Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thrifty Tips for August 29, 2013

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-Can't find your computer screen wipe or LCD screen wipes, use a coffee filter.  
-Want to make uniform hamburger patties?  Use jar lids from peanut butter or mayonnaise.  Line with cellophane to make it easier.


When school is back in session, you might think that you are going to have more time since the kids are back in school.  The reality often is that as we are juggling a new schedule and new responsibilities for the kids.  Time can get away from us, and when it comes to dinner, that can be costly financially and health wise as we race to grab fast foods, pizza or even quick frozen dinners.  For the sake of saving some money and time, I have found some really simple recipes that you can make with a little advanced planning (browning extra ground beef, freezing chicken in sections for meals, making large batches of beans, etc.).  This isn't about cooking a month's worth of meals over the weekend, because frankly, I don't have that kind of time nor do I have that kind of space (no extra freezer).  I am not suggesting all of these items for the next week or so.  If you make a point of having certain items on hand, you don't have to wrack your brains on those mornings that you know you aren't going to have the luxury of time.

Black Beans (2 cups of dry will cook up to about 6 cups) I like this recipe from The Kitchn though I add a teaspoon of garlic to mine.  I freeze them in several bags to use in any of these recipes.
1 - Black Bean Quesadilas -Here's a simple recipe from Whole Foods Market.  Jazz it up with a bit of the meat from the crock pot chicken tacos or even chop up one of the meat balls in the recipe below.
2 - Simple Black Bean soup from (a lot like Panera Bread's Black Bean Soup).
3 - Black Bean Enchiladas - This recipe is from  Taste of Home.  I use corn tortillas instead of wheat, because they are inexpensive and we always have them on hand for quick meals.

Sale on chicken? Separate and freeze whatever kind you get and work into any of the following crock pot recipes:
1 - Crock Pot Chicken Tacos (This recipe is from Dashing Dish) The only thing that I would do differently is use whatever chicken is on sale.  Thighs will be cheaper and tastier.  This is a recipe that you can measure out the ingredients into a freezer bag and just load into the crock pot in the morning and cook on low.
2 - Crock Pot BBQ Chicken Recipe - Jeanette's Healthy Living has a great recipe and she has a super idea for putting the chicken on a sweet potato.   
3 - BBQ Chicken Pizza- Use part of the chicken from the above recipe and follow this Food Network recipe for the toppings and follow this Old World Pizza recipe for dough from Taste of Home.
4 - Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken - This recipe from Who Needs A Cape is really amazing and super easy to make. 

When ground beef is on sale or even ground turkey, consider some of these recipes that you can make by starting simply with meatballs.
Meatballs - This recipe is from The Meatball Shop.  Most of the recipes I have shared are for slow cookers.  You do have to bake these first.  I don't fully follow this recipe as I do not like to add sauce because it limits me later.  Once the meatballs are made simply freeze them into the serving sizes that will work for you.
1 - Meatball Grinder w/ Sausage & Peppers -Add frozen meatballs to crock pot with sauce, peppers (you can buy a frozen pepper and onion blend at Fry's for $1) and Italian sausage.  Pile on a sub roll.
2 - Meatball sliders (microwave a bowl of frozen meatballs and place in dinner rolls with cheese & burger fixings.
3 - Mini Meatball Sliders (use the left over meatballs that were cooked in crock pot with sausage & peppers).
4 - Sweet & Sour Meatballs - Got kids?  If so you probably have grape jelly.  Follow this recipe at All Recipes to make the Sweet & Sour Sauce for the meatballs that you haven't sauced.  Add to rice with pineapple chunks and pea pods.

And of course, of course, of course, brown some ground beef and onions (you can even buy those frozen and pre-chopped at Fry's) and freeze several batches for a base for:
1 - Tacos - Follow this link for the taco seasoning recipe you can make yourself.
2 - Chili - (great by the bowl, on a baked potato, or with pasta)
3 - Meat Sauce for pasta (no need for a recipe just add to tomato sauce)

While supplies last head over to this Garnier Facebook link for a free sample of Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Shampoo (the link is in the description below the picture on the Facebook page).  

FREE EBOOKS (Remember that these books were free at the time of my posting.  Always look at the price before downloading as it can change at any time).

A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr - Bethany House Publishers (CHRISTIANBOOK.COM) (AMAZON) (BARNES & NOBLE)

Heaven Hears by Lindy Boone Michaels - Tyndale House Publishers Inc (CHRISTIANBOOK.COM) (AMAZON) (BARNES & NOBLE)

Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman -River North Publisher (AMAZON) (CHRISTIANBOOK.COM)


Pork Loin Back Ribs or St. Louis Style Ribs Buy 1 get 2 Free ($7.99 lb)
Mini Seedless Watermelon 2/$3
Fry's Water 24 pack 16.9 oz Bottles $1.99 
Broccoli or Cauliflower 99 cents lb
Iceberg, Romaine, Red or Green Leaf Lettuce 99 cents

Pork Loin Back Ribs Previously Frozen Buy 1 Get 3 Free ($8.99 lb)
New Crop Sweet Corn 8/$1 (first 8, additional 3/$1)
Blue Bell Ice Cream $2.99 (limit 2)
Tilapia Filets Buy 1 Get 3 Free ($9.99 lb)
Honeydew Melon 49 cents lb

Farmer John Breakfast Links 4/$5
Green Onions, Cilantro or Red Radishes 2/$1
Lucerne butter 16 oz Salted or Unsalted 2/$5 (Friday only)
StarKist Solid White Tuna 5 oz Selected Varieties 5/$5
Navel Oranges $1.49 lb

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

You're Beautiful

*I just love the beauty of the sky reflected in this building in Jerome, AZ. 

I have been working through the study "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" by Lysa TerKeurst through Proverbs 31 Ministries.  It is funny how when we try to draw closer to God and actively seek him, we begin to hit walls.  Bad things begin to happen.  We get emotional.  Troubles rear their ugly head AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.  Or is this just me.  The negative things that have been going on in my life and in my head are ridiculous. 

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing wrong.

Sometimes...many times...I just want to give up.

Today, I had one of those moments when every voice in my head was against me.  I prayed.  I focused on God.  I praised His name.  I also found this old (well not terribly old) song from MercyMe that gave me hope.  It is called "Beautiful" and it is from the album "The Generous Mr. Lovewell."  These lyrics pierced my heart with God's love and literally sent me scurrying into the bathroom to cry. I don't understand it actually, but when I have these moments of grasping God's love.  I just break.  Anyway, if you've ever had those days...maybe these lyrics can touch you too.

"Days will come when you don't have the strength
And all you hear is you're not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart they'd see too much
You're beautiful
You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful
You're beautiful
You are treasured, You are sacred, You are His
You're beautiful
Praying that you'd have the heart to fight
'Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you've held inside so long
They are nothing in the shadow of the cross"

Mind you this is not the entire song.  This is:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Book Review - Fire in the Night by Linda Byler

I love books, and honestly have not been reading enough lately.  When it comes to genres, I like cozy mysteries, thrillers, Amish fiction, suspense, and even horror.   For the most part, I tend to stick with some pretty uplifting fiction just as I do with the films I watch.  I was sent an invitation a while back from Open Road Media to read and review a book by Linda Byler titled "Fire in the Night."  They invited me to review it because I have reviewed and enjoyed Amish fiction in the past.  They supplied this book via NetGalley to facilitate my review.  Receiving this opportunity for free does not impact the review.  These opinions are my own.

Title:  Fire in the Night (Lancaster Burning)
Author:  Linda Byler

About the book (from NetGalley):


Bestselling Amish writer Linda Byler introduces a new Amish novel, the first in her new series about Sarah Beiler in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
The Amish community of Lancaster is being terrorized by barn fires. David and Malinda Beiler’s barn was the first to go. The clues are sparse, but Levi, the Beilers’ oldest son, happened to be awake in the middle of the night and spotted a white vehicle driving past the house with its lights off. Sarah, David and Malinda’s daughter, is in her late teens and old enough to observe her parents’ agony. Not only is she afraid, too, and wishing she could protect her parents, she’s entranced by the flirtatious Matthew Stoltzfus. He’s dating her friend, Rose, but when he tenderly bandages Sarah’s hand after she burned it at the barn raising, she wonders who he’s really interested in.?When a second Amish barn burns for suspicious reasons, the Amish grow more restless. “We’re too quiet too much of the time,” a group of Amish men tell David Beiler, their minister. Seriously considering police protection, the increasingly tense community questions their traditional nonresistant approach to violence. Sarah now finds herself at odds with her mother over her choice of boyfriends and uncertain about how to respond to the attention of Lee, a newcomer to Lancaster. Not only that, she wonders if her dad is a wise enough leader as her community reels from within and without. Everyone is on edge as the losses mount and suspicions undo the usual steadiness of these people.

My Review:  This is the first book I have read by the author.  I really did not know anything about her, and found out after I was about halfway through that she is actually Amish.  Some have said that it is much better reading Amish fiction from an Amish author.  In the long run, I just want to read good fiction, and whether or not the author is of the faith they are writing about or not is of no concern to me if the book is well written. If a book is well written with an engaging story, I will recommend to a friend. I would recommend Fire in the Night to a friend.

The story immediately grabbed my attention by bringing conflict into the pages fairly quickly along with giving me an opportunity to immediately start to learn about one of the characters.  I am quite fond of mysteries so I found myself hoping as I read through the book to find a clue here and there.  There were brief glimpses, but the focus really seemed to be more on Sarah and her love woes.  I would have liked both the mystery and the romance to progress equally. 

I enjoyed the characters and thought they were drawn out well.  Levi, Sarah's older brother, was especially delightful.  My heart went out to Sarah's family as well as the community as the fires and loss continued to devastate them.  The author pulled some very real tears out of me which is not something easily done. 
The descriptions in the story were occasionally long, but I never felt like they were heavy handed.  There were moments though that I felt it would have been nice to trade off more information on tradition and the  Amish ways with less description of Sarah trying to flatten her hair with fructis.  I wanted to know why certain things were done the way they were, because they are so different from my own way of living. 

The long and the short of it is this, Fire in the Night was a very well told story.  I found myself caring about the characters and the community.  The action moved along well enough to keep me engaged.  It did not always swiftly move, but it didn't  need to.  My main concern as I came near the end of the book was a curiosity of how things were going to be resolved in the small amount of time left.  The answer to that concern was a very abrupt ending with no resolution in sight.  I kind of felt like I had turned a corner and walked directly into a wall.  It would have been nice to see one thing resolved.  If I had purchased the book, that might have ticked me off a bit, but then again, maybe it would inspire me to run out and get the next book.  I definitely would like to read the next book in the series to see what happens next.

Again, I received this book for a review via the publisher through NetGalley.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thrifty Tips for August 15, 2013

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Maybe it is because I have back to school on the brain, but I cannot stop trying to find ways to help our students.  I found some pretty impressive FREE apps that could just make the grade.

Language Help - When my son was studying Japanese, I was devastated.  There was no way I could really help him out.  I did end up finding a great Nintendo DS Japanese game that helped out, but it wasn't free.  What is free?  MindSnacks.  MindSnacks gives a plus to your children's language learning with fun games that teach vocabulary and conversational skills in other languages like Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, German, Italian, French and SAT vocabulary too!  That can be huge for your high school kiddos.  Geography and Math are in the works too.  For now this is a free app that is available for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, people are clamoring for Android as well and I noticed they are on a hiring hunt for an Android engineer so maybe we'll get it soon too!  Learn more here.

Schedule - A great way for the family to stay on track with assignments, activities, shopping lists, doctors appointments and whatever else might come up is the Cozi online or mobile app family calendar.  It is completely free and has that benefit of app or online capabilities.  One account can keep track of the whole family.  Get the details here.

Scholarship Help - Now this last app is not free.  It is 99 cents and could be worth a lot when it comes to footing the bill for the ever rising costs of college education.  It is called Scholly.  With Scholly, high school seniors, undergraduates and even graduate students can learn about college scholarships It is designed to make the scholarship search process easier and eliminate filling out pages and pages of information for a search.  Fill in your parameters, see the scholarship opportunity matches and get the details for applying. There are also sample essays you can check out.  Available for iPhones and Android, again this app is just 99 cents learn more at this link:  Scholly.


I like the chicken sale at Albertsons for Sanderson Farms.  All pieces are 88 cents lb.   At that price it is a great time to skip boneless and go for the split chicken breasts and try this recipe from All Recipes for slow cooker chicken pot pie stew (I don't use the potatoes) with this recipe for Italian pepper biscuits from Food Blogga.  Pouring the stew over these biscuits is THE perfect combo.  Here is another great recipe for chicken tortilla soup from Food Network.


While supplies last get a free sample of Ovaltine via their Facebook page


Head over to FreeCCM for four free song downloads including "Coming Home" from Building 429.

FREE EBOOK (Keep in mind that these ebooks were free at the time of my posting.  That can change.  ALWAYS check the price before you download)

What's It Like Being Married to Me:  And Other Dangerous Questions (CHRISTIANBOOK.COM) (AMAZON) (BARNES & NOBLE)

Saving Grace by Leslie Ann McDaniel (AMAZON

Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist:  Learning to Be Free by Amanda Jenkins (CHRISTIANBOOK.COM) (AMAZON) (BARNES & NOBLE)

Attracted to Fire by DiAnn Mills (CHRISTIANBOOK.COM) (AMAZON) (BARNES & NOBLE)

Becoming Your Spouse's Better Half:  Why Differences Make a Marriage Great (CHRISTIANBOOK.COM) (AMAZON) (BARNES & NOBLE)


Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic has a free kids clinic on August 24th and 25th.  These clinics fill up fast,  BUT if you are in the quad city area here in AZ, you can still sign your kids up.  The age range is pretty much first through fifth grade.  It is free and fun.  Learn more and sign up here.



Sanderson Farms Whole Frying Chickens, Split Breasts, Thighs, Drumsticks, or Leg Quarters 88 cents lb
Signature Virginia Ham (deli) $3.99 lb
Albertsons Gallon Milk Select  Varieites $1.89 (limit 2)
Fresh Eggplant $1 each
Red, Green or Romaine Leaf Lettuce $1 each


Red Delicious apples or Bartlet Pears 99 cents lb
Rancher's REserve Boneless Beef Top Round London Broil $2.79 lb
Starkist Chunk  Light or Chunk White tuna 5 oz Select Varieties 5/$5
Herdez or La Victoria Salsa 16 oz 3/$5 
Progresso Rich and Hearty Soup 18.5 to 19 oz 4/$5

FRY'S (All Manufacturer's Coupons $1 for a limited time)

Farmer John Bacon 12 oz 2/$5
Shick Hydro or Edge Shaving 2/$5
Olathe Sweet Corn 3/99 cents
Raspberries 6 oz 99 cents (limit 4)
California Yellow Peaches 99 cents lb

Saturday, August 10, 2013

This Week's Thoughts on My First Week of Saying Yes To God

On Sunday, I began my journey through a new Bible study, specifically an online Bible study with Proverbs 31 Ministries' Melissa Taylor, Nicki Koziarz and over 20,000 women world wide.  Together we are going through Lysa TerKeurst's book "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God."  

I thought it would be nice to share as I go how things are going along.  

As I was driving into work on Thursday morning, I thought about all the women out there who are doing their daily activities. For me this is pretty significant because sometimes I can get wrapped up in my own little world and I don't think much farther than what is directly in front of me.  This particular morning, I became strongly aware that there were many women out there just like me who have started this study.  They want to say yes to God in a big way (not that what they are saying yes to is always going to be big but the desire is strong so much so they are reading a book to help get them there).  They are all living their lives and each has a different opportunity to say yes and be used by the creator of this universe for something He has simply set for them to do.  Even though there are thousands of us taking this study, each woman has a special purpose that God wants for her to do and has uniquely designed her for.  That is a big thought.

For now though I just thought of the wives, moms, sisters, and daughters out there doing their thing.  Getting the kids ready for school, or enjoying some vacation time with the family, heading off to work or already knee deep in an important project.  Each woman is taking care of life here and thinking of the eternal as well.  It is a heady thought for my morning brain.  I took a moment and prayed that God would bless each woman and the leadership of this study.  If anyone was like me, they had probable discovered some snags in their plan. 

Snags?  Yep.  I had some snags.  
1- Nothing went according to plan.
2- My mind became consumed with...well, EVERYTHING

First of all, I had a goal and a commitment that I had set.  I committed myself to an hour in the morning with my Lord.  An hour that can be focused entirely on prayer and study.  It worked great on day one.  Day two...DISASTER.  The two alarms that I set did not go off.  I wrote about that here:  And Then Nothing Went According To Plan.  There is nothing more humbling than having nothing work out the way you had hoped right after you made a public goal.  To say that Tuesday was a horrible day would be an understatement.  BUT Wednesday rolled around and I began again.  I could have given up on my commitment quite easily as it didn't work out so quickly (and my sleep loving side would have been all for it), but I asked God for his help.  I set two more alarms and when they went off, I stumbled along and asked God for strength.  He is so faithful.

It is funny how when you want to say yes to God, you often have to say no to yourself.  This is what I had to do in several ways.  
1- To God - "Yes, I am going to spend time with you God." 
To me - "No Kelly, you cannot sleep in."  
2- To God - "Yes I am going to listen to your voice God and your leading Jesus." 
To me -"No Kelly, you are not going to continue to dwell on what hurt you today."  
"I'm sorry Kelly, but didn't I just say that we weren't going to continue to think about this?"  "Ummm, Kelly...shut up with that already."  
"Kelly, I know life is not always fair, but it appears even more unfair when you keep letting that hurt you.  Kelly, give it to God."  
---Yeah that was Thursday and a little bit Friday.  I had to tell myself no A LOT!

If I am going to focus on saying yes to God, I have to remind my own mind to stop picking on myself over things that I cannot control.  I have to give them to God.  I had a lot of painful moments this week and they were real and true pain.  I wasn't hosting a pity party for nothing.  The events were real, but they were events beyond my control and they were pulling me from my focus on God.  God doesn't want me to not feel the pain that I am going through.  He also doesn't want my pain to keep me from Him.  I had to learn to let myself feel and then tell myself that it was time to lift my palms up and give it to God so He could fill me with better things.

In the long run, this week has confirmed to me what Lysa says in her book on page 13 "You don't need perfect circumstances to be a woman who says yes to God.  You don't need the perfect religious attitude or all the answers to religious questions.  You simply have to surrender all that's clamoring for attention in your heart with the answer God is longing to hear spill from your lips, "Yes God."

Let's just say that many times I have felt that as imperfect as I am, I simply could not be used by God.  God will teach me.  God will guide me.  God will direct my paths.  I just need to say "yes."  To remind me to look at God and not at what my mind likes to throw out there, I have been playing this new song from Mandisa "Overcomer" A LOT. 

Mandisa - Overcomer (Official Lyric Video) from mandisa on GodTube.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Loving God...With All My Heart

As I have shared in the past couple of weeks and days, I am so excited about the online Bible study through Proverbs 31 Ministries.  We are going through Lysa TerKeurst's book "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God."  It has been delightful and also a bit of a struggle.  But I am saying "yes" to God and pushing through the struggles. 

Now on to finding the topic that is really speaking to me.  There are a few to choose from.  I will go with what is hitting me right now.

One of the great things that goes along with this study is the opportunity to really dig into God's word and put His word in your heart.  This has been especially important for me, because really learning scripture has been tough.  We have been studying and meditating on Deuteronomy 6:5 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

First of all, this could be because I work in radio, but I cannot even read this verse without Lincoln Brewster's song "Love the Lord" running through my head.  I have added a You Tube clip to the bottom of this page if you want to listen. 

How do I love God with all my heart, soul and strength?

With my heart is kind of the easiest part.  I think of my heart as the part of myself that is not necessarily emotional but it is where I feel.  All the feelings are wrapped up in my heart.  The joys, the fears, the worries, the delights and so on, are all deeply rooted in my heart.  Loving God with all my heart to me means loving God when my heart is filled with sadness.  Loving God when I am filled with laughter.  Loving God when I am scared or worried.  Loving God in spite of my feelings and through those feelings.  He is constant and always true.  He will be there when the sadness is there and when it is over.  He will be there when I am rejoicing and when I am in the darkest hours.  So I see myself loving God with all my heart and all those things that come out of it and happen to it.  My loving God with all my heart means I will always be more consumed with loving Him through it all. 

Loving God with all my soul gave me some pause.  I think for me this will come even deeper as I grow to know more and more about God.  Our heart is something that we can feel even if we never see it.  We know it is there.  We feel it beat.  We even feel in our heart many of the emotions I shared earlier like pain and joy.  I think most of us have even felt heart pangs when wounded deeply.  There is something strong that we can recognize when our heart is engaged.  Our soul is different.  This deep part of us is not something that we can simply touch our wrist and feel, but certainly we also know that it is there.  How do we love God with something like this?  I have friends who have shared that the soul is the center of their feeling and emotion.  I just don't feel that way.  I think the soul is highly involved with that gut feeling.  That simple knee jerk reaction kind of thing.  My soul is something that goes beyond feeling emotion.  It is the base of my purpose the why I do things.  If I am loving God with ALL my soul, my why goes deeper than what feels good.  When I truly know God, I will be more in tune with what He wants for me and what He loves.  My soul will yearn for God, and pleasing God will be an imperative but not just that.  It will be a natural outpouring of that love. 

Loving God with all of my strength is is very active to me.  I think of my work outs at the gym.  First I have to make a choice to do something that is not always easy.  Loving God is easy, but the things I choose to do because of my love, not always so simple.  As I spend time and dedication with working out, some exercises and weights may seem easier, but they are not easier.  I have gotten stronger.  I have changed.  As I have changed and grown stronger, my work outs have changed as well.  I don't do the same things that I started doing.  I instead add weight and add resistance and continue to grow.  I can handle more pressure than when I first began.  How that translates to my love for God and my loving God with all my strength is in the things that I do, I do because I love God, and they often become progressively more difficult and certainly my life does.  Loving God doesn't mean I will now have the easiest life going.  I'll make some simple yet physical sacrifices like getting up in the morning to spend time with God when I'd rather be snuggling in bed.  Praying for someone who is just on my bad side and is just plain unloveable (HARD).  Being the best I can be at work, when I am not in the mood to be loving.  Asking God to take over when I just cannot do it on my own.  Not complaining.  Not grousing.  Not rolling my eyes.  Not losing it when I get cut off by a traffic weaver.  Not giving up when things do not go the way I planned.  Sharing my love for God in a world that doesn't want to hear it.  Sharing God with friends who do not want to hear it (oh man that is tough).

Now is this what YOU mean when you think of loving God with all your heart, soul and strength?  I don't know.  I got a lot out of just finding out what it means to me.  We all have very unique relationships with our God because He has created us each uniquely.   I look forward to seeing what it means to others.  

There are over 20,000 women all over the world participating in this study.  Many will also participate in this blog hop.  Some will cover this topic but others will be covered as well.  It is all a part of each one of us going to God with our palms up and simply saying "Yes!"  I'd like to invite you to check it out.  You can do so by clicking on the button below or the button on my side bar.  P31 OBS Blog Hop

Thrifty Tips for August 8

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Jennie-O Turkey Store ground turkey is on sale at Safeway at 20 oz for $3.99.  I found a few inexpensive turkey recipes that you might not think of.  Follow the links below for the recipes.

Turkey Empanadas Grande

Turkey Stuffed Shells (also freezable)

Grandpa's Coriander Turkey Sausage 

FreeCCM has five music downloads this week. You only have to be a member which is free and they do not spam you out. has two free song downloads this week for members (again membership is free).

FREE EBOOKS (As always, check the price before you download.  These books were free to download at the time of my posting)

A Stranger's Gift (Women of Pinecraft) by Anna Schmidt (AMAZON) (CHRISTIANBOOK.COM)

All For a Song by Allison Pittman (AMAZON) (CHRISTIANBOOK.COM) (BARNES & NOBLE)

A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr (AMAZON) (BARNES & NOBLE) (CHRISTIANBOOK.COM)


While supplies last, sign up for a free sample of Fast Acting Advil via Walmart.


Don't forget that this Saturday is 50% off day at Goodwill and of course today is dollar day where a certain color will only cost a dollar.  Keep up to date with Goodwill in AZ at this link.


Right now your college student can join Amazon Student for free for six months.  They can cancel at any time or sign up for Amazon Prime after the six months for half price.  The Amazon Student membership will get your student FREE two day shipping.  This can come in handy with textbook orders not to mention when Christmas season rolls around.  There will also be great opportunities for student deals, and getting Prime for half off later opens them up to lots of Amazon's free video streaming and free Kindle book borrowing.  They can also refer friends and get $10 credit for each one (PS the link I will put here is NOT a referral link).  Learn more here.


Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breast $1.88 lb
Jumbo Cantaloupe 88 cents each
Albertsons Large Eggs 12 ct Grade AA 99 cents (limit 2)
Albertsons Gallon Milk Select Varieties $1.89 (limit 2)
Seasoned Spare Ribs Previously Frozen Buy 1 get 2 Free (reg $5.99 lb)

Fresh 80% Lean Ground Beef $1.99 lb
Fresh All Natural Assorted Pork Loin Chops Bone-in $1.49 lb
Ripe Bananas 57 cents lb
Johnsonville Sausage 19 oz Selected Varieties $3.99 each
Jennie-O Turkey Store Ground Turkey 20 oz $3.99 each

Green Seedless Grapes 85 cents lb
California Yellow Peaches 99 cents lb
Broccoli 99 cents lb
Roma Tomatoes 99 cents lb
Powerade or Powerade Zero Select Varieties 32 oz  69 cents

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

And Then Nothing Went According to Plan

*I took this photo this weekend when my husband and I went hiking.

"Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him."
Psalm 62:5 NLT

Have you ever had a day where the best laid plans seem to just scatter on the floor in front of you.  You had a goal, you had a dream, you had a plan for the day, but something just kept popping up and wrecking it?

That was my day yesterday, and I hate to admit it, but I don't believe I handled much of it well.

First my alarm went off.  I was a little drowsy and saw my husband start to get up.  I figured he must want to hit the restroom before I hit the shower.  So I asked him.  He responded in a muffled tone.  Muffled because I still had my earplugs in (my husband is a snorer and I can't sleep through the noise).  I pulled out my earplugs and asked him again. 

"Are you going to use the bathroom before I take a shower?"

"You mean you haven't taken a shower?"  He replied.

"Not yet.  My alarm just went off."

"That was my alarm.  Your alarm must not have gone off."  

CRUD!  My alarm didn't go off?  I set two alarms!  One for 5:30 am and one for 5:35 am just in case.  I was supposed to spend my morning with God!  Why is this happening?  It isn't fair!  This was not in my plan!  It is all ruined!  I made a goal to spend time with God every morning, and I have already screwed up.  Yes...these and other thoughts flew through my mind in rapid succession.  It all pretty much rolled downhill from there.

I showered, got ready for work, and pretty much felt rushed through the entire morning.

I did have a nice start to my work day.  I received a call from a gentleman who wanted to share his gratitude for our radio station's ministry and he also had a prayer request.  All in all though, things just seemed a little off most of the day.  I was rushed more.  I was a bit cranky.  Nothing really seemed to go my way.  I broke in the day to pray for others, but I really needed to also break in the day and spend some time with God by myself.  The time in the car wasn't enough. 

Later my son and I had to go to his school to speak with a counselor.  On the road, cars were driving at a snail's pace.  I couldn't see through the car in front of me, because their windows were so darkly tinted.  I didn't know what was up in the road ahead and it just caused more annoyance.  

We reached the school with five minutes to spare and felt good.  Until we found out the counselor was running late.  At first it was no major deal.  We were early.  Thirty minutes later, it was a very big deal, and I was extremely annoyed.  Though I have the courtesy to not take it out on the counselor.  These things do happen after all.

I was so emotionally drained by the end of the day that I could hardly stand it.  I fell asleep in an unprepared nap an hour before bedtime which set me up for a huge night of tossing and turning as a conflict from the day kept rearing its ugly head.  I set the clock again when I woke up (double time again), and prayed that in the morning it would work out.

This morning, I woke up five minutes before the alarm (not to mention every hour on the hour in between).  As much as I really wanted to shower and climb back into bed, I remembered clearly the bad day I had yesterday (and trust me there were lots more bad moments that I didn't share) and immediately got up so I could pray and spend time with God.  

So far already things are already going MUCH better.  

I think that there were times in my day when I could have probably turned things around by prayer.  And I imagine with the pile of things that did happen, I would have had plenty of times to need to do that again and again.  But I also think that God allowed me to see how important my time with Him really is for me.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Victory - Where I am Weak - Saying YES to God

I get up very early in the morning to start up my routine.  This is what it typically looks like:

1 - Wake up at 5 to 5:30 am
2 - Let Dizzy (my son's cat) out of Alex's room to do his thing.
3 - Take a shower (pray and praise God)
4 - Moisturize
5 - Make coffee
6 - Go back to bed until 7:05 am (usually tossing and turning until about 6:45 am when I hear my husband's alarm clock go off).
7 - 7:05 am - Leap back out of bed, do make up, do hair, get lunch set, get dressed, small talk with my husband, listen to morning news during all of this, and head out the door for the studio by 7:50 am grabbing the Wall Street Journal at the mailbox.

I give myself an extra hour to sleep, and I really don't sleep from say 6 am to 7:05 am.  Yes I sleep a little bit, but I could be doing so much more.  I could be spending that time with God.  This morning that is just what I did.

I am doing an online bible study at Proverbs 31 Ministries in the book "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" by Lysa TerKeurst.  Last night when I went to bed, I asked God to give me HIS strength so I could actually get up and stay up and spend time with Him.  This morning when I got up, I repeated that prayer while in the shower.  There was a moment.  A time when I had the choice to go back to bed.  It sounded like a great idea (it was a little chilly), but if I am to be a woman who says YES to God...I knew I needed to start now.

Lysa TerKeurst mentions in her book about giving a loss (in the book for her it was a loss of time and thousands of words that she wrote) to God. time is not a loss, but in this world where I live (a comfortable home - not flashy but comfortable-) my sacrifice is that time of comfort and snuggly warmth in bed.

I stayed up and I prayed.  I stayed up made my usual coffee.  I drank in God's word.  I read this morning's study at Proverbs 31 Ministries, and I am thankful and happy. My day will be pretty full.  We have a lot going on in the studio today with Hawk Nelson coming in early and a staff meeting to follow.  I also have to contact my son's school this morning to make an appointment for us.  After work I will be hitting the gym (time to double my focus on working out again - I took two weeks off).   I do not know what else today will bring, but I will be saying yes to God. 

This week's verse is Deuteronomy 6:5.  I'm going to try something new this week to help me remember it called Verse Mapping.  I am looking forward to seeing how it helps me in this new endeavor. 

Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

If you would like to join the study at Proverbs 31 Ministries, you still can by following this link.  They have very kindly offered the first chapter to get you started while you get the book which is available there or at most Christian book stores.  I've also seen it on Amazon.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Movie Review - Unconditional

Today I am reviewing a faith-based film with a strong message.  Although many parts are family friendly, it does deal with some very mature issues.  Because of this, I strongly recommend watching it yourself before watching it with your children.  There are amazing parts that are great for the whole family.  I would not plan on watching this with a child under the age of 13, but again, you know your own children and seeing it first would be a good way to go.  Normally, I put a recommendation like this at the end, but because of some of the events, I feel it is important to put it up here.

Harbinger Media Partners

Cast: Lynn Collins, Michael Ealy, Kwesi Boakye, Diego Klattenhoff, Bruce McGill, Cedric Pendleton, and Gabriella Phillips

About the film (from the website): 

Samantha Crawford is living a storybook life: she's happily married, she lives on a ranch where she keeps her beloved horse, and the stories she's told and illustrated since childhood have become published books.
When her husband Billy is killed in a senseless act of violence, Sam loses her faith and her will to live. But a death-defying encounter with two children leads to a reunion with Joe, her oldest friend. Inspired by true events, UNCONDITIONAL stars Michael Ealy (Think Like A Man, Barbershop) and Lynn Collins (John Carter, X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
As Sam watches "Papa" Joe care for and love the kids in his under-resourced neighborhood, she begins to realize that no matter life's circumstances, God's love is always reaching out to us.

My Review:

Unconditional starts with a bit of Samantha Crawford sharing about her life.  Her love story and her loss.  Samantha had it all.  She was living a life many would dream of with a career using her God given talents and a wonderful marriage, but all that is taken away in a senseless act of violence that takes away her husband and a very large part of herself.  Her world has crashed around her, leaving Samantha empty, alone and hopeless.  

The action moves swiftly in the next few moments.  Samantha is consumed by pain and loss.  Samantha is not reaching out, but visiting a dark place.  At that moment two children enter Samantha's life when unknowingly she needs them as much as they need her.  Through this, we meet Sam's old friend Joe.   

The story unfolds sharing where Joe and Sam are now and where they both have been.  Joe shares stories of how Samantha has not just impacted his life with her friendship when they were both children, but how she truly even saved his life.  As Samantha and Joe reconnect, she learns more about the life Joe has lived in the time they have been apart.  Joe openly shares how God used Joe's mistakes to reach him and open his eyes to purpose and God's love.

Unconditional is a reminder to us all that as dark as life may seem, you are not alone.  God has a purpose for each up and each down.  All we need to do is look for it.  If we ask, we will truly see it. Sometimes it just takes a moment for us to stop thinking about where we are and instead where can we be used.  


Unconditional is a powerful movie in story and in imagery.  The characters are truly drawn beautifully and fully.  There are times when I have seen a film that has seemed forced and manipulative.  Unconditional is not one of those films.  It takes time with the characters and story, allowing the viewer to fully connect in a very real way.  
What I liked:  

I liked that Unconditional immediately pulls you in.  It was a great change from films that I have seen recently that manage to drag the viewer along for an hour before anything significant happens or the points that do happen really have no bearing on the movie whatsoever.  That is not the case with Unconditional.   Every plot point mattered.  
Here is a great example of how quickly the film pulls you in.  This afternoon, I was working on a devotional, and my husband was watching television.  When he was finished, he said he was going to go into the bedroom and upload some pictures he took while we were out yesterday.  I thought "GREAT!  I really want to watch Unconditional!  I'll put it on now."  So I took the remote, put on Netflix streaming and began to watch the film.  My husband was about to get up.  He stopped and settled back down.  He NEVER got back up.  Yep...that is how quickly the movie got going and that is how good it was from the get go. 

My rating:  I would and did give Unconditional five out of five stars.  Unconditional completely met and exceeded my expectations.  I would watch it again and do plan on purchasing it.  It is a movie that I would feel very comfortable sharing.  

Inspired by a true story:  

Papa Joe is a very real person.  He works with under resourced children in Tennessee.  He and his wife Denise give of themselves daily to see that these children are loved and cared for.  There are many fatherless children in this world, and Papa Joe has done what he can to positively impact these young lives in a very real way.  You can learn more about Papa Joe here.   

I watched this film via Netflix streaming.  Again, I cannot say enough about  how much I appreciate that Netflix offers uplifting Christian films.  Below is a little clip.  Check it out.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Barenaked Ladies - It's All Been Done (Video Version)

Sometimes I forget how much I liked a song or a group until I hear their song again.  My husband was playing with Roku and put on one of the music stations that he has set up on one of the Roku apps, and Barenaked Ladies came on.  I immediately was put in a great mood, and was reminded of how much I really miss them.  I'm a little surprised that this song is as old as it is though.  It came out in 1998!  CRAZY!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Making Marriage Work

*We like being silly.  This is not a representation of how we feel about marriage.  ;)

The other day I read about a couple named David and Lauren Blair.  They met in 1982 and married in 1984.  To date, they have married 106 times.  They wed a lot.  They wed on holidays and leap years. Their marriages are ways to keep the love alive.  

Personally, I think that is absolutely adorable.  

It isn't easy in this day and age to keep a relationship strong.  I am by no means whatsoever an expert, but I am doing my best to do just that.  

When I got engaged friends of mine took me out to lunch.  These friends were ALL divorced.  They wanted to share what they learned with me.

Diana shared that it is important to always say "I love you."  She said that I should never assume that my husband knows it.  

Laurie told me that every day should begin and end with a kiss.

Janet reminded me of the importance of prayer.  She said that it was vital to pray for my husband each and every day.

Kathy said snuggle as much as possible.

Carrie said appreciate all sides of your husband.

Oh and my uncle...who wasn't there at the time said "get a maid."  What can I say.  He knows me well.  

All of these things have been very natural for me and my husband (well the maid thing is rough, that cleaning stuff is divided equally).  I am happy to say that not a day has gone by without me telling my husband that I love him and appreciate him.  There are days that have gone by in which I haven't smooched my sweetie, but that is only when I have been away on business or he has been away visiting family. God has been very good to us.   

We aren't wealthy by any means, but we have what we need.  I'll take love.  

I am thankful each and every day for a guy who is sweet, kind, loving and funny.  I am thankful to my God for getting me through the tough times (and boy oh boy were there tough times) so I can appreciate the sweet.

And really, what is sweeter than a guy willing to don a fake mustache just to make his wife giggle?

Did you get any special relationship advice from friends and family?

Thrifty Tips - August 1st

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It is the first day of August, and really, I can't think of a better thing to do than to share what a great items to purchase this month. 

August is a great month for picking up your back to school items.  Prices on back to school items will be significantly reduced this month.  Office supply stores can hook you up with pencils for as low as a penny and notebooks for 25 cents. 

Lots of summer clothing is on sale now too.  Layer summer pieces for a Fall look, and don't forget that here in Arizona, the warm weather clothes will still work for quite some time.  Swimwear is also at a great price at this time.  

You can update your outdoor living spaces in August and the end of August by taking advantage of patio furniture and grill sales.  


One of the things that get massive credit for my good grades in college was the extensive use of flash cards.  I went through mounds of index cards not to mention ink, but it was worth it.  With the StudyBlue Flashcard app, your students can create flash cards to help them study on the fly as well as set reminders to study and even use flash cards created by other students.  There are millions of flash cards that your student can use.  They can connect with a community of classmates.  In short, it is pretty awesome and again free for Android, iPhone, iPod, or use the website with a regular computer.  Check it out at this link.


While supplies last, sign up for a free sample of Arm & Hammer Sensitive Toothpaste by clicking on this link.

While supplies last sign up for a free sample of Finish Quantum Lemon dishwasher detergent by clicking on this link

Walmart has an opportunity for you to get a free sample of Gevalia coffee.  Find out more at this link.

Sam's Club members can get a sample of Mintys dog treats for those lovely pups by heading over to this link.


Head over to FreeCCM for four free music downloads including a song from former members of the David Crowder Band the Digital Age.

FREE EBOOKS (As always, please check the price BEFORE you download.  What was free at the time of my posting can change.)

Practical Solutions to Everyday Household Problems by Christina Jones (AMAZON)

How to Make Your Own Compost - An Easy Garden Guide by TR Hirst (AMAZON)

House Mommy's Boredom Busters - 201 Fun Things to Do With Kids by Karen Chapius (AMAZON)


When I see a great price on corn on the cob like this week's I get a little bummed because I don't know how my family will get through all that I can buy.  Did you know that you can prep and freeze corn on the cob and it can last for up to eight months in the freezer?  Find out how by going to this article link at ehow.



New Crop Colorado Grown Olathe Sweet Corn 8/$1
USDA Choice Boneless Skinless Petite Sirloin Steaks Buy 1/2 Free (limit one reward -reg. $8.99 lb)
Langers Cranberry or Pomegranate Juice 64 ox Select Varieties $1.27 each (when you buy 2)
Ripe Prima Peaches $1.49 lb
There is also a great savings event where you can save big when you buy 8 participating items or multiples of 8.  You can mix and match and get savings like:
Hunt's Barbecue Sauce 21.6 oz 67 cents
Hunt's Pasta Sauce 24 oz 67 cents
Jif Peanut Butter 17.3-18 oz $1.49
Kraft Mayo or Miracle Whip 22-30 oz $2.99
Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage 13-14 oz $1.99


Cantaloupe Melon 2/$3
Blue Bell Ice Cream or Sundae Cups half gallon or 12 ct cups $3.99
Yoplait Yogurt 10/$5
Green Zucchini or Yellow Squash 99 cents lb
Premium Peaches $1.49 lb


Dry Pint Blueberries 4/$5
Foster Farms boneless Chicken Breastsor Tenders Fresh USDA Grade A buy 1 get 2 Free ($5.99 lb)
Barilla Pasta Select Varieties 12-16 oz 10/$10
Kroger Cheese Select Varieties 6-8 oz $1.88
Annie's Natural Mac & cheese Select Varieties 5.25-6 oz 10/$10