Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Saving Money on your Grocery Budget, Part 2


Don't get overwhelmed. This is not extreme couponers. That show is unrealistic. This is starting with what you can handle. Any coupon you use is money in your pocket.

Where do you get coupons? The paper, online and packaging.

Here are some websites where you can print off coupons:
· www.grocerysmarts.com
· www.couponmom.com (she will also help you match coupons with ads)
· www.groceryguide.com
· Check the store’s websites for coupons (Walmart, Target, etc.)
· Search facebook for certain brands and you can find coupons.

· Always double check on your packaging before you throw it out

· In Houston, buy the Sunday paper, $2 at the stores, or subscribe for $1 a week. One mom told me I could get two delivered, one in my name and one in my husbands. I only cut out the ones I am going to use. Some of the couponing websites will tell you to keep the whole packet, dated.

· I organize my coupons in a small coupon filing box I got at Target for $4, and they are organized by aisle in the store I go to most often.

· Stack manufacturer and store coupons (Target will let you use a Target coupon and a manufacturers coupon on the same item.)
· Price matching at Walmart. Check your other grocery store ads and Walmart will match the sale price.
· Expired coupons can be donated to the military, they can use them in the commissary for 6 months after expiration date
· If you choose not to use a coupon while in the store, leave it on the shelf, coupon fairy!
· Always do the math, sometimes buying the store brand is still cheaper than using a coupon on a name brand.
· Don’t buy something you wouldn’t normally buy just because you have a coupon
· If you have never used coupons before, just start with one or two. That savings will still add up!

Monday, May 30, 2011

My great deal today...

Just real quick, I had to share my best grocery deal ever today. I had to run to Walmart to buy a few things to get us through the week. Kroger had Pilgrim's Pride chicken breasts on sale for 99 cents a pound, which is awesome. So, I had Walmart price match it, and I had a dollar off coupon from the Pilgrim's Pride website. So I got 2.9 pounds of chicken breasts, priced regularly for $6.55 for... are you ready? $1.87!!! That's like 60 cents a pound. I was so proud of myself! Just wanted to share. I'll post some more tips tomorrow!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saving Money on your Grocery Budget

At the end of April, I hosted a coffee for our weekday moms about how to save money on our grocery budgets. I put together some of my ideas, did some research and then after the coffee, added the ideas that the moms gave. So I thought I would share with you what we came up with. I started this because my 9 year old is beginning to eat like a teenager and my 2 year old is beginning to eat like a boy and I am running out of food, but there is no more money on the money tree. So I have got to get better about saving money so it will go farther. So without further adu, here is part 1!

Going Prepared! You will save money if you have a detailed list when you go!

1. Making a Menu
· Some people do it weekly, some everyday of the month. I just make a list of about 20 meals for the month and buy everything for them. Our lives are too crazy to plan that far ahead, but I always know that I can look at my list, and pick a meal that I have the ingredients for.
· Make a list of meals your family likes, write the cookbook and page # it is on as your master list. Then once a month, pick your meals off the master list and write them on one side of a piece of paper, make a list of ingredients on the back of the paper and then transfer that to your grocery list. I am in the middle of transferring all of my recipes to one book so I don't have to go through cookbooks, or you can put them on the computer.
· Some magazines have a monthly calendar of meals.
· www.e-mealz.com
· Have a family meeting to decide what meals you will eat. Kids usually eat better when they have had a say in the meal.

2. Making a LIST!
· You will spend 54% more when you go without a list!
· Make a permanent list on your computer and print it out.
· There are lots of websites to help. Just google “grocery list”.
· www.grocerylists.org/ultimatest/
· www.freeprintablegrocerylist.com/
· www.kitchenmonki.com - let’s you upload recipes, and menus, which translates into a list, which can be sent to your phone!
· grocery gadget app or wonderlist app for your smartphone
· organize your list by aisles in the store
· www.foodonthetable.com
(I have just spent an hour trying to figure out how to put a link to my own personal shopping list I have made, in order of aisles at my Walmart, but am not computer savvy enough to figure it out. If you would like a copy of mine, email me, facebook me or comment with your email address and I can email it to you.)

Stay tuned for more in the next few days...

Really Bad Choice

Thursday was a good day. I really had a struggle with my flesh that morning about walking, but I said no to my flesh, put Campbell in his stroller and went. I immediately felt better about myself and glad that I had made that choice. I walked over 12,000 steps that day, again, because of two baseball games on opposite ends of the complex.
But Friday was a bad choice day. I didn't get to walk because of some early morning events at the kids' school. And then I met some sweet weekday ladies at Chuy's for lunch. They told me how proud they were of me from reading my blog. And then I asked if I should eat well, like a salad, or treat myself. Of course, they all said to treat myself. So I did... to green chili fried chicken. REALLY GOOD! At the moment. But I felt horrible all afternoon, both physically and mentally. Way too much on my stomach and I was mad at myself for making that choice. Only got to 7,000 steps without that walk. Irritating!
Yesterday I did walk, but I didn't wear my pedometer. And today was the first day all week that I had any soda, only drank about 1/3 of it. So its been a week of good and bad choices. But it was a good exercise in saying no to my flesh, choosing the right path, and getting back on it when I fell off. I'll spare you the details from now on about my adventure in making choices unless there is something really big. I'm not sure if I have lost any weight. I think I have lost 2 lbs, but its hard to tell on my old time scale. Its not digital so I'm not sure how accurate reading the spinner thing is. But I will continue on. I'm hoping the stress of VBS the next two weeks will take off a few pounds, as long as I don't eat myself through it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More choices, and some excitement?

Yesterday had some good and bad points. I walked a little over 10,000 steps, but I ate a cupcake at Cade's baseball party. I could not say no. It was really good mentally. I really enjoyed that cupcake. But in actuality, it wasn't that good of a cupcake. I shouldn't have wasted something sweet on that store bought cupcake.

I couldn't find my pedometer today, until tonight when I found it under the chair in the den. Don't know how it got there. But I didn't walk this morning because Campbell had a fever and I didn't want to take him out in the Houston heat and humidity. That was my excuse anyway. So I'm sure I wouldn't have made it to 10,000 anyway. But I had lots of good Bible study time today. Jason is preaching on Sunday at 11 (if you could say a prayer for him please), so he can't teach our Weekend Bible Study class, so that leaves it to me to teach Isaiah 13-23. Yep. Not the most exciting easy to teach lesson. I need to go study some more.

Here was the most exciting thing that happened today.
I don't know how I happened to see that on the busy carpet in the dining room, but I'm glad I did because I think that monster has been living in my house for a couple of weeks and bit me about 10 days ago. I have been struggling with these huge bites on my left leg for 10 days, and I assumed they were spider bites. I have never had bites like this. If anyone has seen me trying to inconspicuously scratching my leg the last 10 days, that's why. I sit in the dining room to do my Bible study, so I wondered if that's where I was when it bit me. My spiritual illustration for the spider is that its such a small thing that is distracting me a great deal. I have to look for the small distractions in my life that are keeping me from being with the Lord and squash them, like I did to the spider after I took a picture of it. I then uploaded the picture and emailed it to badspiderbites@gmail.com so he can tell me what kind of spider bit me. I googled spiders to find a picture of it. I think its a wolf spider. I have never been afraid of spiders, but after browsing all the pictures I feel really creepy, like they are crawling all over me. I might be afraid of spiders now.

I was about to post this and Cooper came in and saw the picture of the spider and said, "That might be a wolf spider." "How do you know that?" "I read a spider book." Who reads spider books?!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Much wiser decisions today...

I walked this morning. Other than my coffee (Sorry, I am not giving that up) I only drank water today. No major sweets, just a few of the new Newtons fruit thins (really good by the way). We had to meet J at McDonalds and I ate a salad, chicken nuggets and water instead of the double cheeseburger, fries and sweet tea I really wanted. I got a lot done today. I set my timer to work around the house and was going to stop at 2:30 to sit down with my Bible. I made the mistake of checking my email first, and almost got sucked into a VBS email. I had to say "no" to something good and worthwhile because it still wasn't as important as my time with Jesus. I had a sweet time reading His word and another book I'm studying. Two baseball games tonight. I did make an unwise choice of eating a hot dog a few minutes ago. Coop got home from his game followed by his first all-star practice and was ravenous. Ate two hot dogs and 1/2 pound of grapes. His hot dog looked really good, so I broke down and ate one. But I have been wearing a pedometer today and as of 10:14 pm I have walked 14,623 steps today! I only walked 1.25 miles this morning so the rest of that is errands this morning, running all over the house and baseball games. I'm sure the fact that the boys played on two different fields on opposite ends of the complex added to that step count, and I had a two year old to keep up with too. So I think the hot dog was ok. It was a turkey hot dog if that makes any difference.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wisdom vs foolishness

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do... For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it." Romans 7:15-20

Thank you Paul for putting those thoughts on paper for me. I get so frustrated with myself. I was thinking this morning getting ready for church about what a rough week I had had, physically, emotionally and spritually. I didn't feel good, no motivation, a lack of priorities, took lots of naps, and pity parties (see previous posts). And I realized, HELLO, I haven't sat down and spent any time in the word and prayer. Its my own fault. Believe it or not, the weeks I am really good about spending time with Him, I have more energy, I feel better, I get things done faster, I have motivation to get up and do something, and I do it all with a much better attitude. But the past few weeks I have gotten myself back in a hole of taking a nap or laying down to watch tv in the afternoons to rest instead of using that time to read the Bible and pray. I say its because I have had a rough day and "deserve it". Ridiculous! I know better!

Steve's sermon this morning hit me right on point. He was preaching to the graduating seniors about walking down the path of wisdom instead of foolishness, but of course it fits for everyone. He said at one point that the ability to tell yourself "no" is a mark of wise adulthood (my paraphrase.) The one on the path of the wise knows how to make good decisions and is able to weigh consequences wisely. I got convicted about the being able to say "no" part. Every afternoon when I hit that 2:00 moment of exhaustion I have the choice to sit down and watch tv, or take a nap or spend a minute with my Savior. I know what the consequences are to each choice, but somedays, more days than not lately, I am choosing the path of foolishness and am not able to say "no" to my sinful, selfish self. Yes, there are days when as a mom I do need a quick power nap, but not as often as my flesh would say.

It also goes to the way I eat (now its getting personal). I need to lose 10 pounds. My clothes in my closet do not fit me anymore and there is no magic money tree to go buy more. Each day I say that I'm going to do better, cut back on the sugar, walk, drink water, etc. But I am not able to get over my flesh side and say "no" to myself. So I will get up tomorrow and start afresh, and try again to make wise choices and deny my flesh when the choices are clear. I will seek the Lord and His word for my life.

"For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones." Proverbs 2:6-8

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Indivisible" by Kristen Heitzmann

This book could be categorized as a romance novel, mystery, or psychological thriller. Its a story of hurting hearts and redemptive lives, but wrapped in a package of a quaint Colorado town full of drugs and intrigue. Police Chief Jonah Westfall is trying to fix a broken relationship, take down a drug ring and solve a mystery of disturbing proportions.

I have read a few of Kristen Heitzmann's books and was excited to read a new one, but was slightly disappointed in this one. It took me awhile to get into it because there are so many characters that she introduces at the beginning so it was hard to keep up. This book also had less of a spiritual side then some of her other books. But, once I got into the story it was hard to put down. And the ending was creative and relieving yet dark and sad. I was content with how all the characters I finally got to know finished their stories.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"

Friday, May 20, 2011

Follow up to hurt feelings...

Well, hours later I am feeling kind of silly. The more I've thought, prayed and processed with my husband about it, I realized this wasn't something I should have gotten upset about. Just one of those days I guess. But I did gain some sweet things out of it. My husband in his round about way, gave me some sweet compliments. I got lots of wonderful comments on facebook. And considering how many people read the blog post so quickly made me realize I am not alone and it touched the hearts of lots of women. So maybe someone else was dealing with the same issue and got some of God's love and grace out of the verses He showed me. I know to write a popular blog I'm supposed to focus on one issue, but I've always had too many things I wanted to write about ... my kids, my favorite things, recipes, couponing, and spiritual things. But my blog posts about my struggles and the heart of God always get the most readers and comments. And I have a ton of those in my head and journal. Its just a matter of being vulnerable and getting them written up. I'll try harder. Obviously it makes me feel better when people struggle with the same things I do and maybe something God teaches me can help someone else. That's the main thing He taught me today. Its not about me. Or it at least it shouldn't be.

Hurt feelings...

I got my feelings hurt this morning from being left out of something. I'm 36. You would think things like that wouldn't hurt anymore. But it took me right back to 9th grade. A bunch of us girls decided to have a slumber party one night after church. I had to run home and they were supposed to call and tell me where they decided to have it, and I never heard from them. Three hours later, while I'm in bed in tears, my mom tracked one of them down and they had forgotten about me. That felt great. I went anyway and they tried to convince me it wasn't intentional, and I'm sure it wasn't, but it still didn't feel good to be forgotten. Twenty years later, I feel that way again today. I keep trying to tell myself I don't know the whole story and its not intentional, but it still hurts to feel forgotten. And of course the other side of the emotion is feeling silly for having my feelings hurt. I know in my head that I am loved and I have friends and am blessed beyond measure, but it still hurts.

Oh Lord, please speak to me with your words!

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:6,7
Thank you Lord that you NEVER forget me.

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:25,26
Lord, help me to desire you more than anything and to remember that when my flesh and heart fail, like today, you are my strength and portion forever.

"The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down... You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing... The Lord is near to all who call on him... He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them." Psalm 145:13-19
Father, thank you for being faithful to me even when I am unfaithful. Thank you for being loving to me even when I am unlovable. Thank you for picking me up, for satisfying my deepest needs, for fulling my deepest desires and always hearing me!

That helps some, but I still probably need a good cry today. Don't women need to cry periodically, get some of that junk out, start fresh? Its one of those days ladies.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Book Review - The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susaan Veness is a book full of secrets, fun discoveries, and a reminder to take in every detail of the magical world of Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. As the mother of a Disney fanatic family, I was so excited to receive and read this book. Not that I could ever be bored at Disney World, but I had begun to take things for granted and begun to lose interest in certain parts of the parks. But this book has renewed my interest and excitement of visiting the greatest place on earth!

Veness goes through each park and points out details that you may just pass right by, or may never have even realized were there! Did you know that if you see a pay phone, you should pick it up and listen? You can hear fun conversations that fit the surroundings that you are in. Or if you see a name on a store, it usually is in honor of an Imagineer because they aren't allowed to put their names on their designs. The next time we go to the parks, I plan on rereading this book and highlighting certain things that I want to take notice of and take the book with me to the parks. I'm so excited to discover all the details that the Disney Imagineers put in the parks that were a part of their creative genius.

The book also includes time lines of each one of the parks, when each ride and attraction came and went. My only criticism of the book is that it was published in 2009, so it is already out of date. I can only hope the author writes and updated edition so I don't miss any of the great information. I highly recommend this book for anyone visiting Disney, but especially people who may think they have been enough, and need a new inspiration to go back.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, May 13, 2011

My middle child...

Oh, my middle child. I missed getting to blog about Cade on his birthday last month when he turned 7, but better late than never. Out of my three boys, Cade brings me the most joy and the most frustrations. He is passionate, dedicated, stubborn, loving, creative, thoughtful, brilliant, athletic, impatient and very huggable. As I think back, he has matured a lot over the past year, and has tamed his emotional outbursts. I don't know where he got those from. He also used to be very dissatisfied with himself and would get really angry at himself when he messed up something. I guess he's a perfectionist in some ways. But that has been tamed too. He's a leader, but not dominating. If you don't follow him, its ok. He's a good friend to all, but doesn't have a best friend. He's the reason we have a bigger gap between child 2 and 3, but there are days that he and Campbell are best buds even though they are 4 years apart. He's a great big and little brother. I am so thankful for his heart for the Lord, even though he's not a believer yet. I can't wait to see how on fire he is once he really understands God's grace. So to celebrate him, here is a baby picture of him and here is a copy of some things he has been writing lately. He is quite the author!

He wrote this in church a few months ago.
To: God From: Cade
You are great, love, truth, hope, nice and good. You help the weak and strong. You are good to all. You love evryone with all your heart.

These are poems he has written lately.

The Would, Just is Great
On the would thar is... Beutiful evrything. Thars tropicel rain trees, a home for you and me, a big blue sky and a big yellow sun. Things to have that are speshle. Other things are pools, parks, bikes, and a spechuly frends. Books, food, drinks, school, mom, dad, brother, baby and mybe a sister. Someone that loves you, someone that feeds you, and keeps you helthy. This would is just great!!!

(I don't know where he got the sister thing from. He's going to have to pray A LOT harder than that!)

Beutiful, Beutiful, Me
Beutiful, Beutiful, Me. I have dark brown and black eyes. Very black hare. Very small endeed. But you can guess that I am fast. What a beutiful, beutiful me!!

Beutiful All Arond Me
Thar is a loshan on my skin. A big wonderful tree right next to me. Soled snow, white as sheep. The sun has big yellow rays. A comforting house, black and white. A smelling rose, very red. Some dark brown hot coco for the winter. A good family to have. What beutiful things in my life!

This one is hot off the presses, tonight.
Baseball is my Game
Bat, ball, and enything at all!!!
Glove, out, what are you talking about!!!
Hit, swing, what a beem!!!!
Ground, throw go go go!!!

Like I said, he's brilliant! So proud to be his mom!

Quick recommendation

I just haven't had time to blog with VBS and baseball. We had a big VBS rally last night so I will have a little free time over the next week, and hope to post a bunch of things I have running around in my head. But here is just a quick recommendation for a sermon I listened to today. Really good and convicting. Sometimes I need a little conviction to give me a kick in the pants. A great reminder to me that I am a Name bearer for Jesus wherever I go!

Chosen to Carry the Name

Click on Chosen to Carry the Name and then download as an MP3. I'm sure there is a better way technologically for me to do this, but that's the best I can do. I'll be back soon!

Sunday, May 08, 2011


Mother's Day

I told my boys today I couldn't decide if they were more whiny today or I was more sensitive to it today since I had higher expectations since it was Mother's Day. Why do I have high expectations of how they should act on special occasions? They are boys.

Anyway, it was a rough morning getting ready for church. Jason leaves before we even get up, and most mornings it doesn't bother me. Its been like that since the boys were little and I'm used to it. But Mother's Day, it stings a little. No breakfast in bed for me. Instead the never ending battle of getting three boys ready for church and myself. Why are Sunday mornings harder than school mornings? Satan?

So by the time we got to church, a few minutes later than I wanted, I had already yelled more than once, one child had grabbed his shoes to put on the car (which I had told him way earlier to get them on) and realized he grabbed his cleats so we had to go back, and I was not in a good mood!

When I get to church, I am trying really hard to do a quick fix on my attitude. Worshipping helps a lot. One of our last songs we sang was "Oh How He Loves Us" by David Crowder. Sometimes I don't like singing that song because I feel like I'm singing about myself instead of worshipping God, but I needed it today. I felt like such a bad mom, selfish, impatient, grumpy. A bad mom, a bad wife, a bad pastor's wife, etc, etc. As we were singing, I felt his sweet spirit say to me, "I love you Christy, not because you are a mom, not because you are a wife, or a preschool teacher, or a pastor's wife, but because you are my child. I love you because of who you are to me, no matter how you feel about yourself." Oh I needed that word today.

The day didn't get much better. Still a lot of whiny children, and tonight Campbell was swinging outside and I was talking to my mom and ran inside for 2 seconds to check my calendar, and I heard crying. He fell out of the swing and busted his lip open. Talk about feeling like a bad mom. FAILURE! But God quickly reminded me that He loves me anyway. And my friend Mandy brought me Starbucks. That helped too! Happy Mother's Day everyone! Remember that God loves you for who you are, not just because you are a good mom. Thank goodness!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Spiritual battleground... at my local park

I wanted to blog about this anyway and it seems like a good fit with all that is going on tonight. Friday night I took my boys to one of the neighborhood parks, but we went to the one farthest from our house. There were about 10 young men playing basketball there. They took a water break and I began to hear two of them having a spiritual conversation. At first I couldn't hear the conversation enough to know what they were talking about, but I could tell one was speaking more defensively and one was speaking more peacefully. I began to pray for them that whatever truth was being spoken would be clear and concise and wise. I then started to hear one of them quoting all kinds of scriptures, chapter and verse, but using them out of context. He was asking the other man how Jesus and God could be the same person if Jesus was talking to God on the cross. And how could the gospels be true when the last words of Jesus were different in each book. I felt such a heavy heart for the Christian man who was trying to answer these questions that I began to pace the park and pray for him in particular. I felt a spiritual battle being waged around me. There were three other men listening to this conversation and I wanted them to hear truth. It was getting dark and I had already stayed way longer than I had intended to, and needed to get the boys home. But I wanted the Christian man to know I was praying for him. So I called the boys to leave and as we walked to the car, I went over to the group of men and stood there a second. They stopped and looked at me and I said, "I have been eves dropping and just wanted you to know that I have been praying for you to have truth spoken and clarity and peace in this conversation." I realized at that point that the man on the ground, the defensive one, was holding a Koran. He rolled his eyes at me and kept talking. The Christian man said, "Thank you. We are friends, its ok." I said, "I can tell. You are speaking out of respect for each other. But I just wanted you to know I was praying for you," and patted him on the arm. He looked at me, and I think understanding what I was not saying, said thank you. And I got in the car with the boys. Cooper asked me what I had said and I explained in simple terms. But I was, and am even more now, overwhelmed with the spiritual battle that was going on. That is so not me to go up to strangers like that. I knew God wanted me to and I did. I'm watching all of these people rejoicing on tv, and as much as I know that it is a good day for our country, I wish people would realize that God loves everyone, and there is a spiritual battle going on all around us for the souls of all men.