Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Maine red meat: Lobstah and Red Hotdogs

Here's an interesting Maine fact: Red Meat is defined a little differently than in the rest of the country. Forget steak...give us lobster and red hotdogs.  And only in Maine, thank you. I don't buy either one anywhere else but here. Most people like our lobster, which can be purchased from the roadside vendors here for about $5.99 a pound. The last time I checked in High Point, it was $14.99 #. That's the reason my little tightwad self buys only in Maine. Dipped in real butter, it is my most favorite decadent food.
Red dogs, on the other hand, are a love'em or hate'em food. They are best eaten on a "New England Frankfurt Roll." I can't even find these anywhere else but here. They are flat on the sides so they can be buttered and toasted. Red dogs have a covering that has a little "snap" when bitten, which totally whigs some folks out, but I love them. I know they are bad for me...maybe that's why I only eat them once a year. And here's the real "stupid tax" kicker: they're about the same price per pound as lobster!! Why would any tightwad buy them?? I have no rational answer.

Then there's my blueberry coffee and whoopie pies...some things are just better eaten in native terrain...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

To Mardens and Beyond...

So, my Mom was released from the hospital today around 12, but right before I took her out, I made the long-awaited trip to Mardens. Now granted, I didn't get to dig around as long as I'd like, but I did find the high top Converse my kids are totally into for $14.99.  And I also ran into my cousin Lorna, which was probably more dangerous than shopping because I didn't want to stop talking....(thanks, cuz!). So, I will go back.

Remember the bunk beds I just ordered? Wouldn't ya know, I get to Maine and my brother Jerry, who recently bought a fixer-upper, had two almost-indentical sets that he was willing to give us, mattresses and all. I cancelled part of the order and we got the beds today. By the time we are done, this cabin will sleep some where close to 25 people, no joke!! My sister-in-law Judy (fellow Mardens lover) also gave me a bag of hand-me-downs, which between Abby and I will be well utilized. Gotta love the fam!! What did they get in return? NC cucumbers and supper. I'll work on a better payback...

Mom's tucked in bed and I'm heading there shortly.

Somebody tell me the best freebie you were ever given...

Monday, June 28, 2010

From the hospital...

Sitting here next to my mom. She came through surgery just fine. She talked from the time I picked her up this morning until she went into the OR, and she hasn't stopped talking since she came out. She's had very little pain--I had to convince her to take a couple of Tylenol before she went to bed. So overall, I'd say it went well. Had the chance to see more "old friends," the kind I talked about on yesterday's post. (Thanks, Pastor Waite) And she's had lots of other visitors. This hospital is where I trained as a nursing assistant way back when...small towns:).

No time for shopping in "real stores," but I did order a great pair of rubber boots on ebay (for Abby to use at camp). Even had a 20% off ebay code that was good just for the weekend. It was from an individulized email they sent, or I would have shared it with you.  I'm about dying to get to Mardens...only true Maine tightwads understand the compulsion. I'll let you know the deals when I finally get there.

Blessings to all...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

What a great day of worship! Spent the morning in my little country church (see post from 2 weeks ago) and then took Abby back up to Living Waters. (We had to take Will back yesterday for an overnight Wilderness trip.) Got to spend some time with the Schiedes and the Pipers...and it really doesn't matter if you know who they are, here's why: we all have people in our lives that we just love to visit with, and for a thousand reasons, we just don't get to see them often. That's who these families are in my life...along with many others, but these were the people I saw today. (The picture was last summer; they haven't changed much.) You know the ones. They are the friends who endure the test of time. It doesn't matter if you only see them every 5 years, you pick up where you left off. And there are different levels of friendhip too. Kelly, my best friend since kindergarten, is on a whole different plane. I've heard it said that we all need a mentor in our lives, and we also need someone to mentor. These folks are mentors...the ones I look up to. I want to be like them when I grow up. Aren't you thankful for friendships that endure? Thank God today for the people in your lives...and tell them. Blogger friends--you're awesome!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mosquito Island Lessons

The island that we camp on is maybe an eighth of a mile long and about 100' across at its widest. When we arrived yesterday, another couple from Connecticut had staked claim on one end. They said they had more family coming the next day, but since we were only staying one night, it all worked out fine. Since we were going to be sharing the the primitive facilities (outhouse with no sides, i.e. a hole in the ground), I decided a short chat was in order. Come to find out, they stay for two weeks on this island every summer. (Hats off to ' night is good for me!) But here's the interesting thing: they have stayed at campsites all over New England and they prefer these sites in remote Maine because there's no fee. Essentially, they have a "free" vacation. These folks were pros, let me tell you. She had a "kitchen" that rivaled the one in my cabin. He likes to fish; she likes to read. They call it "our mental health getaway." They both have boats and go to shore often. It works for them. And lying there staring up at the big moon and listening to the loons, who could argue with the free digs? I, however, was glad to get a shower today.

This made me think about the possibilities of free vacationing with a tent. I know this is far from ideal for some folks, but if your goal is to see the country, this is a great way to do it. Mike and I bought a 6 man tent the year we got married, and it's still going strong. In fact, when we moved to NC the first time in '94, we stayed in that tent at the Oak Hollow Campground because our apartment wasn't ready and we didn't know anyone. Abby was 9 months old! I've purchased all our sleeping bags at yard sales for no more than $5.00--most were $2 or $3. Other misc items came from yardsales also. We don't camp often, but I do enjoy it in moderation.

Any nightmare camping stories you care to share?? We have a few...

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Mike's Peony Patch

The View off my Deck...wind in the poplars...

Joan's Lupines

Sunset on Duck Lake

Me and My Wonderful Mama

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cheap thrills & New Freebies

Seven years ago we bought a little 14' aluminum boat and 6 hp motor. Mike asked two questions. Does it leak and does the engine run well. He's patching a leak (again...he does so about every summer) and the motor never did work right. Now we rely on the generosity of family for a motor (thanks, Smitty). We just registered the boat yesterday, and I picked up my used kayak I bought from a guy I went to high school with (thanks Kevin). This afternoon all 3 boys managed to do a balancing act on the kayak and spent a couple of hours goofing around at the lake. Mike and I tooled around Duck Lake and went down the stream to Junior....the water is low this year. There is just something soothing about being on the water, don't you think? Were it not for real world worries, I could float for hours and watch the muskrats, loons and eagles. (Saw a couple of decent size fish also, but I don't have my license yet.) I love the beauty of this place. The air is thick with scent of balsam fir, wild roses and sweet grass. At night the Milky Way is astounding, given the fact that there are few man made lights to dim the view. If I sit on the deck, I can hear the loons call. Who could ask for more?

Here are a few deals for you: Starting today, Old Navy is offering everything 30% off both in-store and online purchases in their Wholey Moley sale. If you visit the website online, make sure to use the code ONBIG30. This sale ends 6/29, so visit your local Old Navy soon!

Get a coupon for a free bottle of Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce ($2.99 value). You should receive a coupon on a postcard for a free 13 oz. bottle that expires December 31, 2011.  If you don’t live near any stores that carry it, they say they simply won’t send you the coupon. Click here: (thanks freebies4mom)

80% off code at SUMMER. Good until 6/30.

Free Carefree sample and coupon, click here:

Free Sample of baby wash:

Get a free sample of Old Wisconsin Meat Sticks from Kroger, click here.. Choose beef or turkey. Good in: AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, NC, OH, SC, TN, TX, VA, and WV.  Click here:

Happy, happy summer!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Seriously wondering...

My blogger you know, I missed another day and I am now seriously wondering if I will be able to keep up the daily commitment this summer. I am, however, finally connected to the web here in Maine, so that's a big help, but it has been a whirlwind these last 4 days.

Mom had appointments in Lincoln/Bangor every day. She has opted to have surgery to remove the affected lymph nodes (under her left arm) and not have radiation. She will have surgery in Lincoln on Monday at 1 pm, so appreciate any thoughts and prayers you could send our way. She should only have to stay in overnight.

Tonight I drove to Danforth to talk about basic health/hygiene with the staff/counselors at Living Waters For those of you not familiar with Maine, let me clue you in on the "remoteness" aspect. LW is a 45 minute drive from our cabin. I left at 6:15 pm...I saw exactly 4 cars on the way. No moose though, so that was a good thing on a foggy night. I picked up Abby and Will and we are going to try to have our annual family camping trip on Mosquito Island (aptly named) over the next few days, if the weather clears up. This is when we set goals as a family. It's nice to have traditions...this is one of ours.

Saving money gets a little more difficult up here as far as shopping goes. When you have to drive for an hour to get to any decent size stores, you tend to eat up your savings in gas. But, on the other hand, I just don't spend as much because I don't go as much. Mainers are thrifty by nature and tend not to buy as much just to "keep up with the Jones" ...but the Jones' don't have so much either:). It's not uncommon to see a family living in the new basement of a home while for a year or two while they save the money to build the actual house on top. It's just a different world.

I haven't seen man freebies posted in the little time I've had to look. I will try to get back on track long as I'm not on Mosquito Island.

Here's to traditions...what are some of yours??

Monday, June 21, 2010

From the Lincoln library....

So, I should have internet and phone service hooked up in our cabin on Wednesday, until then, I am having to rely on other computers. Today, I brought my mom to Lincoln for an echocaridiogram (everything looks good!), so I dropped the two youngest boys off at the library in Lincoln and told them they could explore there and in the "downtown" region. I just love libraries! Just got a card here so we can get movies and books for the month. I'll gladly pay the $15.00.

Mike is busy doing everything he does at the cabin. Mowing, weeding, cleaning, painting. Winters are tough up here, and it shows.

This morning was pure bliss...blueberry coffee on the deck, a clear blue sky, and the smell of my wild rugosa roses wafting up to the deck. Have you ever smelled them? I think they are what roses are supposed to smell like.

Just picked up my free Motrin at Rite never stop. Now off to Mardens, a great Maine store (think Big Lots)...I'll let you know the deals I find...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

After leaving yesterday, we drove 20 hours and are now at Living Waters Camp, dropping off our two oldest kids to work here for the summer. I suppose one could look at this like it is a very frugal move on my part...I mean, after all, the camp gived them room and board all summer. But from experience, I can tell you that this is much more than a frugal move. Much spiritual growth in my life occured while I was both a camper and a staff worker here. I was even married here! So here's to camp! I need to get home and get some sleep...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dying a life of value...

You know those "feel good" internet stories that get passed around? I rarely forward them just because I get so many and I presume others do also. But this one really caught my attention. I'm a sucker for anything military. (Digression: story within a story...On my plane flight from Philly to Charlotte, I was seated beside a young man. Honestly, I thought he was 14ish. I asked him if Charlotte was his final destination. "No, Ma'am, it's Paris Island." I looked at this kid incredulously. "Marines?" I asked, as if there is anything else on Paris Island. "Yes, Ma'am, there's 15 of us on here." When we landed in Charlotte, we were detained on the plane for 45 minutes. These young soldiers were visibly distraught that they were going to miss their flight. When the captain finally gave the OK, he asked that everyone remain seated until the Marines disembarked. They looked scared to death as they walked out with just the clothes on their backs. Apparently, you always enter Paris Island at night...there's only one way in. You bring nothing with you and they take the clothes you are wearing. As these boys diembarked, the captain gave a hearty, "Hoorah!" Several of us cheered. One old curmudgeon in front of me said, "They ain't Marines yet, and they don't have any idea what's a comin' on that island in this 95 degeree heat neither." I'm sure he was right, and I'm so thankful every day for our military personel who willingly join the ranks, never reallyknowing what's ahead.)

So, here's the other story. I checked it out on snopes and it is legit.  Mike Monsoor was awarded "The Congressional Medal Of Honor"  for giving His life In Iraq, covering a live hand grenade with his body,
saving the lives of his fellow Navy Seals. The group was trapped in an area with only one exit, and Mike was the only one who could have escaped. Instead, he yelled, "Grenade!" and without hesitation, jumped on top of it, dying to save his comrades. Here is the email I received, as is:

During Mike Monsoor's Funeral, At Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery , In San Diego , California ..
The Six Pallbearers Removed The Rosewood Casket From The Hearse, And Lined Up On Each Side Of Mike Monsoor's Casket, Were His Family Members, Friends, Fellow Sailors, And Well-wishers. The Column Of People Continued From The Hearse, All The Way To The Grave Site. What The Group Didn't Know At The Time Was, Every Navy Seal (45 To Be Exact) That Mike Monsoor Saved That Day Was Scattered Through-Out The Column! As The Pallbearers Carried The Rosewood Casket
Down The Column Of People To The Grave Side. The Column Would Collapse.. Which Formed A Group Of People That Followed Behind. Every Time The Rosewood Casket Passed A Navy Seal,
He Would Remove His Gold Trident Pin From His Uniform, And Slap It Down Hard, Causing The Gold Trident Pin To Embed Itself Into The Top Of The Wooden Casket , Then The Navy Seal Would Step Back From The Column, And Salute.  You Could Hear Each Of The 45 Slaps From Across The Cemetery! By The Time The Rosewood Casket Reached The Grave Site, It Looked As Though It Had A Gold Inlay From The 45 Trident Pins That Lined The Top.

Here's the picture...thank God today for the military!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Here's the kind of story that really just makes me shake my head. Have you seen this woman? If you shop in Richland County, SC, you could snag a nice reward for identifying her. She redeemed $700 in counterfeit coupons at a Food Lion on May 5. It's believed she made copies on a color copier. People like this ruin our hobby. She needs to be caught and prosecuted. ). It would be exciting if someone could be the Crimestopper. Notice that huge black purse with the red handles -- that alone could identify her. (thanks refund cents...this story needs to be circulated)

"Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC, or e-mail a tip in to Crimestoppers of the Midlands. You can also text information in by texting "TIPSC" plus your message to CRIMES (274637). Either way you choose, your identity will remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a cash reward."

I couldn't help myself; I had to run to CVS today. Got 2 Old Spice body wash (with B1G1 coupon) and the hydro razor. I paid 9 something, got back $12 in ECB. NICE. Now I have to go buy something with the ECB because they will expire before I get back. Thinking it will be cold cereal for the hubby while I am away:). I also bought netting for the tomato plants as the birds just pulverize them when they turn red if I don't cover them. And I bought 12 day fish feeder pellets for the aquarium. Love those things. We take our dog with us to Maine. He loves it up there...much more freedom. The cats and fish stay here. So much less maintenance involved with the felines.

Today I had to hang out all the clothes. The dryer knob broke and I don't want to pay to have it fixed right now. Did I tell you the AC on the car went out too? $700.00 to fix it. The car is 20 years old--I don't think so. We'll just be hot, thank you very much.

One reader told me the blogs haven't been coming through into email. I'm not sure why as it appears feedburner is working OK. Just have to go the blog site it you want to read:) And we are up to 151 subscriber/followers. Make sure you verify the email address when you get an email from feeburner, otherwise they will not be delivered to your inbox.

Ok, that's all for tonight...happy saving!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ready, Set....

Don't you just LOVE getting ready to travel, she said with tongue in cheek. Pet sitter, check. Forward mail, check. Deposit checks, check. Pick veggies, check. Clean fish tank, check. But oh, there is a huge list for tomorrow!! As much as I had hoped to get out there and pick up the deals, I'll have to content myself with online bargains. I did manage to get the free bodywash at Walgreens and picked up two packs of free cookies with some ECBs I needed to use.

Today I ordered some furniture for the cabin in Maine. (see above) The boys were outgrowing the rickety bunk beds to the point that I was afraid to have them sleep in them because they wobbled so much. I found some solid wood twin over full-futon beds for the kids rooms. This will be great because then these rooms can be used for couples also. Here's a picture of them. Only $279 and the shipping was reasonable...all the way to Maine. If you find them cheaper, please don't tell me:)....this has been a 3 year process. These are at

I cleaned 5 bags and one huge box of clothes out of the boys closets today. Scary. We're going to do a big donation run tomorrow.

I can smell my salsa meatloaf in the oven, along with the double chocolate chip cookies....yummm. Haven't had to buy much with garden going crazy right now. Time to eat and then on to a 4 hour evening shift at work.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Freebie Thursday...10 new freebies!!!

What have you received in the mail lately? Got my Pantene samples, rebate from a health care bill and my first issue of all you magazine, which is highly toted on Southern Savers. I'll let you know if I think the coupons are worth the subscription cost.

Here's a bunch of freebies for you...have fun!!

Free sample of Breathe Right strips:

Free sample of Prilosec OTC (heartburn med):

Free sample of Astroglide personal lubricant:

Free Bulls Eye BBQ sauce sample:

Free child safety ID kit from Gerber:

Free sample of Salonpas pain relief:

Free Kelloggs All-Bran sample:

Free dove shampoo sample form Costco; you don't need to be a member, just leave the field balnk: 

Free Facebook Propel sample:

Free pet safety pack:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer time and the living is easy...

I have to admit, I sure was happy to get back to 95 degree weather. My blood has definitely thinned. I always have said that fall is my favorite season, and maybe it would be if we lived in New England. But for this season of life, I'm choosing summer!

Here are some summer money-saving tips:

1. (Has anyone tried this? I haven't...and I may end up playing the fool...) Fill a ziplock bag with water and 5 or 6 pennies and hang it in a problem insect area. In my case it was a particular window in my home. It had a slight passage way for insects. Every since I have done that, it has kept flies and wasps away. Some say that wasps and flies mistake the bag for some other insect nest and are threatened. (thanks, Deb L.)
2. Travelling invariably = eating out, no matter how much we plan. Always check for the zip in the area where you are going. If you have small kids, just feed them off your plate. Never order anything to drink except water. When we go to any fast food place, our kids get two items off the $ menu. If they want more than that, they have to pay. (They usually don't...and they always get water because any other drink counts as a choice:)
3. Gradually increase your AC settings by one degree every few days. We already set ours on 81. And we are quite comfy. I freeze in most public places and at our church. This is a huge cost saver.
4. Instead of delicate-fabric detergent (think Woolite) for your bathing suits and other fragile items, use a pea-size amount of shampoo in a sink of cold water. (The shampoo should be free if you are using my other strategies!!!)
5. Get books on tape/cd from the library for long road trips. We so prefer this over videos.
6. Make sure to take advantage of any free summer concerts and other entertainment offered in your area. Here in High Point, we are enjoying Party on the Plank on Thursday evenings. Go High Point!!
7. Buy now for winter...all those clothes are on deep discounts. If you NEED summer clothes, go to a thrift shop.
8. Instead of going out to eat with friends, invite someone over and set up the grill. You can have some great steaks for far less than restaurant prices!
9. If you have a gamer hound at your house, consider, where you can rent games for far less than buying them.
10. Make sure to read by blog post about summer freebies for kids!

Happy Summer!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Good Monday Morning to you!

I'm at my sister's preparing to fly back to NC today...then next weekend the whole family is driving back to Maine. Will started driver ed today and Abby is at Girl's State all week. I'm working Tues and Weds and maybe Thursday. I can't wait to get home and pick green beans and cukes, esp after seeing the gardens in Maine! And I'll also have to try to play catch up on all the deals I've missed. There are not a lot of new freebies out there right now, but there are tons of deals at the three big drug stores this week--check out to get the scoop on all the deals this week.

Here is a really good deal if you have a few extra minutes: click here: and look for the "bathrobe" link. Your video or photo & text review of the reinvented Dove Hair Care is worth a free luxury bathrobe from Dove. You need to submit a review for both a Dove shampoo and conditioner using video (30 to 90 seconds) or a photo with text. This offer is from June 1 to August 31 or while supplies last. (thanks freebies4mom)

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My little country church...

I was able to attend my home church in Sprinfield, Maine this morning. It is always such a blessing to come back! Don't you love country churches? Where else can you hear Buckshot Ham and the Lumberjacks sing the old hymns? I love that when they ask for special music, anyone can stand up and sing. I love that when they ask for testimonies, people stand up and share their praises and heartaches. I love that the Pastor preaches the word without apology and after 18 years in this community, he still tears up when he talks about those who don't know Christ. I love that every year for VBS, dozens of people come out and help and still dozens more children show up. I love that I get lots of hugs when I come back. I love that about 15 stopped and hugged my mom and told her they are praying for her.

We serve a big God...but He takes the time to visit Springfield!! How special is that??

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Officially missed a day...

You're going to have to excuse the fact that I missed a day...when you are in the middle of nowhere Maine, sometimes there's just no other option!! Today I am at the parsonage of my home church...thanks Bruce and Debbie!

I have spent the day cleaning and clipping and dusting and scrubbing at the cabin. Entropy. It is so good to be here though. I had my cup of blueberry flavored coffee on the deck and listened to the crickets.

Mom's visit at the doctor went as well as can be expected. According to the PET scan, it appears that the cancer is contained in one or two lymph nodes, which is certainly a blessing. Mom still has to decide what to do: surgery, radiation, a combination of the two or nothing at all. A hard decision for anyone to make, so prayers are appreciated.

Since I don't have the resources to tell you about any frugal deals today, here's an email from my cousin about her great deal...inspiration: ok so i have you tell you of this great deal i just got, you'll be so proud! I was ordering online at fashion bug and they had a promotion of $15 off $50 spent, but some of my items were sale items so it wasn't going through, so i called the customer service line and she told me it was because it was for only regularly priced items, and i was like, awww, ok. then i was like, well do you have any other deals, and she said, hold on, ok, here's a code for 30% off!!!! so i ended up saving $20 instead of $15!! I was so proud of myself. AND if you ship it to a local store instead of your house.....FREE shipping. bada bing bada boom. I am no where near as frugal and bargaining as you, but this is good for me! PS, hope the appt went well yesterday, am praying for you guys, ttys!

Happy Saturday!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Way Life Should Be....(sign when you enter Maine)

Back in the greatest state...Maine! Here for the weekend, and my Mum found out before I arrived, but that's OK. She looks great; I'll let you know how the meeting goes tomorrow.

I was blessed to be greeted at the airport by not only my family but some old friends from college as well--Chris and Joy Gnanakan and their daughter Alethea. They took me to Denny's for brunch and we "had a nice visit, " as my mother would say. They are from Bangalore, India and have just relocated to Bangor, Maine. Don't you think that's a bit of a culture shock!! We were discussing not only the affluence of America in general, but also the relative deception of that affluence--it's all achieved by debt!!  The Gnanakan's were shocked to learn that they had to "have a credit history" in order to get a loan. They have never had a credit card or a monthly payment on anything. In short they had no debt and had some money saved, and ironically that makes it very difficult for them to get a loan. What a warped system.

Later at my sister's house, I was telling her and my brother about our cruise and the fact that I knew going into it that it was a "low-end" cruise line, but that we had a great time! This was perhaps in part because we didn't know any better, but I'd like to think that I work very hard at not being jaded. One morning on the ship Lee and Abby were sitting with 2 older ladies who were sisters and "cruise junkies." They started to complain about the food, the beds...yada yada...and I interrupted and explained that this was our first cruise, that we were really enjoying ourselves, and that were preferred to remain delusional. They were a bit taken aback, but then began to talk about what was right with the ship.

I think it's sad that it takes so much to satisfy us. We are a cynical, whiny culture and we enjoy our complaining more than our blessings. Let's be different. Go to Arby's and talk about how awesome it is...the workers will be schocked! Go the the dollar movie theatre and revel in the moment. Eat a tuna sandwich with your kids and just be thankful that you were born where you are! I'm going to try to quit least until morning.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Book Winner!!

Forgot to mention that the winner of the Father's Day drawing for my new book is Amanda Moores (my niece) from Passadumkeag, Maine. Congraulations, Mandy! Thanks to all who entered. I was very inspired and got some great ideas to use!!
OK...what do all think? Should we buy this house??? We looked at it yesterday and it is a beauty. 1100 North Main, High Point. The Sherrod House. This bugger is HUGE...8000+ square feet. Can we afford this house? Absolutely not...Dave Ramsey would hang us by our ears. Crazy coffee shop and bed & breakfast dreams. No, we won't be buying it, but it reminded me that it is fun to dream and to try to figure out exactly what God has us here to do. I am convinced that the majority of mankind never really accomplish what they were created for...for many, many reasons. What is the dream that you no longer pursue? Why?

Yesterday we had fresh green beans and a bunch of new cucumbers from the just doesn't get any better than that!! The bad thing is that right about the time the garden really goes crazy, we go to Maine!! I guess we really can't have it all.

I'm flying out at 5 am to go to mom doesn't know I'm coming. We have a family meeting with the oncologist (cancer doc) on Friday I'll keep you posted. I fly home Monday and we all drive up on the 20th. Mom called me yesterday. She said she feels great and had just washed all the windows upstairs in her house. Guess I'm a slacker.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

some great freebies...

Hurry, if you are one of the first 4,000 to respond, you get a free Windex Outdoor All-in-One Glass Cleaning Tool Starter Kit with bonus pad, click here: They don't tell you if you are one of the first just go for it!

RiteAid wants to give you a free photo mouse pad when you join the free "My Photos My Way" program. You can opt to have it sent to your local store so there is no shipping charge. Log in at RiteAid photo or create an account, then log in. Upload your photo and go to Personalized Gifts - For Office, and click on mouse pad. Create it, then use FREEMSPD as you check out. Opt to pick it up in-store. That's a $12.99 freebie!!

I love!! There is a new Restaurant 80% off code "SAVE" that is only good until Thursday (6/10). Since it's the beginning of the month, you have the best chance of getting certificates for all the restaurants listed for your area.

Click here for a free aveeno shampoo sample or coupons:

Another Crest 3D whitestrip sample:

And also a reload on the Purex 3-in-1 sample if you haven't tried it yet:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tell me your Father's Day gift contest.

What's a Monday to hold?? Lunch with my 89 year old cousin who still works 6 days a week (the man is truly an inspiration)...a visit with "my Marine" (the one I wrote the book about) and his wife, a 1.5 mile run with (actually behind) the cross country kids and lots of paperwork stuff (that never ends).

I'm working my vocational job tomorrow and Wednesday...not a lot of time to shop!

Not too many freebies to report right now. There is a $10 off $10 purchase at JC Penney with the code DADROCKS. If you look in the clearance section, you may be able to snag a good deal. Many are reporting $10 off JC Penney coupons coming in the mail also...haven't got one yet.

Tell me what creative things you are planning for Father's Day?? I found a wonderful vintage Lionel sign for Mike's dad, who happens to be a train man. And I'll give him a copy of my new book. (Now there's an idea for you!!) I have a hard time figuring out gifts for Dad. He usually gets the average on-sale polo shirt. I always gave my Dad a book or something for his garden. Not very exciting.

So here's an incentive for you: for everyone who posts an idea--and it can be anything, not just "gifts" but what you do with your dad-- I will enter you in a drawing for my new book, Twice a Soldier. You have until Wednesday at 8pm to leave a comment or send me an email. I need inspiration!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

No Little People

Have you read Francis Scaheffer's book No Little People? Our Pastor talked today about there being no small people in the Kingdom of God. How all of us have our place in the grand scheme of things and how God often uses us most in our weakest moments and not in our strongest.

I remember reading a true story once (and I can't remember it exactly, or even where I read it) about an eldery lady who had never been married and really had no family at all. She was stricken with a disease that hideously disfigured her and left her in a nursing home facility that was understaffed and poorly run. She had never had much  financially, but was a Christian and had been a regular, unassuming church attender.

The story was written from the Pastor's point of view as he started --begrudgingly at first--visiting this lady. The woman couldn't see or hear well at all and was in a great deal of pain, but she never talked about it. She would ask the Pastor to tell her about all the other prayer requests of her fellow parishioners (who never came to visit) and then she would tell him about all the things she had to praise God for in her little urine- scented room. The Pastor was so impressed by this woman that he began to sincerely look forward to his visits with her.  He considered her his most faithful prayer warrior.

I don't remember the end of the story...that was not what stuck with me. Once again, I was reminded that attitude is 90% of the battle and that life is truly what we make it. I can't wait to see that lady in heaven. No little people indeed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Just a Saturday...

Happy Saturday! Went to a few yardsales, but didn't find too much today. I did get some nursing uniforms for 50 cents and some summer Ts for me...and a calculator for Lee and 2 belts and a blood pressure cuff for a dollar. OK, now that I'm writing it all out, it seems I did have a better day than I than I thought.

Had to pull all the lettuces and beets (I'm eating a big bowl full of greens even as we speak) today and Mike planted the second 2 rows of green beans. We had our first beans 2 nights ago, so tender and flavorful. Lots of tomatoes on the vines, hopefully a few will ripen before we head to Maine. I just LOVE my garden.

For you Hannaford shoppers, it is definitely worth it to sign up for their emails. I just printed off a coupon for a free box of sandwich bags, which I will redeem shortly. They have weekly deals for email subscribers.

Got my free Revlon lipstick from Walgreens in the mail today...that was for that "tell us your goals" contest. I'd forgotten all about it, nice surprise. Also got a RA rebate check and a letter from my Mom (that's the best thing that came!)

I've spent the afternoon doing laundry and cleaning out closets, a job I actually don't mind doing. I think clothes reproduce in there!!

Going to the dollar theater tonight, not sure which movie yet. Last night Mike and I watched Extraordinary Measures with Harrison Ford. Great movie based on a true story.  Gave myself a manicure and it's looking like it's time for a color soon. What do you do at home to save money on your-little-ol-self and family?? As in, Mike cuts the boys hair, etc. Any great facial recipes to share?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Winner!! and my clean teeth we didn't make it to 200 subscribers....YET.  I'm at 138 right now (my husband keeps reminding me that some teachers and preachers don't have audiences this big:) I will keep the deal in place and we'll go for the free cookware set on July 2 if we make the 200 mark. For this month, the winner of $20.00  Barnes and Noble gift card is:

Anne Franco from Salem, Virginia
I'll send it out tomorrow.

The kids and I had our annual (I know, I know...)teeth cleaning at Guilford Tech (GTCC). I blogged about this last year, but it bears repeating for those of you who are new to the blog. Cleanings are only $5 and bite wing x-rays are $2. Sealants are $6/tooth, panaramics $5.  This is such an incredible deal!! I paid $29.00 for myself and 4 kids, which included 2 of the kids getting x-rays (they do them every other year). They give you the toothbrush, floss, toothpaste and this time a fancy new Reach flosser. We've been going since 1999. I was talking with the receptionist yesterday, who has been there as forever, and she said they do have quite a waiting list right now, but if you have the opportunity, check it out! They also serve 5 course meals in their cooking dept for about $7.00. Out local beauty college offers wonderful deals on everything from manicures to color. Look into what is available near you. This is one of my bigger cost savers. If I carried dental insurance,  one monthly amount would be more than I pay for all of us.

Abby is sporting her new shoulder length bob (free haircut from church auction...yes, I tipped her well!) She looks so cute. I'll try to post pics.

Today I walked to Krispy Kreme in the sweet magnolia scented southern air and got my free lemon creme...and boy was it good!! Also picked up two movies at Redbox for 2 bucks. I got the 1984 version of Karate Kid for the kiddos....wax on, wax off. I thought again about how very blessed my life is, despite my mom's diagnosis. God is good, all the time. Embrace life every day and remember to keep praising God regardless of what is going on in your life!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Don't forget that Friday, June 4 is National Donut Day. Krispy Kreme will give you one with no other purchase. Dunkin Donuts will give you a free donut with any drink purchase.

Here are a few more freebies for you:

Get a sample of Nivea cream by going here: Register for their newsletter and they will send you a free sample.

Great facebook coupon for Welchs Juice. Click here: "Like" them and they will give you a $2.00 off 100% juice coupon, which makes free juice at some Family Dollar or other stores if it's on sale.

Get some free paint testers at now through June 7th. This is online only and each bottle has enough to cover 3sq', so if you have a small project, this is great. Obviously, these are meant to just use a a test. You can also include a friends name.

Enoy three free meals at IHOP when you sign-up for the Pancake Revolution. Just go to and click on the “Pancake Revolution” to sign-up. You’ll get one free meal right now, one free meal on your birthday, and one free meal one year from signing up. You’ll also have the opportunity to sign-up your family members for their birthday club. I received my first free meal immediately via email (just print it out) – it’s for a free Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity (or menu item of equal or lesser value) and expires two weeks from today. (Thanks goes to freebies4mom.)

And finally, get a free sample of Purina ONE dog or cat food here: (this is the brand we buy)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Returned home to some good freebies in my box...dove shampoo sample, eb5 wrinkle cream, coupon for free land-o-lakes and a rebate check for cat litter. So here's a few more for you:

Samples of Cottonelle wipes and TP here:

This is a facebook deal--5X7 Shutterfly photo book ($12.99 value, you pay $2.99 S&H) here:

Free sample of Hugo Men's fragrance:

Sample of dog treats from Three Dog Bakery here:

Please note for those of you with kids in diapers:  the trial size RiteAid Tugaboos with 2 diapers costs $1, and has a $1 coupon inside. The $1 coupon can be rolled to keep buying more of the trial size Tugaboos. (thanks refundcents)

I picked up lots of freebies at Walgreens today and out popped a register reward for a free pack of Always pads (for buying a U Kotex product--competition baby!!) Check out and click on the store you are interested in. Jenny will show you how to really rack up the deals. Also lots of items on clearance right now...check near the back of your store and look for orange tags. You can always use coupons with these to save even more!!

Also note that Walgreens has a current deal for Neutragena products. Buy 3 and get $10 in RR. The bar soap is $2.69, so it is free! Great deal.

Today a friend had me come over and look through a bunch of hand-me-downs. Very thoughtful of her and I really appreciate it!! Got two big bags of clothes for Will...and some jeans that were exactly like what he wanted. Thanks!! Love those clothes, and my kids think it's awesome too.

Tomorrow the kids and I go for our $5.00 teeth cleaning at GTCC...this is one of my favorite deals. Just love going there. Abby is also getting her haircut using the coupon I won at the church auction. I'll let you know how the day goes!

MMCC (Mom's Merkel Cell Carcinoma) update: Mom had her PET scan today and my sister said she did great. I talked to Mom this am and she still sounds very positive and upbeat. Can't wait to see her and the rest of the fam!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Home at last

Here's a photo of the resort where we spent the day...Lucaya Beach, Bahamas.

Today we left the ship and headed home. It has been an incredible trip and everyone was glad we did it…but also glad that it was only a two day cruise. It seems we are not really “tropics” type people. I’ll take a Maine lake any day; however, it’s something to cross off my bucket list and I wouldn’t rule out another someday.

I’m actually writing this as a Word document and will hopefully get home in time to send it out via internet. I tried to connect at a McCafe in St. Augustine, where we stopped for lunch and looked around a bit. The computer said I was connected, but it wouldn’t let me go to any other sites. I’m sure the problem was mine and not McDonalds. At least I will be able to say I blogged every day, even if I can’t actually post it. (I made's 11:40 pm and I'm posting:)

Remember that lunch meat that I so diligently iced? Didn’t think about getting back through customs. Had I lied about it, I’m sure it would have gone through because no one checked my stuff, but my conscience wouldn’t let me do that. Do you know how tortuous it is for a tightwad to have to throw out food?? Especially knowing that we would then have to stop and buy something else.

So, we get to the customs station and the nice gentleman looks at my declaration paper and says, “You only bought $15.00 worth of stuff?” “Yea,” I say sheepishly, “I succumbed to the pressure of buying the touristy cruise photo.” He stared at me blankly. “Um, yes Sir, just $15.00.” Obviously, he was not impressed with my ability to say “No” to all those Bahamians trying to hock their wares. But then he rightly nailed me when he glibly replied, “Hey, you went on a cruise, you can’t be that cheap.” Touche.

How else do we save money travelling? In the past, I have been known to bring my crockpot and cans of soup or pasta. I leave it on low in the hotel (free with points) and come back in the PM to a nice meal all ready to eat. When we went to Florida a few years back, I purchased souvenirs on ebay and at yardsales for a fraction of the price, and doled them out at the beginning of the day, thus keeping the kids from getting the “I gotta have its.” Food and souvenirs can quickly end up costing you more than your “bargain” vacation. For me, it’s about seeing new places, not about the food. I know people who plan their whole trip around restaurants. That would not be me…but if it is you, buy an “Entertainment” book for the area to which you are going at  and get your B1G1 coupons for the local spot.

Home at last...12 hour drive...back to normalcy tomorrow.