Monday, November 29, 2010

Peace on Earth December Challenge: Week 4

Once again, I'm following along with Courtney's Challenge from Women Living Well.

December is the Peace on Earth Challenge, we're striving to take in the holidays and prepare our hearts for the celebration of our Savior's birth instead of "clawing" our way through them frantic about entertaining and gifts and filling our schedules so full. So here we go... week 4

"Here's this week's challenge: Christmas is just 5 days away and so much of our time is often spent helping the children to remember the "Reason for the Season". Now it's our turn. Once the kids are in bed get yourself a HOT drink (again we are warming the body as we warm the soul.) Get ALONE and turn out the lights by your Christmas tree, a lit fire, or a candle and just be alone with God. Pray, talk to him, I encourage you to sing Christmas carols or songs praising him, and just rest with Jesus."

It's funny that that we're focusing on peace among the craziness, because our plans just took a sudden turn. Because my husband works the day before and after Christmas, we had planned for my parents to come down on Christmas Day and just have a small meal together. We were waiting on our in-laws plans as Grandpa Roberts is very sick and was just brought home to hospice.

Last night we found out he probably won't make it through another 24 hours. So our plans are changed, we will be heading to Kentucky early tomorrow morning. I don't know what Christmas will look like. It won't look like I imagined it to be with my husband and I getting up opening our stockings and talking about the Christmas story, but not everything ends up the way we imagine it.

The important thing this Christmas for us will be sharing the story of Jesus and God's grace with unsaved family members. We will get to spend the season with family we wouldn't normally have seen, and there will be tears, but Christmas reminds us that a day awaits when every tear will be wiped away.

"Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:3-4

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:9-11

I hope you will keep my husband and his family in your prayers this week.

Link up if you're joining the challenge! And make sure you visit Courtney's site for more lovely ladies.


Peace On Earth December Challenge: Week 2

Once again, I'm following along with Courtney's Challenge from Women Living Well.

December is the Peace on Earth Challenge, we're striving to take in the holidays and prepare our hearts for the celebration of our Savior's birth instead of "clawing" our way through them frantic about entertaining and gifts and filling our schedules so full. So here we go... week 1

December 6th: As the warmth of Christmas has now begun to enter your home with the influx of decorations, cookie baking and friends, take out your calendar and SCHEDULE a night where you will take a warm refreshing bubble bath. I'll give you more details on what to include with this bubble bath. But until then, one main thing will be your Bible. Read the story of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1, 2 and Luke 1,2."

Well, who could say no to that?
Well, honestly, we would all LOVE to take a nice relaxing bath, but do we ever actually take the time to? Usually not. When I was student teaching, one of my cooperating teachers told me she takes a bubble bath every morning. I couldn't believe it, a bubble bath? How do you have time for that when she was someone who was at school by 7 every day. She made time.

How do we fit in watching 5 episodes of our favorite show on Netflix or fit in baking brownies because we're craving them. As with all things in life, if you make it a priority, it will be important to you. But more importantly, if its important to you, you need to make it a priority. So during this busy time, what are my priorities?

1) Spend time daily in the word. This is something that is a struggle at times for all of us, right now I wake up at a different time for school each day based on what I still need to do before school (copies, planning, etc) and what time my hubby works, if its early and he gets up then I spend a few precious moments with him.

2) Make sure that I spend quality time with my husband everyday. Right now he's working in retail so some mornings I leave at 7 am and he gets home at 10:45 pm, just in time to tuck me in and say goodnight. So this can be hard. So far I planned one thing big or small for each day in December leading up to Christmas, like a mental advent calendar. So far we've cut down a tree, make sugar cookies, watched Disney's A Christmas Carol, made banana boats, and other things like that.
This also involves us developing our faith relationship, right now we are reading through Matthew and have gone through chapters 1 & 2 (and he didn't even know about the challenge!)

3) Invest in the new relationships I am building.

I think those are about all for now, as it is a crazy time and we are still adjusting to being married. I love reading the Luke version because it talks about Elizabeth and I just love the story of John the Baptist birth. It is also so amazing reading both stories to see how many people were truly walking by faith, Mary that she would bear child as a virgin, Joseph to believe his young betrothed was truly to bear the Messiah and was still devoted to him, Zechariah who first doubted, then believed and received his voice back because of his obedience, Elizabeth that she would bear at all, Simeon to trust he would see the Messiah and then to actually recognize him.

As for my bubble bath, I'm taking it tonight as my husband works till 10:45 again tonight. So tonight around probably 9pm I will arm myself with:

"1. Privacy - all children asleep and the husband aware that you don't want to be interrupted

2. Hot water and loads of Bubbles - preferably ones that smell yummy!

3. Some soft classical music

4. A hand towel rolled up as a pillow

5. A cold drink to set beside the tub

6. Your Bible and if you are afraid you'll get it wet - exchange it for a good Christian book or simply quietness - reflecting on your day and talking with God in prayer.

Optional: a lit candle"

from Women Living Well-Courtney

Just me and God and some warm bubbles... I can't wait!

Link up if you're joining the challenge and don't forget to visit the other lovely ladies linked up at Women Living Well.


Peace on Earth December Challenge: Week 1

Once again, I'm following along with Courtney's Challenge from Women Living Well.

December is the Peace on Earth Challenge, we're striving to take in the holidays and prepare our hearts for the celebration of our Savior's birth instead of "clawing" our way through them frantic about entertaining and gifts and filling our schedules so full. So here we go... week 1

"Today: Write at the top of your December calendar page - I Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." This will be a reminder every time you look at your calendar and feel anxious about all you have to get done - to pray. God cares for you. Release your worries to him and rest in him.

Also, go buy an extra large candle and light a candle everyday in your home in the month of December. I will be starting mine in the morning! But you can start yours at dinner time. I will be placing mine in the kitchen - the main hub of my home.
Each time the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home."

This challenge is just in time as I just finished my Yankee Candle in Apple Cider from October yesterday as I began decorating our house for Christmas. Every time I catch I glance I will be saying a prayer for peace in our house and in our marriage. I'll also be praying for a sister who is struggling and her husband who is waiting for her, they are both hurting and I'll be praying as often as I do for my marriage, that God would heal theirs.

I have my verse on the top of the Calendar which is fitting seeing as the calendar has all the due dates of our bills which are easy to become overwhelmed and stressed over, but I know God has that under control.

"Cast all your cares on him, for He cares for you, He's near to the broken and confused, and by his stripes our spirit is renewed, so enter in the joy prepared for you"
Healing Hand of God; Jeremy Camp

Link up if you're joining the challenge! And make sure you visit Courtney's site for more lovely ladies.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Black Friday Adventure 2010

Black Friday 2010
Made a last stop to target while I waited for my husband to get off of work late Wednesday night so we could travel to my parents' for Thanksgiving. Picked up 3 more pairs of slipper socks for .67 ea, 2 more free leapfrog books free, 2 tubs of cool whip for .24 ea, 2 cream cheeses for .44 ea, a Cuponk game for $2, and 1 more pack of cookie dough for .11.

When I arrived at my parents, my mom said, I think you really need to teach me how to do this... I have a feeling we'll be doing some training over Christmas break (love you mom!) Didn't get a picture because of the Holiday.

Now on to the Black Friday Shopping!!!

My husband had to be at work at 3:15, I decided to ride with him over to the city so we left our house at 2:40... Bright and Early!

My friend Laura and I made our game plan, we would hit Target when they opened at 4, hopefully make it to the mall by the time they opened at 5 (for Hallmark, American Eagle, and BBW), and then round it out with the drugstores in whichever order they opened. We needed coffee first, but even McDonald's wasn't opened, so we started anyway.


So as we made our way to Target, the line was probably about 100 people long at 3:45 and there were 4 cop cars lined up to stop people from jumping line. Everyone was polite, we just waited in the car until most people were in the store. An older gentleman made his way out with a big tv just minutes after the doors opened and everyone cheered for him! It was fun! Not the scary Black Friday I saw on the news where people trampled on each other.

I picked up the $5 Pj's ($5/3 after my $10 off sleepwear coupon), Things (the game) for $17, and a hat and glove set for $2. I combine with Laura's order so we could get a $10 gift card for spending $100. So my total after gift card was $16.

The line was organized and went quickly, the officers strolling were talkative, the employees knew where everything was, and the line went quickly and everyone was friendly. Best of all, the Starbucks inside target was open so we got some caramel brulee lattes and headed on our way, fully energized.


Next we went to the mall, it was hardly busy, it was like a dull roar in there. We went to American Eagle first to pick my hubby up a hoodie (he's been looking for one for months) for $16.66 which is a price I can handle. Laura went to BBW and I assisted her in combining her coupons to get $260 worth of products for $67! She did great!

At hallmark, I got another 3 cards, another snowflake dish and some Lindor truffles for $1.88 Cheap gift idea coming up for the three of those I got!

Then the big time: Drugstore game

At Walgreen's I took advantage of all the free items plus the Centrum moneymaker. It turns out in addition to needed the same amount of items as "coupons" you also cannot roll over a Jingle Buck into the same deal. For example you can't use your .99 Pepsi Jingle buck to purchase another .99 Pepsi or the 2nd reward will not print out so after some strategery and 5 transactions, I spent -.01 on all this after Jingle Bucks and Mail in Rebate (Planters) not as good as it should've been but again some Jingle bucks got eaten in figuring out this process.

Next CVS, my standby, never lets me down, ECB's are by far the easiest system as I taught Laura (who also got just about as much stuff for free) We found mail in rebates for full purchase price on hangtags on the RenPure Organic Shampoo and Conditioner, so that was a $10 moneymaker after MIB. I had $2 off Gillette Deo making it $2 moneymaker, and a $1/1 Eucerin and $1/3 for the Listerine making this transaction a total of a $14 money maker! WAHOO! CVS always my favorite. And I have a new favorite store (the one up the street from me is rather stingy with the ECB's and doesn't like you using them.

All in all, after balancing out rebates, money makers and costs, I think I spent somewhere in the range of $20 for everything.. Not bad!

How did you do on black friday?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Target 11/18, 11/20

Headed out to Target this week for some smoking deals. I made two trips, one Thursday and one Sunday because the Leapster sale didn't begin until Sunday. (This way I could go to Starbucks for the BOGO drinks twice as well too!!!)

On Thursday, I picked up 5 packages of the Nestle Cookie Dough. After the catalina didn't print at the first register, I tried another and it worked! So for $1.92 I got 5 packs which is not bad! I also picked up two boxes of stovetop for .04 each.

Sunday I went over again and got two more boxes of stovetop .04 each, two bags of Reese's for $1.16 each, 3 pairs of slipper socks for .67 each, two Leapster Tag books for FREE, two packs of Toy Story Uno for FREE. Then I went over to Hallmark and got a really nice candy dish for .97. All in all I'd say a good weekend. I still ahve to head back to target to get some more cookie dough and leapser tag books and check on those 40-hour airwick candles!

(in the picture I only have 2 of the stovetops and 3 of the cookie dough as some got eaten already!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Double Stuf French Toast

This morning before B went into work, we had stuffed French Toast... mmmm

Stuffed French Toast

You can make the french toast batter however you'd like. I chose to use 1 egg, about 1/4 cup of french vanilla coffee creamer (if you have it coming out of your ears after all the high value coupons like me, this is a good use of it), 2 Tbsp milk, 1 egg, and a few dashes of pumpkin pie spice.

Next Prepare your bread. I used Pepperidge Farm cinnamon swirl bread (My husband used to do a few PF routes part time so we're partial to this, you can use any you like but I wouldn't use texas toast or very thick bread, as there are two layers and a filling and it will be difficult to cook through. You will also need cream cheese (any flavor) and a complimenting flavor jelly. I used strawberry jelly from the farmer's market and strawberry Philadelphia cream cheese (after all those great target deals on kraft cheese and Philly cream cheese!).

Preheat a nonstick pan on low to medium-low heat (I used my wonderful nonstick grill pan). Next you want to spread cream cheese thinly on each slice of bread. Then you will want to spread a thin layer of jelly on every other slice of bread, right on top of the cream cheese. Then you will make a sandwich with one jellied piece and one non-jellied piece, filling sides together. This whole "sandwich" gets dipped into the french toast batter. Then flipped so it is coated. Gently place into the preheated pan.

Cook until the bottom is browned, flip and cook a few minutes more until both sides are brown and there is no raw egg on the sides or middle. Jelly may ooze out and this is A-okay! The keys to the success of these are: thin layers of filling,
  • making sure the cream cheese coats the bread so the jelly doesn't make it soggy
  • Cooking at a low temp so all the egg coagulates
  • Waiting to serve because the filling WILL BE HOT!