn't want to buy another one for me when I didn't care for her music anyway so this Parent room was a terrific idea!
My daughters were so excited! My plans were to deposit them where they needed to go, find out where the Parent Room was and when the crowds thinned out a little bit I was going to head back out to my car to get my scrapbooking tote and purse, come back inside the parent room and work on my scrapbook for the next 3 hours while they enjoyed the concert....or so that's what I thought! Well, I was wrong!
Once I got up to the Parent Room (with only my cell phone in hand) I was informed that I could not leave the building until the concert was over. If I left the building I was not allowed to re-enter the building. The problem with that was the kids whose parents were in the Parent Room were wearing a special wristband and they were not going to be allowed to leave the building without their parent. These kids were going to be brought to the Parent Room AFTER the concert was over. It's not like we had matching wristbands or anything...so if I left the building I had no idea what they would do with my girls.
I was stuck! With only my cell phone....no scrapbooking supplies, no purse....wait a minute, no purse? If no purse, that means, NO CHAPSTICK!!!!!! The realization and horror of it all began to sink in. I HAVE TO HAVE MY CHAPSTICK! I began to pace like a caged animal. These people just didn't understand. I can't be in this building for 3 hours without chapstick!! Are they crazy??!! I mean, seriously I am the lady that has tubes of chapstick all over the house. I have it hanging on my bedpost for crying out loud so I don't have to look for it in the middle of the night when I wake up with dry lips!
I went into the bathroom and called my mother and told her the dire situation I was in. She would understand! She could fix it! She listened to my tale of woe and suggested driving all the way downtown to me (30 min drive) and bringing me some chapstick....she could come to the door and throw it to me. (If I didn't feel so bad for her having to get out and drive an hour round trip I probably would have taken her up on her offer! She's such a sweetie!!) But I told her "No, let me get off of here and calm myself down and just pray about this. I am getting myself all worked up and angry. I just need to make the best of this."
That's exactly what I did. I hung up the phone and I prayed. I prayed for God to give me something to occupy my time because at that time of my life I was EXTREMELY introverted and detested making small-talk with people....hence the reason for bringing my scrapbooking supplies (to keep me busy and occupied so people would leave me alone!) I prayed that He would help me with my crazy "dry lips" problem. I prayed my daughters would have a great time inside at the concert despite their neurotic mother's breakdown in the next room! LOL
About 30 minutes later I was sitting at a table just people watching and one of the Civic center employees walked into the room and announced that they had set up a mini-conference next door for anyone who was interested. They had arranged for a child psychologist to come speak and have a question & answer session on raising teenagers. Hmmm, this might be interesting I thought. So I walked over there. Upon entering the room, I was given a goodie bag. Inside the goodie bag was a TUBE OF CHAPSTICK!!! Awwwww, my God is good!!
By the way, this conference was FANTASTIC too! I didn't have enough notepaper to write on! I didn't want the evening to end! God is good all the time!