Thursday, October 30, 2008

Frugal Friday

I went to a craft show last Saturday here in town. It's wasn't really frugal since I did buy a couple things for of the things that I bought was a bundle of bittersweet (pictured above) for $2 which I hope will dry to keep past this fall season...hmm, if I had my own yard I would consider growing it to sell. I did get a couple really cool craft ideas which I can't share now because it may give away a Christmas gift.
I thought these were some pretty good deals this week...
Chicken leg quarters $.79/lb
Pork roast $1.68/lb
Red Potatoes, 5 lb $2.98
Kroger (I did comp pricing at Walmart for milk and strawberries)
1/2 gallon milk 10/$10
Whole boneless pork loin $1.77/lb
Strawberries 1lb clamshell 2/$5
Organic salad $2.99
Kotex pads or tampons $3 - $3 rebate = Free
GE Power Strip $5 - $5 rebate = Free
Oral B Artica Toothbrush $2.49 - $2.49 rebate = Free
GE Indoor extension cord $2 - $2 rebate = Free
Adidas deodorant, body wash or spray $3.99-$ 3 = $.99
Brita pitcher or replacement filters $14.99 - $5 = $9.99
There are also some decent deals using coupons at Walmart. This link will give you the whole list. (Our Walmart prices are not always the same as what is listed here, but it is still usually a pretty good deal) Also, there is a good Progresso soup $1.10/1 coupon here.
As far as Halloween candy goes...if you didn't get any (like those of us without kids) or want more, Walmart marks all of the Halloween candy 1/2 off the next day...if you are trying to get rid of the Trick-or-Treat candy, you can take it in to Dr. Gregg and get paid up to $5 for it - now that's frugal and good for your health!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Movie: Come What May

There is a free screening on GodTube October 27-29. I just found out about it so I haven't watched it (only the trailer), but this review praises the movie for "presenting solid legal arguments against the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision while captivating audiences with an engaging storyline that is both entertaining and thought-provoking." There is more information and the link to watch the movie here. Check it out!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Uncertain Times (Part II)

I found last week's sermon at Grace very fitting for this topic. You can listen to it on the church website at the following link:
Mark 9:1-13
Sermon Notes:
1. Jesus is a unique person. (John 7:37-38; 8:12; 10:9-10, 27-30; 11:25-26; 14:6, Matthew 11:28-30, John 3:16)
2. Jesus has the ultimate perspective. (John 8:58, Mark 8:34-36; Luke 12:15, Matthew 6:19-34, Hebrews 7:24-25; 13:8)
3. Jesus has an unstoppable plan. (Revelation 21:1-5; Matthew 25:23; II Corinthians 4:16; II Peter 1:16-19)
Psalm 33 - 1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. 2 Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. 3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. 4 For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. 5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. 6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. 10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. 11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. 13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; 14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth- 15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. 16 No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. 17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. 18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. 20 We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. 21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. 22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Meal Planner Monday: Fall Favorites - Haystacks

I made these over the weekend for our ABF Harvest Party/Hayride (except we ended up not going). I think they are kind of "fall-ish" and make a fun thing to take to a fall party.
My recipe is:
Melt 12 oz butterscotch or milk chocolate chips (or mixture of both), Mix in 1 cup peanuts, 6 oz chow mein noodles. Drop onto wax paper.
There are variations on the internet using pretzel sticks, white chocolate, dark chocolate, peanut butter or coconut. There is also a recipe from Weight Watchers using Fiber One cereal which would make these fall treats quite healthy.
By the way...Mike informed me about this promotion during the World Series...there are free crunchy beef tacos at Taco Bell tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/28) 2-6 pm!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Frugal Friday: Saving on your Heating Bill

Just about everyone has turned their heat on around here. (Our friends who are still holding out on turning their heat on said that it was 50 degrees in their house the other morning - yikes, now that's frugal). We are very blessed that we do not have to pay for our heat or utilities but I am still trying to get us both accustomed to keeping the thermastat turned down. I'm no expert on this topic so I've posted some links for saving on your heating bill this winter (hopefully these are all reliable sources, if anyone is an expert on this and you see something that is wrong here, please let me know)... 12 ways to fight soaring heating bills (from msn money website) Heat & cool efficiently (from Energy Star website) Ask Mr. Electricity: Saving Money on Heating How to save money on heating bills (from eHow website) Cut your heating costs and save money this winter (from Good Housekeeping website)
I have not done much shopping this week, just a few of the basics pretty much. Here are the best deals that I found for the week... Hawkins Boneless pork loin or chops $1.98/lb Hunt's ketchup (24 oz) $1.39 Bauman's apples (3 lb bag) 2/$5 Buehlers Grapefruit 5 lb bag $3.99 Ohio Grown Apples 10 lb bag $6.99 RiteAid Crest ProHealth toothpaste $3.19 - $3.19 rebate = Free CVS Colgate MaxFresh toothpaste $2.99 - $2 = $.99 G.U.M. Toothbrush 2 pk. $3.99 - $3.99 = Free Powerade 32 oz $1.69 - $1.69 = Free Kleenex $.89 (cold & flu season is coming) L'eggs pantyhose Buy 1 get 1 50% off And, finally, the most exciting thing for us this week was that Mike got a "bag of crap" from you are not familiar with this, it is a basically a mystery bag of items for $6 and it is not easy to get because the items are worth a lot more than $6 - it sells out very quickly - some have even reported recieving a big screen TV! Now I am not promoting the idea of just accumulating more stuff - I'm hoping that it is something that we can sell off on ebay for a profit...
...I'll let you know what is in the mystery bag when it arrives...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Uncertain Times (Part I)

We all know the economy is struggling. Mike & I received our quarterly retirement statements last week and it sure wasn't pretty (and we're not talking huge investments either). The presidential election is only 2 weeks away, and we have, dare I say, the most liberal presidential candidate ever running in this election. So many people supporting him with his ideas to take a "woman's right to abortion" to the extreme in support of leaving a newborn unwanted baby to die, to "spread the wealth around" (a.k.a "socialism"), more and more dependancy on government, and who knows what his religious views are or even if he is proud to be an American citizen. All because people say they want "change." I fear what may lie ahead for our nation. This article describes a historian's concept for the rise and fall of a democracy. I can see how things very much may be headed in this direction. But, I do know that whatever the future holds for our country that...
God IS in control....
And we now, more than ever, need to be on our knees in prayer, pleading to God for our nation. I would encourage you, if you haven't already, to research the candidates & the issues, not only for U.S. President but also state/local politicians, and encourage others to do the same through sources such as Fox News, Ohio Round Table or Focus on the Family's Citizenlink, (including the Newsletter from Dr. Dobson & "Values Voter Guide") so that as many as possible especially other Christians can be educated on the real issues/facts here and not just vote blindly on a surface notion... Ok, enough talk on politics and the economy (I am not one to be interested in those things but I do think we need to take the current events seriously right now)... I want to share an excellent book which I think will be a source of encouragement during these uncertain times, because it is a study on God's sovereignty.... I recently started reading "Trusting God" by Jerry Bridges (Mike has already finished it.) This is a great book to accompany your Bible reading...
Excerpts from Chapter 1:

"Yet it is just as important to trust God as it is to obey Him. When we disobey God we defy His authority and despise His holiness. But when we fail to trust God we doubt His sovereignty and question His goodness."


"In order to trust God, we must always view our adverse circumstances through the eyes of faith, not of sense."


"Rather than being offended over the Bible's assertion of God's sovereignty in both good and calamity, believers should be comforted by it. Whatever our particular calamity or adversity may be, we may be sure that our Father has a loving purpose in it"


"It was for Jesus in His humanity a calamity sufficient to cause Him to pray, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me' (Matthew 26:39) but He did not waver in His assertion of God's sovereign control."


"Jesus Himself affirmed God's sovereignty in calamity when Pilate said to Him, 'Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?' Jesus replied, 'You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above' (John 19:10-11)"


I was hoping that the sermon entitled "Voices in the Chaos" from this past Sunday would be posted on our church website but it is not on there yet so I will post Part II when it is available for listening...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Meal Planner Monday: Fall Favorites - Squash & Apple Bake

2 lbs butternut squash
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted 1 Tbsp flour 1 tsp salt 2 tart apples
---- Butter a 2- to 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Heat oven to 350°. Peel, seed, and cut squash into small slices. Core the apples, peel, and cut into thin slices. Toss squash and apples together. Transfer squash and apple slices to the prepared baking dish. Combine brown sugar, flour, salt; cut in butter with fork or pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over sliced squash and apples. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350° for 50 to 60 minutes, or until squash is tender. Note: a similar recipe on the internet added 1/4 tsp nutmeg & 1/4 tsp cinnamon with 1/2 cup brown sugar instead of 1/4 cup. Hint: They say that if you pierce the skin & place the squash in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes it will become soft and easier to cut.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Beach Wedding!

I'm back. Mike and I made it home Wednesday late afternoon, after an 8-day trip to beautiful Gulf Coast Florida for my brother, Jason and his fiancee, Kerby's wedding. (only about 3 1/2 of those days were actually spent in Florida, the rest of the time was spent travelling)...
Here are some (well, lots of) pictures & highlights...
  • The beautiful wedding on Santa Rosa Beach, of course! It was an absolutely picture-perfect wedding...

The bride with flowergirls and ringbearer (Josiah & Katelyn on the left)

Bride & groom during wedding

Wedding Party (I think Jason is stretching his face muscles)

Bride & groom with Mom, Dad & Grandma

    The kids having fun after the wedding - Caleb was covered in sand

    Wedding cake

      The reception at the Hatmaker rental home

      • The gorgeous house that Mom & Dad rented for the special weekend complete with an infinity pool that "dropped off" into the ocean. Just sitting in the house with all of the French doors open to the deck and the ocean breeze coming in was wonderful. The pictures don't do the house justice - I mean, it could have easily made it into a Better Homes & Gardens magazine...
      • The view off our back deck

        Mike in the "infinity" pool nearing sunset

      • Being there with family to celebrate - Mom & Dad, my siblings, my niece and nephews, my grandma, great Aunt Wanda, aunt, uncle and cousin - some of whom we don't see very often - we are so glad all of you were there...
      • Sorry, Keith, you were so busy being a photographer that I only have this funny one

        Can we say that Caleb loved the sand & the water? - so cute to see him "reaching out" to the waves

      • The "extra" time Mike and I stayed on Sunday at Destin to enjoy the beach a little longer - we took about a 5-mile walk along the beach and then just relaxed trying to "soak in" as much of the beach as we could - ahhhh, priceless...

      • And, the adventure of our 1st Amtrak trip. (A little fun thing was that Mike's aunt & uncle waved and held up a sign "Hi, Mike and Jen" as we went by in Maryland - unfortunately we passed them so quickly the video didn't turn out very well.) We did get to see some great fall leaves in Eastern and Central PA on our way home as well. We enjoyed it and would do it again, although if I had the choice between taking the train or spending an extra 2-3 days on the beach...I'd pick the beach...

      The sunrise on the 1st day of our vacation driving on I-80 in PA

      The beautiful fall colors back in PA returning home

      Congratulations, Jason & Kerby! This was a precious time for you both, but it was also a special memory for all of us!!!

      Thursday, October 16, 2008

      Frugal Friday: Fall Edition - Simple Fall Decorating

      I just love decorating for the fall season. And it can be done very inexpensively using what you have and collecting natural things from the outdoors (as described on this site)...
      One of my favorites is the grapevine wreath that Mom made me a few years ago. We had a grapevine in our yard up until they moved a couple years ago, so there was no need to even go to a craft store for that...Adding some leaves and such...and a couple additional items from the craft store...and finally a bit of ribbon...
      My indian corn is another favorite - simple, festive,
      and can be used year-to-year...
      This post called "All from one little pumpkin" is creative and inspiring...
      ...This is another interesting decorating idea from A Soft Place to Land (again, using mostly what you already have)
      ...I think that candles add a nice warm glow for this time of year...
      Bittersweet, if you can find it, is beautiful to add around a doorframe, in a vase or on a wreath.
      An idea that I got from our Taste of and dry leaves and place them in a frame.
      (This link shows basically same idea with a little extra added to it.)
      Finally, if you have a throw or pillows in the fall hues, you could add them as well, to "warm" up the room and make it cozy.

      Monday, October 13, 2008

      Meal Planner Monday: Fall Favorites - Hot Spiced Apple Cider

      This is not a recipe for "meal" but rather for a seasonal delight during the fall season - a festive drink for a fall get-together/social, a treat for the kids, to serve as a refreshment at a bible study group, etc. I just love the smell of a home when there is hot apple cider brewing on the stove... Hot Mulled Cider
      1 qt apple cider
      2 Tbsp orange breakfast drink
      1 tsp lemon juice
      1/4-1/3 cup brown sugar
      3 whole cloves
      3 tsp allspice
      2 sticks cinnamon
      Hot Maple Apple Cider
      6 cups apple cider
      ¼ cup maple syrup
      1 orange peel cut into strips
      1 lemon peel cut into strips
      2 cinnamon sticks
      spice bag & string
      6 whole cloves
      6 whole allspice berries Pour cider and syrup into large pot. Place spices and peels in center of a spice bag and tie up with a piece of string. Drop spice bundle into liquid and heat over moderate flame for about 10 minutes. Remove spice bag and discard. Serve the hot spiced cider in mugs. For a nice touch, add a whole cinnamon stick to each mug for stirring, float thin slice of lemon or orange on top.
      Caramel Apple Cider (this one is really a special treat)
      1/4 cup heavy cream
      1/4 cup brown sugar
      3 cups apple cider
      1/2 cup water
      Bring the cream and brown sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cider and the water and raise the heat to medium high, heating just until the cider begins to steam, about 4 minutes. Divide among 4 mugs, top with 2 Tbsp of caramel whipped cream (recipe follows).
      Caramel Whipped Cream:
      In small chilled bowl, whip 1/2 cup heavy cream with 1 Tbsp brown sugar until soft peaks form.

      Friday, October 10, 2008

      Frugal Friday:

      Mike discovered this website a couple months ago. There is a featured item of the day. The items are mostly electronics, or things you may find in a store like Brookstone. The items are drastically (about 50% or more) cheaper than retail or other internet prices. So, if you are able to find something that you like, you can really get a good deal. They also have a "woot-off" a few times a year where they put one item up on the website right after another (similar to the home shopping networks) and they don't last more than a few minutes, so when that comes around there are lots of different items coming up all day long. Our DVD player quit working a couple months ago, and Mike found a DVD player/recorder on their site during a woot-off for $39 (tax and shipping included) and the comparison price for Walmart online was $89 (pre-tax). Our order arrived at our doorstep in just a couple days. I will say that it's not a good site if you are only looking for a certain brand or model, but I think it is a good site to check out as you are thinking about Christmas shopping, or if you are looking for an item for yourself that you are not particular with brand and model (like with our DVD player/recorder - we did check out how the item was rated on different sites, which it did get good ratings, but we didn't care if it was Magnavox, Sony, or whatever). I am guessing that a lot of people not only buy an item for themselves but a good number buy more than one and then try to sell them on ebay for a profit, which could easily be done. You can read more about the company and their policies on their website. Now, on to the best deals that I saw this week: CVS Glaceau vitamin water $2.29 - $2.29 ECB = Free Bic Soleil razor or 4 pk cartridges $5.99 - $4 = $1.99 Colgate MaxFresh (monthly deal) $2.99 - $2 - $1 coupon from newspapers = Free Mennon Speedstick deodorant $1.99 - $1 ECB = $.99 CVS brand vitamins/supplements BOGO Always Infinity Pads $4.98 - $4.98 ECB = Free Hawkins White bread $.63 Chicken leg quarters $.63/lb Lettuce $.63 Domino sugar 5 lb $1.98 Kroger Energizer batteries $2 - $1 peelie coupon = $1 (while supplies last) Amick Farms fresh boneless skinless chicken breast $1.99/lb 1 doz eggs 10/$10 Rite Aid Rite Aid vitamins/supplements BOGO Crest Whitening Rinse $3.99 - $3.99 rebate - $1 coupon = $1 profit Walgreens See list on Money Saving Mom site Note: Final prices do not take into account the sales tax. There may be other pretty good sales on specific items that you would normally buy that are not listed here. I have only listed the ones that I think are the best deals (products I may or may not buy this week).

      Wednesday, October 8, 2008

      Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

      This will be posting as we are on our way to Florida for my brother Jason's wedding... Most of my family is flying...and my mom and dad are driving (they are retired and just may decide to take a side-trip on the way home)..and Mike and I are taking the train... We've talked about taking the train somewhere before, so we decided to take this opportunity to try it. It will be a long trip - the most of 2 days getting there and 2 days to get home, but we are hoping it turns out to be an enjoyable adventure. (I hope we have some views out our window like in this picture at some point, maybe on our way home) I have a few things scheduled to post while we are gone, and hopefully I will have lots of pictures and thoughts about our adventure to post when we return home...

      Monday, October 6, 2008

      Meal Planner Monday: Fall Favorites - Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing

      This is the 1st in a series on some of my favorite "fall" recipes. They are not necessarily low-fat, like I try to have, but, I only make them once a year, so I figure it is all right...
      I did make this recipe this past weekend. Mine didn't look as "pretty" as these, but they were very yummy
      Apple Stuffed Pork Chops
      1 medium onion, chopped
      6 Tbsp butter - I cut back to 4 Tbsp and add a tiny bit of water to make the stuffing stick together
      4 slices raisin bread, crumbled - or I use regular bread and add in a small handful of raisins
      1-2 large apples, chopped
      1/4 cup parsley
      1 tsp salt
      1/2 tsp pepper
      1/2 tsp thyme
      1 egg, beaten
      4 double pork chops, 1 1/2 " thick
      Saute onions in butter. Add bread crumbs, apple, parsley, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix well. Fill chops with stuffing and fasten. Cook in skillet until brown. Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover. Simmer 40 min until tender. Remove pork chops to platter. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp flour into pan drippings. Stir until smooth. Stir in 1 cup apple cider (can substitute apple juice). Cook until gravy thickens. Bake excess stuffing on apple halves.

      Sunday, October 5, 2008

      Fall Favorites

      I love comments, so I am hoping to get some comments from this post...
      I also love fall...

      Last year with Mike's nephews at the Corn Maze

      These are some of my favorite things about fall...
      • The vivid colors of fall foliage
      • The rustling of the leaves and the sound of them crunching under your feet
      • The smell of the fall leaves
      • The cool brisk air
      • Pulling out a sweater to wear that has been packed away
      • Taking a hike on a trail to see the fall beauty like we used to do as a family growing up
      • The smell and taste of apples
      • The smell of concord grapes
      • Getting cozy on the couch with a blanket
      • Warm soups and hot drinks to warm you up
      • The sound of the marching band at high school football games
      • The warmth of the fall sun in the midst of the cooling air
      • Pumpkin patches
      • Hay rides
      • The fall harvest
      • Thanksgiving

      ...what about you? What are your favorite things about this time of year?

      Saturday, October 4, 2008

      The Thankful Pumpkin

      You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118: 28, 29
      Worship is not just about singing praises at church on Sunday mornings. It is giving God honor through "boughing low in reverance to Him"
      ...anytime, anywhere.
      This is a little thing that Mike and I have done the last few years to try to focus on worshipping God in our home in the spirit of the fall season...
      Starting around this time of year, leading up to Thanksgiving we take little slips of paper and write down different things that we are thankful for. Then around Thanksgiving, we take them out one-by-one and read them out loud and pray together, thanking God for all the blessings that he has given us.
      Once I used fall-colored paper in a glass jar, another time we put the slips of paper in a "fall" decorated box. This year we are going to put them in this ceramic pumpkin that I, it's our "thankful pumpkin."

      Friday, October 3, 2008

      Frugal Friday: Fall Edition

      These are the best deals that I saw this week...
      Frozen split chicken breast 10 lbs/$10 (while supplies last)
      Seedless grapes 10 lbs/$10
      Celery 10/$10
      Daisy 8 oz sour cream 10/$10 (there was a recent coupon for .50 off which would have made the sour cream free but I already used my coupon and I think it may have expired 9/30)
      CVS - I'm planning a trip tomorrow for the CG products
      Folgers 11.3 oz $1.99 (-$.50 coupon from P & G brandsaver flyer I requested by mail last month - sorry, it looks like the survey promotion on their website has ended)
      Colgate 2/$5 - $2 ECB = 2/$3
      Dawn dish soap $.99 (-$.25 coupon from P & G brandsaver flyer I requested by mail)
      CoverGirl Clean Liquid makeup $5.49 - $5.49 ECB = Free (In the a P & G coupon flyer that I had sent for in the mail there was a coupon for $1 off any CoverGirl product and a 2nd coupon for a free complimentary CoverGirl face product so I should be able to make out good on this one)
      VO5 Shampoo 2/$1
      Bounty Basic paper towels 8 pack $4.97 (-$.25 coupon from P & G brandsaver flyer I requested by mail)
      Rite Aid
      Crest Pro-health $2.69- $2.69 rebate - $1 off coupon from same P & G flyer I sent for = $1 profit
      Gillette Fusion razor $9 - $5 rebate (also a $4 coupon in the P & G flyer I sent for) = Free
      Whole boneless pork loin $1.88/lb
      Tyson drusmsticks, thighs or whole chickens $.99/lb
      ...since it is the "Fall edition" of Frugal Friday, this is my extra tip of the week...

      For some reason, in the fall I think of cider and donuts (I am guessing because that was usually our treat for the Halloween party in elementary school).

      • If you didn't already know, Hawkins marks down their donuts to 1/2 off after 6 pm (check your local grocer/bakery to see if they do something similar).
      • Also, for another fall treat, Dunkin' Donuts is offering authentic lattes for only 99¢ weekdays from 2-5 p.m. Indulge in your favorite flavors like Mocha and Caramel. And for a limited time, sip up a spicy Pumpkin Latte. Offer ends 11/11/08. (see promo here)

      A Taste of Fall

      Last evening we had the "Taste of Fall" ladies night out at the church...
      There were about 180 women who came.
      The presentations included fall home decorating ideas, homemade applesauce, money-saving shopping ideas, and knitting/crocheting ministry.
      It was an encouraging evening hearing these ladies share their talents/passions, and a couple of them shared a devotional or testimony as well. And it has really put me in the mood for fall...
      Unbeknownst to me, while I was being blessed and encouraged at the "Taste of Fall," Mike was busy cleaning and scrubbing the apartment. I came home to a very clean candlelit apartment.
      Thank you, dear, that was a wonderful surprise...
      I Love You!
      ...there are more fall-themed posts to come...