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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I had a birthday!

 Seems like that post title should hold a slew of giveaways and celebrations. Actually, you're going to hear me whine. I'm going to whine to you because I feel weird calling up a friend and forcing them to hear my whining whereas you can close the page whenever you like and I'll never know the difference. Sounds like a win all around. I'm whining because I'm sick of whining on my birthday and hoping that we can hash this out once and for all so there'll be no more whining.

Birthdays have always been weird for me. I lived with my mom and dad until I was 5 and then my mom until I was 6. My mom was crafty and a great cook and baker and prepared huge elaborate parties and awesome cakes and crafts for everyone. I actually remember them. Before I turned 6,  I went to live with my grandfather's third cousin who was then in her 70's and grumpily set in her ways. When I last saw my grandmother we celebrated my birthday even though it was months away. She knew she wouldn't see me on the actual day. I moved across the country and shortly after she died of cancer in her 40's. My mom died a few years later at 34.

I lived with my dad from 14-college. He was a bachelor and not quite sure what to do. He came in one birthday and asked if I wanted to take a friend to Farrells. Nice thought. Another birthday he bought me a stereo and then through a HUGE 3 hour screaming fit that it took him all day to buy it.

Then I met a wonderful family who treated me like their own (a new concept for me) and we had wonderful wonderful tea parties for my birthday and I felt so special and uncomfortable with all the attention.

Now here I am: the wife and mom. I make celebrations happen. I do all the prep work and planning. So what happens on my birthday? Honestly? My husband waits until the day of and then feels incredibly guilty that he cant do or buy what he thinks he should. I don't even know what that is. And he asks me and asks me, but life doesn't stop and neither do it's pressures.

I got a *new to me* dress/shirt thing at Goodwill. (I cant decide if I lke it and I dont know if I can return it now because the cashier gave me a 24% discount. They like me there, it's like my own little Cheers.)

I woke this morning to a toddler bringing me paper and pens because everyone else was making cards and he didnt want me to be left out :) My husband made a great cup of coffee and an amazing omelet. A friend facebooked me last night asking if she could bring over  a cake.

I dont want anything more but I feel like something is missing. Is it because my well meaning husband keeps asking me what I want to do? Do I expect my Mom to come through the door with a Barbie cake and make everything better? Do I miss my grandma making sure I am taken care of. I dont even know. If so, Id like to get over that now. This is stupid and I dont like whining.

Are birthdays weird for you? Im not all that offended by getting older. Do you plan your birthdays? What do you do? What is your favorite birthday memory?

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do we eat blue eggs?

Somehow that I can't explain, we ended up with two heads of red cabbage.

So, I cut one up, boiled it with some vinegar, added eggs returned to a boil and then turned it off for 7 minutes. Then i cooled it off and let them soak overnight. Somehow, I thought the eggs would turn purple.
Nope. deep blue:

Next, I went to the store and got more eggs:
added some turmeric, water and vinegar to a pot and brought to a boil. I added eggs and returned the boil and then turned off for 7 minutes. This was more predictable:

My four year old woke me up perplexed: "Do we eat blue eggs?"

I'm trying to collect the shells in this jar:

for an art project like this one:

My oldest three made this many many years ago. Somehow, I only have one now.

I may or not be motivated to color more eggs before Sunday. In the past, we have also used: onion leaves, beet juice, and chlorophyll.


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Monday, April 18, 2011

Community and a Coming Home Story

I wonder sometimes. Why blog? Isn't it a little shallow and narcisstic? What do I really have to contirbute anyway? This isn't "real."

THEN..I see something like this.

The "blog world" acting as community. In an amazing way. Maybe blogging is silly but God can use WHATEVER HE WANTS.

Have you heard about this family

and Baby Sergey

and their coming home story?

This is something I want to be apart of.

READ THIS and come back. I'll be here waiting.

Yeah. Are you crying? I LOVE that the Farley Family's blog has under 100 followers. Yet, somehow, word has gotten to every corner or the internet and sooo many people came forward and reached out in HUGE amazing ways.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Product Reviews

Sometimes I forget to share things with you because I assume that if even I know about something that everyone does else does too. I assume I'm the last to know. I shared with you ladies some time back that I'd like to do product reviews on this blog. I failed to mention the amazing liaison that I found in doing this.

Apparently when you have 5 gajillion followers and are super uber awesome companies know who you are and contact you. Not so if you are me. I would have to cold call companies hoping to find one that is interested. I may be a great  fit for a company but they wouldn't know how to find me.

Enter Business2Blogger and the beauty of product reviews. You contact them with your company info and what you would like done. You offer a compensation of some sort and tell them what you are looking for: a blog with atleast 4 gazillion page views? a family blog? a fashion blog? a blog of any size? a small blog talking about homeschooling? Business2Blogger finds THOSE blogs and asks them if they are interested. Those blogs write why they are interested and Business2Blogger contacts the business with the bloggers info allowing them to choose the best fit. Doesn't that just make sooo much sense?

I have done some great reviews through Business2Blogger. I was given opportunities to work with large companies that would not have known me otherwise and smaller companies (like a stay at home Mom needing reviewers for her e-books) that became good friends.

I know first hand the benefits of product reviews for bloggers. This is also a HUGE opportunity for businesses big and small. There is so much power in the word of mouth. I don't buy anything because of the flashy commercials that I see on Super Bowl Sunday. I do, however listen to people I consider friends. Bloggers feel like trusted friends. Weird I know, but here we are.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

He is Risen! Need a banner?

I was really dissapointed when I FINALLY found my Easter boxes this year. I wanted more. I wanted to proclaim that "HE IS RISEN!" I wanted a really cool banner for our entry way but you see, I am NOT crafty and I forgot that and I attempted and attempted again and read tutorial after tutorial and then I went to Etsy. And saw this:

made by:

then I looked aorund a little and saw that Bekah Jennings

was featured and held onto these nuggets:

"In the first grade there was a day where all the students in my class came dressed up as what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wore an apron — I wanted to be a mother. So I am living my dream as the mother of 4 children, ages 7, 5, 3 and 1. I am the joyful wife of Andy, an almost Ph.D. in mathematics. We live in the Evergreen Historic District of Mesa, Arizona, which means lots of trees, lots of yard work, and great neighbors."

when asked what she does:

"I create a home where my family and I can see the ordinary miracles of God’s hand in our lives.” I wrote that as my personal mission statement and job description four years ago and tacked it up all over my house..."

You should read the whole article for yourself and learn about her creative process and crafting with her littles. It is well written and worth reading in it's entirity.

Wow. Don't ya just love her?

I contacted her and she offered all you readers  free shipping! WOO HOO (just use code FIRSTSHIPSFREE)

Since I waited SOOO long to get my act together for Easter it is probably too late for you all :( BUT check out what she has for 

4th of July:

and think about graduations, summer birthdays, baby showers, weddings...

and for a kids room, or homeschool room or library:


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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Some thrifty finds on April 14th

I think this may all be the product of procastination but:

this looks like a good deal, good idea and a good Spring activitiy:

via Swagbucks and Froobi
2 Faberware silicone trivets for $4.99

I have and use these and LOVE them!

I am also seriosuly crushing on some great Easter printables

created and shared by Today's Fabulous Finds
to be shown on my mantle soon:)

LOVE LOVE LOVE the Graham Family Ministries!
there are TWO feree e-books offered through this weekend only!
Bountiful Breakfasts
Setting up a Cleaning Schedule ........that works

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Belt tightening and Mail order

I work in the evenings. From home. It's huge pain but helps a lot with groceries and gas. I was working Saturday afternoons through Sunday mornings. Half of those Sunday mornings my husband is also working. Not from home. We go to church on Sundays. I was working. Stuck on the phone and getting myself and 5 others ready for church. I quit those Saturdays. Just like that. Now we are "down" 25% of that food/gas money. Gas is going up and up. (it is $4.10-$4.15 here. what is where you are?)

I need to find some ways to tighten belts. All of them.

Im trying really really hard not to run out to the store for things: planning more ahead and shopping when Im taking my kids to activities. I always opted out of those kids' activities. And now here we are:) So shopping is Monday nights when my oldest is a Boy Scout den chief and Thursday nights when two oldest are at Scout Meetings. I can do this right?

The thing that I have been doing more and more of is mail order. Amazon Prime and
I find things on sale (10-15% off) and then sign up for subscribe and save (another 15% off) and free shipping. We also put all our food/gas/Amazon purchases on an Amazon card and get a small percentage in points. So far I have just been collecting points but I did cash in some for gas to a filed trip to the Reagan Library.

Here are examples of my standbys on Amazon:

Baby Wipes (for those times Im not using washcloths or something spills or...)

$27.82 for a 12 pack.

Pull ups (another convenience that I can only afford this way)

$16.23 for 52

Annie's Macaroni and cheese (rice pasta)

$19.07 for 3 large bags

$17.83 for 3 large bags

$20.54 for 102

These may not be the cheapest available but I needed them and they came within 2 days:)

12 pack for $32.31

I splurged a little and got these: $21.85 for 6


$22.95 for 6

It's definitely not rocket science and I'm sure my system could use some tweaking but it makes my life a tiny but more simple. Speaking of..I probably should have just added these items all to a widget :)
BTW these we are on the Feingold diet and these items are all safe on Stage 1 (I wouldn't use the pull ups for a target child though) I am also an Amazon associate. If you decide to purchase any of these items and go through the links that I provided, I will receive a small commission.
We also just "broke down" and got a subscription to Costco. Our nearest store is a half hour away but my husband drives by there four days a week coming home from work. Im developing a shopping list/price book for there too. What do you buy at Costco?

It takes so much energy to figure these things out. There are so many things that I DONT have figured out. I'm toying with the idea of starting a linky. Something like a Titus 2, teach me, type thing. Any thoughts? wisdom? Suggested days, inspired names or buttons or treasured tips all ready to go?

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Giveaway: Custom Made Photo Charm from Sodderbug

Janelle is the mother of two little ones and the founder, owner and talent behind

She made me an amazing charm a while ago. On one side it has my blog button and on the other is a family picture. I LOVE my charm and am always complimented whenever I wear it. It is sturdy and well made yet dainty and gorgeous.

I really want you to have one too! The really cool thing is that  Janelle feels the same way!

We will be giving away a  custom made Sodderbug photo charm ($48 value and free shipping)

It can bear whatever your heart desires:
a favorite quote or Bible verse
a baby picture
family portrait
Sepia toned print of a great grandmother
anything that you can desire and send to Janelle, she can make it into a soddered charm.

Here are some examples of her work:

To enter "like" the Sodderbug facebook page and come back here to let me know that you did.

For bonus entries:

(1 entry) tell me who your photo charm would be for and what would be on it
(1 entry) follow this blog
(1 entry) share this giveaway on Facebook

giveaway will end on April 23rd at midnight PST. Winner will be chosen by

***Giveaway is now closed:

winner of the drawing is Camille!
commenter #20

Thank you to everyone who entered! I enjoyed introdusing you to Sodderbug!

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Monday, April 4, 2011

A little luck and a lot of Providence

We don't budget. We are budget type people and we know EXACTLY how much we spend on every little thing. Honestly, there isn't enough money; not to buy food and pay rent and pay utilities. It doesn't make sense to budget what we don't have. So we pray and God brings things before we know we need them. Sounds over simple, sounds naieve, sounds impractical. Yet here we are.

"Surprise" 4th pregnancy? Out of work, injured and now very worried husband is offered a job working one day a month. By the end of the pregnancy it turned into 30 hours a week. We didnt fit in our vehicle. 6 weeks after our baby is born (which is when I actually WANT to leave the house) we were given a minivan. By people who turned out to not even be friends later. Definitely God's hand and not some charm on our part. A better vehicle than we realized that we needed. God is very very good to us and I don't ever want to take it for granted or expect it. 

I go in to the Goodwill near our house whenever I am out and quickly scan through. They get Targets returns and overstocks. i have purchased many many lamps there and rugs. lots of rugs. I don't have time or luxury to shop like I like or maybe need to.

I have been working Friday nights through Saturday mornings and haven't been to yard sales in FOREVER. With the cost of gas and so many littles in tow it ends up not cost efficient.

My two youngest and i stopped at some garage sales Friday a.m. while my three oldest were in a geography co-op.

There were a few treasures waiting for me:)

Tony Hawk jeans I don't think they are actually "skinny jeans" and they are blue. But they were the right size for my oldest son and $150 a pair.

and peacock jeans just like these on ebay but in my size (a feat in itself) they are a little more sparkly in person, and, yes I am that flamboyant.
for $1.00

A MOPS cookbook for $1.00.

A pair of yellow slip on ballet flats for my daughter $1.50.

This was 3 different yard sales. there were things there that seemed really overpriced. There was a hall table that i wish i would have purchased. It was $20.00 and had this gold edging that I wasnt too keen on. but now I walk through my hall and wish I had purchased it.

I have been taking pictures and trying to document what I am finding and then never get around to writing a post or think it isnt that great or forget to link up:(

Do you all care what I find? I like the idea of having someone to share my finds with but it is pure luck (or Providence) on my part. It's not like I'm finding old furniture with this amazing creative eye and turning it into beauty. I don't have that eye. Should I continue to document and share? Is it helpful or encouraging?

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