Saturday, May 31, 2008

Practicing What I Preach

I got my Tdap shot this week. My arm was a bit sore the first night and I was a little tired and had a headache yesterday (but it also could have been my allergies - they have been worse the past couple weeks than earlier in the spring).
If you are not aware of this new tetanus shot please read about pertussis and the Tdap vaccine here, here and here.
Adults should have a tetanus shot every 10 years but even if it has been less than 10 years since your last one, you can still get the Tdap (mine was 8 years ago) so that you get a booster on the pertussis as well. Any adolescent/adult (up to age 64 years) should be getting this vaccine, but especially if you are a health care worker, or parent/caregiver of an infant or young child.
Why is it important?
1. To protect yourself against tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). Pertussis is quite common whether you realize it or not. (I can attest to this since I do the follow-up on the communicable disease reports for the health department.) In an adult, the illness generally appears as a "bad cough" but this cough can last weeks or even months and can be severe enough to break ribs. (Not something I would like to experience if I can help it, thank you.) Medication (such as antibiotics or cough medicine) will not help alleviate the symptoms. Antibiotics only decrease the severity of the illness if given before symptoms start or at the very beginning of the symptoms which usually does not happen because in the early phase of the illness symptoms mimic the common cold.
2. To protect infants and young children. Pertussis is especially serious for young babies. It takes usually 3 doses of the Dtap vaccine for babies to build up protection. So, babies under 6 months are especially vulnerable to the disease. The illness is most severe in babies under 1 year old and about half of these infants need to be hospitallized because of complications. Babies are most often infected by adults (parents or other caregivers) who have symptoms but probably did not go to the doctor to get diagnosed.
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Do you have children? Do you have grandchildren, nieces or nephews? Do you babysit infants or young children? Do you serve in the nursery at church? Do you have any other type of contact with infants and young children? Please consider getting vaccinated!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Frugal Friday

My advice for today's Frugal Friday post for anyone looking for ways to save money is to cancel your cable TV. Most of us would agree that cable TV is not worth the money and is not really adding any quality to our life, but few of us follow through on getting rid of our cable TV. Somehow we think that we need it or that it is just an expected part of our household/utilities budget. Since Mike wants to have cable TV during football season what we do is cancel our cable TV in the spring (usually February) and then resubscribe in the fall. We usually are able to get the introductory offer for around $20 a month (for 6 months). Each spring it is a little adjustment when the TV goes blank (we get no reception through rabbit ears) but soon we realize again that (at least I) really prefer not having TV. It is generally quieter and I tend to do more productive things in our free time, like reading or playing a game together. We can get almost anything (like news or portions of TV shows) off the internet if there is something special we are watching for. Also, we check out movies from the public library for our entertainment. At around $50 a month, even 6 months of no cable TV through the year will save $300. Ways that we have saved money specifically this week: 1) We had a date night using coupons and gift cards for both the Olive Garden and Cold Stone Creamery. The only OOP (out-of-pocket) cost was $5 toward the tip at the Olive Garden. 2) We wanted to get a folding camp chair for our vacation this summer. With CVS ExtraCare Bucks, we got one, (along with a bottle of French's mustard and box of Tums) for $1.32 OOP. 3) I finally reached the Buehlers reward and got my $10 gift card to use toward groceries next month. 4) When we found out the local Christian bookstore, the Carpenter Shop (unfortunately) was going out of business today we rushed out to use Mike's $25 gift certificate on Tuesday before it was invalid. (I couldn't bear to think about $25 just going to waste.) Mike deserves the "Frugal Friday" award for getting 2 t-shirts and a Christmas gift (for someone in our family so I can't say what it is) for $.06 OOP (out-of-pocket = the difference after the gift certificate)!!! Way to go, honey !!! I am proud !!! And for the monthly total on our grocery/household items budget... CVS $12.82 Rite Aid $9.08 Drug Mart $6.99 Aldi $15.07 Buehlers $26.88 Hawkins $19.35 Kroger $6.58 Walmart $41.85 Rebates: $2.99, $4.99, 5.99 Total after rebates = $124.65 What about you - did you find any good deals this week???

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lord, Give Us Clean Hands, Give Us Pure Hearts

Give Us Clean Hands Lyrics Artist: Chris Tomlin We bow our hearts We bend our knees Oh Spirit come make us humble We turn our eyes From evil things Oh Lord we cast down our idols So give us clean hands and give us pure hearts Let us not lift our souls to another Oh give us clean hands and give us pure hearts Let us not lift our souls to another Oh God let this be a generation that seeks Who seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob Oh God let us be a generation that seeks Who seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob Video: (listen to the song) http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=72db8f68a1bf8b46afd8 or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_snhroF1Cw pure (from http://www.dictionary.reference.com/) –adjective, pur·er, pur·est. 1. free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter: pure gold; pure water. 2. unmodified by an admixture; simple or homogeneous. 3. of unmixed descent or ancestry: a pure breed of dog. 4. free from foreign or inappropriate elements: pure Attic Greek. 5. clear; free from blemishes: pure skin. 6. (of literary style) straightforward; unaffected. 8. without any discordant quality; clear and true: pure tones in music. 9. absolute; utter; sheer: to sing for pure joy. 10. being that and nothing else; mere: a pure accident. 11. clean, spotless, or unsullied: pure hands. 12. untainted with evil; innocent: pure in heart. 13. physically chaste; virgin. 14. ceremonially or ritually clean. 15. free of or without guilt; guiltless.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"What is it?" Wednesday

Yes, I was a biology major in college but I did not have a single class in plant morphology. I would like to learn more about plants and gardening so I thought it would be fun to ask if anyone knows what kind of trees these are. I took these picture here at the seminary a couple weeks ago. Sorry I can't give any hints because I "have no clue" literally. All I know is that they would be "conifers" and it appears to me that each is a different species.
#1
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#3

Monday, May 26, 2008

Meal Planner Monday: Homemade Pizza

Well, I have learned that everyone has different preferences when it comes to pizza, so I am going to share the 3 recipes that I use (depending on how much time I have and what sounds good) and then all of you are welcome to share your recipes...

Easy Cheese Pizza (I make this one most often because it works so well for weeknights when I have only 30-60 minutes when I get home from work to have dinner ready for Mike.)

1 loaf frozen Rhodes bread dough

1 jar pizza sauce

2 cups cheese (mozzarella, pizza-blend, colby-jack...whatever you prefer)

Take the bread dough out of the freezer and place in greased pan covered with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 5-8 hours (I take it out in the morning before work). Then after work all I have to do is pre-heat the oven, spread the dough out on a greased pizza pan and spread the sauce on top. Top with the cheese halfway through baking. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. (You can add other toppings or sprinkle with seasonings, such as Italian seasoning.)

Mom's Pizza Dough (Mom, if this isn't right, correct me...)

1 package rapid rise yeast

1 cup very warm water

1 tsp sugar

Dissolve yeast in the above ingredients (about 10 minutes). Slowly stir in 2 Tbsp. oil, a sprinkle of salt and 3-3 1/3 cups flour (start with 1 cup at a time until you have a soft dough). Knead until smooth and elastic. Cover. Let rest 10 min. Lightly oil pizza pan. Add sauce, cheese, and toppings as you prefer. Bake 350 for 30 minutes.

Deep Dish Chicago Style (I really like this recipe but of the 3, it requires the most prep time and it is not "low-fat")

http://members.cox.net/jjschnebel/ddishpiz.html

Several months ago our neighbors had a fun party where they had lots of pizza dough mixed up and bowls of all kinds of different toppings: mini meatballs, herbs, ham, pineapple, sausage, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, peppers, hot peppers, you name it. It was fun "creating" your own specialty pizza. I would like to try making a "gourmet" pizza sometime but Mike likes just the cheese pizza. So...what about you?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Homecoming

Dr. L. Richard Knapp
June 12, 1919 - May 18, 2008
We were back home in Greenville with my family last week for Dick's visiting hours and funeral. It was a beautiful service with many bittersweet tears - I say bittersweet because we will miss him dearly and because we also know he is now "at home" with his Saviour in his "new body" (as my niece and nephew have been talking about). He was a wonderful man who touched many lives. Family and friends gave testimonies of his life at the funeral service. My parents and siblings also wrote out some special memories of him for my grandma. These are some of them:
My earliest memories of Dick were when I was a little girl going to the dentist. His office was on the 2nd floor in a building downtown. I remember it like it was just the other day. Then 17 years ago (after grandpa died), Grandma and Dick got married. It was then that he grew to become a special part of our family. He had such a unique personality, one that made him the best “step-grandpa” I could have ever asked for…
- his jolly hello every time we would see him - his humble heart that made us feel so special
- his sweet love for my grandma (kissing her on the cheek, giving her little love taps, having the nurses call her each day he was in the hospital so they could "check on her", etc) - his sense of humor that always made us laugh (the last time we saw him we were out to dinner and his meat was under-cooked and he asked the waitress if it was still alive - with a chuckle)
- having fun joking and playing games with the family (like "Hillbilly golf")
- his hearty chuckle at dad’s jokes - his kind spirit - he never spoke badly about anyone or anything - his polite, gentleman actions - his compliments of mom’s cooking ("mmm, that's tasty") - his grateful attitude of anything we gave him or did for him
- having some kind of bond with us whether it be Grove City College or his hunting camp in Elk Country (Bennezett, PA) or something else
- his interest in Corvettes (especially because Jason worked at the plant)
- his desire to always learn more whether it be geography, history, science etc
- how he would get excited about little things like "soup" or Arby's
- his love for Jesus (he had my grandma read scripture aloud each day when he no longer could)
- the twinkle in his eye which brightened up the room I wish I could capture each moment in my mind because we will surely miss you, Dick !!! Our family won’t be quite the same without you…we look forward to being united with you again someday...I can only imagine what it will be like to be there in the presence of Jesus...in our eternal home !!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Meal Planner Monday: Salmon Loaf and Creamed Peas

My goals for planning our dinners are: low-fat/healthy, relatively quick & easy, inexpensive (I try to keep it under $5 including what is left-over for a lunch or 2nd dinner.), and pleasing to Mike's taste-buds...now, that's a challenge! But...it is possible, so I thought I would share some of my recipes and meal plans that meet those criteria. Maybe you'll find one that you like and want to try yourself... This one does not please Mike's taste buds. I'll never forget soon after we got married I made this for dinner, a little naive thinking that Mike would eat it and then a bit surprised when he actually refused to eat any (it's become a joke now that I'm convinced I'll never get him to try salmon again)...so now I just make it on a night when he has left-overs or a night when he won't be home for dinner - which is not often, even though I think it's pretty yummy. Salmon Loaf (I cut the recipe in 1/2 and bake for less time) (This is a picture of a salmon loaf from the internet. It is a slightly different recipe, but it's a prettier presentation than what my dinner looks like. ) 2 cans salmon, drained, liquid reserved 2 large eggs (can use egg substitute) about 1 cup low-fat or skim milk 3 cups coarse cracker crumbs 3 medium chopped green onions 2 Tbsp lemon juice 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper Heat oven to 350 degrees. (It says to grease loaf pan, but I don't) Mix salmon and eggs in large bowl. Add enough milk to reserved salmon liquid to measure 1 1/2 cups. Stir in liquid mixture and remaining ingredients. Spoon into pan. Bake about 45 minutes or until center is set. Green peas in white sauce Melt 2 Tbsp margarine in saucepan over low heat. Stir in 2 Tbsp flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve over peas. This is a great recipe for June when there are green onions and peas fresh from the garden. Estimated cost: Approximately $2 for 4 servings (1/2 recipe) (assuming sale or Walmart/Aldi prices)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Recommended Reading

Marriage is one of God's great gifts. After 4 years of marriage I would say that Mike and I have a pretty good marriage, but, I find myself always wanting to make it better (maybe it is the perfectionist in me). The sin of selfishness can lead me to get caught up with what my husband is doing or not doing to make me happy, and I sometimes focus too much on striving for that "ideal marriage" that I picture in my mind. I recently began reading the book entitled: Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? by Gary Thomas I have found that this book reminds me that although striving to improve our marriage is not bad, the more important thing is my relationship with God (striving to know Him better, to trust Him more fully, and to love Him more deeply). And, whether a marriage is delightful or difficult, any situation that calls us to confront our own sinfulness has enormous spiritual value. From the back cover of the book..."Scores of books have been written that offer guidance for building the marriage of your dreams. But what if God's primary intent for your marriage isn't to make you happy...but holy? And what if your relationship isn't as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?" From p. 26: "This is a book that looks and points beyond marriage. Spiritual growth is the main theme; marriage is simply the context."

So, if you are searching for a book on marriage, I recommend this one.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Check this out...

They showed this video at church yesterday...

video

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Blessings!!!

We got our economic stimulus tax rebate check yesterday!! It was direct deposited. Too bad for the economy that it went into our savings towards a down-payment on a house (unless we end up buying a house in the next few months then I guess it served its purpose). Here are a couple links if you are wondering when and how much you can expect: To find out how much to expect: http://www.irs.gov/app/espc/ To find out when you will receive it: http://www.irs.gov/irs/article/0,,id=180250,00.html Also, it is another gorgeous spring day in Ashland!! Here are a few pictures that I took of the blooming trees around the seminary last Sunday (they are even more beautiful in person)...
Awesome! God is so good!!!
James 1:16-17 "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

Friday, May 9, 2008

Pizza Frenzy?!?!?

Several of the blogs that I like to read have a "Frugal Friday" post, so this is my 1st attempt for my very own "Frugal Friday" post: Sometimes a deal is not a deal... Unless you live in the Cleveland area you probably didn't hear about the deal that Papa John's had going yesterday. In an effort to make peace with Cleveland Cavs fans Papa John's was offering $.23 large one-topping pizzas all day yesterday. (You can read more about the background of this here, if you are interested.) So, that was the menu for dinner last night. I did try calling early in the afternoon to see if I could put an order in for pickup after work, however, I kept getting a busy signal. So, I thought I would just stop out right after work. If I had to wait an hour or so that would be OK. Mike later informed me that a co-worker's wife went out in the afternoon and the line was down the block, and "that's only to put your order in" !!! Pick-up would be 3 hours later!!!! Since Mike had his interview I needed to have dinner ready by 5:30...that wasn't gonna work!!! So, I figured I would just swing over to Little Caesar's and pick up their $5 pizza. Again, no such luck! When I went in to their store, I was informed they were almost out of cheese and wouldn't be taking any more orders and would be closing soon!! (It seems that 1/2 of Ashland had the same idea.) Mike said to try somewhere else. I would have settled for leftovers, but by now he had his mind set on pizza (He even offered to pay with his "birthday money.") When it was all said and done, (another 2 pizza shops later) I drove home with a pizza for $10.49! Not such a great deal, but...my dear husband was happy and had a full belly in time for his interview. On the flip side...I was able to get a free Cinnabon earlier in the week for "Nurses Week" and a purse-size bottle of Clinique Happy!! And...I was able to stay under my grocery goal for this week: Rite Aid = $6.39 ($5.99 rebate), Hawkins Market = $5.16, CVS = $1.66 and Walmart $10.84...total $18.06 after rebate. Yay! Finally, here are some "deals" that I've seen advertised for mom on Mother's Day: - Free cup or cone at TCBY - Free like-it size ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Life-giving blood

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing pow’r? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
As my thoughts have been on Dick a lot the last few days, I began meditating on “blood” and how vital it is to our bodies. Incorporating my understanding of anatomy and physiology with scripture I have been meditating on the following: -Blood functions to transport oxygen from the lungs to the cells of the body and carbon dioxide from the cells to the lungs. It also carries nutrients, heat and waste products as well as hormones. The blood also regulates pH and water content of the cells. Lastly, specialized cells (ie: white blood cells, antibodies) in the blood protect the body against foreign microbes and toxins. -A blood test is often the first type of testing a doctor will order to screen or make a diagnosis on a patient. It is amazing how many different things can now be measured in a blood sample as an indication of what is going on in the body as a whole. -The Red Cross slogan is “Give Blood. Give life.” -The Bible stresses the intimate relationship between blood and life:
Gen 9:4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.”
Ex 12: 7, 13 “Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs…The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”

Lev. 17:11 “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”

Matt. 26: 27-28 “Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

John 6:56-57 “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.”

Heb 9:22 “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

I Peter 1:18-19 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

I John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

Mike writes:

In our culture today when we think of death and dying we think of the brain and the heart...one of them stopped working. In the days of Moses they had a different perspective. Life was based on blood and breathing. When God created Adam, he "breathed" life into him (Gen.2:7) and Jesus on the cross "breathed" His last breath (Mark 15:37). Leviticus 19:17 tells us that we are not to do anything which endangers our neighbor's life (NIV). A more direct translation from Hebrew would be to not do anything which endangers our neighbor's blood...showing how much Moses connected blood with life. John in his Gospel tells us at the crucifixion and death of Jesus was a loss of blood (19:34). So, in the Bible blood was often equated with life as seen in Creation, Levitical Laws, all the way through Jesus and Paul. Remember this the next time you take communion...when Jesus says, "This is my blood" (Mark 14:24) it is so much more than that. It is a representation of what sustained Him, now sustains us!

Sad news

We received some sad news earlier this week. My grandmother’s husband, Dick, was diagnosed with pre-leukemia almost 2 years ago. Because of his age (he will be 89 in June), they decided against aggressive treatments. He had been on medication and when his hemoglobin levels dropped below 10 gm/dL he would receive a blood transfusion. The blood transfusions were a great boost to his energy level. And in fact, he just recently returned from a 2-week trip to Atlanta to visit his family. But, we knew that eventually the pre-leukemia condition would progress into leukemia at which point blood transfusions would no longer “work” and he would continue to get weaker and weaker. This is what has been happening over the last week or so. The last blood transfusion did not bring his hemoglobin level up like the others have. His blood counts are quite low and will only continue to drop at this point. We understand that his time left on this earth is very short - maybe a few weeks, maybe only a few days. So the past few days, our thoughts have been on Dick as he nears his eternal home in the glorious presence of Jesus.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Got milk? To mix or not to mix...

Since I am learning to find ways to be more frugal and cut down on the grocery bill I thought I would do some calculations to find out if mixing dry milk is more economical than buying milk by the gallon. Mom used to do this when we were kids but I wanted to find out if this is still economical with current prices. (I know dry milk is much more expensive now.)
This is what I calculated at Aldi: 64 oz box of dry milk = $12.99 (this makes 5 gallons of milk according to the directions) but the price at Aldi for 1 gallon of milk TODAY is $2.59 so...
it figures out to be exactly the same price!!!
However, at Walmart prices which I believe are still over $3 a gallon here, the dry milk from Aldi would be cheaper. So really, it depends on where you will be buying the milk and, oh yes, the HF ("husband factor") too. Mike gave me a little wrinkled up nose face when I told him about mixing milk. So for me, for now, I will just plan out my milk purchases at the cheaper stores and hopefully also when it is on sale (Kroger's ad this week is 2/$5 which Walmart will match) and maybe revisit it again later...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Welcome!!!

I am just learning how to do this "blog" stuff so I hope to make some changes to the lay out by adding sections and then eventually post some pictures. Mike has also created a blog "A Journey of Faith" - mcatanzarito.blogspot.com (I will add the direct link when I figure how to do that!!) Thanks for stopping by and please come back !!!