Monday, March 31, 2008

Marriage Monday: Be a Generous Wife

My step-daughter is still visiting so Marriage Monday will be short and sweet this week, but what I'm sharing can pack a wallop.

I've subscribed to this email reminder for a couple of years now and I regularly apply the tips and principles that Lori from The Generous Wife shares in her daily tips. Don't be nervous about giving out your email. They are faithful to keep it only for the purposes entended.

Here's what Lori has to say:

Over the years I have grieved to see couples that lack intimacy and show signs of stress and conflict. In considering why, I came to the conclusion that most couples aren't taught how to cope with the changes and stresses of life. Instead of digging in deeper, standing together and nourishing each other, they withdraw in an attempt to nourish themselves, giving up kindness and care, handing out leftovers instead of their very best.

To stop this in my own marriage, I decided to "give a bit more" and, well ... "get generous." It was not an immediate and complete understanding at first, but as I walked toward generosity, I began to reap the benefits of it - my husband's gratitude, respect and love. At that point, becoming a generous wife became a serious goal. (I even jokingly said, "When I die I want 'she was a generous wife' put on my tombstone.") I enjoyed intimacy and security in my marriage and I could face my marriage with a greater sense of integrity as I blessed my husband with little acts of kindness, respect, and love.

I know that generosity won't cure all marriage ailments, but I sincerely believe it will cure many. I offer this list to women as a way of beginning to change the atmosphere in their marriages from one of distance to one of intimacy and mutual respect.

Everyday you'll receive an idea geared to bless your husband (a mix of romantic, practical, sexual, relational, and spiritual). Use the ideas that will work for you and use the rest to spark your imagination in looking for ways to bless your husband. Please join me in becoming The Generous Wife.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Then Sings My Soul - "There is a Fountain" ~ Insanity and Spiritual Songs

There Is A Fountain

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

William Cowper met Jesus while in a mental asylum. His life was marked by a constant struggle with anxiety and depression yet in the midst of that struggle he found great joy in knowing that his pain was architected by a sovereign God who was leading him ever closer to Jesus. Out of this troubled life came beautiful and vivid poetry, including Cowper's most famous work "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood". (Youtube comments)

For more details see this beautiful article by pastor John Piper entitled Insanity and Spiritual Songs in the Soul of a Saint where he says “What we find is that William Cowper's life seems to be one long accumulation of pain.”

This song is a beautiful testimony of God’s sovereignty and His use of even the weak and unlovely vessels to achieve His Holy purposes.

**Note for whatever reason I wasn't able to get the code to load into Blogger today, but if you'd like to see more from other bloggers participating in Then Sings My Soul Saturday, click on the button in my sidebar. Enjoy.

Friday, March 28, 2008

My First Pedicure or Confessions of an Anti-Pampering Snob

Manicures and pedicures are for women who don't have lives, sit around all day chatting over coffee with their girl friends and/or shopping at the mall, wasting money and time on themselves that should have gone for the proper care and feeding of their families or at the very least to something more permanent and practical.

That is how I have always felt...until a couple of days ago.

My birthday is in the fall and for that occasion a friend had given me a gift certificate for a pedi at a local salon. While I was very appreciative of the sentiment behind the gift (one of my love languages), I really didn't want to go have it done. As a testament to my reluctance I waited until one week before the certificate was slated to expire before finally giving in. My thinking was that if I HAD to use it (and I did or risk hurting my friend's feelings) then I'd wait until almost spring sandal weather so that at least it wouldn't go to waste hidden inside a pair of shoes.

So, the day arrived and off I went to the land of self-indulgence. I had no clue what I was doing...NO CLUE! In I walked and was greeted by a teeny little Asian woman named Kim who spoke English, but, even after 22 years in the US from Vietnam, was still difficult to understand. I confessed my ignorance of all things pedi-related and she volunteered to be my guide through this unfamiliar territory. In she marched me to The Chair. This little doo-dad is a wonder in itself. First, massaging rollers run up and down my spine and neck, switching to pulsing fingers all over my back...mmmmm. THIS I would have come for alone had I only known.

I sat my things down beside the pedi station chair and climbed on board. Relaxing against the massager chair, rolled my paint legs up and tucked my naked feet into a bubbling tootsie-jacuzzi. Aaaaaaah. Dare I relax and let myself enjoy? How could I not? I figured it would be a once in a lifetime experience and I might as well squeeze all the joy-juice out of it that I could.

For the next 30 minutes I was treated to a salt scrub of my feet and calfs, a blue masque on my calves that made them tingle for the rest of the day (I don't know what was in that paste, but I likey muy much!), a good exfoliation with what look liked a little like a cheese grater to me, but worked miracles (I do try to keep my feet supple at home, but nothing like this), and lots of rubbing and kneading and sqeezing and pressing all over my legs and feet. Kim, all the while chatting with the other little ladies in the shop in their sing-song language, made all my cuticles look almost non-existent. Each nail even and well kempt. Really they are beautiful feet. Who knew?

I have to break from this description of my hedonism to tell you about something funny that happened about half way through. An African American man and his wife with their three children came into the salon. It seems the wife had dragged this poor man, well over six feet tall and built like a linebacker to her favorite haven with the intention that The Husband and his pre-teen daughter would share the joys of a pedicure together. A little Daddy-Daughter Bonding. Just watching them may have been worth the price I paid for admission! He kept switching from toe-scuffing shyness to loud guffaws and remarks born of embarassment while another petite pedicurist pampered his giant feet. His daughter was so embarassed by his behavior that about two minutes into it, she put on her iPod and didn't emerge until her toes were bubble-gum pink. I don't think this was the bonding experience Mom had intended. Oh well. I will say that, overall he was a really good sport and by the end of his time in The Chair...he pulled out his cell phone and began calling his friends and telling them about the joys they were missing and asking them to join him for his next visit. Another convert!

In the end I knew just what he was feeling and couldn't agree more. Kim finished up with my pampering and asked me to choose a nail color. Wanting to pick something that would last a while I picked a french/white tip pedi and indulged even further by having her paint little white and pink flowers on my two big toes.

Friends, can I just tell you that I have fallen in love with pedi-pampering? I think it was a FANTASTIC gift (and called my friend right away to tell her so and thank her again...this time with FEELING). If you have never had a professional pedicure I emplore you...I beg you...I entreat you. Run to the nearest salon TODAY. I even cruised over to the shoe store that same day and purchased some new sandals (on sale and with a coupon of course) to compliment my pretty piggies. Sing it with me..."I feel pretty....oh so pretty...."

Update: My darling dh knows how much I've enjoyed this little feminine indulgence and so surprised me with another gift certificate last night to the same salon. He intended it for a manicure, but I really still do feel like my life is just too active to justify something like that. I'd have them broken off and chipped away within an hour by housework, typing, sewing, and yardwork. But he's given me permission to use it toward my next pedicure. Weeeee! to thank him properly?....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wedgie-Free Wednesday

I absolutely just HAD to post this! Why? Simply so I could put those words "Wedgie-Free" in my blog! I might just dance around the house today singing the words out now and again they're so fun. Come on.....say it outloud right now. Can you help but smile?

Okay, juvenile fun aside, Hanes really does want to send you a free pair of the wedgie-free panties. Here's the scoop. Every week Hanes is giving away 500 pairs of panties until the end of the year. Let's see...that's over 20,000! The odds look good that taking advantage of Wedgie-Free Wednesday will score you some new undies.

I've already signed up and drawings are every Thursday. If you don't receive confirmation that you've won, then sign up again the following Wednesday. Send yourself an email (they have a special Wedgie-free ecard right on the website) reminder every week...that's what I'm going to do anyway. The entry form is a quickie so no laborious surveys, etc.

Happy Wedgie-Free Wednesday! (horns blow, streamers fly and the band plays on)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Picks: 18 of the Funniest Family Friendly Films

After reading this about putting a little laughter in your marriage, Diana asked for some suggestions for funny children's movies. Honestly, I had a tough time coming up with any we liked that were both funny AND just for children. So here is a quick list of those movies that we found to be family friendly, but necessarily just for youngsters.

I'm sure it goes without saying that what one family deems acceptable for their children may not be the same as that of another family. Also, consider the age of your children, etc. There. That's my disclaimer.

I hope you find a few you enjoy.
*Absent Minded Professor(G)
*Daddy Day Care (PG)
*Freaky Friday (the old one) (G)
*Herbie movies (we prefer the older ones) (G)
*Incredible Mr. Limpet (G)
*Mrs. Doubtfire (PG)
*Muppet Movies (G)
*Parent Trap (I prefer the older version, dd likes the newer) (G)
*Princess Bride (PG)
*Shaggy D.A.(G)
*Shaggy Dog (PG)
*That Darn Cat(G)
*The Elf (PG)
*The Santa Clause (PG)
*Three Amigos (PG)
*What about Bob (PG)
*Yours, Mine and Ours (not rated)

And hey...while I'm at it. Are there any NOT on my list that YOUR family finds funny? Leave me a comment.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Marriage Monday: My Husband Gave Me Wrinkles

How do you get a kleenex to dance?

… Put a little boogey in it.
Come ON! Now that's funny!!


I consider myself doubly blessed because I married a man who makes me laugh. Oh, I suppose I could have married someone who was more serious, more focused or driven and I also suppose I might have been rich by now if I had, but I know I wouldn’t be having as much fun or enjoying my life as much as I do.

We were talking last night, hubby and I, about all the signs of aging he and I are experiencing and will be experiencing in the years to come. We landed on the subject of wrinkles. Each year mine seem to be multiplying and deepening at what others might consider to be an alarming rate but not me.

You see, what I’ve come to conclude is that I sort of like my wrinkles. Crazy huh? Let me explain. I think of my wrinkles as a true testament of joy in my life and my marriage. A badge of bliss I suppose. My laugh lines are an inheritance of each and every joke my husband has ever told me, every prank we’ve ever played, every pun he’s ever proffered. Each new wisecrack or quip (and believe me, he’s “got a million of ‘em”) may deepen a line or plow a new furrow beside my eyes or create a crescent beside my lips, but I’ll welcome each one and more rather than live with out laughter.

Unfortunately so many couples don’t or can’t laugh much with each other. Maybe they’re angry or resentful. Or maybe they’ve just never picked up the habit of laughter.

Studies show that there are many benefits to laughter including a boosting of one’s immune system and a clearing of the mind. A good belly laugh even burns a few calories. When we laugh with someone else it builds good will – a bond between those sharing that mirthful moment.

I believe a habit of laughter and good natured fun should be a part of every marriage. Here in OUR house it comes naturally and can get pretty rambunctious with tickle fights, joke books and harmless pranks. Just talking with my usually happy husband makes me laugh, but there are many degrees and levels to playfulness and hilarity. Maybe you enjoy a more quiet humor. There’s nothing wrong with that so long as you’re enjoying some of it together.

Consider your relationship. When was the last time you laughed with your spouse? If it’s been a while then you might need to put a little thought into adding some lighthearted moments to your everyday lives.

Psalm 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

Here are a few ideas to keep those bones (the funny ones) nice and humidified:

*Subscribe to email lists that will send humor right to your inbox -

*Book mark some humor websites to visit regularly to find new jokes and funny stories,videos you might be able to share around the dinner table -

*Send him funny eCards at work -

Hallmark eCards
Dayspring eCards

*Make a “comedy only” movie night -
100 Funniest Movies of All Time

*Play games that make you look a little silly – when was the last time you experience Twister or Charades?

*Tomfoolery –
when was the last time you put a rubberband on the sink sprayer or stole your hubby’s clothes while he was showering? One that my sister-in-law seems to get her husband with every April Fool’s day is to wait until he gets into the shower and toss a big cup of flour over the door onto him. Of course, she always offers to help him clean up afterwards (wink).

Put a little play back into your day however you like but the main thing is to DO IT. Lighten up and wear your laugh lines proudly and thank God for the blessing of a joyfilled marriage.

"Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat." - Joanne Woodward (married to Paul Newman)

To that I say - AMEN!

FREE Movie Monday from Redbox

We've started having Friday night family movie time on Mondays all because of Redbox. If you haven't tried it, you should. It's easy and very convenient (for those who live near a Redbox location).

Even without the free movie code, it's only $1/day to rent movies.

Today's free code for a Redbox movie is LK8LV1.

This code is good for one free movie and you can use it until midnight tonight.Note:- If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.- When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, "Rent with Promo." Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

VICTORY!! He is Risen INDEED! Let's Celebrate!

Turn up your speakers. Put on your dancing shoes and lift up your hands because He's ...

"Alive Forever, Amen"

(Click to listen. Don't be fooled when it settles down...the best part is still ahead)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Then Sings My Soul - "Were You There?"

Holy Saturday is traditionally a time of reflection and of quiet meditation as we contemplate the darkness of a world without a future and without hope apart from God and His grace.

I get chills each time I hear this song. It starts a little slow, but be patient...tight harmonies and a fine tenor voice are well worth the wait when they "let it all out", in my opinion.

Sometimes it makes ME want to about you?


Friday, March 21, 2008

Watch the Lamb

My brother-in-law sings this song so beautifully. Whenever I hear it I think of him and the way the Lord has truly worked miracles in his life...and in the lives of each of us.

I hear the beginning of the end. I think about that Passover day, that first Good Friday so many years ago when the Great One humbly stooped down and began what would be the end...the end to mankind's bondage to sin.

May I always endeavor to watch the Lamb.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Spring and Easter Weekend Music

See! The winter is past;the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth;the season of singing has come, he cooing of doves is heard in our land.
~ Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Finally...finally it's here. Spring time! I'm feeling much better and can now get about the business of de-wintering my home. I think I'll start with my computer desktop. Here are some of the wonderful sites I've found that offer free screensavers and wallpaper images to inspire that fresh spring feeling when you sit down to read your favorite blog. Enjoy!

* - Tons of wonderful images and searchable by keyword too boot!

*More - A warehouse for free Christian graphics.

*And More - Gorgeous photos of spring blossoms and blooms. Also searchable.

And another little something for you...

I had ever intention of making Holy week something special for my family this year, but my illness pulled the rug out from under my plans. Instead we'll observe the remainder of the week with music.

Both dh and ds are worhsip leaders at our church and have been spending a great deal of time in preparation for the days ahead. While I can't create the music, I am so thankful for the gifts of melody, harmony and poetic lyrics that others bring. When artfully bound together I know personally they can speak to the heart of a sinner like me and change them forever. For me, music speaks when words fail me. Song writers through the ages - musical poets have said what my heart meant.

Beginning tomorrow I'll share with you some of my favorite Easter weekend songs and how they speak to my soul and have transformed my life.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vintage Laundry Lessons

"Since time immemorial it seems that wash-day has meant Monday and more often than not, "Blue Monday"; but of late years Tuesday has been growing in popularity as wash-day. This plan leaves Monday as a day in which the housewife can replenish her larder and put her house in order after the Sunday's rest or entertaining. Also, it gives her time to look over her wash, mend the holes or tears that might become larger in the laundering, remove the stains that should have attention, prepare food with a view to having something for the next day, and in the evening place the washing apparatus and piles of clothes in readiness without infringing on the pleasures or quiet of Sunday. Then when Tuesday morning comes, no time need be lost because of the disorganization that so often reigns in the house on Monday mornings. Such a program, regularly followed, will be found helpful in carrying out the laundering processes."

I found this little excerpt in a vintage book Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, by Mary Brooks Picken.

Upon reading it I thought of what engineers of domesticity our grandmothers needed to be. I StumbledUpon (more on this later) this Vintage Sewing site and thought you might have some fun playing around inside of it, looking through some of the old patterns and books used to train a young lady in the domestic arts and thinking of the women who were before us and what their lives and homes were like.

Also, to consider some of the unusual methods employed in simply getting our clothes clean.

For instance, can you imagine using a tampon and gasoline to clean a stain? Or using sugar of lead to set in colors? Or how about beeswax rubbed on an iron to keep it from sticking? (Can we just stop here and have a moment of silence out of respect for the person who decided to put Teflon on our irons!? Hallelujah!)

I've yet to get back to my spring cleaning as I'm still on the mend from The Crud, but I'm improving and see myself back on task very soon. One of my projects in the next few weeks will be my laundry room. I'm still considering what I might do to improve that dungeon-like area. I'll update you if I come up with anything brilliant.

Stay tuned....


Monday, March 17, 2008

Marriage Monday: My Piece of the Pie...or Cake...or Doughnuts

**I wrote this last week looking forward to springing it on you sharing it with you today.**

I woke up this morning and stumbled into the kitchen to the coffee maker. As that wonderful elixir was percolating I started searching for my breakfast. Last night, Hubby had brought home two bags of those little chocolate “wax” Donettes from the store. I call this a “faux food” because I’m not really sure how much of it is synthetic and how much is good old fashion flour, sugar and eggs. And yet…I wanted some. I knew that, as a family, we had been munching on them a bit last night as we were up a little late, but I also knew there was at least one whole bag left on the kitchen counter when I went to bed. (can you see where this is going?)

I searched and searched to find those little waxy wonders and finally struck gold in the LIVING ROOM??! On a side table where dh normally sits there sat the bag…with about half of the contents missing! Now where could they have gone you ask? Ha! After living with this man for so many years I knew exactly where they were and how they got there.

I could go on, but I thought he’d perhaps want to offer his own defense…uh, version…uh…well, here are his thoughts. From his lips to my keyboard.

“As is my usual desire to keep my wife’s figure and health in check (per her wishes) I strive to reduce and eliminate temptations that might overpower her in times of weakness. Please realize this is purely selfless on my part as she has expressed on countless occasions over our 20 years of marriage, her hope to regain/maintain her youthful figure. I feel it is my duty as her provider and protector to shield her from her own self-destructive ways.

With her well being in mind, years ago I implemented a policy in our home that I like to call “Proportionate Portions” and I apply it specifically and religiously to desserts. You see…I myself being 6’2”, with a meaty Schwarzenegger like physique *cough* (with some “bonus” marbling that has been added over the years, *cough* *cough*) feel that a 2/3 for me and 1/3 for her ratio is an appropriate portioning computation. Of course my bride hasn’t always agreed with this line of thinking, (she’s never been good with numbers) but I assure her it is for her own good. I have only her best interests in mind when, at 2:30 in the morning, I rouse myself from peaceful slumber, drag myself to the kitchen, rummage through the cabinets, stumble into the living room and begin ridding our home of any pernicious pies, devastating donuts, capillary clogging cupcakes or other evil edibles that might cause her to stumble. It’s a matter of self-sacrifice to me. It’s chivalry reborn. I’m taking one for the team. Why can’t she see this?”

All right readers…care to comment?

FREE Movie Monday from Redbox

We've started having Friday night family movie time on Mondays all because of Redbox. If you haven't tried it, you should. It's easy and very convenient (for those who live near a Redbox location). Even without the free movie code, it's only $1/day to rent movies.

Today's free code for a Redbox movie is 92X7WF.

This code is good for one free movie and you can use it until midnight tonight.

Note:- If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.- When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, "Rent with Promo." Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.

Friday, March 14, 2008

What Do Spaghetti and Chest Congestion Have In Common? Oregano!

A good friend, who knew I've spent all winter battling bouts and pockets of flu-like yuckiness, dropped off a little gift for me yesterday. A little baggie (she's BIG on baggies and boxes and all things to compartmentalize our lives...we're alike in this!) with a bottle labeled "Oil of Oregano" and an information sheet with dosages, etc.

Now, I'm Italian you see, and oregano is a seasoning I'm well familiar with and it has, on many occassions played a part in helping me feel preeeety dang good (the smells of my childhood comfort foods are wafting through my memories right now), but never have I heard of it having any true medicinal properties.

As a card-carrying skeptic I would probably have not even tried this except that I was desperate. My throat was closed up, Mucinex wasn't touching my congestion and not even Nyquil nor Montana cough syrup *nod to Gumbo Lily* could help me to sleep comfortably because of a lovely dry, hacking cough that seems to accompany any illness I ever have. (I tell my mother it's because I have "weak lungs" from growing up in a smoker's house. Shame on me for putting that guilt on her...but I do.) So, I thought...what could it hurt to try some of this stuff?

According to the directions, I put about 5 drops in a glass of grape juice and chased that with a big glass of water. The smell alone would have dropped a lesser woman to her knees, I think. Not "bad" but so strong! Like snorting marinara sauce. I also dribbled 2-3 drops on my fingers and rubbed into my neck and chest thinking it might work like Vick's Vaporub to stop my coughs. I was a little worried at first because my skin was tingling and even grew a bit warm and pink. I wondered if it was going to cause a reaction or something on my skin and what it would take to get that thick oil off. But that wasn't necessary as it settled into a nice warm feeling around my neck and chest.

All I can say is that I slept like a baby. Dh told me I barely coughed all night (poor thing is such a light sleeper that if I even so much as sigh he wakes up) which is saying something. In addition I can feel the congestion breaking up all day and was clearing alot of the yuck out of my chest (sorry...I know it's gross, but life's messy).

I decided to do a little MORE research on it to see what others had to say. I ran into the usual wacky claims of it's "miracle" properties, but I also came upon some solid information too. It's a bit pricey, but a little goes a long way. I'm planning to keep this in my medicine cabinet for years to come as it's reported to have antiseptic, antifungal and immune boosting properties and more.

I'm not sure I'll look at oregano the same way again. I'll have to remember to send my friend a special thank you card! (though I hate to admit when she's right...she'll never let me hear the end of it! Do any of you have a friend like that? LOL)

****EDIT March 16th - While the O of O is helping to break up the congestion, I am still very sick. I didn't want to leave this entry sounding like it was a cure-all or over selling it's properties. :-)

Spring Cleaning Inspiration from My Sick Bed

Here's the comment I left for Amy at The Mother Load. Run over there and tell me if you don't feel a bit of that ol' spring cleaning bug biting you as you admire her shiny kitchen.

"Brava! Brava! The flu has me down right now and so I have abandoned the challenge temporarily, but I'm inspired even as I sit here with my fever breaking and can't wait to feel well enough to...clean? Something sounds wrong about that! LOL"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Coughing, Swollen Throat, Aches...'Must Be the Flu.

I thought I skated through the yuckiness that dd had last week, but apparently it was just lying in wait for me. It's got a pretty good grip now so I think I'll be "down" for today at least. Dd swears she'll nurse me and has my comfy blanket and tissues all ready to go on the sofa.

Talk amongst yourselves...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Money Monster

Today I am beginning to rework our family budget. We’ve gotten a little lax over the last few months and have started reverting to our non-budget days where our money happened to US rather than us happening to our money (ala Dave Ramsey). We’re not saving ALL of our receipts. We’re not balancing our checkbook WEEKLY. We’re not spending our money on paper FIRST, etc.

Dh met with one of the Crown Financial Coaches at our church a week and a half ago to get some advice and he suggested we start from square one. We’ve been through the Crown classes years ago and understand the principles, but are convicted that our mechanics are a bit rickety and so we agreed that this was a good idea.

I’m excited and apprehensive all at the same time. One of the reasons we weren’t able to stick with the Crown layout for a length of time is that Dh has a fluctuating income. The way Crown’s spreadsheets, et al for your monthly income, monthly expenses, etc are set up make me crazy when all of these categories are really always in flux. So instead I switched to more of a Dave Ramsey approach (he thinks more like I think…Big Picture). I listed our bills in order of priority down a page and, as money came in, I paid them. If it wasn’t on the list (if I hadn’t spent it on paper first) then I didn’t spend it …unless…it was an unforeseen expenditure, in which case I usually took from our emergency fund…

Aaaah, the emergency fund. Well, THAT is another sore subject. Our emergency fund is all but gone. Due to my laxity in budget keeping and the lack of diligence in my list/budget making each month…well, “unforeseen” things have suddenly started to appear in our lives. They’ve all been necessary, but if I had been watchful, they wouldn’t have snuck up on me. Argh!

And so, it’s back to the budget drawing board for us today. Oh to be a little less creative and a little more analytical. This whole right brain-left brain thing is a crock!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fueled By Three Cups of Coffee and Two Pamprin...

I started my morning the same way I always do. Stir and roll-over to check the time. 5:00 am. Try to get back to sleep, despite the Call of the Bladder. Finally get up around 5:30 because I just can’t fight that feeling anymore (warning 80's song reference). I’m erect, but I keep my eyes shut as much as possible as I shuffle and feel my way through the familiar dark of my home to the bathroom. If I turn on the light I know I won’t be able to get back to sleep.

I take a minute and trek back to my warm bed and so begins the waiting. Waiting to see if, by some chance I can doze back to sleep for just a little while or, since I usually can't, waiting until there is a more sane number on my digital clock so I can get out of bed and start moving around the house.

In the meantime I lay there, making my day’s to-do list, praying for those who come to my mind, planning dinner, trying to remember where things are and what I needed them for in the first place.

Today my ponderings are accompanied by PMS cramping (oh joy!). What is it about my body that I can’t actually start this monthly ceremony at a decent hour when I’m well prepared, but instead at the pre-crack of dawn when I’ve not had enough sleep to begin with? Such is life.

And so I get up. Go through my bathroom rituals...WITH the light ON this time. Start my fuel pump (coffee maker) and work at getting the child-safety cap off the sample bottle of Pamprin I received in the mail a few days ago (thanks Freebies 4 Mom). I take my recommended dosage of the pills and wash it down with my liquid drug-of-choice which I then carry to my office, fire up my computer and start my day.

The best part of waking up is…

Monday, March 10, 2008

Free Movie Monday from Redbox

We've started having Friday night family movie time on Mondays all because of Redbox. If you haven't tried it, you should. It's easy and very convenient (for those who live near a Redbox location). Even without the free movie code, it's only $1/day to rent movies.

Today's free code for a Redbox movie is PL96QA. (thanks MotherLode)

This code is good for one free movie and you can use it until midnight tonight. Enjoy a free family movie together!

Side Notes:- If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.- When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, "Rent with Promo." Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.

Craptastic Cheapsakes!

What goes better with a morning cup of coffee than a clever turn of phrase?

Like this wit-twister I was treated to this morning from a column by Lizz Winstead in the latest issue of Plenty magazine, “ The great family heirloom is quickly being replaced with craptastic cheapsakes.”

After wiping the laugher-sprayed coffee off the front of my pajamas and the moisture from eyes I realized that Winstead had summed up in two words what I’d been trying to explain for years as to WHY I shop at thrift stores (besides the money savings), WHY I like “ugly old” furniture and knick knacks. And ultimately WHY I quilt and give handmade gifts when I can. Because I don’t think this world or the people I love who live in it, need any more cheaply made, non-durable, non-sentimental things that are soon out-dated and more likely than not out of commission.

Tell me…when was the last time you lovingly ran your hand over the pressed particle wood desk purchased in 1995 from Desks R Us and pondered how its’ future recipients would cherish it and what memories it would hold for them? As a matter of fact…is that desk you bought back in ’95 even still being used…or did it fall apart the last time you moved it from one side of your office to another?

Or linens. Do you suppose our daughters and grand-daughters will pull out our JCPenney pillowcases from the spring 2000 bed-in-a-bag collection and press them with lavender water before tucking them neatly onto the guest bed, thinking all the while about all of the seconds that some underpaid worker in Bangladesh or Malaysia took in pulling them from the assembly line?

How about the latest video game console or iPod? In 25 years will your grandson cling to an Xbox 360 and shed a respect-filled tear over Microsoft’s craftsmanship?

I have to agree with Winstead when she says, “I have the sneaking suspicion that 100 years from now, my great-great-grandchildren won’t be clamoring through my attic saying, “Oh look! It’s one of those vintage Air Poppers. I think I’ll make a lamp out of it!”

Oh, I know it’s very PC to be “green” these days, and that Winstead’s article is more about saving the earth than saving memories, but I’m more accidentally green rather than purposefully so.

When I’m quilting or crafting or buying for my home the heirloom angle is always on my mind. I also think about all the stuff I have sitting around my house that will end up in the landfills without a second glance and believe me, I have plenty of experience with this as I’ve already sent hundreds of “craptastic” items that way.

This ideal has come over me just in the last few years. Now, when I’m shopping I ask myself, “Will my kids want this in 20 years?” and “Will it even be around then?”

I ask myself the same question when I’m quilting. Since I hand quilt almost exclusively, I take special care in the quality of the work I put into it, hoping against hope that the project in my hands will make it beyond the average lifespan of a cheaply manufactured “must-have-today-so-I-can-replace-it-tomorrow” Walmart special. And while my needle glides in and out of the fabric I enjoy imagining that one day one of my descendants will be rummaging through MY attic and find a REAL treasure.

**Addendum: Please realize that while I did enjoy this article by Lizz Winstead I do not endorse her political comedy or views. I just thought her turn of phrase was witty. Don't read too much into it, all righty?**

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Six Word Life Story

Six word memoirs. An interesting concept, I thought as I was scanning the newest Reader's Digest and came upon a feature about a contest Smith Magazine ran last year asking folks to write their life stories in six words.

Then I sat down with a cuppa java and did a little blog-walking this morning and ran upon this writing exercise that Gumbo Lily did with her teenage sons.

A few of my FAVES that I've read so far:

Bad brakes discovered at high speed. —J. Baumeister (been there...yikes!)

Never really finished anything, except cake. —C. Perkins (can I get an "amen"?!)

I still make coffee for two. —Z. Nelson ( and I drink it all! LOL)

God, coffee, family. In that order. ~Mom (somethings are obvious! :-))

And the one I WISH I would have thought of MYSELF....

Asked to quiet down; spoke louder. - Wendy Lee (if you know understand! LOL)

I tried to write my own with a clever twist, but this is what it all boiled down to.

Lived without Jesus, discovered I can't. - Michele

What is YOUR six word memoir??

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Please excuse me if you subscribe to my feed and receive re-postings. I am attempting to do a little spring cleaning and am not sure what will come across the feeds to you.

Any comments or suggestions are welcome. Can you read this font size well?