Friday, May 30, 2008

i'm hooked!


i have been stalking and loving all the frugal blogs i've come across the last few weeks. the biggest "deals" these thrifty ladies get are from CVS and Walgreens. we don't have a CVS, but we do have Walgreens and when i saw a $10 off $30 purchase coupon for today only on the money-saving blogs i thought today was my day to start! and start i did:)

the reason these stores have such great deals is because of their rebate programs. you can learn lots more at thrifty florida mamma and money saving mom and all the blogs they link to. they give you all the inside tips and background you'll need to be addicted like me!

here's what i got today...

two 52-count packs of walgreens diapers at 10.99 for the 1st pack and 5.49 for the 2nd
$16.48
8-pack duracell AA batteries (with free earphones:) on sale for 5.99 plus $1 off coupon in store
$4.99
walgreens 4-pack 60 watt lightbulbs 1.69 and 1.69 rebate
free!
oral-b cross action toothbrush 4.49 with 4.49 rebate
free!
exedrin 24 tablet box on sale 1.99
$1.99
bulls-eyes candy to pacify my son while i shopped on sale 4/$5
$1.29

my total was 30.93 and i go $10 off of that. i paid $20.93 and will get 6.18 in rebates PLUS 10% more if i get my rebates on a walgreens gift card rather than cash so i really got all of that stuff that we needed for........drumroll...........

$14.14!!!!!

i would have paid way more than that just for the diapers alone! i am so excited i can't wait to do this again!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

pdx and okc



i just purchased our airline tickets to oklahoma city and submitted our notice to end our rental agreement at this house. wow. we're moving. it still hasn't really sunk in, but here's a few things we will miss and a few things we're excited about in our relocation. when i say "things" i mean commercial establishments. of course this excludes natural beauty, relationships, etc. these are just the surface stuff, but still fun to think about...
losing by leaving the portland metro area
-costco (ouch)
-trader joe's (another big ouchie)
-old spaghetti factory
-saturday market

gaining in oklahoma city
+SONIC (need i say more?!)
+target super center
+home ownership at half the price or less

each city and region has it's own local businesses that you wish you could pack in your suitcase when you leave. which one would you take?

prince caspian


we went to see prince caspian in the theatre last night. wow. it is so worth even the ridiculous movie ticket price. the imagery that lewis uses brought to the big screen is just beautiful.

there were so many powerful moments, but one of my favorites and a classic quote...

Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."
"That is because you are older, little one," answered he.
"Not because you are?"
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."

praying i always grow and find him bigger...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

compatible?

sonny (my husband) and i have taken so many personality profile tests over the years we have long since lost track. sonny decided to take another one and discovered, with no surprise that he was an ENFP (Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving). it was fun to read about him and be affirmed in what careers he would excel in etc. he, of course, had to administer the test to me and i came out an INFJ(Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging). we had lots of laughs reading about my quirky personality (the most rare of all myers briggs types) and how "hard it is to be me".

we then stumbled across something new....celebrity personality types. we'll let you decide if we are a good match....
Sonny's personality

my personality

Friday, May 23, 2008

anything you can do, i can do better


i was warned several days ago by one of the new moms who spends time at the play boutique that ari had asked her a lot of questions about her newborn and also about nursing. she told me she was honest with him and tried to encourage him to ask me any further questions. i thanked her and haven't heard anything more about it.....until today:)

ari and another 5-year-old boy were playing in class today as they do every day, but today they each had a baby doll. this is unusual as their favorite past time is shooting, stabbing, bombing, and generally maiming imaginary bad guys. i was encouraged by their tender care to these babies. as the day wore on i started hearing things about feeding the babies. the boys were holding the dolls to their chest and discussing this for a few moments until ari finally erupted with "my nipples are making more milk than your nipples!"

even breast-feeding is a competition to boys.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

so you think you can dance...

tonight
8/7 central
fox

you cannot be my friend if you don't watch.

yes...i'm serious.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

frugal, convenient, yum!

as i mentioned before, i'm really honing my frugality and eco-conscious skills. i'll tell you more why later, but before i wax eloquent, i thought i'd share an idea i had and executed last night. making my own frozen cookie balls! this is much much cheaper and eco-friendly than frozen cookie dough and easier to get on the sheet when it's time to bake.

1st- make your dough
i used cookie dough mix cuz i got it on sale for $1/bag and cuz i'm trying to use up all my packaged food so i can make more of my own stuff. you can make any kind of cookie, any amount of cookie dough and any recipe you like. i made three bags that claim to make 3 doz ea.

2nd-scoop balls of dough onto a cookie sheet the beauty of this is the cookies won't expand so you can put them almost right next to each other and fill the whole pan. make sure it is a pan that will fit in your freezer. in order to make the balls i like to use a cookie scoop, but mine broke so i used my ice cream scoop
3rd-freeze
it didn't take much time at all (30 min or so) for my cookie balls to harden enough
4th-package
i re-used a soup container, but you could use tupperwear, gladwear, ziploc bags, whatever will last in a freezer and you can package your cookies in any number. this way you can pull out 1-2 for a personal snack or a dozen when unexpected company comes over! you just pluck the dough ball out of the freezer, put it on a cookie sheet and bake!! i have 6 in the oven right now:)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A


when i was in middle school i participated in a summer music camp and we performed the musical "oklahoma". while i was singing "where the waving wheat can sure smell sweet and the wind comes rushing down the plain..." i never thought i would visit let alone live in this state we were praising the virtues of, but i find myself doing just that.

sonny has accepted a position as assistant chaplain at casady, a private school in oklahoma city. this decision comes after much time and deliberation as we wrestled with what God would have us do. we feel this position will be more conducive to unity as a family and time spent together and that is why we chose it. we are looking forward to summers to travel and just be together as well as attending church together for the first time in 5 years.

we are so sad to leave the beautiful northwest and most of all the precious people of willamette. they have been so good to us and we love them dearly. my best friend on the planet resides in vancouver and so i will feel another keen loss being so many miles away.

we thank God for the time he gave us here and for what he transformed in our lives during these two years. we look forward to whatever he has for us in oklahoma. it will most likely be more about growing us more into the likeness of his son than about the sweet smelling waving wheat.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

i caught a five-year-old fish!



yesterday my husband and dear cousins, irene and jason, took ari to the rainbow trout farm for his first fishing experience. much fun was had by all as this is a farm and catching a fish is pretty much a guarantee if you put your line in the water:)

i don't know if the fish cleaner told him this or if it's just a coincidence that 5-year-old ari is convinced his fish was 5 as well.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

get your "hands-on" the bible


saturday is the day sonny puts the finishing touches on his presentation for teaching junior high sunday school class. he has been taking them through the narrative of scripture starting with "in the beginning". they have been loving it. engaging, learning, making connections...it's a beautiful thing. when i snuck a peak in class one sunday this is what i saw on the screen. i had to share it with you. the brick testament. wow.

Friday, May 16, 2008

i can't tell you how much i love a good deal!

i hope you love a good deal too cuz you are in for one. unfortunately this will only apply if you live in the portland metro area. i have heard about this on 104.1 the fish, but never took the time to look into it. many local businesses (spas, carpet cleaners, photographers, restaurants, etc) offer $50 worth of gift certificates for 25 dollars! yes, it's true! you pay 3.75 for shipping and have to wait 7-10 business days for it to come in the mail, but then you can spend it on anything (check individual listings for small restrictions like purchasing alcohol, etc)..woohoo!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May is National Foster Care Month!


foster care is close to my heart. as i studied God's word through the years and started to see this one phrase repeated over and over..."care for the widows and orphans" i would always think....hmmm, i don't really know any of those. i know there are orphans in romania, africa, and even as close as mexico, but not really around where i live.

well, as i learned more about the american foster system, i realized, these were the orphans. their parents may not be deceased, but they were definitely in need of care and were one of "the least of these" for many reasons.

foster care gets a bad rap. most often it is only covered in the news when there is some scandal and foster parents are abusive or foster children hurt those that take them in. these cases are valid and the system is obviously not working. the fact remains. there are hundreds of thousands of children in our own country whose parents cannot care for them.

i heard an ad campaign once say "not everyone can be a foster parent, but everyone can help a foster child." i believe that to be true. my husband and i have decided for the safety of our children, we will not foster any child older than our youngest. when our children are grown we will be more available to take on higher risk children, but right now we are not able. maybe others aren't able to take in a child at all. there is still much you can do and i believe we are called to do.

we were incredibly blessed to adopt the very first and only foster child we ever had. this will not be the case every time. the way i choose to see it is any time and any love i am able to give to a foster child will be a privilege and more than if i had given up and never tried. these are children who did not ask to be in the situation they are in. they are not old enough to choose for themselves and almost all of them end up repeating the choices their parents made that began the cycle.

the problem is so big, so very complex. i know no one will ever be able to remedy it completely. i really have to take the starfish approach and do the little i can to heal what has been so deeply hurt.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

fore!

last night our family had a wonderful and very frugal date. we swung by costco to get our dinner (3 polish dogs and 3 sodas=$4.50) and then filled the tank with the cheapest gas in town. after our scrumptious meal we drove to family fun center/bullwinkles and used our entertainment book coupon to gain two rounds of miniature golf for the price of one ($5 total). they boys had great fun honing their skills with dad and enjoying the cool weather. we are supposed to hit 95 degrees on friday!
Noah was still hungry from dinner


Ari was so thrilled with a blue ball and blue club

Monday, May 12, 2008

mental floss monday

ok-it's time for some flossing and cobweb dusting!

i wonder if ms. clinton, mr. obama, and mr. maccain would be pursuing the title of president so vigorously if they knew this random fact: "Hail to the Chief" was specifically written for James Madison, because he was so short hat no one ever noticed when he entered the room. "

how's that for humbling?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

happy mother's day

today we celebrate the women who sacrifice themselves and their desires to serve the needs of their children.  there are many women who can birth a child, but sacrificing your life for one isn't as in vogue today.  i want to honor the women who make the choice every day to put the welfare of their children before themselves.  what a precious and under-publicized gift this is.

thank you, dr. laura, for trying to give sacrificial mothering some positive press and for recognizing the deep weight and impact it has on our society as a whole.  click here to read her mother's day blog.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

does it get any better than this?


at Ari's preschool class yesterday he made me this card for mother's day. the front was what you see here, m-o-m spelled with his fingerprints and a heart for the o. very special.

what i found when i opened it was even better...

My Mother's Day Survey
My mom's favorite color is: "green" (correct!)
My mom's favorite flower is: "tulip" (correct, again! didn't know he even knew that word)
My mom's favorite music is: "girl music" (don't know what that is, but sonny thinks it's things like nkotb and vanessa carlton as he doesn't count these are real "music")
My mom's favorite book is: "my favorite book" (right, again. all he sees me read is dick and jane and the very hungry caterpillar)
My mom's favorite place is: "mcdonald's" (oh, dear...out of the mouths of babes, huh?)

Happy Mother's Day! Love, Ari, age 5 1/2

Friday, May 9, 2008

you can MAKE that!?!?


the last few days i have really been delving in deep into the world of frugal and green blogs (a lot of them are both since being green can save you a lot of green). i have been learning a TON and really getting excited about hunting for deals, getting the most out of coupons and sales, and actually making some things myself? i have found people who make things i would NEVER have thought about making myself and i am intrigued! i will share more with you in coming days, but here's a small step for those of you who may want to start this venture with me.

taco seasoning.

i know. it comes in packets and you use it in lots of recipes, right? what if you passed over the envelope and just mixed the seasonings with your own two hands? not rocket-science, but i never ever would have dreamed little ol' me could do such a thing. i'm going to try it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

free money?


i've been frequenting frugal blogs as of late and have found a lot of great ideas for making extra cash and saving money on everyday items so that money saved can be used to pay off debt (thank you, dave ramsey) and get finances in order.
i get a rush finding good deals and ways to bring in money to our family budget that are outside of the typical 9-5 . i pocketed 25 bucks today signing up for a new "paypal" type service called RevolutionMoneyExchange today. i also made $10 for the woman whose blog i found this on.
(not a bad deal for 2 minutes of my time:) if you're interested click on the link at the top right of my blog before may 15th.
i now need to log into my ebay account to try and sell some stuff i found lying around and add to our "pay down debt" fund. financial freedom!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

the infamous "chicken 'n goop"


so several people have asked about my listing of "chicken 'n goop" as one of my favorite foods. it is a recipe my mom got while i was growing up and she didn't remember the name of it. i then dubbed it what it was and now evermore shall be...."chicken and goop". it is the one recipe i have served to almost EVERYONE i know and has always always always received rave reviews. i have made it for one family all the way on up to 75 people and it is always a hit. NOT a low-fat recipe, but definitely easy and a crowd pleaser. for those of you who who'd like to try it, or just know what it is, here's the recipe....

5-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
can of cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup
1 pint of heavy whipping cream (liquid)
1/2 packet of dry onion soup
paprika

place chicken breasts in casserole dish
sprinkle with dry onion soup and paprika
in separate bowl mix cream of mushroom or celery soup and the whipping cream
pour mixture over chicken

bake for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees
sauce will be bubbling and chicken will start to brown on top

serve with rice...the goop is an awesome on it!

Monday, May 5, 2008

beautiful day




today we visited the portland classical chinese gardens. the day was gorgeous, the surroundings beautiful and the ambiance serene. best of all...the four of us entered free thanks to our local library and it's cultural family passes.

mental floss mondays


ready to remove some of that plaque in your grey matter? want to stay sharp but can't afford a copy of brain age? welcome to mental floss mondays. here we will excerise our ability to think and add random information to your brain that may have significance or may help you win your next game of cranium. either way-a valuable use of time.

our first edition will be of the "why do we do that" sort. sonny and i were watching a documentary (freedocumentaries.org) about controlling the masses through psychoanalysis (back in the days of freud) and how that truly birthed marketing the way we know it today. this really spurred the transition from marketing the value of a product to marketing the value having this product would add to you, to others' perceptions of you.

one story they relayed was of the genesis of cake mixes in a box. they were faster, easier, and wonderful in every way, but were sitting on the shelves. no one would buy them. one of the first "focus groups" was held with women who did the cooking and baking in their homes and found out was not that women were dissatisfied with the product, but rather felt the product too convenient and actually inspired guilt in its use. marketers then removed the powdered egg from the mix, required users to add their own thus relieving the feeling of "not working hard enough" and cake mix boxes were found in every home.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

fabulous four

I've been tagged by kristal...

(i must confess i've secretly always wanted to be tagged....so thanks, kristal!)

Four jobs I've had:
1) splash family water park (went out-of-business)
2) cookie connoisseur (went out-of-business)
3) admissions counselor at mbc (still in business)
4) after school reading teacher (school was closed down for not meeting standards for 3 years in a row)

Four movies I've watched more than once:
1) anne of green gables
2) the little mermaid
3) les miserables
4) smoke signals

Four places I've lived:
1) grand rapids, michigan
2) portland, oregon
3) bakersfield, california
4) west linn, oregon

Four TV shows I watch:
1) so you think you can dance (new season premiering this month....yey!!!)
2) cold case
3) john and kate plus eight
4) law and order: ci (only the episodes with vincent d’nofrio)

Four places I've been:
1) mexico
2) jamaica
3) niagra falls
4) all the states between michigan and florida

Four people who email me regularly:
1) my bff-heather
2) my boss
3) sonny
4) redbox-to tell me what movies I’ve rented and returned

Four of my favorite foods:
1) Indian food
2) chocoloate chip cookies
3) mcdonlad’s cheeseburgers
4) my mom’s “chicken ‘n goop”

Four places I would love to visit:
1) prince edward’s island
2) israel (only if sonny is my tour guide)
3) africa
4) alaska (with my dad)

Four things I'm looking forward to in the coming year:
1) new beginnings
2) seeing my ari start kindergarten (dreading it more than looking forward to it)
3) family visits
4) growing in grace and truth

Four friends I'm tagging:
1) heather (doesn’t have a blog yet, but will soon, right, heather?)
2) kacey
3) lani
4) you! (if you haven’t been tagged and you’re reading this…tag, you’re it!)


Friday, May 2, 2008

i get it now


i finally experienced ikea for myself today and i must say...i get it now. i get the excitement, the driving hours to purchase something there,the almost cult following it has acquired.

i will be back.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

pride

while sonny was out of town recently i used my redbox free rental code and chose the most "un-sonny" movie i could find to watch by myself after the boys went to bed. "pride" did not let me down in that department. it was pushing the envelope of cheesy, even for me. it had all of the cliches of a "person goes in to rough neighborhood and acts as savior" and all the formulas of a "sports triumph" film. wow.

so-why am i taking up space in my blog with it? apart from the obligatory romance and a few other details ....this story is TRUE! there really was a man named jim ellis and he really did invest his life into teens all others had relegated to the "lost cause" pile. he really did coach them and invest in them and shape their character...and the best part it....HE STILL IS! to this day, over 35 years later, the man is still coaching swimming at the same pool, in the same at-risk neighborhood, and his program at the Marcus Foster pool has sent swimmers to the swimming trials for every U.S. Olympic team since 1992...whoah!

the reason i am telling you all of this is because i want to honor and celebrate not just the accomplishments of this swim team and their athletes and all of the intense work it takes to get to that level, but i want to elevate the man who has given his life to people who others have "thrown away." he goes day in and day out to a low or no-paying job with kids that have not been taught to respect and he pours his life out. thirty-five years. that's something worth talking about. that's a person who deserves our attention, and who in God's economy is a celebrity.