Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wrong Side

Have you ever gotten up on the wrong side of bed, figuratively speaking?  I seem to have managed to do that twice in  two days.  Sunday started off on the wrong foot when I ended up with one of the worst hair days I have had since junior high.  It was a cross between a poodle with its tail in the electric socket and Don King (for all you 80’s junkies).  And I only had about 30 minutes to do damage control!  Thank goodness, I was presentable for church in time.  I won’t be trying that particular hair styling tip  again anytime in the near future (Thanks, Laine-but it just doesn’t work for short hair! lol).

Monday was just a bad day from the get-go.  I got up late, and was hurrying so I could make it to Curves.  I could not find my keys.  Now, this is unusual for me.  I always know where my keys are.  Let’s face it, there are only so many places you can put your keys in a 36’ trailer!  I searched high and low, and enlisted all of my children and husband in the search.  I even offered a reward to the one who found the keys.  Now these keys are not low visibility, either  - not like two keys on a single ring.  No, my keys are a ponderous weight of metal and plastic.  There are four rings, eleven keys, a car “beeper,” and twenty-four store/library/loyalty cards on it.  I cannot close my fist around it.  I just couldn’t imagine where they were. 
On a whim, I went over to the church, and there, next to the computer where I had been working the night before, were my keys.  I was so relieved!  Nothing gets me out of kilter like not having things where they should be!  OCD, I guess. :)
The kids were taking forever to do their homework, and I was excessively frustrated with – well, everything!  Then I decided I really needed to get my MS driver’s license.  So, I gathered my papers and went downtown.  I couldn’t find the DMV.  Then, when I finally located the office, I had to sit for a long time.  I showed the lady my papers, and she told me I didn’t have the right ones!  I had grabbed the wrong ones!  I was ready to cry.  The only reason I didn’t was because I knew my picture would look worse with red eyes and nose and blotchy cheeks, so I kept it under control.  I had to go back out to the truck to get the right papers.  Another wait, then I got my license! I was glad to get back home.  :)

CVS deals
This is my latest CVS deal.  I went shopping hoping that some retail therapy would counter my crummy day.  It worked!  The Physicians Formula lip gloss was a bonus deal.  This week, if you buy $10 of PF, you get $7 ECB.  The lip gloss was $9.99 and had a $3 peelie coupon on the front! Woo hoo!  The UP2U gum was on sale for $.99 and I had $1 coupons!  All of this was totally free!  Yay!  I even made $1 by using my green bag tag, so all in all, I made a profit on this transaction.  The PF deal is a limit of one, but the gum has no limit on how many you can buy.  Fresh breath coming up!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Like New

Well, the crisis is over, and the newest member of the LFTC has been repaired and made to look just like new!  I was a little nervous, since this was the first time we had ever been to this dentist, having just moved to the area.  However, it was a good experience all around.

The dentist said that the tooth did not seem to be damaged in any way that would cause it to become loose or cause the nerve to die.  He said that the grinding did not even go to the second layer of the tooth, which is great news.  He had a cancellation right after our initial appointment, so he was able to repair the tooth immediately.  I was thrilled!  The Lord worked it all out for us!  Here she is with her new fang—oops, I mean, tooth! :)

 

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What a relief that the whole ordeal is over.  She will have to be careful about biting into hard foods, but other than that, there is no significant change in habits.  Perhaps a football helmet for when she is riding her bike…

 

Today is Swagbucks’ 4th birthday!  Make sure you head on over and take part in the Birthday Bash!  I know there are tons of fun things going on, not to mention the team contests.  I plan to be a winner!  Who knows, maybe you will be one of the $1000 winners!  Check it out at Swagbucks!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Member

I want to be the first to introduce you to the newest member of the Left Front Tooth Club.  This exclusive club has been around for many years, having been started when I was a child.  I was one of the charter members, and for some time, the only member of which I was aware.  Eventually, I was joined by a friend, then my brother, then a few more friends during my teenage years.

 

Membership has been dormant for a while, but just this week – Tuesday, in fact, my daughter Abigail joined the club.  The mode of initiation into the club is actually up to the individual, and so varies from member to member.  Here are some of the inventive ways that people have wrangled a membership into the Left Front Tooth Club.  (*The names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

 

Sarah (me) – whacked in the mouth with a croquet mallet (my brother had a wicked backswing!)

Luke (my brother) – hit in the mouth by a stray “grounder” during a softball game (some called this poetic justice)

*John –  ground his tooth off on the pavement in a bike wreck

* Lily – fell off a milk crate, hitting her mouth on the basement floor (she also broke her wrist – bonus points for the initiation mode)

*James – forgot to make sure the pump on his BB gun was latched; it popped up while he was aiming and knocked his tooth out.  He excitedly called our house to say, “I joined the club!”

*Andrew – was experimenting with scientific properties; pushed a five gallon bucket down into the lake, with the intent of sitting on it (the air underneath keeping it buoyant) – the air pressure was greater than he expected, and the bucket flew up in his face, hitting his tooth and knocking it out.  He gets a 10 for creativity.

 

Add my sweet Abigail to this list – she used the tried and true method of the bike wreck (see *John) to great effect.

 

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In all seriousness, it could have been a very bad accident.  I am thankful that the Lord kept her safe, and that the damage was not more extensive.  There is still the possibility that the tooth could die, so pray that it stays healthy, and that there are no complications.  Also pray that we don’t have any more members of the LFTC in our family! :)

 

Congratulations, Abigail!

 

Are any of you card-carrying members of the Left Front Tooth Club, or do you have your own exclusive club?  :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pass It On

For over a year, Esther has been asking me to teach her piano.  I have put it off until this year, hoping that she would learn her ABC’s and 123’s first – it makes teaching piano so much easier!  I feel as if I have bitten off more than I can chew at this point.  She is so excited that I can hardly get her to sit still on the bench!  She squirms and wriggles, smiles and giggles all while pressing the keys of the piano.

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I guess I tend to be somewhat OCD about extra-curricular noise and movement, a trait I seem to have inherited from my maternal grandfather. :)  Whatever the reason, it is all I can do to not scream as she writhes about on the bench beside me!  I can only give short lessons at this point…  Bad mom, I know.  Perhaps she will grow out out of it?!

 

After our lesson this week, Daniel came in and was playing on the piano.  I was doing something in the next room, and I heard Esther’s voice prompting his actions.  “Now, Daniel. Push this one, now this one, and this one!”  They were both delighted with their music, and she exclaimed to me, “Mama!  I’m teaching Daniel to play the piano!”  I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures of the two of them playing happily together!

 

Here are my two budding musicians, hard at work!  I just love those smiles!

 

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Here they are playing Daniel’s “favorite song.” At least, that is what he said when she flipped the page in the book.  How he made this determination is probably totally arbitrary, since neither one of them can play the song, but it really was funny!  I love the way she has her arm around him – just like the sweet big sister that she is (most of the time)!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Super Deal!

I love it when I get a great deal with coupons.  My Kroger store has a clearance aisle where damaged and discontinued items are placed each week.  I always try to make my way through that part of the store first, snagging the best deals possible.  This week, I hit upon the jackpot.

 

Here is what I bought.

 

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Now, I know some of you are going to say, “I thought you didn’t color your hair!”  I don’t, and do not plan to,either.  However, the deals were too good to pass up! 

The Clairol boxes were marked $1 each, the Garnier were $1.69 and $2.99.  The granola/protein bars were $.49 and the Scrubbing Bubbles (I actually bought two, but had already put the other one away) were not on clearance, but they were just items that I needed.

Here’s how it broke down:

3 – $1 Clairol

2 – $2.99 Garnier

1 – $1.69 Garnier

3 – $.49 granola bars

2 – $2.99 Scrubbing Bubbles cleaner

Total: $18.12 +tax

Enter the coupon queen!  Ta-dah!  I just happened to have some great coupons for the hair color!

3 – $2 clairol coupons

3 – $2 garnier coupons

1 – $2/2 Scrubbing Bubbles coupon

1 – $2 off my next order Kroger CRT

Total OOP : $2.12 (I will also get another dollar credited to my account from Saving Star for the Scrubbing Bubbles!) 

So while I will not use the hair color, I will pass it on to someone else.  I only bought it because it gave me overage on the other items I really did need to buy!  That was my exciting deal of the week—so far! :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy President’s Day!

I have no plans for today – other than school, housework and the usual.  I know today is considered a holiday, but I didn’t tell my kids! Mwahahaha!  I am so motivated to get the school year over that I don’t want to take any extra days of vacation.

 

Last week, I took my girls to the doctor because they both had a rash on their face.  I found out it was scarletina rash due to the fact that they had strep throat!  Neither one of them had complained of feeling badly, nor did they have a fever, sore throat, or any other symptoms.  The doctor told me I had caught it early, and we were able to get them on antibiotics (I don’t usually do antibiotics, but sometimes you have to) right away.  I am so grateful that they didn’t get really sick, or spread it to their brothers.  Now I just have to make sure I don’t forget to give them their medicine every day.

 

For those of you who participate in Swagbucks, this is their birthday month, and there are a lot of special activities going on around the website.  One of the big prizes is that four people will win $1000 cash!  Now is the time to join if you haven’t already!  Check out Swagbucks today!  New members can get an extra 110 Swagbucks for using the Promo code BIRTHDAYBASH12 when you sign up, making a total of 140 Swagbucks on your first day!  What a great deal!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Never Forget

One of my husband’s hobbies is studying World War II.  He started as a child interested in aircraft, and eventually, it became a more specific study.  We have dozens of books on WWII battles, aircraft, strategies, etc.

 

Several summers ago, we had the opportunity and privilege to hear a Holocaust survivor speak in a small home-school group meeting.  My heart broke as she described life in wartime Europe, the horror of the concentration camp, the loss of her entire family when she was just a young teenager.  It was beyond comprehension, but I will never forget it.

 

Last year, I decided to do a little study on my own.  Instead of studying the battles, strategies, and equipment, I wanted to study things from the human perspective – the testimony of those who survived.  I checked books out of the local library, and for several weeks, read dozens of accounts from many different countries.  The unbelievable stories of survival against the most horrific odds, stories of courage, strength, and daring.  Amidst the terrible extermination camps, men and women forged character into their souls.  My respect for these who survived, and even for those who died fighting, continues to grow.

 

I pray that kind of war will never touch our country, but I am challenged by the example of these mostly unknown heroes.  I would like to think that I would go on, fighting, never giving up, no matter how insurmountable the obstacles seemed.  When I look at my own life, I think about the things that make me want to give up, and realize how small and insignificant they are.  May I learn a lesson from those who have gone before—just keep on keeping on! 

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 

Let Christ be your strength.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Great Deal

The last two weeks, CVS has had a Nivea deal that I am excited about.  Winter is hard on everyone’s lips, with the cold, dry air chapping them until they crack, if you aren’t careful.  Some lip balms are more effective than others, moisturizing as well as blocking harmful winds.  Nivea is one of the best lip balms I have used.

 

The deal at CVS is this: buy $10 of Nivea, get $3 Extra Bucks.  The Lip balm is 2/$5.  Here is how the deal works out.

4 – lip balms = $10

2- $3/2 lip care Nivea coupons

OOP= $4

EB earned =$3

Net cost – $.25 each

 

The best part about this deal is that you can do it at least twice this week (I will find out if it is more than that tomorrow when I go to CVS).  Better yet, the deal will be on next week, too, if you need some time to find those Nivea coupons!  Now is a great time to stock up on lip balm for all this cold weather!

 

By the way, you can do the Nivea deal at least three times this week! 2/15

Friday, February 10, 2012

One of Those

This week has been one of those… I was having computer problems on my new laptop earlier this week, and then all of a sudden, I had nothing.  It wouldn’t even turn on.  Wouldn’t you know, it was the week I chose to do my lesson plans early?  I had to call tech support, and after about fifteen minutes of holding, I was able to decipher the instructions that the foreign tech squad gave me.  Zilch.  Nada.  No change whatsoever.

 

After another thirty minutes on the phone, they determined that my motherboard was bad.  A tech representative will be coming out to fix it some time next week.  In the meantime, I have to  redo a week’s worth of lesson plans for three kids before Monday.  Why didn’t I print those lesson plans out right away?

 

Due to a meltdown in the electric box, we had no power most of the day on Tuesday.  It was raining, so we sat in the dark, cold trailer all afternoon while the electric box was being rewired.  Interesting.  I found myself wishing I had picked up a few more candles at the Bath and Body Works sale a few months ago. :)

 

All of my piano students had to reschedule for various reasons, too.  My week is all messed up!  I am very grateful, however, that the week is nearly over.  I am hoping to be back on board with my normal blog post schedule next week, but at this point, I am not holding my breath!  Life can be so interesting!

 

Well, the good news is that today is Mega Swagbucks Day again!  Some of you may have seen a few of the collector bills for Valentine’s Day while searching.  I finally got the last of the set, earning a special 14 Swagbuck bonus!  Yay!  There is still time to snag those bills – you have until Tuesday!  Happy Swagging…

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Challenge

Well, after a lot of thought and some financial maneuvering, I decided to challenge myself.  Yesterday, I signed up for Curves – you know the workout for women.  I’ve seen the franchise literally all over the USA, and since we travel a lot, it seemed like a good option for me.  I can go  for 30 minutes three times a week, and lose those extra pounds that I’m always griping about.  It was hard to admit that I can’t really do this on my own – I’m too weak.  I need some accountability. 

 

I’ve tried having a accountability partner before with weight loss, but none of my friends are mean enough.  They all say things like, “Well, it won’t hurt to have a little cake and ice cream.  Besides you deserve it.” What?  I deserve to look like a blimp on two legs?  Ok… on second thought, maybe my friends aren’t so nice after all! :)  I guess they don’t really want to say, “You stupid girl – don’t you know that triple death chocolate brownie you are eating is going to haunt you for the rest of your life?”  Yeah, I know, but they won’t say it, and I don’t really want to admit it.   So to console myself, I have another triple death chocolate brownie with a little ice cream to wash it down.

 

I have to break the cycle.  I have begun what I pray will be a breakthrough in my diet and way of life.  I could use the exercise – really who doesn’t need a little more exercise?  I am also hoping to meet some ladies in the area and use this as an opportunity to share the gospel.  This whole struggle with weight is a very personal, painful, and candid confession.  Please pray that I will stick with the challenge, and that there will be positive benefits in my life as a result of this step. 

 

I am asking you to keep me accountable.  I could use some encouragement, and I will try to update on any positive progress that I make during the next several months.  Those of you who need to step up and take the challenge to get fit, I am encouraging you now.  There’s no time like the present!  If you click here, you can sign up for a free week at Curves!

Monday, February 6, 2012

For the Cure?

Last week, I had a rather rude awakening while reading the news.  Apparently, The Susan Komen foundation has been playing a double game.  They decided to withdraw their funding of Planned Parenthood.  Did anyone else know about this alliance?  For the record, their funding was strictly to help provide mammograms and breast screenings through the PP clinics. 

For whatever reason, the Komen Foundation announced their decision to withdraw this funding from PP.  Planned Parenthood turned around and raised a firestorm of political pressure, asking all their supporters to donate (their estimated donations were $400,000) to help them fight this terrible crime of leaving low-income and minority women without health care.  They had a form letter on their website that you could print, sign and send to Komen.  Apparently, the response was so overwhelming that Komen caved under the pressure and agreed to eave the funding in place. 

I have several issues with this whole situation.  First of all, Planned Parenthood is a for-profit business.  They receive millions of dollars of donations each year from Bill Gates alone.  They are funded by government grants.  They conduct business and charge for procedures done.  They do not need Komen’s money.  However, Komen is trapped into this alliance because they have been accused of not caring about the health of women.  It was a dirty tactic, but we have come to expect that from the Planned Parenthood crowd.  Numerous Komen top officials have resigned over the whole matter, from the reports I have read. 

I was very angry when I found out about this whole fiasco.  Especially that Komen does not have the option of spending their money where they please without being strong-armed by a huge political force such as Planned Parenthood.  It just isn’t right.

While I appreciate Komen’s work to help women, I really wish they had not partnered themselves with a business whose main occupation is destroying life in the guise of giving women a choice.  Their money would better have been spent in giving mammogram screenings to women through private clinics or crisis pregnancy clinics.  However, there is nothing to be done about that decision now. 

I have in the past tried to buy “pink” in order to help cancer research through Komen.  I have friends who have raced “for the cure,” I have survivor friends, I have friends who are undergoing treatment for cancer right now.  At the risk of sounding heartless, I will not be buying any more “pink” products as long as Komen is badgered into supporting an industry that takes the life of unborn children while pretending to care about women.  It is the ultimate hypocrisy.  I cannot support Komen while they are politically blackmailed into this alliance.  I sent an e-mail to the foundation expressing my disappointment in their decision, and telling them that they would no longer have my support as long as they partner with Planned Parenthood.  While this may not be your decision, I ask you to think about making a phone call, sending a letter or email regarding this situation.  If Komen gets enough response from people like us, they may just go ahead and take the plunge next time, no matter what threats Planned Parenthood makes. 

Fight back for the cure…

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hand-me-downs

I have always been fortunate to be the recipient of hand-me-downs over the years.  I love passing things on to other people in turn.  My kids live in hand-me downs, and frankly, I’m glad that they can appreciate gently used clothing, shoes, and other things.  I love going to Goodwill and finding high quality clothes (although they do not technically count as hand-me-downs, since I have to buy them) for a very low price.

The other day, a friend passed along a bag of hand-me-downs that someone had passed on to her.   I had a lovely time trying on several articles of clothing that I would never buy, for various reasons (okay, leopard print just isn’t quite my thing!).  It was like a one-woman fashion show.  My ever-patient husband just watched, never voicing the thought that I knew was running through his mind: where are you going to store these clothes—your closet is already full!

Guilty!  I guess I am going to have to pass along a few of my own hand-me-downs in order to make room for the newest ones!  Anybody up for a few gently used clothes?  :)

By the way, don’t forget that today is Mega Swagbucks Day!  This month is Swagbucks’ fourth birthday and there are all kinds of special things going on over there.  If you have not signed up for Swagbucks yet, get started now!  You might want to check out the Braggable Bargains section – each day this month they are having a great sale on a different gift card in the Swag Store.  These gift cards are great birthday, anniversary, and even “me time” presents.  I love Swagbucks! Check it out here!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Political Hype

I am going to open a huge can of worms, here, I think, but what better to do with my time? :)  The other night, I was asked to participate in a short political survey.  I happily complied, for once able to give my opinion in a way that might matter.  The survey consisted of some general questions about my political leanings and which lousy candidate I was most likely to support.  Oops!  Did I say lousy?  Must have slipped out. 

Here is my biggest gripe.   I am a very conservative person, politically, and for the most part, I have been totally disenfranchised.  In the last election, none of the highly touted “conservative” candidates were even close to my political leanings.  In fact, my personal opinion is that our current President was put into office, because there was no significant political difference between him and the other candidate.  The lack of defining political poles caused people to vote for the more charismatic person, and sadly, McCain just didn’t cut the muster.  No surprise there—he’s been sitting on the political fence so long he couldn’t identify with the conservatives.  He was lagging so far behind in the preliminary polls that the higher-ups decided to pair him with Sarah Palin.  Then the ratings soared, but that was a total sham- even if they had won the election, the VP is nothing but a figure head, and has no real bearing on political matters, unless the President becomes incapacitated.  It irked me that so many conservatives wildly ran after the Republican bandwagon when they had been totally betrayed by the same Grand Old Party.

Does no one stand for anything anymore?  Are people afraid to take a stand and instead put up with whatever the GOP dishes out as the latest conservative candidate?  There are other options!  I personally decided to take my stand in the 2008 elections and vote for a third party candidate who had a firm grasp on the conservative principles that I hold dear.  Some who knew of this decision criticized me and told me that I was throwing away my vote, dividing the strong foundation of the GOP candidate, and so on.  If I had it to do over again, I would change nothing.  I would rather vote for someone who stood for what I believe and lose, than choose one of the “lesser of two, three, or even four evils” just to stay on good terms with “evangelical Christians” who are yellow-dog Republicans. 

Am I anti-Republican?  No.  I am however, strongly against those who proclaim themselves to be the next political Superman, and then disappoint us by being no different than the next guy.  So I am issuing a challenge.  Don’t swallow the party rhetoric—get out there, do some research of your own and form your own conclusions about each candidate.  Then get out there and vote!  Our freedoms are falling by the wayside while power-hungry wolves vie for political office. 

The reality is, the media controls the elections.  We all saw how they attacked McCain and Palin, while glorifying Obama.  More recently, they caused the withdrawal of another true conservative candidate. It worked.  It continues to work because people are largely uninformed about the candidates.  It is time that we stand up to the media and vote for what we really believe!  Now, it is unlikely that you will ever be in total agreement with any candidate, but there are several really good, conservative candidates that could be in the running for this year’s upcoming election.
I won’t continue – this blog is not a political one.  However, it is one of my great concerns, and I wanted to voice my opinion.  Don’t be afraid to step out and fight the current.  If enough people fight the current, we can turn the tide!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Step on the Scale

Okay – I admit it.  One of my eternal resolutions, at least for the last several years, is to shed a few (well, probably more than a few) pounds.  I have tried several diets, some with more success than others, but all to no avail in the end.  It can be really discouraging to struggle with weight for extended periods of time—especially when you know that if you really applied yourself, you could actually lose that unwanted flab. 

 

I have recently begun to chip away at the excess poundage by eating smaller portions and a bit of daily exercise – walking, a few squats and crunches – you know.  As I was thinking about the process of how I got to where I am physically, I could break it down into little choices every day.  Snacking between meals, eating a little too much here and there, eating late at night.  It all adds up over time, and as the body stores the fat, it becomes harder to eliminate it.

 

There is a verse that has always made me smile.  It says, “The liberal soul shall be made fat.”   As I thought about that, it occurred to me that God was putting that in a positive light.  How does one get a fat soul?  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It comes from feeding on the Word of God regularly, from “snacking” between those meals, from taking an extra bite here and there, eating a little bit from my husband’s plate, feasting on rich things late at night, etc.  I think you get the point.  All those little extra bites of God’s Word turn into nourishment for the soul.  It stores up in your heart and, during the lean times of your life, your soul can still feed on those stored up riches.

 

While I am determined to rid myself of the excess pounds I have put on over the last several years, I also want to become fat spiritually.  As I hope to see my bathroom scale moving down, I want to see my spiritual scale going up.  How are you?  Are you starving yourself spiritually, or are you on your way to being truly fat?  Take a little time to have some extra spiritual nourishment this week, and let it enrich your life!