Saturday, September 29, 2007


Tomorrow marks the last Sunday that we will worship with our current church family. We plan to attend on Wednesday evening, of course, but there is something about Sunday that draws you more closely together. First and foremost Sunday is the day to worship our Lord, but the joy derived from doing that in the presence of friends can't be matched by worldly pursuits.

The last time we will partake of the Lord's Supper together. The last time to enjoy our monthly evening singing service in lieu of the regular preaching service. The last time to worship on the Lord's Day from beginning to end as a church family.

I'm grateful that we'll be able to attend this last Sunday, because we all love the monthly singing service, especially Harry. Music really speaks to him like nothing else, and spending most of a worship time in song together is his favorite thing right now. Mine, too, really - I'm as much a songaholic as he is.

It will be the last time that the kids attend Bible Class with a teacher who's watched them grow from babies. The last time I'll get to hold "my" babies and play with them after church, in no particular hurry because we live so close to the building that we can stay without running late. The last time I'll get to check on the lives of various members and see what adventures they've had this past week.

I know I'll see them all again, hopefully soon. We plan to come back for at least one evening in November because my cousin will be preaching for a few days there. But I know it won't be the same. Someone else will probably take "our" bench. (Although, they're welcome to it - that bench is FREEZING most of the time!) We'll have to check and make sure we're not taking someone's seat, and try to figure out where we can squeeze in. We won't be up on the latest news, and will have to try and squeeze it all in in just a few minutes before and after.

It's all part of a new beginning, and I'm happy, I truly am. I'd be happier if I were a little more confident about what kind of church-hunting situation we're going in to, but I know too much to be truly confident. (I won't get into that.) But I know we'll be led to where we need to go. We've been led too much in the last few months into greener pastures not to trust that church, of all things, won't be covered just as well.

It's just hard to let go of something that you've had for 12 1/2 years.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Frugal Friday: Earning extras through reward sites & pay-for-content sites

Back several years ago, when the Dot Com heyday was at its height, one of the big deals was the abundance of "get paid to____" sites. Some were for reading emails (you had to click a link to show you received it), some for clicking on ads directly on the site, some included trivia and more. Using the sites as shopping portals often earned you even more money. I earned several hundred dollars back then; other people who were really good at getting referrals made thousands of dollars. (Most of these would also give you a percentage of a referral's earnings.)

Now, sadly, most of them have gone by the wayside, and many of the ones that are left aren't worth bothering with because it takes far too long to earn enough money to cash out. But there are still a few decent ones out there. The only one I bother with from the old crowd is good old - email ads are easy to click on, and it's easy to check for surveys that are worth a few more points. I manage to earn a couple or three $5 - $10 gift cards each year, mostly by clicking, some by shopping. I'm frugal with my time, and I still manage to get a little bit every few months.

About a year ago I joined, a place where you can write, publish photos, and now even post videos - and they pay you to do so! You get points via some mysterious formula (it's all very hush-hush in order to make it a little harder to game the system) which can then be cashed in for gift cards or even charity donations. I've earned a few $10 Barnes & Noble gift cards (they no longer offer those), two $25 Home Depot cards, and am almost up to my 3rd Home Depot card - and I'm not even very active there!

I've also done the occasional article for, but they don't pay very well. Still, for the occasional throwaway article that you're not too worried about, a few dollars extra in the ol' PayPal account never hurts! is a similar site, and while I have signed up with them, I haven't yet written for them, so I can't comment on their ease of use or their payment policies.

There are probably a few others floating around that still pay out enough to make a few minutes here and there worth it - drop me a comment if you know of a really good one! And if you'd like to join MyPoints or Gather and help me at the same time, leave me a comment and I'll send you a referral. I only get a few points, but every bit helps, especially with this move on the horizon!

Not trying to turn this into a giant ad, but these really have helped me stretch our budget, and extra treats from time to time also help making the nasty "budget monster" easier to bear!

Be sure to drop by Crystal's blog for even more frugal goodness - it's always a great treat!

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Oh. My. Stars. Just SHOOT me NOW!

I needed a 6 month membership to the gym before we started this move. Seriously. And access to a lifetime supply of Ben Gay.

I'm just sayin'.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday: Ziploc baggies

In the process of moving, I'm finding lots of uses for my Ziploc-style baggies:

  • Pens, pencils, markers, etc. - We have pounds and pounds of assorted writing and marking utensils, seriously. I've been using gallon sized bags to sort these out and contain them.
  • Small toys - Again, a gallon bag is great for all those little army men, magnet toys, small action figures and all their assorted weaponry, etc.
  • Puzzles - Gallon sized, again. We have at LEAST two United States puzzles that have lost their boxes during their tenancy here. They now reside in a baggie.
  • Office supplies - we have a bunch of erasers to go with all those writing instruments. I rounded them all up from my desk drawer and got them into a sandwich-sized baggie. Now that can just go "plop" into the box of office supplies. Would also be good for rubber bands, staples that escaped the box, etc.
  • Gathering scattered items - we have several things that have gotten scattered, such as game pieces, Quidditch balls, playing cards and more. Baggies make a great storage container until you can collect all the pieces. And if the container is lost, they can just stay there!

I just use the cheap dollar store baggies, no need to spend a lot of money for these uses! What other great uses can you think of?

And don't forget to stop by Shannon's for more great tips to make your life easier!

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Win a Western Digital Passport External Hard Drive from 5 Minutes For Mom!

Wow, this is such a great giveaway! I hope I win one - I *REALLY* need to back up some of my important info, but the thought of making backup CDs gives me the heebie jeebies. Shudder.

But the "5 Minutes For Mom" blog is giving away THREE of these beauties! In COLOR, people! See the pretty colors! I. am. drooling.

Go hop on over, and you can sign up, too!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Something to consider when posting pictures online

Basic story: guy posts picture of friend on Flickr, Virgin Mobile uses said picture with no permission, citing "fair use" policies since it was a publicly available picture on Flickr.

One more reason to be cautious about what you post online, and WHERE.

CNN: 16 year old vs. Virgin Mobile

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Walgreen's Bragging: part the next

Walgreen's has two really good Register Reward items this week. One is a new product called Advil Maximum Strength, and the other is Advil PM. The Max Strength is on sale for $4, with a RR of $4, making it totally FREE. The PM is on sale for $3, with a RR of $1, making it only $2.

If you go to the Advil site, you can find a $1 off any Advil coupon. I also received a coupon for $2 off the PM formula from Advil in my email this week. There is also a $1 PM coupon in some Sunday coupon inserts this week.

I had my trip all planned, but unfortunately the store I went to ruined my lovely plan by not having the Max version in yet - it's a new product, and they didn't have it. (This is not the first time this store has done this, but it's the only one that I know for sure will take printed internet coupons!)

I bought:

  • 1 Advil PM ($3)
  • 1 gallon of milk (Barber's brand is on sale for $3.49!)
  • 2 giant Hershey candy bars (2/$2)

Total was $8.49 plus 85 cents tax. Minus my $2 printed coupon on the Advil and a $5 RR from a previous week, and my final total was $2.34. But I got a $1 RR back for the Advil purchase, so my final out-of-pocket comes to $1.34!

UPDATE: You too can get some $2 coupons for Advil right HERE.

Friday, September 21, 2007

If the Brooklyn Bridge falls down before Tuesday....

This is a test post to see what quotes come out like.

Once upon a time in a land far away, lived a Greek goddess. Her smarty-pants son Harry was obsessed with computers and mechanical things, often taking apart anything he could get his hands on. Especially if it wasn't working. Or even acting a little funny. And then left all the pieces and screws lying about.

Then it came time to move. The beautiful goddess Demeter began excavating Harry's room so that they could take the actual useable and wanted items to their new castle in a city farther away.

She has no idea how many pounds and pounds of screws she has already removed from said child's room, but she's betting that if the Brooklyn bridge should be in need of repairs in the near future, they can find all they need in her garbage.

And that is a test of the quote feature in this new layout.

Frugal Friday: Tracking expenses

Quick, quick post today.

If you have trouble remembering to write down your expenses while you're out, and misplace reciepts, here's something that might help:


Just text your expenditures to yourself while you're on the go!

Obviously, this is only frugal if free text messaging is included in your phone plan. And only helpful if you know how to use Excel. Neither of those apply to me, but I think it's a fabulous idea!

Plus, it was written by a homeschool student whose mom is on one of my lists, so I wanted to pass it along.

Be sure to visit Crystal's for more frugal goodness today!

(Pssstttt.... see the little critters under my post? Click one and tell me what you think about this post! Isn't that a neat idea, too?)

(Also, see my handy-dandy Blogrush widget on the right? If you want one of your own, just head on over. They match your blog's content to what shows up in the widget, and everybody helps drive traffic to everybody else - nifty idea, too again!)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I want a Dyson soooo badly!

And 5 Minutes For Mom has arranged another giveaway! And this one is PINK!

Dyson is teaming up with breast cancer research with a pink vacuum - and $40 from the sale of each one goes to research. Plus, in addition to the giveaway where one lucky blogger gets an actual Dyson vac, they will also give the retail value of the vac - $400 smackeroos - to breast cancer research!

So, what are you waiting for? Go sign up for your chance, too!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday: Pot Holder Hooks

I don't keep my potholders in a drawer, taking up space and driving me crazy by keeping the drawer from closing properly. Several years ago, I asked Westley to install a row of hooks along the bottom edge of a cabinet that is close to our stove. I can simply hang the potholders by their loops from the hooks! They're out of the way, and I get more drawer space for other things. That definitely works for me!

Be sure to visit Shannon for more great WFMW tips!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

We don't play pool, so WHY.... we own a pool cue chalking thingy?!

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Monday, September 17, 2007

FLY Pen discount code

If you're in the market for one of the FLY Fusion Pentop Computer doo-dads, here's a $5 coupon code:


Only good at Expires 12/31/07.

More on the FLY that lives at our house after the move!

CVS bragging, part 2

Last Thursday or Friday, I received an email coupon from CVS for $10 off a purchase of $50 or more, good only for this past Saturday and Sunday. I had around $26 worth of ECBs sitting in my coupons, I figured that would make a good dent in $50, so off I went yesterday. My purchases:

**2 boxes of Wheat Thins, 2/$5 w/$2 in ECBs back

**4 cans of Progresso soup, BOGO @ $2.79 and $2.99 w/two $1/2 coupons printed from

**2 tubs of CVS brand baby wipes, 2/$5 w/a $4 off any baby care coupon printed on a previous CVS receipt (I figure these will be good for spot clean-ups during the move.)

**4 twelve-packs of Coke product, 4/$12 w/$3 in ECBs back (set aside for ourselves and our friends the day of the move)

**2 newspapers with coupons, $3

**New mop, $15.99

**8 pack of Duracell batteries, $5.49

My final total that I paid yesterday? $11.34! BUT - I got back $5 in ECBs for future purchases! Plus you can also count the value of any coupons I use in the future as a return on my investment.

With the exception of the newspapers and the batteries, all of this stuff is going to be set aside for the move.

And the winner is....


Thank you all for all of the truly wonderful advice that you gave. MileHighMama is the winner of my advice contest, and I have dropped her a note.

Thanks for playing, y'all!


Friday, September 14, 2007

Tick, tick


Insert Witty Blog Here? No thanks.


We now own two houses. We can afford it, but just barely. The next few weeks are going to be dicey to say the least. Pray for us, y'all!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


We just found out today that we will be closing very soon on our new home - possibly as early as tomorrow afternoon. Therefore, I won't be able to be online much. Hopefully, I'll "see" all of you again really soon - and from a new location!


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Works For Me & Frugal Friday: In-store coupons

Some stores love to put out in-store coupons; these are coupons that are only good in their particular store. Target and Publix do it on a continual basis, and I love their coupons because both of them allow you to use their store coupon *in conjuntion with* regular manufacturer's coupons. This greatly increases your savings, and sometimes even results in GETTING PAID to take home the item! Also, a store coupon counts as a discount, so you do not pay tax on that amount, as you would with a regular manufacturer's coupon. A few of my savings from Publix yesterday:

Tylenol 24 ct. boxes - some were on sale for $2.49 each. One of the coupon flyers has a $2 coupon in it. I had $1 coupons. I bought 3 boxes (all they had left). After the discounts and the tax, this means I was actually PAID 46 cents per box!

Eat Smart vegetable bags - were on BOGO for $1.99. One of the coupon flyers has 55 cent coupons. I bought 4 bags, so I only paid $1.78 plus tax for 4 good sized bags of pre-cut fresh vegetables.

Mott's Apple Juice - the 4-count of individual boxes is only $1.09, regular price. One of the coupon flyers has a $1 off coupon for several items from the same company, and they are good on any purchase of at least $1. This means I paid 36 cents plus tax for 16 individual boxes. We need these for the upcoming move, they'll be a good way of having some juice on hand.

Revlon tools - I bought 7 pairs of nail clippers ($1.49 each) and one set of emery boards ($1.69). One of the flyers has a $2 coupon. Normally, this would take off the full $2, but my cashier overrode the $2 amount and only let me have the coupons at the value of the items. I don't know if this is a new store policy, or just the cashier taking it upon herself to do this. At any rate, since it's a store discount, I paid zero tax on them, so they were totally free. These can go in a yard sale, or straight to Goodwill.
My total before coupons yesterday was $58-something. My total after coupons (and I bought other stuff besides the above - fruit, meat, and other items that I only had regular coupons for) was only $25.25. That definitely Works For Me and is full of Frugal Goodness!

Don't forget to enter my advice contest - I need some help with moving! you have until tomorrow to get in your advice and chance to win a $5 Amazon GC!

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Frugal Friday: The rehash!

Today's Frugal Friday is a recycled post. ;-)

I'm really busy, so I did my Thursday Thirteen this week with frugality tips, so I'll just point you in that direction - getting twice the goodness out of one post!

Plus check here for a contest - I'm giving a $5 Amazon GC to a random reader who participates in my moving advice contest - I need HELP, y'all!

That's all for today - I'm swamped and I'm tired and I want a nap!

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Give me some advice and maybe win a contest!

Okay, we're hopefully coming down to the wire on moving soon. I need some advice! The general move should be okay, but I'm concerned about two things: having the basic necessities on-hand and eating well in the days around the move, without having to cook. So, a contest!

What do you have to do? Two things:

1. Leave a comment in the comment section giving advice on at least one of my questions; AND

2. Please make a post on your own blog, pointing others to this contest.

That's all! So, here are my two questions:

1. Of course, we'll be packing a suitcase for each of us with a few basic changes of clothes and some toiletries. But I also want to pack a box with things we'll need when we move in and don't want to have to dig out. Like - a set of sheets for each bed, towels and washcloths, toilet paper, soap, a shower curtain. What else do I need to have set aside for those first few days so that I don't have to either go buy something new (when I already own it, it's just packed), or lose my mind trying to find it in the boxes?

2. The last couple of days before the move, I don't want to cook because I want to be able to get everything packed and not have dirty dishes to deal with. Same for the first couple of days when everything's going to be a mess, plus we'll all be tired. I need some good ideas for stocking up on non-perishable food that doesn't need to be cooked, is filling, and is at least somewhat healthy. I have some Boost drinks stashed for some extra nutrition, so that will help. Some fruit will be good, but I don't want to have too much to have to deal with moving it. Give me your best ideas on good eats that won't break the bank and won't leave us with rickets and scurvy!

So - hit me with your best shot! Contest will run from now until next Friday, the 14th, at 4:00 Central time. What will you win? Hmmm.... how about a $5 Amazon gift certificate!

Thanks, y'all!

Thursday Thirteen: Frugality

Thirteen Ways To Be Frugal!

  1. Get freebies from companies from online forms! However, you need to be frugal with your TIME, as well - limit yourself to a certain amount of time per day or week. All those tiny little freebies aren't worth it if you spend an hour a day looking for them. Also limit yourself to items that you know you will use, or that you have a particular person in mind that you can give it to - clutter isn't frugal, either.
  2. "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!"
  3. Don't take a shopping partner with you unless they are just as committed to frugality are you are. It's hard to say no to your spouse when they want something, and friends can influence you to make unwise decisions even if they don't mean to.
  4. Try a little before committing to a lot - when you find a new product, try a small version of it first, even if the cost-per-unit is on the high side. Getting stuck with a gallon of something isn't frugal if it turns out that it's totally unusable because it makes someone sick, or you just hate it so badly that you literally can't stand to use it and have to get rid of it.
  5. Use online shopping comparison tools like Froogle or
  6. Use cash only.
  7. Hit the clearance spots and stock up when you find a really good deal.
  8. Buy birthday and holiday gifts throughout the year as you find good deals. However, be sure to limit yourself to only buying with a particular person in mind, not just a "oh, SOMEBODY will just love this!" kind of purchase. The exception would be perhaps 2-3 "anybody" gifts to have on hand for unexpected guest, new friends that your children make, etc.
  9. Check out deals boards like on MyCoupons, SlickDeals,, DealOfDay, etc., read consistently for a few weeks, and learn from the masters.
  10. Get coupon inserts from friends and family members so that you don't have to buy lots of papers.
  11. Barring that, get coupons from online trading (many of the above-mentioned boards also have trading sections) or from clipping services that charge a small amount per coupon for their time and effort. It still comes out cheaper than buy whole papers, you only get what you need, and you don't have the clutter of all those extra newspapers!
  12. Carry a calculator in your purse or with your shopping stuff so that you can figure up prices if needed.
  13. Join your local Freecycle group and ask around for items to be given instead of purchased. Be nice, don't just be a taker - be a giver in the group, too!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday: Brand Loyal Edition

It's themed WFMW today - Brand Loyalty Edition! Shannon asks us what items are we brand-loyal to, what can we not live without and will never accept a substitute. Well, this is a toughie. I'm almost never brand-loyal anymore. I used to be loyal to Suave shampoo, but when I got into couponing and discovered how to get all kinds of high-quality shampoos for free (or even GET PAID), that dropped that. I used to only buy Northern toilet paper, but again with the deals. But I did think of a couple of things:

Fruit of the Loom undies for guys: I used to buy Hanes, especially for Harry. But the elastic would ripple up all weird after a while, getting all stretched and funky looking. FotL undies never do that - the elastic looks just as good by the time he or his dad outgrow/wear-out the item as the day I bought it. I'll never go back to men's Hanes again.

FotL also has a REALLY funny commercial out right now!

Scott Extra Soft toilet paper: I used to use either Northern or Angel Soft most of the time. Then I discovered that they were causing a problem for me, a description of which I will spare the citizens of the internets, for which I'm sure you are thankful. For a while, I was buying Charmin regularly because I could get good deals, and it wouldn't cause problems, but then it started clogging up our toilets. THAT'S no good! Then Scott came out with their Extra Soft version, which I tried because of, you guessed, coupon deals. I cannot stand regular Scott, but the Extra Soft isn't bad. It doesn't scratch, it doesn't cause problems for me, and it lasts for a LONG time. It's also a really good buy, moneywise, when you're limited to which types you can buy. So even if I don't have a coupon, I get Scott Extra Soft.

Off the top of my head, those are the only two I can really think of. Be sure to check Shannon's Blog for more great tips from fellow bloggers today!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

More Mattell recalls!

Good grief! You know, Hermione's birthday is coming up - I simply must remember to check all labels before I buy her present this time!

More Mattell toys recalled

The recall covers 675,000 units of various Barbie accessory toys that were manufactured between September 30, 2006, and August 20, 2007.

The action also involves 8,900 different toys involving Big Big World 6-in-1 Bongo Band toys from the company's Fisher-Price brand.

Those products were sold nationwide from July 2007 through August 2007.

Come on, people - get your act together!

CVS bragging

Monday was a good day for shopping! One of my trips was to CVS, where I had a $20 Extra Bucks coupon due to expire this week, as well as a $4/$20 coupon that was good only for the Labor Day weekend. So off I went! I got:

Two 2-packs of 16 qt. Sterilite plastic storage boxes, $5.99 each
2 new Nestle candy bars, .69 each (DH wanted to try them)
4 boxes of Post cereal, $1.77 each
2 cans of Heart Healthy Planters Nuts, $3.50 each
1 2-liter Coke, $1.34

Subtracting the $4 coupon and the $20 Extra Buck, my final total came to $5.26. BUT, I also got back a $2 Extra Buck for the nuts. I also got back a $10 ECB that came from doing a survey for CVS a few weeks ago, plus a few coupons that are good on certain products that I may or may not use.

Obviously, I would have done even better if DH had not been with me. He was feeling tired and headachy and needed a caffeinated drink, so that's the reason for the Coke purchase. He spotted the candy bars and wanted to try them, when I probably wouldn't have bought them if I were on my own. (Well, no "probably" to it - I don't spend 69 cents on ONE candy bar!)

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