Friday, August 31, 2007

Awesome Kroger Shoppin'

I HAVE 3 or 4 POSTS FROM THE PAST WEEK, waiting for me to finish my thought and spell check. Keep your eye out for them. In the meantime...

For the past 2 years I've been torn between organic and budget so I've decided for now that our budget is priority until we get to a point that we can afford organic. It was just too overwhelming.

So the last month I have used www.couponmom. for grocery shopping, when I can get stuff that is actually not too unhealthy, and I only go for things that I have a coupon for AND are on sale at the same time. It's easy. Just get the Sunday paper and keep all of the coupon sections. I paperclip all the fliers from that week together and put a post it on the front with the date. Then they are all in a pretty IKEA magazine vertical holder on my kitchen shelf. When a sale calls for a coupon, I go find it and clip.
ANYWAY. Yesterday I went to Kroger with all of my Coupon Mom sales, AND they were in the middle of doing their markdowns on bread,milk and meat.

So, here's what I got:

10 loaves of 100% whole wheat bread $.50 ea
2 pkg wheat buns $.50 ea
3 avocados
12 half gallons of milk $.50 each (freezes well)
1 lb butter
Toilet paper (coupon, not sale but you gotta have it)
2 pkg eatsmart cauliflower (FREE after sale + 2 coupons)
2pkg biscuits ( $.25 after cpn)
2 large jars of planers peanuts (cpn + sale)
20 ears of corn ($1 for 10)
4pkg Hebrew National franks (buy 1 get 1 free AND 2 $1 off cpns)
1 large pkg pork chops (discount)
1 pkg 4 pork steaks(discount)
1 4 lb roast(discount)
3 pks of steaks(discount)
12 pkg chicken breasts (3-4 breast each, bnls sknls $1.99 lb)
2 V8 Splash (cnp + sale)
4 cans tuna (sale)
3 large jars of apple jelly (all my kids like)
3pks gourmet sausage links (discount)
4pks Jello pudding mix (sale)
10 cans Van Camps Pork and beans ($.13 a can after sale + coupon)
3 jars peanut butter (cpn + sale)
1 ladies speed stick (FREE with sale + cpn)
5 Karma Bars (DH breakfast on the train)

TOTAL $123.76!!!

My standing freezer is now full with enough bread and milk for 3 months and enough meat for much longer, at least 6 months (we eat vegetarian often)!! Maybe by the time we run out we will be on track with our savings and able to go organic again!!

(((dancing around the room)))

Monday, August 27, 2007

Redefining Tolerance

I read a quote in the paper about Christians yesterday and it set my brain churning. Tolerance has become such a buzz word lately. Everyone has the right to interpret things as they feel, choose to live as they feel, follow whatever lifestyle they feel. For some reason tolerance is used as a word to protect people from the consequences of their actions. As if we have no right to treat someone differently or comment on their lifestyle. If we do we are intolerant. Oh, the nerve..

Jack McClellan for example

How the heck does this happen? How did freedom of speech get so completely misconstrued as to protect this man's right to lust after small children? And why in the world would anyone feel that we should tolerate his 'preference for prepubescent bodies". Sick, sick, sick. I just can't stop thinking about how violating this is. Yet he's been given a platform, in the name of free speech, to air his views on national television. "You say pedophile like it's a bad thing." Unbelievable. The decline of the morals in this country absolutely are horrific.

The thing about tolerance is that Christians are the first to be called intolerant. People will say that Christ was all about love and acceptance so why do we not accept all of the cultural changes and lifestyles people are choosing. Apparently these people don't read their Bibles.
Christianity by definition must be intolerant. The whole basis of our belief is that Christ is the only way. Christians are to be loving and to accept people for who they are. But what they want is to have their SIN accepted and justified. That's completely different.
God gave us free will and there are so many things that are grey areas for us to choose with our hearts. But there are some things that are pretty clear, with no room for compromise. Yet we do, out of convenience, freedom of speech and, yes, tollerance.

The acceptance of people like this man makes me ashamed of our country. The rate of divorce, sex, drugs, theft, deceit and hypocrisy in the American Church is equally appalling. But you know what? It's because of this call for tolerance. It's a sad, sad thing.

If It Ain't Got That Swing

If you want to make me a happy woman, take me dancing. Especially swing or salsa. It doesn't matter that I'm really not any good at it. I imagine that I look like one of the ridiculous hippos on Fantasia, floundering around with an unlucky alligator at my mercy. Don't roll your eyes. That's not an "I'm so fat, woe is me." remark. But it is what it is. I'm a fluffy girl. Yes, I am currently in a body image crisis. That's a different story and the Fantasia mental picture is unaffected.

I guess I was like any other little girl. I was exceptionally amazing, and destined to dance with Mikhail Baryshnikov. I dreamed about dancing. I lived for my ballet class and the highlight of my life was being casted in the Christmas production. At 9 years old I regularly snuck and watched Michael Jackson videos to try to memorize the choreography. I was certain that I was going to be a real dancer someday.

I couldn't wait till to be old enough to begin pointe class. My best friend Abby was a year older and she already had hers. I held my breath for a year dreaming of the day I would don the coveted toe shoes and float around like a swan. I was so close I could almost feel the blisters and the cotton balls between my toes.

Then the move happened. We were off to California and dance was left behind. In my innocent little 11 year old mind I assumed that this was my big break. Los Angeles! Real dancers! The classes simply had to be better, didn't they? Would someone famous be my instructor?

I waited patiently. Maybe mom and dad were going to put us in dance in the fall. It was February. Fall would be better.

Fall came and went. I asked and hinted as much as I could get away with. It just wasn't to be. And then there's the irony of Becky K. Bubbly Becky we called her. The ultimate Valley Girl. Cheerleader and dancer extraordinaire. Her Mom took her to classes and tryouts and I heard about them every week when they hosted the youth group in their home. Not to mention the honer of seeing her routines whenever she had something fabulous to show off. Becky was sweet. We weren't close, but we were friends and I never mentioned how painfully jealous I was. Because watching her made me realize that it was all a joke. I wasn't ever any good. And the dance classes I took were not even serious. I had no idea what real dancing was about and the obvious had never occurred to me. I would never have a slim dancer's body. Professional dancers would be starving themselves already if they weighed what I did at 13. It was a useless whim and I was embarrassed to even assume that I had any right to be called a dancer. But I got to watch her be one. Oh, and drive by Michael Jackson's ranch any time I went to visit my friend Tori in her mansion. I often wondered if the llamas in his yard danced better than me.

Time blurs reality, and our memories are prejudice and selective. I haven't thought about it in years, but all of this came back to me a few days ago when I caught up with someone from the good ol' dance days in Virginia. I'd forgotten about all of the bitterness and anger I had about it. All the hurt that comes when reality hits and a little girls dream dies. I've been mulling over all those memories, which I'm sure are skewed a bit. Our memories always are.

I realize now that my parents were getting those classes for us almost free. And a homeschooling mom of 10 has enough on her plate. I survived without dancing. Actually, we started taking Spanish classes with Mrs. Forehand. I may not have learned much Spanish with her, but I did learn to love it and that's what drew me to South America. How would that have happened if dance was in the way?

In reality, the dream didn't die completely. In college I started going swing dancing. In Bolivia I took some Flamenco classes. I've still got that big old skirt. I sure wish I'd kept the shoes! When I returned from Bolivia I went swing and salsa dancing pretty often. It makes my heart so happy to dance, still.

I hoped and hoped I would marry a man who would dance with me. Well, that and drink coffee. I always imagined morning talks over a cup of coffee and evenings out with our dance shoes on. Well, it's been almost 7 years. About twice a year we go to a wedding and Travis will dance with me. I go home wishing we had a wedding to go to every weekend.

My church had a fundraiser last night. A 1920's East Coast Swing style Prom. A chance to dance with childcare included in the price! You know I almost skipped it over not having anything to wear. Yesterday afternoon I got ambitious and bought 3 yards of fabric for $3 at Walmart and made a dress, just in time to throw it over my head and buckle on my Mary Janes from college. I threw my hair in a bun with finger waves in my bangs and off we went.

So, all this introspective blubbering is about last night. Last night I had a chance to dance. My husband danced with me and I think he actually enjoyed it for once. My feet are paying for it today, but my heart is full of life. And I want more.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Song of the Zebra

Yes, today's life lesson involves zebras. Have you ever really seen a Zebra? They're gorgeous, striking with their black and white. They're bold, bright and beautiful. And my 4 year old loves them.

But here's the thing about Zebras. Many people mistakenly think of them in terms of a horse, with wild stripes. That's not exactly correct. A zebra is more like a donkey. They're smaller than horses. They are very difficult to train. But what has made them my lesson for the day is the way they sound. Imagine it. What would a cross between a donkey and a horse sound like? Let me tell you. It's kinda like a he-haw on Prozac. Louder and faster than you would imagine. It's especially irritating in the voice of a little 4 year old, galloping around the house in the loudest pair of clogs she owns. It is even better waking up to it at 6:30 in the morning. Three weeks in a row....

So, zebras are teaching me patience with my child, forbearance, self control when I want to scream at the noise. Most of all the Zebra phase is teaching me to stop. Ignore how completely obnoxious it is. Think about how blessed I am that my daughter is healthy. That she is creative. That she is active. And that she hasn't asked for a Barbie or a Bratz doll. She doesn't want makeup and boyfriends yet. All she wants is more Zebras...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tackling my Budgetting

You know, I'm so sick of and articles and suggestions on being frugal that all center around getting rid of your daily Starbucks (roll eyes). Really, haven't most people who are trying to spend carefully already done that? I need some hard core serious steps to savings, so I've begun my search.

I'm starting with the book Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy. My sister recommended it to me a few months ago, but cheapo me does not buy books. And for some reason I subconsciously avoid libraries. (I'm working on that, too. Free books and videos ARE a good thing). Well, at my mother's house yesterday morning I saw it in her shelf and almost danced the running man (well, generation X doesn't DO a jig...). So I grabs it with a promise to return it quickly, and had the book read in it's entirety by 1 am this morning. Do you see why I had to give up books for 4 years? I'm dangerous like a coke addict, but that's for another post.

Jonni gives some good information and it was a relief to see some real nitty gritty. She does dedicate some space to the whole Coffee thing, but I guess some people really DO need to hear that again. Some of her suggestions are a little out of my league but all in all I felt challenged and have some notes for improvements in our budgeting tactics.

I especially like some of her recipes and cleaning suggestions. I already do a good bit on that count but she had more information that I had seen so far. I can't wait to try her 'Homemade Grapenuts' and 'Huevos Rancheros'. I'm not sure that I will go so far as to make my own toothpaste. I personally find it easier to use cloth wipes with my cloth diapers than to bother with making my own disposable wipes. But not everyone is into that.

So, bottom line it was an easy read with some good information. Go check it out!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Be Still My Heart

Do you ever just have one of those days where your heart is so full that it physically aches. My children have taken on this whole new level of awareness.

Last month we became a one car family. One of our steps towards simplified life. We were a bit anxious as to how it would all work out. We've always got a million things going. But having only the minivan has actually helped slow us down. It has made us more intentional in our living. That is exactly what we are looking for. Living life on purpose.

The Marta train station is a 5 minute round trip for the kids and I to drop Travis off. We've realized that having him ride Marta has so many benefits. First of all, it actually costs less than gas would. Not to mention what another car would cost in payments and/or repairs and maintenance. It gives him 20 minutes to and from work to have some peace. He's been reading his bible and books as he sits. Imagine how much better that must be for your body and spirit.

We all get up in the morning to get him to the station at 7:30. I've started laying the kids clothes out the night before so we can go straight to the YMCA after dropping him. It feels good to get started early. When we pick him up in the evenings, he's had 20 minutes to relax. So he's ready to be the family man.

Anyway, today I was late picking Travis up. Lucas decided to play hide and seek with the keys. I finally got the kids all buckled in and we were on our way. As I was trucking along Marietta towards the station I see this good lookin' guy walking along the side of the road. Can you believe it took me a second to realize it was my own man? I was literally embarrassed and giggling as I did a u-turn to pick him up. How did I get him? He makes me weak.

Selah is noticing things and asking questions that are starting to challenge me. Today we were driving. We were getting on 285 South at South Cobb Dr. We don't go to that exit often. Selah suddenly says "Momma! I see Nanny Hanny's city!" This is what she usually says when we drive into Vinings, where my sister lives. I tell her that we are actually in a different part of the city, but she insists. "No momma. Her city is over there. I see the building where Uncle Dennis works." Now that got my attention. We WERE only one exit over. So I look to my right. There, just above the treeline I saw the top of Home Depot's Store Support Center where Uncle Dennis does, in fact, work. Amazing.

Ok, off to fold mounds of laundry.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

From February- When I first wrote about it

Friday, February 16, 2007
It hit me. Resolutions... what are they really? We treat them like a wishlist for santa. Well, those of us that "do" santa that is Is it any wonder that they are recuring every year? That we easily push them aside to try again next time?
But what would happen if we actually gave the word the respect and thought that it warants. Re-solve. re-solution. Have you solved anything lately, or taken the time to create an actual SOLUTION for the issue?
Well, I've thought about it and I'm ready to solve. We're going to do things differently. It's gonna be great.
We have made a decision to detoxify our lives in every way. We want to get back to a minimalistic, basic lifestyle with a focus on God. We've made a plan and resolution for this year that EVERYTHING we do must be purposeful, working towards peace, health (emotionally, spiritually and physically), and security for us and our children. If anything works against it in any way at all, we have to reevaluate the action, relationship, item, event, etc. or rethink the purpose and realign what we're doing so there is integrity and wholeness.
In the last two months we have made a lot of changes. We are going through everything we own and questioning our need for it. It's amazing how much stuff we can accumulate in the hopes of "one day". One day we'll rebuild this. This over here I'll paint. I want to knock the top off of that one and make it an end table. Nevermind. I have 3 sweet lil' projects now and I'll take them over the junk any day.
Events in the last year have changed what we thought we knew of people. While forgiving is obtainable I find that going back to those relationships is as impossible as going back to last summer, or restoring a child's innocence. It just can't be done. And I'm Ok with that. I still love. I still care. But trust is a gift that must be earned. I'll keep that to myself, thank you.
Ultimately, I'm just done expecting things to change without making a change. Somewhere I heard "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results." I can't remember where I heard it, but it branded my mind and the way I've seen things for the past year.
So here we are... doing things new. Ask me how it went next year.