Monday, May 25, 2009

~ Memorial Day ~

Thank you to the brave men and women who have defended our country throughout history, and who defend her today. Let us never forget those who gave their lives for our freedom. And let us treat our veterans and active duty military with the respect and admiration they deserve. Fight for their rights, just as they have fought for yours.

Let us pray for those in harm's way and give thanks for those who walk the wall to keep us safe. Let us remember there are guardians jumping out of helicopters into icy, choppy water, to rescue us. Appreciation is a small thing, until we express it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

LIFE in the BUBBLE.....

On Wednesdays and Fridays I am lunchroom/playground monitor at my son's middle school. It's 45 minutes that goes toward the 10 hours of volunteer time parents are expected to donate, per trimester.

There are certain events in my life which have never lost their "new-ness." I still have trouble fully comprehending the fact I am someone's mother. Then there is my marriage (my second, and last) - five out of seven mornings I wake up, look at my wedding ring and think "wow, we're married." I feel euphoric when talking about "my husband" to others. Just saying the words "my husband" is a wonderful thing for me. So it would follow that being in my son's school environment still amazes me, and he's been there since kindergarten.

There are approximately 140 kids in this middle school. Tucked far back from a pretty busy road, just one building, and the parking lot doubles as the playground. There are six teachers, seven if you count the principal (she teaches history). Kids are kids, whether they attend a Christian school or not. Things are handled differently though, as opposed to the public schools. The goal is to prepare these kids to go out into the world and serve God. They place just as much emphasis on spirtual growth as they do on academics. There is much laughter and joy, teasing and being silly. There is also a very strict set of rules which must be followed, and these kids know it. It's the best of all worlds. Protected and safe, growing stronger in Him....inside the bubble.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Randomness of it All

I wanted to do a blog post, since my last post was Monday. Where does the time go? I feel as if I'm living in the middle of a cliche. All the things my parents told me would happen someday, are happening! If I just lived my life and didn't think about them, it would be wonderful. After all, we get old, and older, and we eventually buy the farm. Ruminating about it is pointless, much like this post I fear.

Anyway....I like to visit this site: (don't judge) and tonight I saw the above photos of Ricardo Montalban at some point during the 50's or 60's. What caught my eye was the lower right image, the rather sepia toned one. My oh gave me the vapors. Then it reminded me how cruel a mistress aging can be.

My father used to say: "Do not resent growing old, many are denied the privilege." He didn't say it originally, but it was one of his favorite quotes. With age comes wisdom - if you do it right. I have two favorite "groups" of people: kids between the ages of 4 and 6, and people after they hit 75 or so. Both are fascinating to listen to. Both exude wisdom. I tend to think most everyone in between is still trying to figure things out.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Coupon Gourmet ~ Food Review

HA, I cracked myself up just typing that title. But thanks to the good coupon deals, we have been able to try some new foods. I thought I'd write a little review of a few of our new favorites:

Bertolli Pasta Sauce and Classico Pasta Sauce: I was able to purchase these products for about $.50 a package/jar. They are both excellent. We had the Classico tonight and it was like homemade, even better! The Bertolli sauce is good too, but I think Classico gets my vote for best overall.

Bertolli Oven Bake Dinners: You see these at the store for the regular price of about $9.00 each. Certainly way too rich for our blood! We have sampled several varieties in the past few weeks since I have gotten them for $2.50/$3.00 a package. Once again, phenomenal taste! Better than I have had at some restaurants.

Kraft Bagelfuls: What will they think of next? A square-ish looking bagel wrapped around cream cheese, and available in nine flavors if memory serves. Regular price $3.29. I would not pay $3.29 with someone else's money. No way, no how. We got a bunch of them absolutely free, and a bunch more for $.50 to $.75 each. I am okay with paying the after sale/coupon price since I am trying to make sure a very active 14 year old boy gets all protein he can. Yes, he does make bagels the old fashioned way too.

I'm a decent from-scratch cook, and so is hubby. We eat way more homemade meals than convenience food meals. Convenience costs - that's why June Cleaver was able to be a stay at home mom. But with the sales and the coupons, we are able to try new foods, convenient or not.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Toilet Paper

So what is it about men and their need for the fancy schmancy (expensive) toilet paper? The author of one of my favorite couponing blogs wrote about how she had to budget for the expense of the premium TP because her husband would not use anything but(t). Several women left comments saying their husbands were the same way. I myself have never heard of a woman being so particular about toilet paper.

Albertsons had a store coupon for Cottonelle 12 pack double rolls (limit 2) - for $4.88. I had two $1 off coupons and two Albertsons double coupons, making the cost of each package $2.88. Then, because I purchased two packages of TP, a Catalina coupon printed for $1 off my next shopping trip. Normal price for this particular product was $11.99. Completely ridiculous!

My dear hubby prefers the "good stuff," but he's not anal about it. I couldn't resist...sorry.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

~ Hello Kitty Cupcake ~

Here we have what I named the "Purr-fectly Charm-ing" Hello Kitty Cupcake. Although it's tough to tell from the photo, the cupcake is decorated with many charms of the kitty playing guitar. This was our donation to my son's school fundraiser (many desserts were auctioned off). My cupcake sold for $40.00.

This was my first time using Wilton's giant cupcake pan. The bottom of the pan has grooves to mimic an actual cupcake liner. Trying to ice those grooves was easier said than done. In the future fondant would be my choice, rather than icing. It was a lot of fun to make and not something you see every day.

And....we have a mouse in the house. Give me a snake or a lizard or a spider and I'll take all three to lunch. But mice I cannot handle. To quote Blanche of Golden Girls fame: "I'm jumpier than a virgin at a prison rodeo." That does wonders for an already compromised neck and shoulder. I know they say the mouse is more afraid of you, than you are of it. But I must disagree.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

~ Happy Mother's Day ~

I call this my little Eden. My wonderful hubby created it for me one morning, while I was sleeping! It was/is my Mother's Day gift and it far exceeds anything I expected.

I love the way the flowers look in this shabby chair.

So many plants! You can see one of the hanging lanterns. There are six and they are solar. At night they have the most tranquil glow.

The fountain and the lights beside it are also solar.

The wire fence is just enough to keep one digging doggie away.

Whimsical fairy and butterfly statue - also solar. At night the three butterflies dance inside the globe.

He really did create a masterpiece and it makes me smile every time I see it.

Mother's Day was spent as it should be ~ with a sick kidlet. My son came to me this afternoon and wanted to know the symptoms of Swine Flu. It wasn't funny, except for the fact that in first grade he went to the office just certain he had malaria. I took his temp and it was just over 101, so into bed he went. The aspirin knocked it down but it did come back. Needless to say he will be home tomorrow and we will be watching him closely.

He told me several times how much he appreciated my taking care of him, because it was supposed to be my day. He's a very thankful, grateful kid. I either raised him with way too much guilt, or he's just a nice guy. The other day I told him what I wanted for Mother's Day: 4 coupons good for 15 minutes of massage (we have a hand-held thingamajig), a 3 Musketeers bar and a letter telling me what he liked about me. Yep, I shamelessly asked for a fan letter. And he gave me all three things.

My sweet stepdaughter (she is 20) called to wish me a happy day. She is so good about things like that - never forgets.

And that was my day! Oh yeah, I made a few trips to Albertsons to cash in on the double coupon savings :). How was your day?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Strong Men

Oh my, I do give my patient hubby grief. Today being one of those days. I was blog hopping and stumbled upon this poem. It describes my beloved perfectly. He is the most wonderful man I've ever known.

My son is dealing with the heartache of a girlfriend who loves him, but who cannot handle living over an hour away and only seeing him twice a month. They have broken up....I think, maybe, could be, but then....almost, kinda, sorta. Whatever "it" is, he is having a very rough time of it. His main concern is HER, that she not suffer, that she not be sad. He is showing remarkable strength of character. He is leaning on the Lord, praying not for his specific desires, but for the Lord's will in his life.

Two strong men, with hearts of gold. I am blessed to have them in my life.

A strong man loves,
A weak man hates.
A strong man needs only one woman,
A weak man needs many.
A strong man is respected,
A weak man needs to be feared.
A strong man can be himself,
A weak man has many faces.
A strong man can judge himself and
A weak man only judges others.
A strong man earns his friends,
A weak man buys them.
A strong man can face his fears and his conflicts,
A weak man runs from them.
A strong man can stand aside while his woman shines and
A weak man stands in front, for he must shine.
A strong man can forgive,
A weak man cannot.
A strong man is what a woman needs

~Victoria Sikorsky

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Government Doing What They Do Best

Have you seen the movie, "The Guardian," with Kevin Costner? The rescues depicted in that movie show some of what my husband did in the Coast Guard during his 20 years of service to the people of our country.

The United States Coast Guard is a military, multimission, maritime service within the Department of Homeland Security and one of the nation's five armed services. Its core roles are to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America's coasts, ports, and inland waterways.

Last month hubby was pleased to find they were withholding less taxes from his military retirement check (part of some new tax break). This month he finds out the IRS didn't get with (hope you can follow my complicated phraseology here) the part of the government which handles retirement pay for veterans. Bottom line, come tax time next year - Uncle Sam will want that money back. It's $37 a month! I think people on welfare should get out there and collect $37 worth of cans every month. Call it the Subsidize a Veteran Program.

Cutie Kewpies

It's been a while since I've added any new pendants to my stores. This one is available on eBay and Etsy. Of course no one will like it over in Etsyland. It isn't orange, or lime green, or felted, or made to soak up bodily fluids and then be tossed in the wash. I didn't knit it, or find it on a dumpster dive. It doesn't feature owls or mushrooms. It isn't anatomically correct.

The above is said (mostly) tongue-in-cheek. I'm too old for Etsy and too young, what I am too young for? Oh, the senior menu at almost any restaurant.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

~ Weekend Deals ~

I went to Target and Walgreens last Sunday. Everything I bought was on sale. Had I just paid the sale price (no coupons or Register Rewards), I would have spent over $59.00. My actual cost (with coupons and Register Rewards) was $7.86. Pretty cool huh?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Letting Go

My mother sent the following to me. She is a perfect example of a relinquished will. I hope to be just like my mother when I grow up.

"In our mother's womb, we are given our souls. And each soul is endowed with a divine yearning for God. We are born physically with this longing that grows through the years. Often it is expressed in ways that do not satisfy. We yearn for significance, value, esteem, recognition, success, achievement and material possessions. We yearn because we are never-to-be-repeated miracles of God, created to glorify Him.

We will yearn, long, quest, and battle to achieve so that we can fill the empty vacancy within us. Why? Because we were created for a divine tenant who owns our souls. When He is in residence, the fruit-the manifestation of His presence-shows on our faces, in our actions and in our characters. The fruit of peace is the "inbirthed" satisfaction of our divinely inspired yearning. Peace is the fruit of the Spirit that invades and transforms the will. If we think love and feel joy, we experience peace when we will to seek, discover, and follow the Lord's will for us. Peace grows in the fertile soil of a relinquished will."

Lloyd John Ogilvie, "Perfect Peace"