Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blog hunting for deals

Since I'm a deer hunter's wife, I thought I would make a play on words to represent MY type of hunting. I am a bargain hunter and it's not because I'm cheap, it's because you can have the best in life for less just takes a little investigative work! One way that I "hunt" for bargains is by checking out blogs. Some of these women put so much time and effort into finding the best for less, that I thought it would be really cool to promote their blogs!

I am listing here my Top #5 money saving blogs - enjoy!

Consumer Queen - Melissa started her blog for fun, then it became a necessity when her husband fell ill and the medical bills were high. She has great tips, always has awesome contests, and promotes high quality items for great prices! The link I posted here is regarding a contest through Frigidaire and a chance to win a year's supply of Tide! I hope that some of my readers can benefit from her frugal shopping and enjoy her witty sense of humor!

The Happy Housewife - Happy is a military wife and mother to seven children.....I love her tips for saving money by using what you have, good recipes, and funny stories! She and her husband live debt free....something I long for - no house payment, car payment, student loans......maybe one day! The link I provided you with is regarding food storage - something I am always learning about because it pains me to throw away food that could have been frozen, canned, etc. - it's like throwing away money! I hope her household tips and humor help you in your life!

The Grocery Cart Challenge - Gayle is a home schooling mother who feeds her family of 6 on $60 a week.....I know right?! She is amazing! She and her husband left their high paying jobs and started their own business and along the way she learned great tips/tricks on how to stay within that budget and still feed their family well. The link I am posting is her "confession" of if she always stay on her menu plan or not. You must read her blog, she is so funny and gives amazing tips for everything from beauty, laundry, clothing, and of course food.

Addicted To Savings - Elisa started her blog as a way to document their journey from living with family to owning their own home. Now she maintains her blog to share some of the great deals that she finds along the way and I have found some of the best deals on her sight! The link I am posting is one for a $5.00 rebate from Real Simple magazine....and I happen to have coupons for many of the products listed! Make sure to check her blog weekly, if not daily for amazing deals at local stores!

Frugal Finds From Your Frugal Friend - Carol is a wonderfully funny lady that blogs about great store deals, recipes, and just humor of life! I have found really good deals, offers, etc. through her and know you would enjoy her blog. The link I have provided here is for natural ways to fight off the we could certainly all use right now! Enjoy her blog!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let the holiday shopping begin!

I officially kicked off my holiday shopping a few weeks ago. For the sake of keeping the gifts a surprise to those that will receive them, I thought I would just offer up a few tips on how you can save money this holiday season. And would love it if you would offer up some of your ideas on how you save money on gift giving, etc.

#1 Coupons - I use coupons for everything, not just groceries! Go to the websites of the stores you frequent and sign up for their e-mail alerts - they will almost always send you coupons! I always sign up for e-mails at the store when they ask you because the more you shop there, the better the coupons! Today I saved money at both Kohl's and Yankee Candle simply because I signed up for e-mail alerts.

#2 Buy on sale - I know, common sense right? Well, I didn't always buy things on sale and could KICK myself for that! And if you didn't already know this, buying on sale while using coupons - total money saver right there! While at Kohl's I bought my children toys that were on sale and used my coupons....$40 worth of toys for $5!

And speaking of on sale....someone I know wondered if it was bad to give their children stuff they had purchased from a garage sale. Personally I think that is completely fine, children don't know the difference and if they are happy and playing with it, isn't that all that matters? We gave our son a Rescue Heroes ship one Christmas that was given to us and it lasted through both of our children, daycare children, and was sold in a garage sale to MORE children.

#3 Outlets - We live close to an outlet mall and a few weeks ago a friend of mine and I went shopping there and there were deep discounts on so many things. I love Bath & Body products and will only buy those from the outlet, unless they are having a HUGE sale in the regular store. The body scrub that I love is $4.99 in the outlet store and it's normally $20 in the regular store. I go through their 99 cent bins and put things together for a gift basket or stocking stuffers. I think for Christmas I am going to put together little gifts of anti-bacterial items for all of the boys teachers. And while we were shopping, there was an offer to donate $1 to the Susan G. Koman foundation and get 25% off your purchase. So look for those offers that will save you a little bit and benefit a good cause.

#4 Make a list (and check it twice - ha!) - I have been listening to the boys talk about toys they would like lately and jotting them down. Randy and I set a budget for the holidays and we'll go through that list and see just what we can buy for that set amount. And I have a running list of everyone we are going to buy for and definitely make sure I put down on that list when I've purchased something for them! Nothing worse than losing track of your list and overbuying for someone!

We shop on Black Friday and with our list we go through the ads and see where we could get the best deal and we map out a game plan. I'm all about lists, planning, and can maximize your budget if you a put a little extra time/effort into it.

#5 Use self-control - Noah has been saying lately that he wants a robe after his shower and while I could just run out and get one for him now, I have to stop myself and remember that it would make a great Christmas gift! We try our best not to spoil our kids with whatever they want, whenever they want......but I'm married to a big kid who can justify buying toys almost as good as I can justify buying shoes! ha! ha! But, we definitely try and buy them things they need throughout the year and then spoil them around the holidays!

#6 Don't forget the reason for the season - I think the best lesson around the holidays is to give more than you get. So volunteering is super important, we have the kids shop for us through a local organization that benefits families in crisis and all the proceeds go towards that, we bake lots and lots of treats to share with others, and we spend a lot of time talking about Jesus and his birthday. Giving your time is free and I think that is certainly the most budget friendly gift ever!

This certainly won't be my last post regarding the holidays.....I'm just gearing up! What are your plans for this giving strategies, money saving ideas, recipes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A soldier's father words on bringing his son home

In honor of Sgt. Christopher Rudzinski I am sharing with you the words that his father Mike wrote regarding their travel to Dover Air Force base to bring their fallen son home. My heart sinks knowing that Natalie and Mike are grieving the loss of another child. My heart sinks even further knowing that Caroline and Ryan are facing the future without a husband and a father. My prayers are with this amazing family today, tomorrow, and always.

through the clouds……

I hope you don’t mind me writing you and updating you on Chris’ return home. I’m not sure I can cry any more tears and remain strong for my family too without talking with somebody. My head is in a spin and my heart aches as we start the process of bringing Chris home. Today Natalie, Caroline, Ryan and I were flown to Dover Air Force Base to witness the dignified transfer ceremony. It is the ceremony where our men and women in uniform take heroes and render honors as they return to American soil. I’ve had to do some difficult tasks in my life and Army career, but I have to say that standing there in the rain and cold and watching our military men and women take loving care of my son, like they have with the thousands who have preceded him was about too much to bear. It was too much for Caroline, she collapsed at seeing her beloved husband and Ryan’s daddy, in a flag draped transfer case, being unloaded from the plane and put into the van which has taken Chris to the mortuary unit to prepare him for his trip home.

I was moved by the reverence and care the honor guard, the general officer, the chaplains the mortuary staff, the security detail and even the military families on Dover Air Force Base gave to Chris and my family on the way to and from the flightline and during the transfer. I can’t imagine where these people find the strength to do this over and over again. They too, are truly heroes-military and civilian alike.

But I thought you should also know about the other heroes we ran into today, because they made my heart swell with love and pride, even as it was breaking. It started with the United check-in clerk who moved or bumped somebody out of premium seating to ensure that Natalie and I could sit together on the flight to Philadelphia. It continued with the flight attendant who leaned over and whispered some tender words to my wife as she sat crying on the plane, holding the picture or her “baby and his baby” (Chris and Ryan) that I shared with you.

Then came the cascade of wonderful gestures, messages and visitors who were ensuring that my kids, family and friends who could not go with us, were being comforted and feeling the love and reverence for Chris that we received today. Finally I have to say two final events happened which made my soul soar and my tears start anew.

First, Caroline told me, that a gentleman on her flight overhead her talking with her military escort about Chris’ death and he politely asked Caroline to speak with him at the arrival gate when she got off the plane. When she got off the plane, the gentleman was standing there and he said he owned a business and he always supported the troops and he wanted to help her out. He placed several folded bills in her hand and said “buy something nice for your baby.” Then he walked away without introducing himself. Caroline put the bills in her pocket and went to baggage claim.

Later today, Caroline was telling us about this kind gesture and she pulled out the folded bills. She said, “I think he gave me twenty dollars.” She was wrong. He had given her five hundred dollars. Natalie and I started crying for a stranger who’s only wish was to do something nice, without recognition or reward.

When I decided to share this story with you, that ‘s when the second event occurred. I read all of the comments under Chris’ picture and the outpouring of care, concern and reverence that the readers of KisP offered to us. I couldn’t stop crying. We are overwhelmed that so many people took the time to offer a part of their heart in an effort to save ours. You all are heroes to me and my family. And I guess this brings me to my main point. What a wonderful country this is, surrounded by people who offer their treasure, their service, acts of simple kindness and even their hearts to help a stranger in need. I am confident we will prevail against the evil that is plaguing humanity. Thank you for putting Chris’ sacrifice into perspective for me. I think I might even get through these dark times.

May the Almighty God bless and keep you and reward you in this life and the next.


Welcome to the Imperfect Perfectly Normal Mothers Club

You know, as a mother you sometimes feel like you are juggling sooooo much and sometimes the ball drops and I have to remember that as long as we have our health, our tummies are full, our bodies are clothed properly, and we have a roof over our head, then I am doing a good job.

I dropped the ball on Monday by forgetting to send a snack with my son and I didn't realize it until Tuesday which my son proceeded to tell me that it had made him cry! UGH! Visualize us scurrying to Wal-Mart for snacks immediately following his dance class.....ha! ha!

I mentioned this on my Facebook and was overjoyed with my fellow FB moms who proceeded to chime in with "if you think that's bad....this one time I......." and I felt completely normal. It brought me out of the dark hole that I had climbed into - protecting myself from the perfect mothers who take the time to bake allergen free cupcake from scratch with hidden vegetables in them and frosting from honey they processed themselves. I am NORMAL, not perfect.....normal!

And as I was getting this rush of advice and wondering if any of my fellow FB moms who weren't responding to me were thinking "that's terrible", "her poor child" or God forbid "I would never forget my childs snack day"......I received great life advice from one of my guilty pleasures....a reality show on MTV - The City.

In a response regarding backstabbing/back-biting/competition a jewelry designer advises someone to "stay refined, stay elegant and the others will fall to the wayside". *sound the heavenly angels please* And armed with that wonderful advice, I will stay refined, stay elegant and let the perfect mothers out there fall to the wayside. Because as someone said to me, if you got through your day and everyone was safe and healthy and the only thing that was dropped was snacks on snack day, then it was a good day.

Now.....hold your head up high normal mothers.....we should be proud of everything we do! In the past 12 hours my imperfect self sat with my children and ate my breakfast which put a little crunch on my morning routine of hair and make-up (you know, a ponytail and few brush strokes of blush, powder, or whatever is in the make-up bag) - so I had to do my make-up in the car on the way to work, last night I was in a rush and did NOT pick up fast food or food from the deli - I made my children a homemade meal with love (boiled noodles and sauce from a jar) and they loved it, and tonight my children may not get a shower because of our crunched schedule due to catechism class. But it's okay.....everyone will survive, life will stay on course, and I will always hold my head up high!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate....that is the question!

Wow....topic of the day today.....should I or shouldn't I get the vaccination for H1N1 or more importantly, should I vaccinate my child or children?

I don't want to open an argument or a debate about this....but I would like to say that as a parent, you know your family better than anyone else and you will ultimately decide what is best for your family. I don't think there is a wrong or right in the decision.....I think if you are presented with the facts and you make a well rounded decision then that's the very best thing you could do for yourself and your family.

People are really passionate about their decisions and I think that's great....but don't forget to not judge others if they've decided to do something different than you do.

I hope/pray that everyone stays healthy and that this passes quickly!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our differences

I had a great conversation with a dear friends mother last night. We were talking about how she invites students from the university into her home for meals and to give them a mother figure while they are studying so far from their home countries. She does this because she came here from another country and within her first few years here she suffered from terrible migraines and was in the hospital for weeks thinking she was going to die. Nobody came to visit her and she felt very alone....she considered moving back to her home country at that point, but ended up moving to a different state, met her husband, and the rest is history.

She feels as thought she is providing this wonderful service to students as a way of giving back and I think it's amazing. While we were talking I asked her out of the 30+ years of giving herself to others if anyone has ever taken advantage of her. She recalled one individual who would demand instead of ask, expect instead of wait for an offer, and someone who pressured her to sacrifice time with people who truly loved her so that she could provide services for this individual. And then she gave me an "ah ha" moment......

She said "Look at your fingers, see how they are on the same hand, but they are all different? They are all serving the same purpose, but they move differently and look differently, and they respond differently to things. That's how I look at people. We are all on this Earth serving the same purpose - but we are all different and we shouldn't expect people to all be the same, we should expect anything from anyone and should be as gracious and as kind as we can be. The people that walk around with expectations will have to answer to their selfishness one day and I know that when my time comes, I will have to answer for myself."

Ah ha! What a great lady and I'm so happy that I got a chance to listen to her talk about her experiences. She brought up forgiveness and how she forgave the individual who did her wrong because again, she had no control over what the person did to her and although it was wrong, this person would have a higher power to answer to one day. And I think that is so powerful, forgiveness is such a difficult thing to do.

I accept others and all of the differences that we bring to this Earth, I try not to judge or label others because I don't like to be labeled or judged myself, and I am working on how to forgive others - I think that is something we work on through our entire life because not every painful situation is the same and there is no blanket statement for forgiveness.

What a great end to a wonderful day.....there are opportunities for us to learn every day, sometimes we have to look for them, and sometimes you find them in the most unexpected places. Every day when you wake up you need to find the thing within your day that is going to make you a better person than you were yesterday. I am excited for the opportunities to learn yesterday and can't wait to see what today brings!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Celebrating 11 Years Of Marital Bliss

On October 24th my husband and I will celebrate 11 years of marriage together....the traditional gift for this anniversary is steel and I have to believe that our marriage is made of steel in order to have made it to 11 years. When you look at the definition of steel and compare it with a marriage, it makes complete sense and it describes our marriage perfectly.

Why is a marriage compared to steel?

"Iron and steel are used widely in the construction of roads, railways, infrastructure, and buildings. Most large modern structures, such as stadiums and skyscrapers, bridges, and airports, are supported by a steel skeleton."

The comparison of a marriage to steel represents the solid foundation that two people should build their relationship on. Large structures are given a solid start by having at the very least a steel frame and marriages should to have a solid foundation in order to succeed.

"Two distinguishing factors are steel's increased rust-resistance and better weldability."

This made me smile when I read it in the definition of steel. What a great representation for a marriage - rust-proof and good weldability. I think that long term marriages have weathered so many storms together and when something metal sits out in too many storms it can easily rust....unless it is made of steel. And weldability makes me think of the bond that forms in a relationship throughout the years.

Can't a marriage weaken over time?

"There are many types of heat treating processes available to steel. The most common are annealing and quenching and tempering.

Annealing is the process of heating the steel to a sufficiently high temperature to soften it. This process occurs through three phases: recovery, recrystallization, and grain growth.

Quenching and tempering first involves heating the steel to the austenite phase, then quenching it in water or oil. This rapid cooling results in a hard and brittle martensitic structure.

The steel is then tempered, which is just a specialized type of annealing. In this application the annealing (tempering) process transforms some of the martensite into cementite or spheroidite to reduce internal stresses and defects, which ultimately results in a more ductile and fracture-resistant metal."

What a great look at how a marriage is tested over time! I think of a relationship heating up as result of an argument and how it can soften the relationship making it weak. Some arguments need a little recovery time, some arguments can be resolved quickly, some issues make your relationship stronger and some transform your relationship into something new.

So as we approach our 11th year of marriage I have to believe that our relationship is strong like steel - we have weathered so many storms together, we have practically grown up together and we have a bond that will never be broken, our love has transformed over the years and yes there have been moments when our relationship was weakened, but we came back stronger than before.

I thank God for having Randy in my life, I don't even want to imagine what my life would have been like had I ever given up, he is my best friend, he looks out for my best interests, he takes care of me, he is an amazing father, and he is the hardest working person that I know. He inspires me to be the best person I can be and I know, I will always know, that he stands by me 100%.

I have always said that two things that are key components to a good relationship are communication and trust.....he's a boy, so the communication part is always a work in progress, but I know that I can 100% trust him and that my friends is the thing about steel - when you have a foundation made out of steel, you know that you can trust it to withstand hundreds of years of storms.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Deals Deals Deals

Today is a great day for deals! If you live in my area - apples are $0.88/lb. at Wal-Mart - including HONEYCRISP apples that are normally the price of gold! ha!

And online there are awesome deals on shoes at - including Red Wing shoes for men!

Enjoy those deals today....I'm off to work to pay for my last order from that arrived yesterday - 6 new pair of shoes for a little over $50 to which my husband asked "so are you going to get rid of 6 pair of shoes out of your closet?" - um, no honey, but nice try!

Have a frugal day my friends!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm sick

I have bronchitis and pneumonia....what was said to be something "viral" a few weeks ago has developed into something that is threatening to put me in the hospital! EEK! I am loading up on liquids, homemade soup, and sleep.

See you all's time for my nap!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Super Saturday Savings

I just wanted to share a GREAT website for great deals on shoes and clothes - check back for daily deals that are outstanding!

I wanted a pair of suede boots with fur this year....yeah right, I wasn't going to pay $150 or more for them.....well, I didn't - there was a one day deal and I got those boots for $14.95! And I bought my husband a pair of Red Wing work shoes for $24.95.

There are shoes, clothes, and accessories for women, men, and children.

Go there often and get your bargain on!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Final Thought For The Week

As we approach the weekend I was taking a look back at my week and realizing that the days go by so fast, lots of activities for the week, always on the go trying to do well at work and be there for my children at all of their functions, I just have to hope and pray that I'm being the best I can be in all aspects of my life. And with that, I am leaving this week with the following quote:

"Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can."
John Wesley

Have a great weekend and here's to the new possibilities that the next week brings to us!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What do you say ALOT?

Okay, I realized today that I say two words ALL THE TIME......Crack and Awesome.

When something is crazy good - like my friend Briana's Buffalo Chicken Dip, Oreo Cake, or anything that she makes - it becomes "crack dip" or "crack cake". This morning I was straightening my hair and I said that my hair was on crack because it has grown SO much and when my oldest son asked me what that meant - I replied that it just meant that my hair was crazy. BUT on my way to work I wondered what a teacher or another adult would say if my son simply said "my mom is on crack"......UGH! I need to change that - I need to find another word for these things - preferably something I wouldn't mind coming out of my childs mouth!!

I say awesome all the boss asks me to do something and my reply is never "okay" - it's always "awesome" with a sarcastic tone. There are things in life that are truly friends baby girl Mia who is overcoming the hurdles of CDH - Mighty Mia is awesome and awe inspiring!

And apparently I roll my eyes all the time....and they are not stuck in that position mom!!! But that's just a silly habit that goes along with my sometimes sarcastic responses.....OOPS!

What do you say and/or do a lot that you sometimes think "EEK....I should really change that?!"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Oh yeah, that's right, I have Lupus?!

In the warmer months of the year I forget that I have Lupus....I run and play as if I have no worries. Then the cold hands ache, my body aches, I get sores in my nose, and suddenly I feel like a 90 year old woman. UGH!

Lupus is not fun, it comes in all forms, mine come in the form of arthritis most of the time. When I am having a flare up, which I am having now, I feel like I have the flu and I get sores inside my nose....I know, gross right?! It stinks!

Another cause of flare ups is stress - um, as the mother of two young children my stress levels are already high - add in a little issue with one child, a challenging phase of another, a marriage on hold for hunting season, family drama, friend drama, busy time at work, a couple of college courses in an attempt to finish my degree, and this mama is stressed beyond stressed.

Life with Lupus is not fun, it's manageable, I have no complaints here because I watched a mother with two sons leaving my rheumatologists office and she was using a walker because Lupus affected her spine so bad that she couldn't walk without assistance. I was humbled....I can still walk, I can still go outside and play with my children, and I can still dance around as if I know what I'm doing. But that doesn't mean that my physical being isn't I am challenged, I worked at a football game yesterday and walked a lot in the cold. I used my hands a lot. And my immune system has been compromised because of a cold or flu that has been trying to attack me this week.

Today I am a single mommy because my husband is working and then would like to hunt this evening.....I am preparing a meal for his cousin and his cousins girlfriend who just had a little girl.....I am caring for my own children......and I have to practice hula for a performance this week. If I were a lady of leisure I could call in the nanny to care for the children, call in my cook to feed my children and Randy's cousins family, call in my housekeeper to finish my laundry, and call in my choreographer to learn the routine to teach me later - all so I could rest and focus on myself. But I live in the real world and today I will get through the day and when I can't go anymore I will go just a little more......tomorrow I will wake up and wonder why I am exhausted still and remind myself 'Oh yeah, that's right, I have Lupus".....grrr......ha! ha!

Friday, October 2, 2009

I've Been Robbed

Borrowed From WBGL Tim and Pam In The Morning describes what I'm feeling right now.

I've Been Robbed

I was robbed during the morning show today.

I was happily minding my own business when, within a matter of seconds, it was gone. It wasn't my wallet - though there's not much money in it anyway. It wasn't my car - though my 2004 Subaru isn't exactly "theft" material. It wasn't even my identity - that was stolen last year.It was my joy. An online conversation with a frustrated listener grabbed it and took off down the street. As you might imagine, it left me in a rather rotten mood. Okay, a very rotten mood.

This listener (a pastor, of all people) was mad that he hadn't received a response to a recent email that he had sent to me, and quickly began threatening to switch his allegiances to another radio station (and speak poorly of me to others) if I didn't get back with him in a timely manner.This instant message exchange took less than five minutes, but it has left a long-lasting impression. As an employee who takes pride in my work ethic, the implication that I wasn't doing my job very well cut deep.

Between Facebook, Twitter, and email...our show receives literally hundreds of messages every week. Many radio personalities respond to very few (if any) of their messages, and (though I'm not perfect) I try very hard to do exactly the opposite.But, this isn't really about email or Facebook or even a frustrated listener. It's about me and my willingness to let someone else's actions effect my entire day.

You may have heard this phrase before: "You can't control what others say or do to you, you can only control how you react to it." It's true. But, let's be honest...that's much easier said than done, right? I certainly don't have it all figured out yet. In fact, five hours later, I'm STILL trying to get my joy back. I have a beautiful wife, two amazing boys, a job that I love, and a free weekend in front of me...and (because of a stupid disagreement) my joy is still hard to find today.

Been there?If so, maybe you can work through this with me: my identity, my worth, and my value are NOT found in other people's opinions or actions. Technically, they're not found in my wife, kids, job, or lack of weekend activities either. God alone gives me my value. The rest is trivial.

Today, I've had it backward.

Thankfully, tomorrow, I have a chance to get it right. At least I don't have any plans.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Little Charlie

Our family has been blessed with a new addition....Charlie the Yorkie came into our family recently and has adjusted to the madness quite well!

We were of course heartbroken to lose our Millie earlier this year and while we love our lab, Lucy, we really wanted to add one more to our tribe because we are just one of those "two dog" families I think.

Charlie is 7 months old and has been a joy - he's playful, easy for the boys to help take care of, he loves to snuggle, and one of the greatest things....he is not a yapper! We thought because of the breed, he might be - but he's not. In the first 48 hours of having him we didn't hear a peep out of him!

I know that the responsibility of taking care of our dogs falls mainly on my shoulders - but I don't mind this 9 lb. sweet face. He is enjoyable, sweet, and we feel truly blessed with him!