Monday, July 28, 2008

Meal Planner Monday: Ham, Potato and Green Bean Soup

This is a very easy and healthy mid-summer harvest kind of supper that mom would always serve this time of year... Cut up fresh green beans, potatoes and lean ham and place in stock pot, cover with water. Season with onion (minced is best) and black pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until vegetables are tender. I serve it with fresh bread and either applesauce or corn-on-the-cob. Yummm!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Some Operation Christmas Child Box Ideas

Besides the really cheap school items that you can pick up right now at Walmart, Staples, Office Max, etc., it is a good time to find T-shirts and flip-flops on clearance - a couple more great ideas for the Operation Christmas Child Boxes. In addition, there is a printable coupon for Johnson's Buddies soap. These can be found at CVS, Walmart and other stores for $.94-$.99. So, with the coupon, you can get 2 for's the link if you are interested.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Christmas in July

I was reading one of my favorite blogs and I was reminded in a post from a humble and gracious reader (which you can read here) that now is the time to stock up on school supply items for the Operation Christmas Child boxes. I think most of you reading my blog have heard about the Operation Christmas Child ministry, but if you have not, you can read more about it here. I love participating in this ministry but (because of the time that is required to ship them to the various destinations) the drop off dates are usually before I am in "Christmas" mode and it sneaks up on me...this year I'm going to be ready!!! I am already excited!
And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But just as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us--see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what he does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need.
II Corinthians 8:1-14

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

2nd Annual Girls Weekend

Last weekend I met up with 3 college girlfriends (Cari, Jenny and Amy) down in Lebanon, OH. We had a good time talking and hanging out just like we used to do. On Saturday we went to the antique & craft shops in Waynesville, OH. We also enjoyed a treat of ice cream (twice!). Can you believe it's been 12 years since we graduated from GCC?!?

New Cell Phones

We finally switched to Verizon Wireless. We were able to get a 2-year plan for equivalent minutes at $10 less a month, thanks to a discount through my employer. Unfortunately, we only got a small discount on the phones (LG enV2 & LG VX8350) so the costs will just about even out. Hopefully we will have better service and no longer have to deal with reception issues! (Our phone numbers are the same.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Meal Planner Monday: Kielbasa in Tomato Sauce

I like to make this recipe in the summertime with fresh corn-on-the-cob, applesauce and homemade bread... 3 lbs turkey kielbasa 12 oz can tomato sauce 1/2 cup ketchup 3 Tbsp sweet relish 3 Tbsp worchestershire sauce 3 Tbsp brown sugar 1-2 sweet Vidalia onions 2-3 peppers (green, yellow, red) Slice kielbasa. Simmer in sauce for 1 hour. Add vegetables and cook until vegetables are tender. (You can also cook it in the crockpot.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Our Family Vacation to Gettysburg

We got home yesterday from our vacation to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
We were there over the Independence Day weekend and got to experience the 145th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
There were about 13,000 reenactors there for the celebration. We had tickets for the reenactment on Saturday. It was awesome! The field was permeated with Union and Confederate brigades, horses and canons. There was an added realistic element of fear when one of the horses got spooked and ran full speed across the field without its rider. These soldiers really are serious and also make sacrifices to do this - they stopped the reenactment a couple of times for medical emergencies - it's very easy to get dehydrated and suffer heat exhaustion in a head-to-toe wool uniform. It really makes you appreciate the high price that some have paid for our freedom. My videos did not turn out as well as I had hoped because I was not able to zoom in enough but there are some good videos on YouTube if you search under "Gettysburg 145th reenactment".
They also had a "living history" area where the reenactors really live like they did in the 1860s. I loved talking with the reenactors - you really get to learn a lot. I learned about the Sanitary Commission, the Christian Commission and how they first started embalming the dead soldiers, just to name a few things. We also attended a Tent Revival church service on Saturday evening.
Monday and Tuesday Mike went golfing with my dad and my brother. You can see the back of our house at the edge of the golf course in this picture. We stayed at a rental home owned by Dale Gallon, a local artist who does civil war paintings. Mom, Kerby and I went into town, walked through the shops and toured the Shriver House while they were golfing.
Other highlights from the week include:
-Getting our pictures taken in period clothing with Mom, Dad, Kerby and Jason (Mike looks so cute as a soldier boy)
-Touring the museum at the new Visitor's Center (excellent!)
-Taking the auto tour and stopping at Devil's Den and Little Round Top and watching the kids climb on the rocks and the canons
-Adventure golf, billiards, Charades, the dice game, Uno, and watching Josiah and "Poppa" have pretend battles with Josiah's soldier men
-Driving around Adams County and visiting a winery and some orchards (I got some cherries and made a yummy pie yesterday)
-And, of course, just spending time with my family and having fun with the kids...
This is all of us together in the house:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Frugal Friday: My CVS Trip Broken Down

This is a quick post as we will be on our way to Gettysburg Friday morning with my family for vacation. This week was not my best at CVS but I did 3 transactions, so I thought I would use this as an example of how the CVS thing works. I know it is hard to get used to but the trick is to buy things that you may not need to get what you will use or need. So, here it is... I started with $2 in ECB (Extra Care Bucks) Transaction #1 CVS After Shave Lotion $2.59 Bic Soleil Razor $6.99 Mascara $7.99 -$2 coupon for the after shave from the internet -$4 coupon for the razor from newspaper -$3/$15 CVS coupon -$2 in ECB So, I spent $7.29 (not that great but bear with me) - I got $1 & $7.99 in ECB back... Transaction #2 CVS Bandaids $1.99 CVS Hair color $6.29 Soleil Razor refill $6.99 -$1 in ECB from above -$7.99 in ECB from above -$3/$15 CVS coupon -$2 printable coupon for the Soleil refills Total after coupons & ECB = $1.51 (And I got $5, $1.99 and $2 in ECB back) Transaction #3 Excedrin Back & Body $4.79 -$1.99 in ECB -$2 in ECB from above Total paid in cash = $.86 I didn't get any more ECB back but I have a rebate to mail in to get the $4.79 back. so the grand total is... $10.36 paid in cash -$4.79 that I will get back in the rebate -gain of $3 in ECB (I still have $5 from above) = $2.57 actually "spent" for all the above stuff and most of it we will use at some point even though we didn't actually "need" it right now - anything we can't use, we will find someone that can. So, that's how CVS works. Unfortunately, in July there are not very many deals on the ECB (which was one of the reasons why I went ahead and did the Excedrin rebate instead of saving it for later)... Everyone have fun celebrating our nation's independance day! Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Follow-up on You Are What You Eat

Since we don't have cable, I forgot about the new show that I saw on Food Network when we were visiting Steve and Amy last month. It is called "Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger." So for some inspiring healthy recipes and to get your taste buds craving some foods that are good for your body, you may want to check out the link on the Food Network website here, or tune in to her show. (I think it is on Saturday afternoons.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

You are what you eat

Mike and I do not watch many movies (and only a few are worthy of mention in my opinion). However, Mike does go to the library about once a week when our cable is off (about February through August) to get some DVDs to watch over his lunch break. Lately we have been watching the "Little House on the Prairie" series. But, this week we watched "Super-Size Me" (2004). It was a very compelling documentary on the negative health effects of a fast-food diet and the fast-food culture that we live in. As an experiment, Morgan Spurlock spent 30 days eating only McDonald's food and his health declined so much it even amazed the doctors. We all know that fast-food is not healthy but this was just incredible!!! And to think about the message that is (seemingly subtly) being sent to our kids..."Happy Meals," the kinds of school lunches they serve now with all the pre-packaged unhealthy foods, taking away recess and gym class... When you really think about it, you have to ask...What are we doing?...Is God pleased with this?...If not, then what are we to do?... I Cor. 6:19-20 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body."