30 July 2009

Back to School Clothes Shopping ~ How Much Is Enough?

School Clothes (Already)Image by hyperboreal via Flickr

It's that time of year again. Pencils, erasers, new jeans, and sneakers become the hot topics of conversation around here as the new school year looms in the distance. This year, the kids and I had a nice long talk about how much they actually need vs. how much they wanted. I wrote an article here about how we met in the middle. I hope it will give some other families some ideas on how to save on school clothes this year.

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Any Minute by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Any Minute

FaithWords (June 30, 2009)

by

Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford



ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than seventy inspirational books, including The Confident Woman, I Dare You, the entire Battlefield of the Mind family of books, her first venture into fiction with The Penny, and many others. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce's Enjoying Everyday Life® radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.


Deborah Bedford is a career fiction writer who began her professional life as a journalist in a Colorado mountain town.

A Rose By The Door, Deborah's first with Warner Book (name changed to FaithWords in 2006), hit bookstores in November 2001. A Morning Like This was released by Warner Books in 2002. Deborah's short story, “Connor Sapp's Baseball Summer,” is included in Multnomah Publisher's The Storytellers' Collection, Tales From Home, alongside stories by Chuck Colson, Terri Blackstock, Randy Alcorn and Karen Kingsbury.

Deborah and Jack have two children, Jeff and Avery. When she isn't writing, Deborah spends her time fly-fishing, cheering at American Legion baseball games, shopping with her daughter, singing praise songs while she walks along the banks of Flat Creek, and taking her dachshund Annie for hikes in the Tetons where they live.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Sarah Harper is driven to achieve success no matter what the cost. She wants to do good and not hurt the people she loves--especially children and her husband, Joe--but her desire to succeed in her career too often leaves little time for family.

One cold, autumn afternoon, all of that changes when Sarah's car plunges off a bridge and into a river. She is presumed dead by those on the "outside," but Sarah's spirit is still very much alive. What she discovers on the other side transforms everything about Sarah's view of life--past, present, and future.

When Sarah is revived, she is a changed woman. And the unsuspecting world around her will never be the same again.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Any Minute, go here!


My Review: In my opinion, this is a must read. I could relate to the story too well and it made me take a good hard look at my life. It is very easy to get caught up in work, or running with the right social circles, etc. and end up turning your back on the important things in life. Sarah had made her family her second priority, taking a back seat to her career. God was way down there on her list of things important in life. It takes a split second's decision to drastically change her life and that of those around her. This one really made me think. Definitely go pick up a copy, you'll be glad you did!

29 July 2009

Small Town Savings

Beautiful Downtown Comanche, TexasImage by J. Stephen Conn via Flickr

I've written before about struggling to stay frugal after moving here to Podunk. With no CVS, no Walmart, Kroger, and no double coupons...well it has been hard to adjust. Amy, from Amy Loves It wrote a great guest post at Keeping the Kingdom First about how to save money while living in a small town. It's full of great tips for all of us who have the choice of a dollar store or the one grocery store in town. Go check it out!

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28 July 2009

Great Children's DVDs

Have you heard of Sid the Science Kid? He is an adorable little boy who is curious about everything. The best way I can describe him is as sort of computer generated puppet. You can find his show on PBS. I recently was given the opportunity to review two of his dvds, The Big Club and Change Happens. The episodes on the disc explore decay, growing, melting, animal communication, why dirt is dirty, and more. As a parent I was very impressed with how much information was presented in a kid friendly way. All the adults on the show from Teacher Susie to Sid's family, encourage his curiosity and help him learn about whatever his "Big Question" is for the day. I love that they encourage the youngster to explore. These dvds are very educational and fun at the same time! The characters are likable, the stories are presented well, and the songs are too cute!

The Bug Club Episodes
  • Hello Doggie
  • Home Tweet Home
  • The Dirt On Dirt
  • Don't Forget The Leaves

Change Happens Episodes
  • My Mushy Banana
  • My Shrinking Shoes
  • My Ice Pops
  • The Perfect Pancake
I also was able to review Dive Olly Dive Ship Shape Sub. He makes me think of Jay Jay or Thomas that my kids loved, but he is so much cooler because he is a submarine. My eight year old told me that by the way, I have no preference between the two modes of transportation. Olly, along with his friends Beth, Skid, Diver Doug, and my favorite Ranger the Cowboy Seahorse, all come together to teach children lessons like listening to others, learning from you mistakes, and more. The animation is great, the stories are well thought out, and the series seems devoted to teaching kids valuable life lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed this dvd and wish the series had been around when my kids were younger.


Ship Shape Sub Episodes
  • Haunted Ship Prank
  • Less Is More
  • Navigation Consternation
  • Follow That Lobster
  • Don't Tell Beth
Since I had no preschool age kids to test these flicks on, I had to borrow some. My testing group was made up of a 6 year old girl, a 5 year old boy, and 2 year old twin girls. They enjoyed all the dvds, but Sid the Science Kid Change Happens was the favorite. I was told by their mom that decay was the topic of the day after they watched it. The little girls loved the music, especially "I'm Looking For My Friends" and would try to imitate the dance that May does. The older kids watched intently, asked lots of questions, then told everyone what they had learned from the show. Mom told me she has never seen all four of them sit and stay interested all the way through a dvd before. Mom gave all three disc an A+ rating.

I whole heartedly agree. As a parent and former daycare provider, I really think these are some of the best children's programs I've ever watched. They truly grab the child's attention and keep it until the end. The kids learn a lot from each episode and have a good time doing it.

I am thrilled to be able to give away all three of these wonderful dvds to one lucky reader!

How to Enter:

Leave a comment telling me you want them.

Earn Extra Entries (leave a separate comment for each):
  • Blog about this giveaway linking back to my blog.
  • Subscribe to my blog.
  • Follow Me on Twitter & Tweet about this giveaway (leave the link to your tweet for verification)
  • Add my button to your sidebar.
  • Fave my blog on Technorati (leave your Technorati username for verification)
This giveaway ends August 4th at 10:00pm CST. One winner will be chosen randomly and will have 3 days to claim their prize. Be sure I have a way to contact you if you win!


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27 July 2009

Hurry! Free School Supplies at CVS & Help for New CVS Shoppers

Newton Theatre, Now CVSImage by Mr. T in DC via Flickr

CVS is having a three day sale through July 28th only. Here are some of the great deals you can pick up.

  • Buy 1 Caliber 100 page Composition Book at $0.99, Get $0.99 Extra Care Bucks, Limit 2
  • Buy 1 Caliber Pencil or Index Card Case at $0.99, Get $0.99 Extra Care Bucks, Limit 2
  • Buy 1 Pilot EasyTouch Pen 2-pack at $0.99, Get $0.99 Extra Care Bucks, Limit 2
  • Buy 1 Swingline Tot Stapler or Caliber Sticky Notes 2-pack at $0.99, Get $0.99 Extra Care Bucks, Limit 2
  • Buy 1 pkg. CVS Erasers, Push Pins, or Binder Clips at $0.99, Ger $0.99 Extra Care Bucks, Limit 2
So, this week is a really good time to get started shopping at CVS, even if you have no coupons to use. I'lll show you what I mean.

Colgate Total Advanced toothpaste 4 oz is on sale during the 3 day sale for $2.88. When you buy it for this price, you receive $2 back in Extra Care Bucks, so it's like you only paid $0.88 for it. Not bad for a tube of toothpaste, right? But, if you were to print a coupon for it here, you would have saved a dollar on it's purchase, which would equal free toothpaste after Extra Care Bucks.

So, a great shopping scenario for a new CVS shopper would be:

Buy 1 Colgate Total Advance 4 oz toothpaste for $2.88
*use the printable $1 off 1 Colgate Advance toothpaste coupon found here

Buy 1 of the Caliber 100 page composition books at $0.99

Buy 1 pkg. CVS Erasers, Push Pins, or Binder Clips at $0.99

Your total spent on these three items out of pocket (OOP) after using the coupon is $3.86. You receive $3.98 in Extra Care Bucks back on your receipt. So, you came out a few cents ahead!

Then you could do a second transaction, by purchasing:

1 CVS/pharmacy Tampons 10 ct. at $1.89

1 Caliber Pencil or Index Card Case at $0.99

1 Swingline Tot Stapler or Caliber Sticky Notes at $0.99

1 Pilot EasyTouch Pen 2-pack at $0.99

The total for these items is $4.86, but after you use your $3.98 Extra Care Bucks from the first transaction, your OOP total is just $0.88. Plus, you have earned $4.86 in Extra Care Bucks.

At this point, you could go back for a third transaction and simply buy one of each of the five school supplies listed above, since the limits on them are 2. Your total would be $4.95. Pay with your $4.86 Extra Care Bucks and your OOP total would be a whopping $0.09! You end up with free school supplies, toothpaste, tampons, and $4.95 in Extra Care Bucks to shop with next week!

I hope that is a simple enough explanation to help those just starting off at CVS. As always, if you have any questions, just comment in ask or use the contact me link at the top of my blog. I am always glad to help in any way I can.

Happy shopping!



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Offworld by Robin Parrish

Wow! This book was fantastic! I read the entire thing within hours of receiving it. I really enjoyed the story in this novel, the idea of these people coming home to a deserted planet. How scary would that be?

"Every Person on This Planet Has Disappeared."

Commander Christopher Burke and his crew are humanity's greatest explorers. They've finished their mission on the red dirt of Mars and now they just want to get back to Earth. To see friends, family, and loved ones. To be home. But even with communication to ground control cut and a perilous landing, nothing could prepare the crew for what they discover when they step foot back on planet Earth.

Everyone...everywhere...is gone.

It's not a dream. It's not a trick. Now Burke and his team have one mission:find out who or what is behind the disappearance of all mankind.

I highly suggest you goread the first chapter of Offworld, by clicking HERE. Then run to the store. Buy this book. Now. You won't be disappointed!

Watch the book trailer:




26 July 2009

Moving On

Packing BoxesImage by pterodaktyl via Flickr

No, not us. But some friends of ours just moved last week. Moving is such an ordeal, I do not eny them. And they were doing it with twin 2 year olds, a five year old, and a six year old. sounds fun, doesn't it?

They did it all themselves, making multiple trips. The last day or so we managed to convince them to rent a trailer so they wouldn't have to make so many trips. It would have been so much easier if they could have hired movers or at least got a rental moving truck. But, they did it all on their own. So many trips back and forth, I bet they spent a fortune on gas!

I wish they had been able to afford a service like ABF U-Pack Moving. They park a storage container or trailer at your place, then you pack up your stuff and load it. Then the company comes and gets it and drives it your new place. It is much more affordable than full service moving companies and pretty much comparable to using your own truck rental. Plus, that way, you don't have to drive the big moving truck. I do not like driving those things!

It took about four days to do it, but I think everything is now at the new place. Now onto all the other joys of moving, like cleaning the new place. Unpacking all those boxes that probably didn't get labeled. Trying to find the one missing thing you are looking for, like the hair dryer. oh, and finding the perfect spot for everything. I am sure the kids are going to be loads of help with all those things. Wow, I am so glad there isn't a move in our immediate future. It is just no fun!



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Please Lift Stellan & Family Up in Prayer

Prayers for Stellan


Please take a moment to pray for sweet baby Stellan, his completely amazing MckMama, and his whole family. They sure have had a rough year of ups and downs with his health and he is currently hospitalized tonight. Please remember this family in your prayers.

Cute Glasses on a Budget


When back to school time rolls around we start thinking about supplies, clothes, and in many households glasses. Little Miss wore glasses for the longest and desperately needs a new pair now. Finding fashionable eyeglasses that don't cost a fortune can sometimes be a challenge. With her starting middle school this year, she wants more of agrown up "trendy" look. That can be hard to find when you are on a budget.

Ashley wants cute glasses, but we need to be able to buy at least two pairs, so cute often does come with a price tag we can afford. Kids are hard on glasses, so having a back up pair is pretty much a must. I cannot tell you how many pairs of glasses this child has been through. So, how do we compromise on this?

It looks Zenni Optical might be an option. They have all sorts of fashionable frames that meet with Ashley's approval. Plus, the prices meet with Mom and Dad's approval. They definitely are worth looking into. I really don't want her to have to wear glasses she hates because we can't afford ones she wants. I hate when that happens. Maybe this place is the solution to our problem.

Do you or your kids where glasses? Are price and fashion an issue with you as well? I'd love to hear how you get cute eye wear without breaking the bank.

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Starting From Scratch

Well, I do not know know what to do about Twitter. So, I've decided to start all over again. If you were following me, I ask that click the link over in my sidebar and follow me on my new account. Thanks y'all. I hope I don't lose you all again!

25 July 2009

Twitter, we have a problem.

For some very bizarre reason, my Twitter account has been suspended. I cannot even begin to imagine why this is. Plus, I am now only following 13 people and my followers have dropped from over 600 to 34. What the heck is that about? I have no clue what is going on with my account, I just hope they fix it. Fast. I just had cards printed up including my Twitter ID. Great.

Is anyone else having weird Twitter issues? Has this ever happened to any of you? I'd love to hear your feedback.

Have a great night!


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24 July 2009

Ouch!

the ballet of houseworkImage by f__k via Flickr

If the morning is any indication of how the rest of the day or even the weekend is going to go, well let's say I should go back to bed.

While bending over to grab a sock I dropped in the laundry room, I misjudged the distance a bit, bent over and smacked my forehead into the washing machine. Hard. It hurt. Still does. I think I'm going to have a goose egg. Fun!

Then I was dusting our knick knack shelves in the dining room, wondering why we insist on keeping all this junk that needs to be dusted regularly. The cat decided to help get rid of some of the problem by jumping onto one of the shelves, sending glass crashing down around her. So, now I'm sweeping up collectible glass shards. Nice.

Then Dan calls and asked how the house is coming along. I'll admit that I haven't been keeping house the way I should have been while the kids have been gone. But, who wants to dust when you have a little bit of freedom to go and do things away from the house for a change? So, the kids are coming home tomorrow and now I'm scurrying about to get things "perfect" before they come home. Dan says "bet you wish you hadn't let it go for two weeks huh?" Well, duh! But, the last time I checked there were two adults living here these past weeks, not one. And whose dirty socks am I picking up out of the middle of the floor? Hmmm, I think I should get off this topic before I get mad.

Anyway, that is how my morning is going. I hope your Friday is going a bit better than mine!


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Gimme Some Chocolate!

It's free chocolate Friday! Today from 9:00am EST to 11:59pm EST you can click over to RealChocolate.com and register to receive a coupon for free chocolate. These coupons are limited to the first 250,000 who register, so hurry up as great freebies like this don't last long! This is a regular Friday freebie until 9/25/09. That gives you a few more Fridays to grab some free chocolate thanks to the Chocolate Relief Act!

23 July 2009

Blog Hop '09


What is Blog Hop '09 you ask? It's this great idea that Robin of Pensieve & Musings of a Housewife thought up so that all of us not hitting Chi-town for BlogHer can party from home. You get to hop around, find new blogs, and meet lots of new friends. How cool is that?! Want to join the fun? Just click on the graphic above!

Hi Blog Hoppers! Thanks for stopping by!

I'm Nessa and I've been blogging for about a year and a half. Here at Ramblings, I write about a little bit of everything: life, small town Texas life, the adventures of being a SAHM, product & book reviews, giveaways, kids, the DH, just whatever pops into my head. I also share recipes over at What's Cookin', so if you are looking for some family friendly fare you might want to check it out! That's me in a nutshell!

I also write a weekly column, In The Kitchen With Nessa, over at Homemaker Barbi. I'd love you to come check it out every Monday!

I am so glad you stopped by! I look forward to finding some great blogs to read during the hop & to making new friends! Enjoy the hopping!

Who Made You A Princess Book Giveaway Winners!

It's time to pick the three winners of my Who Made You A Princess book giveaway!

Here are your random numbers:

9 46 84

Timestamp: 2009-07-23 19:12:50 UTC

So the winners are:

Lynette, July 15, 2009 6:47 PM 9 tweet

Anonymous, July 21, 2009 5:17 PM 46 Happy Summer!

blueviolet, July 22, 2009 7:59 PM 84 I subscribe!


Congratulations y'all! Please come back often for more great giveaways!



22 July 2009

Mamavation Mom Final Four!

Well, the final four have been announced and I'm sad to say that I'm not one of them. Thanks to all who supported me in my efforts. I really appreciate it!

One of the four is Melissa, from Organizing With Melissa at Homemaker Barbi. I would be thrilled if you would go give her your vote. I know I am! And remember, you can vote everyday.

Click on over and check out all four amazing moms. I cannot imagine how incredibly hard it was to pick four finalists out of all the applications of deserving women! What a job!

Good luck to all four of these wonderful women!

CFBA Book Tour ~ The Enclave by Karen Hancock


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Enclave

Bethany House (August 1, 2009)

by

Karen Hancock



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karen Hancock has won Christy Awards for each of her first four novels--Arena and the first three books in the Legends of the Guardian-King series, The Light of Eidon, The Shadow Within, and Shadow over Kiriath. She graduated from the University of Arizona with bachelor's degrees in biology and wildlife biology. Along with writing, she is a semi-professional watercolorist and has exhibited her work in a number of national juried shows. She and her family reside in Arizona.


ABOUT THE BOOK

When Lacey McHenry accepts a prestigious research fellowship at the world-renowned Kendell-Jakes Longevity Institute, she sees it as a new start on life. But a disturbing late-night encounter with an intruder leads to an unexpected cover-up by Institute authorities, and she soon realizes there's more going on than she ever imagined.

She finds a supporter in genetics researcher Cameron Reinhardt. However, Reinhardt is a favorite of the Institute's director, and she can't help wondering if he, too, is in on the cover-up. The brilliant but absentminded researcher turns out to have his own secrets, some of them dark and deadly. The Enclave is characterized by adventure, intrigue, spiritual analogy, and romance, all set in an unusual but fully realized world--one that may have its foundations on earth but which, the more one learns of it, doesn't seem much like the earth we know at all.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of The Enclave, go HERE

Thanks Y'all Giveaway Winner

Wow! Over 100 entries in just a few days! You guys really wanted this one!

The winner is :

Jammie, July 20, 2009 2:34 PM

I love entering your giveaways. Have not won one yet though but maybe this time. Good luck hun I tweeted http://twitter.com/Jammie79/status/2744022186



The box will be full of a dozen of my favorite things. I will tell you this much, there will be at least one gift certificate for one of my fave Etsy shops! Jammie, I will be contacting you via Twitter to get your shipping information.

Thanks again to all who entered.

BTW, I had to disallow comments on this post, as people kept entering after the deadline & even after the winner was announced!



21 July 2009

Bed Bug Infestations On The Rise

ID#: 9820 This 2006 photograph depicted a late...Image via Wikipedia

I was listening to the news on the radio the other day and there was a report about bed bug infestations being on the rise this summer. It seems that many motel and such have infestations and then the little buggers hitch hike home with you in your luggage. Icky! I've actually read on several blogs about vacationers being attacked by Bed Bugs in their hotel rooms and the hotel chains being less than sympathetic about the situation. It had never even occurred to me that you could pick up bed bugs in a hotel! What a way to ruin a vacation!

Bed bugs are no fun to have and not easy to get rid of on your own. They cause itching, scratching, rashes and just general discomfort. You can pick them up in numerous places such as college dorms, hotels, summer camps, pretty much anywhere that numerous people come and go to sleep. They are masters at hiding in mattresses and bedding, so eliminating a bed bug infestation can be quite tricky. I highly suggest letting the professionals handle it. A reputable company like Orkin can get rid of these little critters for you and save you the hassle of doing it on your own.

Have you ever had bed bugs? If so, where did you get them? How did you get rid of them? I'd like to hear about your experiences with these itchy little creatures.


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