Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stretching A Dollar

At Staples....

Monday, February 18, 2013

What's New?

I have been enjoying my 4 day weekend like no other and am not looking forward to a long day at work tomorrow :(  Oh well, this whole being an adult thing demands it.  I definitely go through phases with my hobbies and this blog including both couponing and crafting.  I do not coupon as much as I was most of last year but I do definitely enjoy some good deals.  I don't get any newspaper coupons right now so it's strictly store deals, mailer and printable coupons, and clearance.  Here's a couple of brag example shops lately. 

Rite Aid last week:
4 Edge Shave Gels (1 is hidden by the other 3 in the picture) $3.49 each
Snack Catcher $4.99
Hot Bath Ducky $2.99

2 coupons for the shaving gel (Buy 1, Get 1 Free) printed from coupons.com via swagbucks.com
20% discount off of all prices listed above for my gold member discount (means I spend a lot there :P)
Spent: 11.96 before tax
Got back $13 in +UP rewards for future merchandise!!!
Notes: We're now good on shaving gel for at least 1-2 years.  And no kiddo announcements, I just like to plan ahead when they're an awesome deal! I almost exclusively get our milk from Rite Aid because we can use the +UPs to buy it.

Target tonight:
20 pack chips + 2 pretzel packs (6.99 regular) clearance $2.09
2-38 oz ketchups $1.99 each
2 goo gone $1.00 each
4 bags of M&Ms ($3 each regular) clearance $1.74 each
Breathe Right Strips 10 ct $4.84
3 packs of little rules, etc from Valentine's clearance .90x2, .45x1
$.05 discount for using a reusable bag
2-$2 off ketchup Target printable coupons
2-$1.50 off M&M Target printable coupons
2-$1.50 off M&M printable coupons from coupons.com via swagbucks
1 Free Breathe Right Strips Target catalina coupon
5% discount from using Target debit card
Total including tax: $7.03
Savings shown on receipt: $32.40!
Notes: We don't buy chips often but they're nice for my sweetheart's lunches at less than $0.10 a bag.  The ketchup will probably be donated as we already have lots free from an Albertson's deal a few months ago.  The Goo Gone was in the $1 area and couldn't be resisted, I want to try it on the glue residue from glass jars that I want to reuse. 


I had fun with Valentine's (as I do with most holidays).  I started by a breakfast of muffins, eggs, and oranges  and a note that said "An eggstra special breakfast for my stud muffin, orange you glad you married me?"

I packed my husband his lunch with each items having a special notes (i.e. some peanuts: "I'm nuts about you"  a pear: "I'm peary glad I married you".)

 I painted a poster and hung it up in front of the door (written in Polish)
 I went to where he parks his car (park and ride to school) and put up signs that said "This Valentine is Taken" and put this pack of tissues in the car.
 It was awesome :D  As a side note, I put several of boxes of crayons to use for the kiddos at church that my hubby and I teach, I got them for a quarter each during last year's back to school sale. 

And last but not least, a couple of bracelets I made not too long ago out of scrap fabric and empty tape rolls.  A little hand stitching and some fray check and here are the beauties :D




Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Some of the recent projects-More Busy Bags!

My evening routine is pretty predictable-my hubby and I eat dinner, watch our favorite sci fi shows, and I craft while he writes/draws stories he's working on.  Someday I'll have time to blog about all of my fun creations :)  Here are some more busy bag activities I made.

 Straws and Pipe Cleaners-Cut the straws into beads and they can thread them on.  If they wanted, they could turn these into bracelets.
 Pom Pom Stuffer-I cut a hole in the top of this container (it looks like a medicine bottle but isn't, the lid pops right off).  I read on a few different blogs that these are a hit with kids. 
 Button Snake-Connect a button to a strip of ribbon and glue or sew a bit of felt on the other end as a stopper.  Cut out pieces of felt and make slits in the middle for the button to pass through.
Cupcake Counting- I cut out 12 chocolate cupcakes and stitched numbers on them.  Each has a white cupcake liner and frosting.  Each frosting has anywhere from 1-12 beads/sequens stitched to them.  They have to match up the number on the cupcake with the number of sprinkles on the icing.  This one took quite a bit of time and to be honest, the fronts are cute but the backs are ugly from the stitching.  I could have spent twice as much time prettying up the backs but chose not to.

I now have 2 milk jug boxes, each having 5 busy bag activities.  I had fun with my niece and nephew over last weekend too and got to test out some of the items.  The 3 year old enjoyed the busy bag stuff while the 5 year old was too preoccupied with the wii system.  Both of them however enjoyed the fishing game quite a bit :D  They played it several times!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Less Than Sensational Truth Behind Those That Oppose Gay Marriage



I write this knowing I may lose friends, and I’m ok with that, because I have the right in this country, and the obligation to my conscience, to speak my mind and heart.  I read recently about a cake shop that is undergoing investigation and is being persecuted for turning down a homosexual couple, they stated that they would not make a same-sex wedding cake.  I personally voted against gay marriage in the elections, I am 100% opposed to it.  I’m not afraid or ashamed of this fact, but I’m not hateful in any way.  A celebrity chimed in on the situation and said of the shop owner “this man has wrapped up his hatred in the cloak of religion”.  Is everyone that is opposed to gay marriage hateful?  I dare you to think otherwise, just take a step out of the box that society has labeled. 

Why are people opposed to homosexual relations and marriage?  Sometimes people are grossed out.  Celebrities and left wingers will tell you to suck it up and put on your big girl panties and be more tolerant.  I think it’s gross when grown adults pick their noses in public.  I think it’s nasty if you don’t shower more than once a week (in a country and culture when bathing is easily accessible).  I think it’s disgusting when a large woman wears a shirt 3 sizes too small and bulges out of it (I’m a large woman, I can find clothing to fit my body).  I also, call me crazy, think it’s not quite right when people kiss their animals straight on the mouth.  Am I a horrible person for having these opinions of things that I find “gross”?  Knowing human anatomy and what happens during homosexual relations, isn’t it comprehensible that it is disturbing to some?  And that can’t be ok?

There are many other reasons that people oppose homosexual relations (including marriage).  There is always research and of course polls and statistics, which can arguably be subjective, but there is much truth on how children grow up differently with homosexual parents and how diseases are spread, more especially due to the cultural promiscuity among those labeling themselves homosexual.  But I’m not going to try to convince you that people are, for the most part, opposed to homosexuality because of a gross factor or any of these reasons listed above.  Why are most people opposed to homosexuality than?  Because they believe in something greater than themselves. 

Most people that are opposed to homosexuality have formed their opinion due to a religious belief.  There are many people, not unlike myself, that believe there is a God, a supreme deity that knows us, loves us, has a plan for us, and gives us rules and direction as he knows is best for us.  I believe in the Holy Bible.  I myself read the King James Version.  For those that have read the scriptures and know of Sodom and Gomorrah, or believe that Adam and Eve were given a command to multiply (and knowing no 2 men nor 2 women can multiply), there are no questions.  I think one of the most straightforward scriptures is found in Leviticus 18:22Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination.”  It can’t be more clear.  For those of you rolling your eyes at me, I am not in any way going to attempt to convert you to a belief of God as I see him.  I’ll always invite a study of Him, but ultimately that is between you and your conscience and God, and comes by searching and prayer, not by persuasion.  But the short and simple of it is that we believe God, the one who created this planet, our bodies, and everything for us, and knows best for us, that supreme being, has told us to not participate in homosexuality.  Period.  End of story. 

I challenge the most liberal, pro-homosexual individual to consider that.  Some of us still believe that there is a God, who has promised us consequences-positive or negative- according to his laws, and has decreed homosexuality should not be.  Is God hateful then, because he doesn’t like homosexuality?  Christ on the cross asked forgiveness for robbers that hung beside him, he saved a woman from being stoned that was breaking the law with adultery.  It is of my belief that God would have us love the sinners and hate the sins.  We are all his creations, his children, no matter what we do or become.  A mother will always love her child no matter how many times they are disobedient.  I say always, but I know that’s not always true, but we’re talking about God now, with the belief in a perfect love and mercy.  So should we not also love all of his children as we have seen his example?  The answer is a resounding yes!  I would love my children even if they picked up smoking (which is also against my beliefs) but that doesn’t mean I will celebrate their wrong choice or buy them cigarettes.  Can a cake shop owner still love one of God’s children without making her wedding cake because he does not support her choices?  Again, yes! 

Now I don’t want to be misunderstood or my message tossed from viability by sounding ignorant or all-knowing.  I was not in the cake shop that triggered this post.  My eyes are not blind to the fact that, despite our beliefs and efforts, we are not all as benevolent and kind as we should be, and none are perfect.  Do I always think, say, or do as I should?  Absolutely not.  Are you ready to cast the first stone?  I have reacted less lovingly than I should have in my own cake shops of life.  And of course there are those out there that are very open, and abrasive about the topic.  Beating a homosexual man for what you believe are his sins or hate mail with inappropriate slurs are a far cry however from the person holding a “Vote no on gay marriage” sign during voting season.  Just as some homosexual readers will peacefully allow me my beliefs and opinions while others think I don’t understand toleration and would call me names, some Christian readers will peacefully pray for those that don’t believe the same as they do and others would be throwing out slurs about God’s children that are not following his laws.

So a re-cap perhaps.  Do most anti-homosexuality individuals hate homosexuals?  No.  Do they believe that God loves his children?  Yes.  Do they believe that homosexuality is a sin that should not be practiced?  Yes.  For those of you that feel you have wasted your time on this old fashioned long-winded post, let me please explain one more point.  Truth is a universal constant, not relative.  A red traffic light will always mean that you need to stop, it is a law.  You cannot change that fact, no matter how much you’d like.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and we are arrogant to think we can change his rules. 

As my thoughts streamed into writing this, the word “bigot” came to my mind.  Bigot means “a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, especially on religion, politics, or race” (Dictionary.com)  I’ve heard this noun being thrown out all willy-nilly to those who oppose homosexual relations because of their “closed mindedness”.  I’ve heard people compare opposition of homosexuality to racism, which is far from the truth.  Might I say, understanding that this is more of a religious conviction than anything, that those unwilling to understand and be open minded to the fact that a God continues to disapprove of the act, are themselves taking on the name of bigot?  I think one of the highest insults that these bigots shout is that Christians (or any other God-fearing, God-respecting people) are hateful because of their opposition.  It seems to me that this is in fact, the “hatred in the cloak”.  A homosexual individual goes into a cake shop and wants a wedding cake made.  A religious individual cites their beliefs and declines.  The homosexual individual is upset by the assertion that they’re doing something wrong (no one likes to be told they’re wrong), their conscience might even be pricking them (read Bonds That Make Us Free-a great read!), they’ve been fed by the popular media that any opposition to their views is hatred… I’m sorry to have to be the bearer of bad news but you don’t have your scapegoat, we aren’t your big bad villain that you want to lash out at, the issue is far too complicated for that. 

So what’s to be done?  Despite my puny vote, my state approved homosexual marriage recently by a small margin.  In the voting pamphlet, it was clearly stated that religious groups cannot be punished for not taking part in homosexual marriage.  Must we all be legally affiliated with a religious group to exercise moral conscience?  I have a culinary degree and have made wedding cakes myself before.  If you’re looking for any cakes that have to do with homosexuality, fornication, adultery, pornography, cigarettes, coffee, tea, wine, beer, alcohol, swearing, marijuana or other drugs, I’m just not the cake decorator for you.  I will have lost out on your money, you will have lost out on a few minutes by asking.  You are not a victim.  I don’t hate you.  If you continue to feel like a victim, I won’t even ask you to “suck it up and put on your big girl panties and be more tolerant”, I will kindly invite you to re-read this post, to read the scriptures and attempt a conversation with God to know for yourself if what I believe is true (prayer), and even that “Bonds That Make Us Free” is a great read for those plagued by victim-itis. 

In the end, I ask myself, why am I writing this?  What’s my goal?  At first, I will be completely honest, this stemmed from a lot of frustration.  I believe most people (whether homosexual or heterosexual) are good people at heart.  I think it’s the loud one-off sensationalists and media that blow things out of proportion.  I have friends and co-workers that don’t agree with me on the topic of homosexual relations, and I don’t want them to ever picture me as a close-minded bigot, but rather as the loyal believer in someone and something larger than ourselves, who has set laws for our good.  I want to appeal to those that, like me, do not support homosexual relations-please remember that all of God’s children deserve kindness; his hand is always stretched out to us.  And as for the mentality that “if it’s not your life, it’s not your business-it’s not like you have to be gay” I humbly submit to you that it just doesn’t work that way for me.  Christ has said “when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32)  I know I am happiest when I follow the principles the Lord has given, I’m converted.  And as cheesy as “world peace” is (thinking Miss Congeniality), that’s what I would love.  I want what’s right, I want us to be good and right to each other, and I want us to be good and right in the sight of God.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Putting Priorities First

I've been struggling lately, and I know it's not just the winter blues.  It's guilt.  I'm not reading my scriptures daily, I'm not taking my vitamins daily, I'm not finding time for exercise.  I'm not taking care of myself physically or spiritually and when I assess my time, I just don't know where to find it?!  I'm a busy woman! 

But then I'm honest with myself.  The first thing I do when I log onto the computer is catch up on Facebook.  Not for hours, but at least 15-30 minutes.  I check on other couponing blogs at least 1x daily, and lately, I waste an hour, or 2, or more daily on Pinterest.  I don't have time to take care of myself?  Really?

So this is part of my "resolutions" or goals for 2013-put priorities first.  I told my husband so he can hold me accountable, and you can too :)  I cannot get onto Facebook until I have read my scriptures.  I cannot get onto coupon blogs until I have taken my vitamins.  And I cannot get onto Pinterest until I've exercised at least 10 minutes.(exception being if I have a recipe pinned I want to make for dinner, but no dilly-dallying).  Does that sound fair?  I've done it so far yesterday and today.  Yesterday, I could not get onto Pinterest because I was too busy with other things and didn't get around to exercising.  Tough luck.  Today, I've earned my Facebook and coupon blogs.  No Pinterest yet, but I will shortly after finishing this post up. 

But some small part of my brain is whispering "You won't last...it's like a diet...eventually you'll indulge and it will all be for naught".  Will I slip?  Yes I will.  So, let's think reward and punishment.  For every week that I follow the plan, I get a massage from my husband.   He doesn't know yet that he will administer the reward, I just decided.  Each time I slip up, I will be punished by...50 crunches.  We'll see how this works out.  How do you find time for things that are important but somehow get pushed to the side?

Frugal Fun :D

Yesterday was a family birthday party for a young lad (turned 10).  Hitting the double digits!  Being more strapped for cash than usual due to not working during Christmas break (one of my jobs is for a local school district, whatcha gonna do?), we made sure we made something from items we already had at home.

Behold: The Pom Pom Shooters
Cups + Balloons + Pom Poms + Milk Carton + shoe box + newspaper comics + tape + foil + cereal box + paint


























The pom poms I actually got yesterday at Michael's during their 90% off sale (about a penny a piece for the 15 of them). 

It was fun to see him and his friend leave their cake and ice cream to play. 

Also, another fun and frugal experience was cutting my husband's hair for the first time.  After a year of sending my husband to his parents' place to ask his mom to cut his hair, I got the hint that his mom was done cutting it after they got us a set for Christmas.  No bald spots or anything :)  I can't imagine spending $ on hair cuts.  We always grew up with my mom doing ours-her dad was a barber.  I also am growing my hair out to sell it anyway.  I've donated it a few times before, but decided this time to try selling it (people buy hair for wigs and extensions) and then I can have money to both help with bills and donate to a cause of my choice :)