Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The mundane things really aren't mundane.

As I sat at my desk this evening feeling overwhelmed by everything that went on over the last few days, my mind was spinning as I felt I accomplished nothing today. Then a fellow blogger reminded me of a promise that I made to myself not long ago to bring the glorious into the mundane. How easy it is to forget.

I did a lot today. I did a lot yesterday after we got home from camping and my uncle's funeral (who passed away young of cancer). I did a lot the days before we went camping over the weekend...but it was all mundane stuff. Nothing out of the ordinary, just things I do to prepare for and after every camping trip, and every day that we're home during the week. Homeschool. Planning shopping lists. Making meals. Planning for the next week. Making menus. Laundry. Mowing the lawn. You know, just the normal, every day stuff. After I gave myself a bit of time to ponder the post from that blog page, I have begun to realize the importance once again of not forgetting God in these things. He is with me always, and yet I keep forgetting to acknowledge Him throughout my day, and be thankful I have these mundane things to do.

I also don't want to take the great things for granted, either. The Lord laid it upon my heart heavily yesterday as I talked with my aunt after the funeral. I mentioned to her we came directly from camping to the funeral, and she started crying, and said that's one thing she'll never get to do again. I asked her if her kids would take her camping, and she replied, "it just wouldn't be the same". How precious her marriage was to her, and her husband. I pray that I will never take my husband for granted, nor my children. And that's one of the main earthly reasons to always bring the glorious into the mundane, because in the mundane we serve our families and our Lord more than we could ever know.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WHEN PEOPLE ARE BIG and God is small...

I just started reading this book again for the second time. I had forgotten how powerful it is. I highly recommend it for anyone who has a relationship with Jesus Christ but finds themselves struggling with the ways of the world. Here are some reviews from the back of the book:

"Need people less. Love people more. That's the author's challenge...He's talking about a tendency to hold other people in awe, to be controlled and mastered by them, to depend on them for what God alone can give...[Welch] proposes an antidote: the fear of God...the believer's response to God's power, majesty and not least His mercy." -Dallas Morning News

"...refreshingly biblical...brimming with helpful, readable, practical insight." -John F. MacArthur Jr.

"Readable and refreshing...goes to the heart of an issue immobilizing the church. Exposes and repudiates the trivia of therapeutic theology with wisdom and compassion." -Susan Hunt
If you're looking for a good read and great insight on how to make God big in your life, I recommend this book.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Camping Menu

I am setting up our menu plan for our next camping trip, and thought I'd share!

FRIDAY (set up day)
sloppy joes (I typically make it ahead of time and just have to warm it up after we're done setting up camp)
pistachio salad (pistachio pudding, marshmallows, cool whip, and canned mandarin oranges)

later in the evening each night we have s'mores or tonka toast (pie filling inside pieces of bread using a iron toaster over the fire)

tonka toast breakfast (scrambled eggs, sausage, cheese inside bread cooked over the fire in the iron toaster)

hot dogs/brats
baked beans

dinner rolls

morning skillet (eggs, diced potatoes, sausage, cheese)

chili (made ahead of time)

corn chips
garden salad

roasted potatoes

MONDAY (packing up day - light, quick meals)
banana bread


I also usually make up some cookies or a pan of bars to enjoy throughout our camping trip as well, and keep a stocked 'snack bin' on hand with granola bars and other fun treats.

Some of our other fun meals we have when camping are hobo dinners (mini meatloaves placed inside wrapped aluminum foil along with cut up potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, or squash), and bagged omelettes (scrambled eggs, ham, and cheese 'scrambled' together in a ziploc bag and boiled in water until they are done - spray the bag with pam first, and they slide right out!).

What kinds of fun foods do you have when you're camping?

Aldi coming to St. Cloud!

Jeff heard on the radio this morning that Aldi is coming to town! He also found this article in our local newspaper. Can't wait to see what kinds of deals we can get there, since I've been seeing several ladies blogging about the savings they get at their Aldi's. Woohoo!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My best savings yet - Walgreens

I did it! I had the best savings yet at Walgreen's tonight. It was an impromptu trip as we were just across the street and I asked Jeff if we could run there really quick. I had my coupon book with me, so I promptly pulled out the ad and looked to see if I had any coupons to match (since I hadn't had time to set up shopping lists yet this week). I also had some register rewards to use. I paid $9.71 for what you see below - a savings of $65.86!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Coupon Chaining and other stuff...

My sister and two friends and I have decided to team up and coupon chain. We're all pretty excited about it, to the point that we're even contemplating a name for ourselves! This is our first month of it, so we haven't gotten into a pattern or anything, but the plan is to buy 300-400 coupons from ebay once a month and pass them around our group. We still have the logistics to work out, but it's been fun listening to each other's ideas. Are you in a coupon chain? What works for you, and what doesn't? We'd love some tips on how to make ours run smoothly.

Couponing has been going very well. I've saved more money this month (I know that sounds crazy to some-yes, we do have to spend money to save money, but my storage room is starting to look nice and full with all of the great things I've been getting for great deals), so we're doing wonderful. I have made it beyond the middle of July and still have funds in the bank account where I put all the savings from last month, so I'm very excited about that!

I have been looking at couponing as a hobby which really helps...I have been spending a couple of hours daily checking out blogsites, coupon sites, and ads. Then there's the actual shopping, and that's been fun for me. My husband and kids beg to differ some of the time, but they are happy when we are home and they have a variety of food to eat! I don't ever want to look at couponing as a chore, because once it isn't fun anymore I have a feeling I won't want to continue. So some people have scrapbooking or knitting or whatever...I have couponing!

This last week went by rather quickly. It felt really strange today not to be packing to go somewhere. Jeff had a full day of golf with his company, so it's a stay at home weekend, which is okay, but I can't wait for our next camping trip. Instead, I cleaned the den (including inside cabinets and desks), mowed the lawn (and almost killed three baby bunnies in the process!), cleaned our front step/porch area (and the mess left behind from killing a hornet's nest yesterday), scrubbed down the grill, cleaned the garage, did laundry, and found a bit of time to do some coupon browsing. Oh, and facebook! Have I mentioned yet how much I enjoy facebook? With being a stay at home/homeschool mom, I don't get out much, so I am so thankful for the quick and easy way I can keep up with friends and family. I check it often, and love that so many people use it. A lot of people see it as a time waster and don't get the concept, but for homebodies like me, it gives me an opportunity to experience the outside world and have adult conversations with friends any time of the day, and I can still get homeschool accomplished and chores done.

Speaking of chores, I best get back to them! Hope your weekend is good!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wasn't it supposed to be Doshi's turn?

Wouldn'tcha know...I had on my to do list to cut my son's hair yesterday. Instead, I had to cut my daughter's. We discovered yesterday that she cut out several snarls in her hair, leaving a bunch of short hair popping out from the back of her head, making it obvious that it was not 'normal'. After a quick bath and some clips with the shears, I was able to hide the weird short spots on her head. I even gave her some bangs and now she has a whole different look! Here are before and after pics... Before After

To me, it doesn't even look like the same person! She seems to be liking it somewhat, but we'll see. Our original plan was to do Locks of Love together, but I guess we'll be waiting a bit longer as she needs about 4 more inches.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Have you tried ebates? I have been a fan of ebates for about a month now, and already have a good balance in my account that I'll receive back in cash in August. I can't believe the savings I am getting from them! Just the other day I had to order more Frontline for our dog. I opened up ebates and typed in 1-800-petmeds, and they are a partner...not only am I getting 8% back in cash, but I also was able to use a coupon through ebates to get free shipping! If you sign up soon, they are offering a $5 cash back reward when you make your first purchase through them, so you not only get the cash back from that particular store, but you get $5 too! Make sure to tell your friends as well, because with each friend that signs up off your invitation, you get more bonuses! It's a great deal! LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

A little bit more of vacation time, please...

We had a great 4th of July weekend in Duluth, MN. We stayed at the Cloquet KOA in our travel trailer from Thursday to Monday, and we all had a wonderful time. On Friday, the kids and Jeff and I went to an indoor amusement park called Thrillz at Canal Park. From there we walked down to the lift bridge and watched a couple of sailboats go in and out of the harbor. Then we decided to cross the lift bridge and go out to the peninsula called "Park Point" and walked around in the sand a bit at the beach. It was very windy and cold, yet there were people everywhere in their bathing suits trying to catch some rays...we certainly looked out of place with our jackets and sweatshirts on, just trying to stay warm!

Friday evening we took in a college level baseball game between our hometown team and the Duluth team. Unfortunately we did not win, but it was still a fun game.

On Saturday we went down to the Lakewalk and Bayfront Park where the Duluth 4th festival was happening. We spent a few hours wandering around and Jeff and the kids checked out a feature attraction for the weekend, the Denis S. Sullivan, a beautiful replication of a 19th century sailboat. After a few hour return to the campground to get some swimming in and have dinner, we headed back to the festival to enjoy the music and wait for the fireworks. After a bit of a mishap and not being seated in the right place for the fireworks, we relocated rather quickly and were able to see them. They were good, but not as good as we're used to here in St. Cloud. We also did have an issue with parking...we were stuck for over an hour in the parking lot waiting to get out. It appeared that the woman patrol who was signalling traffic had no clue what to do. We made it back to the camper after midnight and quickly got everyone off to bed.

On Sunday we all slept in a bit and then got ready and headed to the Duluth Zoo.
It was pretty warm already by the time we got there and most of the animals were napping, so we didn't get to see a whole lot. My son said that was his favorite part about the whole weekend, though, so it was worth going! After the zoo we stopped at the Kmart in Duluth because I happened to catch in their ad that they were doing the double coupon thing and I got several good deals. Jeff took a cart and 10 coupons and so did I, and we were able to save a bit of money. I think we did pretty good but I haven't had time to figure out the exact savings per item yet. When we were done there we headed back to the camper for an evening of steak on the grill and a roaring campfire to end our great weekend.

Today's trip home felt sooo long, and I was not looking forward to coming home, but with all trips - they must come to an end, and I think our kids had just about enough of small enclosed sleeping quarters in their bunks.

On a side note: I encountered something really sweet with our stay at the KOA, which was just a blessing to me. There was an older couple just over from us. I knew that they were having some issues with not having a campsite over the weekend and could only stay at the KOA the one night because the campground was filled up - we were registering at the same time. During the conversation the couple were having at their campsite later, I heard the gentleman tell his wife about the situation. She was so upbeat and so positive - she would heartily laugh and seemed to thoroughly just enjoy being with her husband no matter the problems, and she was such an encouragement to her husband. A while later, I looked over at them sitting outside in their lawn chairs. The husband had gone to the store and bought both of them ice cream bars and they were sitting there enjoying them. It was SOOOOOO sweet! I told Jeff that I hope when we're up in years and still able to get around (and hopefully be camping!) I pray that our marriage is still that sweet. Jeff smiled at me with that knowing smile - he knows the softy I am. Thank God for loving husbands and for the blessings in others He gives us everyday! This couple will never know what they did to bless me, but they certainly did just by how they cared for each other.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What's your 6th picture?

Fishmama over at Life as Mom is playing the 6th picture game. It got me a bit curious as to what my sixth picture would be, and oh my goodness! Could that break a mother's heart any more? This is my son (we call him Doshi) when he was 2. He looks so sad and alone, cuddling his blanket and his dog for reassurance. I remember that doctor appointment fairly well. Both of our kids were sick with strep throat and they were both miserable, Doshi moreso. Just look at those big crocodile tears! It just brings me back in the moment of when he was a tender two year old. He still wasn't talking and the world was just so amazing to him. My Doshi is now 8 years old, and a rambunctious boy at that!

I am not going to tag anyone, so
if you want to play along, here are the rules:

1) Go to your photo folders
2) Select the sixth file folder
3) Open it and select the sixth photo in that file folder
4) Write a story for that picture, post it and
5) Select five bloggy friends to tag
6) Be sure to let them know they've been tagged

I, like Fishmama, do not like tagging, since it really doesn't seem to work. So if you're curious what your 6th picture is and want to share, please post back to me in the comments. Thanks!


Okay, so I had planned on packing the camper yesterday afternoon. I don't know how it didn't happen! I only:
  • Washed a load of clothes
  • filled the dishwasher and started it
  • made lunch
  • ate lunch with family
  • washed another load of clothes
  • folded a basket of laundry
  • set up all of our vitamins for our four day trip
  • washed a sink full of dishes
  • put some items in the bins to go to the camper
  • cut some coupons from Sunday's paper
  • prepped for dinner
  • folded another basket of laundry
  • went through packing list to see what else I could get in the bins to go to the camper
  • ate dinner with family
  • searched high and low for my husband's baseball mitt so he could go to softball (we pretty much tore apart the camper, truck and car but didn't find it)
  • reorganized the back storage bin in the camper since we pulled it apart looking for the mitt
  • fixed a hole in the pool
  • helped a friend figure out a website she was having problems with
I just can't figure out where my time went!