Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Friday, April 29, 2011

How I Save

Here's how I coupon.
My system came from Southern Savers, so by no means did I discover this on my own.
I am busy.
With a self-employed husband, a p/t job, 2 teenagers, 1 daughter-in-law,a granddaughter and volunteer obligations I am busy- this works.

Although... I am never afraid to just go buy groceries at full price because we need food and I have no time to coupon, because trust me, it does take time.

First things first: The organization

Step one: Get a file folder/box, place it somewhere accessible
Step two: inside a hanging file folder I label folders with the names of the inserts from Sunday paper, these are my 5 folder labels:
- Red Plum
- Smart Source
- Publix Saver and other coupon books
- Extra Coupons- organized by aisle- after 6 years of the same 2 grocery stores I know this
- weekly ads for local grocery stores

Step three: Each Sunday- or Thursday for me- I get a Sunday paper and my local grocery store ads -- I then take out all the coupon inserts from the paper and lay them out

Next I label the inserts with the Sunday date they came out onThen I file them in the proper folder, latest date toward the back

Step four: Store organization
How do I take all the coupons to the store with me?
I have a small binder that I got from a Financial Freedom class we took a few years back, I use this to hold my grocery money and the coupons I will use that week for shopping
Inside it looks like this- I keep my money in one little folder and my coupons in another
I like this system because the little folders/envelopes have nice flaps on them so I don't have to worry about the coupons falling out, plus it fits nicely in my purse, here's a picture with one of the flaps open:
I can also keep my other cash money spending in here-the system we learned at the financial class

Step 5: Time to Save
First thing I do is make my weekly grocery list, I like to do this by Monday morning so I can shop on Monday after work, but most often I run a day behind:

After You are Organized

How I make my list
this is crucial::: shopping with a list and sticking to it helps you stay on budget and save $$
#1:: I look at my local store flyers and see what's on sale,
compare that to my pantry
and then I decide which store I will shop at or if I'll "store hop" --
then looking at sale items I write out a weekly menu.
I try to take advantage of Winn-Dixie's BOGO meats to stock upon meat

Some weeks, when I need some motivation I post my weekly Menu on my kitchen blog and link that to Meal Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie


#2:: then I go to the Southern Savers website and make my list

I pull up the grocery store(s) I will shop at and begin to make my list and gather coupons. Her list will look something like this:

She lists the sale items and any coupons to go along with those items and where to find those coupons.
Sometimes it's a RP (Red Plum) or a SS (Super Saver)--- if so I go to my file folder, find the date of insert, find the coupon, cut it out and place it into my coupon folder in the small binder I spoke of above

If it's a printable one, I print it-- I have registered for a lot of coupons but have found that some of the places send me some decent meal ideas so it's worth the registering to me

#3:: After I have made my list and gathered all my coupons I go over my list and coupons double-checking the coupons in my envelope---

On my list after the item listed I have a code-- I write a "c" if I have a coupon, "BOGO" if the item is buy one get one free and I write "sc" if there is a store coupon available at the store.

I shop
and I hopefully get a receipt that looks like this:

I also use the Southern Savers buy list to know what's a good deal on meat for non BOGO weeks.

I DO NOT FLIP OUT when I can't print the coupon
when I have to register at a site for a coupon
when I am out of ink,
I just do the best I can.

Especially the weeks I can't coupon-- I don't beat myself up over it or feel like a less than grocery shopper, ok some days I feel that way but it's not worth it.

Since I love a good spreadsheet I was thrilled to see this savings spreadsheet available, check it out if you wanna track your savings.

So that's how I save on groceries.
I figure any money I save is like money I earn, I'll work 2 hours to save $60--- that's $30 an hour!!
How do you save your family money?

sorry if this is a repeat on info you hear about on coupon shows- I have never watched them because we still have plain old antenna tv

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Today is the Day that Mattered

Spring is on us, my garden is in full swing and I am ready for the kids to be out of school, for hot summer nights and even hotter summer days.

Today is Esther.
Today is the day that matters.
If Jesus Christ, the Son of the virgin Mary, born to a carpenter in Nazareth; if He had not risen from the dead today then all He claimed to be would have been false, all He walked this earth living would have been a lie and what I believe would simply not be.

I grew up in a family of traditions.
A family of love.
Each holiday we gathered to eat, laugh and enjoy one another.
We never had any family quarrels, I never heard my aunts and uncles speak harshly of one another; and beside my 9 cousins and I getting yelled at for playing in the laundry chute, my family never yelled.

As an adult I wanted that for my kids.
But life doesn't always pan out the way I plan.
My kids live far away from their cousins of the same age and the cousins they have here are a great deal younger than them. Add in the fact that we have 2 drug addict siblings in the immediate area and family holidays are slowing becoming a burden and not the joyous time I remembered as a child.

I get asked a lot the question of "how are things at your house?", the question comes to me as if the person asking feels sorry for me, as if life should suck because I have my teenage son, his wife and their daughter living with me.

Well it doesn't.

I mean some days it does, when I look at the reality of the situation and look at things in terms of my perspective and my dream and my view I begin to panic.
But today.
Today is the day that made it all well with my soul.

Today is the day that Jesus conquered death so I can look at my granddaughter and rejoice.
So I can look at my daughter-in-law and love.
I can talk with my sister in law with grace and friendship.
I can look at a hurtful drug addict with my heart breaking and full of compassion.
I can show up at family gatherings and smile, truly smile.
Yes, today is the day that made it all available to me.

It is because God sent His one and only Son Jesus to this earth that I can even begin to smile at my life; or the even the people in it;
it is because of this loved poured out that day on the cross, that empty tomb three days later that make it possible for me to even begin to try to love these people around me.
Begin to love this life.

So today I rejoice that the tomb was empty, that death was overcome.
Yes today as the holiday looks nothing like I'd like it to I can rejoice because it was the vision reality of that original day that matters.

So I encourage you to look at those in your life a little different.
Instead of what you want to think and say and feel, think about the sacrifice on the cross that day and maybe you'll have a change of heart.
Hallelujah and I love each of you who takes the time to read my rambling words.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Life is Tough Good

Life is good.
I mean today I am saying that.
A few days ago I wanted to move away
or maybe just go on a long vacation.

Then... I listened to the Holy Spirit draw me back to reality,
to hearing the truth,
I like life again.

It's tough raising a teenager who is controlled some days by hormones,
other days by the weather,
and perhaps if I'm lucky by a rational mind that realizes I am on his side.

It's tough being a 36-year-old grandmother who has her 17-year-old and his wife and baby living with her.

It's tough being a wife. It's tough being married to a self-employed man.

It's tough having to work outside the home when for 17 years you worked your dream job as a stay at home mom.

But ya know what?
When I hand the burden of this tough life over to the Lord, it's not so bad.
My perspective seems to switch,
the burden becomes lighter
and I can type things like I did today:
Life is good.

Matthew 11:28-30 (New American Standard Bible)
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Trust is Not As Easy As One Would Hope

I took this picture sitting at a light in a town near Orlando.
I am always amazed by God's creation. The sun rays of color in this picture take my breath away.
The clouds, the colors, they wow me like nothing man can paint or sing or write.
I love this picture right down to the frost on the inside of my car windshield- it reminds me of the closeness of God even though His finger brushes an amazing skyscape over a grungy city street.

I'm learning to trust this massive God.
I'm learning to step each day into the lighted page of this part of my journey.
All too often I fight negative thoughts of worthlessness, insecurity and the overall thought that I do not matter to those around me or even to the God of this universe.
But I'm reminded to believe the truth and shut out the lies.
I'm learning to trust.
I'm learning to look to the One who helps me, who protects me and never sleeps or forgets what step on the page I am on. Psalm 121 helps my brain with this

On to other things... Steve had the chance to head to NH for a few days. While I missed him tremendously I also loved it!
I loved that he got to spend time with his mom and step-dad, see friends and other family and just relax from his day to day grind of being a small business owner.
I also enjoyed a quiet room when I laid my head down and just the aloneness that comes with a spouse being gone.

But he's home now,and he brought Village pizza with him so all is well in this place called home.

In other news I cleaned up the floor area in front of my washer and dryer. Not a small feat because it just seems to be the holding spot for all things lost.

This week I am thinking of participating in a Tackle it Tuesday project and going to tackle the clean up and out my sewing areas. Thinking of some major changes in this part of my life-- and with my extreme brain that sways from getting rid of it all to having it take over the dining room..... guess you'll have to wait for an update on that later this week.

May you have a happy day today, may your perspective be on the Creator of the Universe and may you not only see God work in those around you but may you be Jesus to those around you.

Peace out-

Monday, April 11, 2011

Date Night Genius

So Vaughan and Sarah went out on a date night last week.
While lots of people say there is not much to do around here, I say it's all in how you look at things.

While poking around at Target Vaughan picks up this ball.
Yes, this pink ball.
Yep, he picked it up and walked around with it.
Then it just happened to show up in every picture they took. Can you find it?How about here?
Watch it Sarah! Did you spot the ball?
My personal favorite.
That darn pink ball!
Look close.
See my kids really are superheroes. Spot the ball yet?
Of course the baby aisle. Where's it at?
Genius. Pure genius.
So I think that's a great idea- we should all do it.
They said it was fun to work together: coming up with ideas, hiding the ball and even laughing as people walked by looking at them a bit confused.
So if you decide to join in this fun, let me know- we'd love to see where this idea takes you on a date night.

Friday, April 08, 2011

I have been having so many issues with my computer, the internet, this blog--- ugh. I've taken my computer to the shop and it's fine- no bugs or sickness, so.....
I am frustrated and quite frankly want to punch something.
But I won't.
So hopefully this posts.
I have a really neat date night idea to post along with pictures-- I just can't seem to load any pictures- onto any site I maintain.
OK so let me see if this posts.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tuesdays: Food and the Ladies

Our Tuesday morning Bible study is amazing.
Not necessarily because of the content of the study- although it's really good and not necessarily the wonderful conversations we have. I wouldn't say it's the time in prayer or even the wonderful food we eat- no, I'd say it's a combination of all of those things; add in the Holy Spirit's presence and I'd say Tuesday mornings are the most wonderful mornings of the week.
Actually let me take that back, I am the most irritated, frustrated and upset on Tuesday mornings; seems like the spiritual battle heightens before a period of time that falls into direct obedience with God's will and instruction. Plus our group meets from 11-1 so it's more of the best mid-day day of the week :)

I will tell you that I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to do a Bible study again where we don't cook together.
Of course that works out great for me, one who likes to eat yummy food but doesn't necessarily like to cook it.

For those of you wanting to give this a try here's how it works:
First we choose a menu for the following week, it usually consists of a main dish and a dessert. We photocopy that menu and after a read over of all the ingredients we begin to divvy up the items. Someone will yell out "I'll bring the tomatoes" or "I have lots of peanut butter I'll bring that!" After everyone has spoken up and all items are taken we do one last read over to be clear, after all we are talking about some yummy stuff.

The first hour we spend cooking together. Have one person, for our group it's usually me, who takes the lead in reading and instructing the others on what steps need to be done and when. We also use this time to talk about our homework, our week in general or whatever else comes up.

The next hour we spend eating, discussing or watching our video if it's a video based study.
That's' it.

How do we get our recipes?
The first go around we did the study of Ruth by Kelly Minter and the study has recipes for each week right in it! So I think that's a great way to start.
This time around we are doing Beth Moore's Psalms of the Ascent study and so we've come up with our own recipes.

The first week I was unprepared and so I purchased all the ingredients for a simple Pampered Chef recipe from 1997. Lol!!! Yes that was right- 1997! Then this week we made a meal we missed during our Ruth study. Next week we are making a fancy mac-n-cheese with peanut butter brownies and the following... well you'll have to wait and see.

I will post links to all the recipes in the coming weeks so you can either enjoy them with your family or maybe invite a group of friends over and cook it with them.

Either way I encourage you to take the time to fellowship with friends over food- it's just plain ol' simple- fun!!

Just thinking this morning how blessed and thankful I am that I had the privilege of being a stay at home mom, wife and full time keeper of our home for 17 years.

I love my current job outside the home, it truly is where god would have me, but I will forever be thankful for those years at home.

What season of life are you thankful for?

Friday, April 01, 2011

Having computer issues- no Internet. Sending this from my phone, hope to be back soon


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