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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rewards Cards : Staples

I've posted about rewards cards previously.  I get them at stores I frequent and really do reap the rewards.  There is a Staples near us where I often buy Ebay supplies i.e. tape, labels, pens, etc.  Although I usually buy ink cartridges online, sometimes they are less expensive at the store when they are on sale.   Staples gives $4.00 in rewards for ink cartridges that are returned to recycle.  Or at least they did the last time I was in there.   It's always great to receive  coupons in the mail like these:

I used them last week to buy four rolls of  shipping tape that were on sale for $3.00 each.  I paid about a quarter for the four.  :)    On the same trip, I turned in seven ink cartridges.  Can't wait for the next check!  :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Used Curriculum Sale Friday June 1, 2012

If you are shopping for homeschool items, this is the place to be.  One day only.

Used Curriculum Sale
Friday, June 1, 2012, 9:00-11:30 a.m. 
Sponsored by Circle Christian School (407) 740-8877

First Baptist Church Orlando

3000 South John Young Parkway 
Orlando, FL

This event will feature the largest selection of used curriculum materials in Florida. 

The doors will be open from 9:00-11:30 a.m. 

Because of space limitations and safety considerations, buyers will not be allowed to bring children under 12 years of age or any type of rolling cart into the sale. 

No credit cards accepted, cash or checks only.

Access to the FREE materials area will be open from 8:00-8:45 a.m. and during the sale. 

New Facebook Page for Blog

At the encouragement of some of my super blogger friends, I have created a Facebook page for this blog.  If you happen to be reading today, would you please hop over to THIS LINK and LIKE my page?  I would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you!

Note:  If you don't want my daily posts to show up in your FB news feed, simply HIDE the feed.

Aldi Product Review: Plastic Wrap

This Boulder plastic wrap from Aldi's is excellent.

It's a little hard to tear across but it seals and stretches for a really tight fit.  Check out the tight fit on this plate of leftovers.  About $1.59 a box for 200 s.f.

Just a tip:  If you've never noticed the little press 'n lock  tabs on the end of all rolls similar to this (i.e. foil, other wraps, press n seal, etc), you punch them in and it holds the roll in place more easily.  Believe it or not, until last year I had NEVER noticed or used them!  The directions are on the sides of all "rolls" of whatever you have purchased.

Check out my other Aldi product reviews by searching  ALDI in the search window.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day / Afternoon Snacks

We all love hamburgers, fries, corn on the cob, baked beans and watermelon.  Many I'm sure ate all of those yummy foods on Memorial Day or sometime over the holiday weekend.  We usually eat our main meal on that day at lunchtime. So what do you do when dinnertime rolls around?  You could eat the same again (like at Thanksgiving) or just have a "snack" dinner like we did last night.  Except for the blueberry coffee cake, it was a healthy calorie count and the variety tasted great!  [The items in red are from Aldi.]

Roasted pepper and tomato soup   (100 calories)

Celery sticks with artichoke hummus  (23 calories)

Fresh cherries  (97 calories)

"Triscuits" with Colby cheese  (230 calories)

Homemade blueberry coffee cake  (117 calories)

561 calories sounds like a lot but I exercised that morning and burned 400+ calories since I knew I'd be eating a lot of foods I don't normally eat (hamburger, fries...).  Having half of the crackers and cheese and omitting the coffee  cake  would have been a more reasonable amount of calories for a snack meal but it was a "fun" food day. :) Even so, I didn't exceed the amount of foods/calories on my Lose It! app.  :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day Concert 2012

Just a reminder that the National Memorial Day Concert comes on at 8 pm on PBS tonight. It will be repeated at 9:30 pm. If you are feeling patriotic be sure to watch. We do every year.

Check out this link for details

The show will be aired  May 29 at 3:30 a.m. on PBS. My DVR is set to record. They recorded the dress rehearsal so you will be able to see the 2012 version.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fresh Fruit from Your Garden / Legacy Plants

I love fresh flowers, blossoming plants and those that bear fruit.  The others are "background" to me, but these just perk up anyone's yard or garden.

A dear friend passed away a few months ago.  Last summer he had planted a blackberry bush for us in our front yard.  We were so surprised and touched that he did this for us.  Now that he is gone, when this bush bears fruit, it is a sweet reminder of a godly man who touched all of our lives.

Psa. 116:15 
Precious in the sight of the LORD 
Is the death of His godly ones. 

Matt. 13:23 
“And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil,
 this is the man who hears the word and understands it; 
who indeed bears fruit and brings forth,
 some aa hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Finishing the Course : Homeschool Graduation

Wow!  The month of May had  two graduations, a grad party, our 25th anniversary-- I finally have time to sit down and collect my thoughts.   Three weeks ago our older son (in black) graduated from college, majoring in Graphic Design.  He attended private school for 5 years (K-4); I homeschooled him from grades 5-12 (with 2 outside classes each year all through high school).    He has been able to live away from home for the last 3 years and has worked part-time in his field of expertise for most of that time.  Just this week  he accepted a full-time position as a digital designer for a magazine for which we are all thankful.

The photo above was used for Week 21 of Project 52--The theme Favorites. 
I thought it was an appropriate photo since these are my most favorite people in the world.  :)
Click HERE to see my other photos in this weekly project.

Last Friday our younger son (in blue) graduated from high school.  I home schooled him from Pre-K through 12th grade, also with 2 classes out each high school year.   He dual enrolled at a state college (f/k/a  community college) his senior year  as did his brother and will start there full time in the fall.  We were part of an "umbrella" school, hence the class below.  He has been working part-time since December and is saving his $$ by living at home for now.

Both sons did very well in their courses and received academic scholarships which cover much of the costs of college.  How grateful we are.

Is academic excellence the only reason we home schooled?  I should say not.  The benefits of having home schooled are numerous, but here are just a few:

1.  Their close relationships with my husband and me.  We can talk about anything and everything and love sharing stories and "what we're doing", our interests, problems, church...

2.  Their close relationships with each other. Being 5 years apart in age, if they had been in public or private school, they would have been in different schools for most of their growing up years. They would not have had nearly the time that they did together and would hardly know each other.  Since we only have two children, it was very important for me to see them grow up well together...looking ahead into the future when they will need each other more.

3.  Lots of time.   We usually finished schoolwork by 1:00 p.m.  Until middle school we were usually done by 11 a.m.!
--Time to do what they enjoy doing and develop skills in those areas of interest.  Both lean toward the graphic arts and there was ample time to photograph and experiment with editing, make movies, etc.
--Time to finish schoolwork and play / attend varsity sports without pressure. Our older son played basketball (JV and Varsity) for 3 years.  Lots of practices, drills, camps.
--Time to develop musical gifts (guitar) and play on our church worship team.
--Time to just be a kid-- to play, draw, do crafts, build things,  read, swim, visit friends, travel.
--Time to rest or just nap when needed rather than leave home at 7 a.m. and return at 4 p.m. with hours of homework in the evenings.
--Time to prepare for academic college tests for scholarships.  They both took a prep class prior to these important tests and worked on many practice tests beforehand. One received 100% scholarship; one 75% [technically not actually those percentages, but a large portion of the costs  was/will be covered.]
--Time to work individually on areas that were more difficult with Mom or work with a tutor if  needed.
--Time with the family eating meals together most nights.
--Time to read and study the Bible, spend quality time with youth group and mentors.
--Time for breaks.  We began the school year in early  August, finished in early May and still had time to take  breaks each month with longer ones for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter/Spring.
--Time for conversation and questions, working on wisdom and not just knowledge.

**NOTE:  HERE is a link to our pastor's excellent commencement address for a local high school graduation about wisdom.

4.  Emphasis on good books rather than trashy ones.  Yes, I read or had read almost all of the books they did so we could discuss them, especially the controversial ones.  We still recommend books to each other and talk about them.

Knowing what I do now, would I still homeschool them if it were possible? Absolutely.  It's a one-year-at-a-time decision which we chose for 13 years. There are sacrifices--financial and  timewise, but I believe it's one of the best  decisions for our family that we have ever made.  Looking back, I cherish the years and time spent with each of my children being their teacher, but more importantly, being their mom...a real investment in the future.

I have many other posts on EDUCATION and HOMESCHOOL.  Just click on the links or search those works in the window in the right sidebar.

Proverbs 22:6 
Train up a child in the way he should go, 
Even when he is old he will not depart from it. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Free Slurpees at 7-Eleven Today May 23, 2012

Usually this special is on July 11 (7/11, get it?).

Today, pick up a free Slurpee from your local 7- Eleven.  Couldn't find the 7/11 website, but on Facebook.   For more info, click HERE.

  • Summer's here and so is FREE Slurpee. Swing by 7-Eleven on May 23rd between 11a-7p and grab yourself 7.11 ounces of cool, refreshing glory juice. Our treat! And don't miss our new Slurpee Lite™ Fanta Sugar-free Mango - 50% fewer calories. Same big Slurpee taste.

Kiwis Help Canker Sores? Amazing!

I used to suffer from canker sores in an extreme way.   When I was younger (teens-late 20's) I could get up to 7 at one time on the inside of my mouth.  It was miserable!   I tried salt water, styptic pencils, over-the-counter meds and had to avoid anything citrus or acidic (oranges, tomatoes, etc.).   If I ate anything acidic, it was a guaranteed canker sore.  :(   Amazingly, once I gave birth to children my body chemistry seemed to change and the only time I get them now is when I accidentally bite the inside of my mouth. They don't last nearly as long though and  I can eat oranges st my heart's content!

If you suffer  from them, here is a tip I saw in our local newspaper yesterday.  Never heard of sauerkraut helping with them either.  As for me, I'd much prefer eating kiwis!

Q: I have suffered with canker sores all my life. I've read in your column about sauerkraut, but I've found that kiwi fruit works better.
If you eat at least two kiwi fruit a day, the next morning the canker sore will be much smaller and less painful. It works best if you chew the fruit and swish it around in your mouth for as long as you can. The fruit needs to be very ripe to work. I hope this helps anyone who reads it. 
A: We appreciate your experience. Other readers also have had success using kiwi fruit to fight canker sores (aphthous ulcers). Some eat kiwi weekly to prevent outbreaks.

You can read the entire article HERE with two other health tips as well.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Entertainment Club Book: Pro Flowers / Pannullo's / Aiguille and more

I have been so neglectful of this ongoing post about the Entertainment Club Book.  I used it quite a bit a Christmas but got so busy I forgot to post about it!

One that I used 2x was this one for

I bought two nice Christmas flower arrangements for relatives and saved 25% on one and $ 10 off of another, a total of about $20.00.  These coupons are reusable which is a huge bonus.

Also went to Pannullo's Italian Restaurant with a friend and saved $25.00 since the meal was buy one, get one up to that amount.

I had bought gift cards for stocking stuffers for Back Yard Burgers (BOGO), so I added the coupons from the E-Club book to go along with them.   A savings of about $6.00

I also bought some gift passes for Aiguille Rock Climbing and saved $15.00.

Previous savings:  $44.89

Plus           66.00

Total savings to date:    $110.89

I'll try to do better at keeping tabs on these...  The books really are a good buy I've seen them lots of places lately for about $ 12.00.  Even with about 5 months left, you're sure to get your money's worth.

To see more posts about the E-Club book, click on its LABEL below.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Project 52 Week 20: Mothers

This week's P52 theme is Mothers. The hosting of this photo "assignment" has been transferred to another photographer and posts will go up on Saturdays starting tomorrow.   I don't have a timer and all the photos I have of me with my children, someone else took.  I decided to include some that I took at a friend's baby shower recently.   A baby or  bridal shower is such a delight to attend.   I have several of each coming up very soon.  Everyone is happy and truly rejoices at the new mother / bride-to-be.

Lots of pink for a baby girl... This photo is #15 on the site.

To see my other photos in the P52 project, click HERE.

I thought this diaper "cake" was so creative.

At this particular shower the baby was in attendance... such an angel.

I can't do a Mothers Day post without a photo of me with my sons on Mothers Day...  
Since I have boys, I'm the one that gets all the pink.  :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Microfiber Cleaning Cloths and Mop

A rag is a rag is a rag, right? Well, I've been testing these newer microfiber cleaning cloths to see if there is a difference from cotton rags. I got these this week at Old Time Pottery along with 4 bright green microfiber dish cloths. $8.50 total for 7 colorful cloths.  A bit pricey for me for rags but if it makes housework (dusting, wiping, cleaning mirrors, etc. ) easier  I'll give them a try.   I imagine they are sold at Williams - Sonoma or Restoration Hardware but  probably at about $20+ a package.   You can also get them on Amazon.

FlyLady recommends her purple rags which cost a bit more + shipping. These I bought will have to do.

I have used them for almost a week now and REALLY like them.  They work just like the Mr. Clean Eraser which I think is an excellent product.  It must be made of microfiber, too.  The only problem with that is that if you get it too wet, it falls apart.  I used to keep one in the shower but it was ruined after only a week or so.   I would anticipate that I'll be using these cloths for a LONG time.

They clean mirrors without lint, hand prints from around the house, kitchen gunk, dust... you name it and so far, they seem to work on everything quite well.   I tend to use spray cleaner for disinfecting in the kitchen and bathrooms but these certainly clean dirt well with only water.  I'll be experimenting to discover everything they clean.  I'm SOLD.

I should have known I would like them since I love my microfiber squeeze mop from Real Simple. It was less than $10.00 when I bought it.  I've had it for years and it really makes mopping our tile floors so easy that I do it much more than I used to. The floor dries quickly which I really appreciate since I'm so cautious about slipping on water on the tile. I typically use it all week--I mop the kitchen and bathrooms 2-3x a week generally.  Once a week I spray the mop end with Windex, detach it from the handle and throw it into the wash with the towels.  I've had a replacement head for ages but have not had to use it yet. I bought mine at Target.

These are  excellent products which I highly recommend.  You'll love them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our 25th Wedding Anniversary 2012

Happy 25th anniversary to my DH and me today.  Wow!  25 years...

Matt. 19:6 Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

This is my DH and me at Disney  World  five years before we married when we first met in 1982.  Looks like I actually had long legs and a tiny waist in this photo.   And check out those pastel blue pants!  :)   I was 27, he was 34.     No, we didn't date for 5 years--dated one year, separated and dated others,then got back together.  No, neither of us had been married before and no, we did not sleep together before we were married. [I say this to all the singles reading this so you don't feel like you have to rush into marrying or living with someone  simply because "all your friends are doing so."]  Part of our  story can be read HERE.

Since most of you did not know me when I was  a younger bride, I'd like to "invite" you to our wedding ceremony.  Unfortunately, neither of us had cameras at our rehearsal dinner which was held at the Orlando Citrus Club.  We had a delicious dinner overlooking the city of Orlando.  It was a lovely evening.  I wish there had been digital photography back then.   Oh, well, it's crystal clear in my memory.  :)

A dear friend had these pretty wedding programs printed for us as a wedding gift.

My sweet dad was almost in tears right before the ceremony.  One of my bridesmaids told us a joke to keep us both from crying literally a minute before we walked down the aisle.

We had a large wedding (300+ guests)  in the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church, Orlando, my husband's childhood church and where his mother still attended at the time.  Church friends, college friends, relatives, neighbors, work colleagues...such a variety of people attended.

Lots of scripture reading and two wonderful soloists from Disney's  Voices of Liberty.  One sang Time for Joy; the other an original, unpublished version of The Lord's Prayer.   I'd not heard either song before or nor heard it since our wedding.   We were required to use the church organist (I would have preferred a piano) but he was accomplished and sounded great.

Here are the  beautiful lyrics to Time for Joy. I have the music if any of you would like to have it for your own wedding.

Time For Joy, time for cheer
That is why we all are here 

To see the union of two we love 
Led and blessed by God above 

And as the church is loved by Christ 

So the man now must love his wife 
And as the church for Christ is to live 
So the wife her life to her husband she'll give  (Chorus)

From the beginning of time it has not been good 

For man to be alone 
And now before our eyes we see the blessed plan 
The marriage of a woman and a man (Chorus)

The mystery of ages is now again begun
How two can come as two  

And leave as one

We were glad that the church did not require that one of their pastors marry us.   It would have been strange getting married by a stranger.  The dear pastor we had is  the same one who had baptized me a few years earlier.  It was in his church that I became a Christian when I was about 23.  He and his wife have been friends and  mentors over the years.  Having him officiate was very special indeed.

Our wedding rings...sometime I must write about the proposal.  :)

My $100 Park Avenue wedding dress (marked down from $1,500)... an amazing gift from the Lord.  Lots of lace, a long train, several layers,  embroidered flowers...I loved it.  It had been hanging in my dressing room at the bridal shop the entire time I was trying on other dresses.  It was mis-sized which is probably why it had not sold and had been marked down.   This was the first of many "thank You, Lord" items that I wrote in my bridal book.

Another friend gave me the gift of having a stylist come to my home and do my hair and makeup that morning.   The power went out for about 45 minutes.  ALMOST a crisis!  :)  The only other one that I remember was that   only Bob was supposed to wear "tails". When the tuxes were delivered to the church, one of the groomsmen had tails also.  There was a race car event on I-4 to exchange it right before the ceremony began.  :)

Mr. and Mrs. T.

The hors d'oeuvres  and cake  reception was held in the adjoining fellowship hall.   Two of my pianist friends took turns playing the piano during the entire event which was so lovely.  Live classical and Christian music really made it elegant. The church is a large one so there was an in-house chef who prepared almost all of the food.  The wedding cake and the groom's chocolate cake were gifts from another friend.  My dad was so worried we'd smush cake in each other's faces.  :)  Needless to say, we did not.  We stood in the receiving line with our parents for probably an hour!  Our thoughtful wedding coordinator made sure that a box of hors d'oeuvres and cake was packed for each of us so that we'd have something to eat when we arrived at our hotel  later that evening. We didn't have any more than this bite of cake and a sip of champagne during the entire reception.

My brother flew in as a surprise from Germany to be with us. Here is my small family.

My husband is an only child but has a large extended family (this is only some of them).  Almost all of the older folks have passed away; the young ones have grown and married, some with children of their own.

Here we are with birdseed being thrown at us as we leave the church for our  2-week honeymoon.  I think it was the first time my husband had ever taken 2 weeks off at one time from work.   We visited many fun places and stayed exclusively in  bed and breakfast inns up and down the Eastern side of the U.S. ...St. Augustine, FL / Charleston, SC / Falls Church, VA and Washington, DC / Rockport and Boston, MA / New Haven, CT / Newport, RI / Williamsburg, VA / Raleigh, NC... what a wonderful trip for our first two weeks as husband and wife.  [We still found birdseed in our car. for several weeks. ]

This was taken a couple of months ago at an engagement party for one of my nephews...a few pounds heavier, a little grayer, hopefully wiser and trying to age gracefully.  :)

Twenty-five  years of memories together plus two precious sons.  -- It's been a wonderful journey and we have been through it all--for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.    

Because we believe in a faithful marriage to one woman/man as a covenant for life, we continue to love and to cherish, till death do us part.  We  treasure the days and new memories we are making together, thanking God for the marriage He has given us so far.  Our children may not realize it, but they are blessed simply having parents who love the Lord and  honor their marriage commitment made before Him.  It is not because of us, however, it is by God's grace that two completely different people, as we are,  have done so.  So, here's to the next 25 years!  :)

The big secret to us staying together this long?

Eccl. 4:12 ...A cord of three strands (husband, wife, Holy Spirit) is not quickly torn apart. 

If you are married and are considering splitting up with your spouse (or have even done so), particularly if you call yourself a Christian, pray and reconsider what you are doing / have done to your children and your extended family.  Life is not always easy and as long as you have breath, there is hope for change.  I encourage you to not give up.  The consequences and emotional scars are long-lasting.

All wedding photography by:  Wayne Smokay Photography

Our anniversary dinner at home...a wine-tasting and The Sound of Music this weekend, plus another graduation celebration!  Our getaway trip is in a couple of weeks.  :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chick Fil A FREE Chocolate Chip Cookies Today

Today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day.

If you live in the Central Florida area, stop by any Chick-Fil-A  between 2:00-5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15 (today), for a FREE Chocolate Chunk Cookie.

If  you want to make your own as I will be doing this week, HERE is a famous recipe to try.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Good Health : More Greens in Your Day

Always on the quest for more greens and other vegetables in our meals. Here is one more use for fresh spinach--in vegetable soup.  I had never used spinach in our soups before but since I was on a roll last week with this green veggie, I tossed in two handfuls while the soup was simmering.   It was delicious!

Any soup (but especially homemade) served with fruit or a salad and a bread or cracker is delicious.

Start a pot of homemade soup in the morning for a nice hot lunch by noon.    Try adding a handful or two of fresh spinach to your next dish.


 I had mentioned Aldi spinach previously, and that I'd used it for green smoothies 

and in scrambled eggs with feta cheese.  

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