Saturday, July 31, 2010

Remains of the Day

You are right, I didn't blog yesterday. This is why. My mom, 2 months after being diagnosed with cancer, lost her home to fire last night. The kids and I had just been there a couple of hours before. We are just so thankful that even though Mom had been sleeping, she awoke and was able to get out and to a neighbor's house. I can't even begin to write the horror of the 10 minutes when I rounded the corner and thought she was in the house. When her neighbor finally saw me and told me she was OK, I was a bowl of jelly. Of course, watching 57 years worth of memories go up in smoke is a difficult thing, to put it mildly. My mom had 50 years of diaries and photos in that old house. So many memories.

We sat on my couch and talked until 3 am, mom and I. She is pretty remarkable. This is the 3rd time in her 88 years that she has lost a home to fire. We talked about all of those. But in the end, we were laughing. Those of you who know my mom know she loves her mail. So at the end of the day, she simply said, "Oh well, God has a plan for us all and at least my mailbox is still standing!" I said, "That's the quote I'm going to put on my blog." And she told me, "Yes, you just quote me on that!"

I didn't sleep. At about 5 am I picked up my Bible and simply asked God for a verse. This is where I opened: "...these are difficult days...make the most for every opportunity you have for doing to each other about the Lord...and always give thanks for everything..." From Ephesians 5.

And so I say, God is good, ALL the time.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm 42!!

Happy 42nd Birthday to me! For all of you who sent wishes via facebook and otherwise...THANKS!
I am truly blessed.

This morning I was quite nostalgic as I spent some time walking by my little brook (creek for you southerners) drinking my coffee. As long as I am here and busy, I am fine. When I start counting the days til I leave, I get all sappy. But once I get back to NC and get into the fall routine, all will be well.

After my walk, I picked a bazillion green beans, radishes the size of small potatoes and about a quart and a half blueberries. My country girl fingers are hopelessly stained from digging in the dirt and scraping beets. Then we headed to Lincoln for Mom's doctor appt. That went very well. He really encouraged her and told her that she was making the right decision- for her- and she seemed very happy  to hear that from him.  She still has no pain or other symptoms...God is sooooo good!

We went to Subway for my birthday lunch and used the money from all the cans and bottles we turned in to be recycled. (We get 5 cents a can in Maine). Went to Rite Aid and bought $51.00 worth of stuff...but after sales, coupons and a $10 gift card, I paid $22. Also got back $9 in +UP rewards, will get $3 in RA rebates and another $12.99 for a Tena pad rebate. So basically, they paid me 3 bucks to take the stuff. Great birthday gift!!

Then we headed to my brother's house for a mini-reunion and had some great grilled dogs and chicken and some of those bazillion beans. And my big sis bought me a birthday cake...yummm.
Again, I am soooo blessed.

Tomorrow I get to take the van in. Doggone torque converter...going to get a transmission flush to the tune of $120.00. Ugh. But, I assure you, as much as two different mechanics assured me, that I can make it home to NC with no least with the transmission.  21 hours with 4 kids and a dog has its own set of issues--but honestly, the kids are great and we generally laugh a lot and it really isn't too bad at all.

Happy Evening to you all!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Long Day...

It's the end of the day, and I am trying to stay awake to blog:).

This morning I drove my Mom to Wytopitlock to visit a cousin, pulled out all the fencing and posts on my brother's two rows of peas and picked a big bucket of green beans. My friend Kelly came to visit and brought swiss chard and we had a veritable veggie feast for supper...yum!!

Here's the news on the tightwad homefront in NC where Mike is holding down the fort. The dryer had stopped working right before I left to come to Maine. He was looking at a $85 minimum service call when he mentioned the problem to his friend Scott, who came by and diagnosed the little GE. Seems she overheated and some part needed to be replaced. They went to the shop and the GE part was going to be $118.00...yikes!! But the shop guy said Frigidaire makes GE and he looked up the same interchangable part in Frigidaire and it was only $18.00. Oh yeah. So, thanks to the shop guy, our friend Scott and my husband for getting the dryer ready for my return. I could live without it as long as the neighbor keeps the clothesline thanks to Debbie also!

I look forward to going home...but I hate the thought of leaving Maine. It is especially hard this year with Mom's diagnosis, but she continues to do well. Pretty amazing for 88 years old, actually.

Time for some tightwad sleep!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

free stuff

Free samples of Taster's Choice Coffee here:

2 free issues of all you magazine here:
Look for the small box on the left that says "free trial." This is a really good deal. All You magazine is only sold at Wal-Mart or by subscription. It is full of coupons every month. I just started my subscription and I love it! I think last month's issue had $65.00 worth of coupons!

Here's a site where you can generate free graph paper! This probably isn't cost effective in the long haul, but if you've ever made one of those late night trips to Staples because you need a sheet, it is worth it to have this available.

Wanting to see a TV show you missed? Check out and find it for free on your computer!

This is self-explanatory:

Here's another "try-me-free" offer to be looking for if you have babies around: keep an eye out for specially marked packages of Gerber DHA & Probiotic Cereals. This full rebate expires 11/30/10. (Thanks goes to freebie-4-mom.)

It’s almost here… July 29th is Free Tea Day at McAlisters Deli. No purchase is necessary, so stop in and enjoy a cool drink. For those in the triad, there is a B1G1 coupon in the entertainment books for you could combine these for a really cheap date night!

If your Walgreens has the 9 or 12 ct. Dentyne gum on sale for 33¢, you can get it for FREE thru 7/31. This may not be available everywhere so you may not want to make a special trip. If you happen to be shopping anyway, add this to your list of deals to pick up! Buy: (3) Dentyne gum 33¢ Use: -.99/3 Dentyne Gum July Walgreens Coupon Booklet (thanks southernsavers)

If you need school shoes, be sure to check Shipping is a flat $6.95. Today asics are on sale for up to 75% off.

Anyone pick up a free backpack yet? I have to go to Bangor Friday to take my van in to the shop (NOT how I wanted to end my vacation...) and I'm going to hit the Staples and also pick up Lee's free summer reading book at Borders.

Just built a table out of pallets today. Not pretty, but effective to use for gutting fish, potting plants and other outdoor fun stuff:).

Today marks my 6 month anniversary for blogging. It was really yesterday, but since I missed two days, I'm celebrating today! 6 more months to go. Almost time for another drawing. Only 27 more people to add before we get to 200 and I do the drawing for the cookware. Maybe this will be the month. Thanks for reading blogger buddies!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Seven Secrets to Happy Retirement

Here's an interesting article from US News and World about retirement: "Seven Secrets to a Happy Retirement." With more and more folks working longer and longer, I thought it was an informative read.

Some folks transition seamlessly into a happy retirement and get right to the business of enjoying their new lives. But other people have a tougher time entering the retirement years. Some of these folks may wonder whether they are really cut out for retirement at all. Here are seven traits happy retirees share.

Good health. Enjoying good health is the single most important factor impacting retiree happiness, according to a 2009 Watson Wyatt analysis. Retirees in poor health are nearly 50 percent less likely to report being happy, trumping all other factors including money and age.

A significant other. The same study found that married or cohabiting couples are more likely than singles to be happy in retirement. The news gets even better for couples enjoying retirement together. Retirees whose partners are also retired report being happier than those with a working partner, according to research conducted earlier this year at the University of Greenwich.

A social network. The Greenwich study also found that having friends was far more important to retirement bliss than having kids. Those who have strong social networks are 30 percent happier with their lives than those without a strong network of friends. Having kids or grandkids had no impact on a retiree's level of contentment.

They are not addicted to television. After you retire you will have lots of time to fill. If you want to be happy in retirement, don't fill that time with endless hours of television. Heavy TV viewers report lower satisfaction with their lives, according to a 2005 study published by the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics in Zurich. The same results were found again in 2008 by researchers at the University of Maryland. In that study, a direct negative correlation was found between the amount of TV watching and happiness levels: unhappy people watched more TV and happy people watched less.

Intellectual curiosity. Adults over 70 who choose brain-stimulating hobbies over TV watching are two and a half times less likely to suffer the effects of Alzheimer's disease, according to Richard Stim and Ralph Warner's book Retire Happy: What You Can Do Now to Guarantee a Great Retirement. Not only will shunning TV make you happier, it will make you healthier. Good health will in turn make you happier -- a not-so-vicious cycle.

They aren't addicted to achievement. The more you are defined by your job, the harder it will be to adjust to life without it. According to Robert Delamontagne's book The Retiring Mind: How to Make the Psychological Transition to Retirement, achievement addicts have the most difficulty transitioning to retirement.

Enough money. Of course you'll need enough money to support your chosen lifestyle in retirement. But beyond that, more money will not make you happier. The Watson Wyatt survey found that the absolute amount of money you have for retirement is less important than how your retirement income compares to your income before retirement. If you have enough to continue your pre-retirement lifestyle, you have enough.

If you don't have the traits necessary for a happy retirement, don't despair. There's good news for you, too. Consider a retirement that includes a little work. Researchers at the University of Maryland found that retirees who go back to work either full or part-time are healthier. The benefits don't depend on how many hours you work. Even temporary work has the same positive impact on health. If you can't find a paying job, don't worry. A growing body of research shows that retirees who volunteer reap the same benefits of health, happiness, and longevity. And since a happy retirement is a healthy retirement, you'll be set up to enjoy both.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

St.  Francis

Most of us can probably quote this... it's living it that's the problem!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Free Backpacks...and good news

Here's the best deals of the week for those of us with school age kids.  I have seen them posted on just about every refunding site out there! Last year I got a Swiss Gear pack that was priced at $69.99....for free!So check these out:

Buy any two backpacks at OfficeMax and get both FREE after rebate in the form of MaxPerks Bonus Rewards when purchased between Sunday, July 25 through Saturday, July 31. They’ve got several brands of backpacks including Jansport and Swiss Gear. Just be sure you use your MaxPerks Bonus Rewards on something you’d normally be buying.

And then to add to the fun, buy any backpack at Staples and get it FREE after rebate in the form of a Staples gift card when purchased between Sunday, July 25 through Saturday, July 31. They’ve got several brands of backpacks also including Jansport and Swiss Gear.

Be on the lookout everywhere for really good deals on school supplies. I always pick up extra crayons, pencils, etc to use for "shoeboxes" in Operation Christmas Child.

And then, to top it all off, buy a $3.00 -$3.99 Embark Lunchbox and get a $4.96 rebate at Target or Walmart. Look for the Embark Lunchboxes at Target priced at $3.99 each or Walmart priced at $3.00 each and look inside for a postcard for free 6-issue subscription to Parents magazine. If you don’t want the free subscription, just fill out the card with “REFUND” written on it and mail in a copy of your cash register receipt to receive a $4.96 rebate.  Remember that there is a limit of one rebate per household.

80% off code at  PLATE

I hope you are checking out often. This guy really has a wide range of offers.

Stupid Tax: this one was actually a tax on my time, but as they say 'time is money'. I finally got motivated to put the last bunkbed together. It has a twin on top and a futon on bottom that opens into a full. I had every thing together except the futon seat, and THEN read that you aren't supposed to tighten the bolts until the very end or the futon won't fit. I could've cried. I just left it for the night...I'll feel better in the morning.

But the good news: On a rare trip home from camp with just my 15-year-old today, and he says, "Hey Mom, I just wanted you to know that I dedicated my life to Christ and that I think you and Dad are really my best friends." Doesn't get any better than that! "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth!!"

Happy Day!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Awesome kids of the 1920s to 1970s

I have seen this before, but I can truly appreciate it for what it is. I understand we need a little government regulation in our lives, but precious little. And no, I'm not advocating that we let our kids eat lead paint and go without seat belts...just enjoy this one for what it is! Here goes:

No matter what our kids and the new generation think about us, we are awesome!!!
OUR Lives are LIVING PROOF !!!

To Those of Us Born 1925 - 1970 :

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or
drank while they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't
get tested for diabetes.
Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies
in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.
As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no
booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes..
Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar.
And we weren't overweight.
Because we were always outside playing....that's why!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day,
as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. --And, we were OKAY..
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes.
There were no video games,
no 150 channels on cable,
no video movies or DVDs,
no surround-sound or CDs,
no cell phones,
no personal computers,
no Internet and no chat rooms.
no play dates !
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.
We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong
paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.
We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks
and tennis balls, and -although we were told it would happen- we did not
put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or
rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!
These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever.
The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas..
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility,
and we learned how to deal with it all.
If YOU are one of those born between 1925-1970, CONGRATULATIONS!
You might want to share this with others who were blesses to grow up
as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of ourlives for our own good.
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

deals and mom update

Look for specially marked packages of "Try Me Free" Kelloggs cereal. There are at least three new flavors out there!

I also found Dickenson's Witch Hazel at Rite-Aid with Try Me Free hang tag, just sent that off yesterday.

Free sample of Oxy Clinical for acne here:

Sam's Club is offering a $20.00 rebate to anyone who joins before August 3 on their facebook page. The normal cost is $40.00, so this is really a good deal.

Apparently K-Mart is running a 50% off all clearanced toys both online and in store, so if you are near one, you might want to stop in, esp. if you have to buy early Christmas presents for little ones!

Today my niece Katrina and her girls came to visit...and she brought RED DOGS! Ohhh happy day. What a treat. It's so nice to have actual family drop in; I guess I just become immune to not having family around 11 months out of the year and I forget how nice it can be. Along that line, my mom and sister are both doing well. Mom is out "visiting" nearly every day, driving her little brown Taurus around all the back roads. You'd never know she has cancer...and that makes it seem a little surreal to me. We-none of us-know what the future holds. I'm drinking in every day and trying to make it special...trying hard to capture every image and word in my mind. I know they will fade...but is sure is fun trying!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

ways to save money continued...

Not much news on the freebie side of things...

There is a new code at 70% off with code TASTY

Also, Ikea is having a kids eat free day on Saturday, so if you were planning to make a trip there, this would be a good time to do it!

Today I visited Kelly, my bestest girlfriend since kindergarten. She even made me a great roast beef sandwich and homemade salsa and she cut my hair for my birthday gift. I really needed that!! Thanks, Kel! I love coming to Maine every summer, but I do miss NC now. Maybe it's 'cause I can't get good sweet tea here...

I was reading my Mom's latest AARP bulletin. You can get lots of useful info in that little bugger!! They had a list of 99 ways to save money. Here a few of my faves:

Now that airlines are charging a fee for checked baggage, it may make sense to just send your belonging via UPS or Fed-Ex. When I flew to Maine (with just a carry on, of course), the man in front of me was checking one bag. For $25.00, it could only weigh 50lbs. It weighed 52 pounds. I watched him pay seventy something. WHAT!?? I wanted to knock him up side the head. There had to be something in that bag that he could have thrown away and bought new for less than the difference in price he was paying. Good heavens.

How about this? A 15 minute shower a day costs $310.00 a year, even with a low flow shower head. Yikes! That hurts, I like my loooooong showers but this may make me rethink.

Or this one: use Century Gothic font on your printer instead of default Arial and use a third less ink! Tell me that's not a huge gimmic.

Go to  or  and save up to 30% on the price of gift cards for stores where you shop every day.

At find free wireless hot spots all over the country.

Raise your homeowners insurance deductible from $500 to $1000 and save up to 15%. (Already did that one...but we raised ours to $2000.00)

My personal favorite on the list: Go barefoot more. Save on shoes...and build up great country girl calluses!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Day in Bangor

The boys and I have had a great day getting deals...let me fill you in:

Huge bag of beef jerky: $3.99
5 packs of Nerds candy: 0.50
Large Palmolive: $1.49

2 Post cereals for $5, with a $1 UP reward
wallet photo of Abby for scholarship ap: 50 cents

Bed, Bath and Beyond:
clearanced heavy duty can opener :$5.99

Dollar Tree:
Too much to list but the highlights are: 6 greeting cards at 50 cents each, clearanced chips and snack cakes for 50 cents each, bunch of ace wraps for camp infirmiry, ibuprofen, Gatorade $38.00

Good Will:
Running shoes: $4.99
New cutting board: 99 cents
game for kids :$1.99

Salvation Army:
running shoes $5.99

Hannaford: rotisserrie chicken, salad and bread for dinner at my sisters (who is home from the hospital!)
10 something

Coffee Pot Cafe: shared sandwich and soda.. a belated birthday lunch for my other sister who I just happened to run into while she was on lunch break: 7 something

Growing Tree: (2nd hand store)
Coldwater Creek dress/jacket 50 cents
tank top and pants 50 cents each

Colagate FAR

So there you go. Not too shabby for someone who hasn't had a real shop day in over a month! I do have to stop on the way home and pick up a very few groceries at Wal Mart, but I'll be too tired to blog when I get home!

Happy Shopping!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Art of Creative Deprivation

Stuff! Stuff! Stuff! We all seem to know we have a problem with it. We all wish we could get rid of it. We all believe we'd be better off with what's the problem?  I struggle with this concept just as much as every other American. When I talk about this, it is with a knowledge that I have a stuff problem also. I have two cars, two cats....even two houses (which allows me the space to store even more stuff!!) I am just incredibly frustrated that my kids don't seem to care when they misplace their $80 i-pod or their $50 game. It bothers me that they incessantly talk about when the newest "whatzit" is coming out...and how they just can't wait to get it. But then I talk about "needing" a new sofa and new bunk-beds...oh, and don't foget that we have to remodel our 1950's kitchen next summer.  It seems as if it is just non-stop, and I wonder how we got here.

My father-in-law mentioned that with the advent of women entering the work force, this need for more truly blossomed. Working moms, combined with easy credit, made it easy get anything we needed and most things we wanted without even having to wait. And if one of us loses a job, we can make it on one salary for a few months. And let's face it. We all love it as much as we hate it, or we would do something to change it! I could, for example, quit my job, sell both houses and one car and move into a paid for condo or smaller home and I would be just fine. (This thought is always in my mind, by the way) But for some reason, we just keep striving for more.

How to at least alleviate the pressure? Creative deprivation. A term I borrow from my frugal mentor Amy Dacyzyn. What is this? Basically it's forcing yourself to make do with less, even when you can afford more. This is really hard for us. We want our kids to have the best. We don't want them to be teased. We get them what they want because they know we get what we want, so how can we say no? Here's the answer: cut back! If your kids are "food snobs" already...quit eating out so much and when you do, go to the cheapest place in town. Save the nice restaurant for special occasions. Even if you or your child can afford the newest designer outfit...put it on hold for at least a month, or use that money to anonymously help someone in need. I guarantee the pay off will be worth it. Amy talks about taking her kids for a rare trip to the ice cream shop and watching them savor every drip. Would your kids do that, or would they be complaining that it was the wrong brand or the AC wasn't working right?

I think (know) one of the keys to making this work is living it yourself. If you are a whiner, never satisfied and always finding something to complain about, even at the nicest restaurant, expect your child to follow your lead. If, on the other hand, you live a life of gratitude and make a big deal out of even the smallest will raise a thankful child. We all love to be around thankful people, don't we? We don't teach gratitude by constantly giving materially to our kids...we teach them to be selfish. Want them to know real gratitude? Give up the money you were going to spend on a night out and buy food for the homeless shelter with it...them take the kids down with you and serve the people there.

Warren Buffet recently said that the key to success in a child's life was love. Imagine that. Anyone out there feel my self-inflicted pain???

Sunday, July 18, 2010

writers block

I'm sitting here staring at this blank screen trying my hardest to come up with something to write...but there is a major block in the old brain tonight.

Had a great service again at my little country church...and my mom actually drove herself out and back. After church, I made the trek back to Living Waters to drop Abby and Will off for another week. When I arrived home, my mom called and asked me to go with her to a birthday party for my gret-nephew Bryce, who turns 2 tomorrow. It was nice to see some more family.

Now I am back at the cabin, catching up on email and stripping beds from the crew that was here yesterday.

Tomorrow it is time for me to dig into the deals again. I know there are going to be lots and lots of summer sales and also back to school sales going on...let us know if you find deals out there!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Another Tiny house...and free frappe info...

There’s a coupon for a FREE 12 oz. Fruit Smoothie or Frappe at McDonald’s inside Parade magazine inside your Sunday Paper (coupon expires 8/15). Be sure to take a peak inside before you buy your Sunday paper if that was the motivation - it’s possible it’s a regional coupon rather than national. (thanks freebies4mom) What a great deal!
New code: VACATION gets you 60% off PLUS a $50.00 discount at Orbitz!!

And, at the risk of linking myself out of a's another great site: This guy will show you where to get rock bottom prices on the web.

OK...I'm going to link to another story about a tiny house. I am just so totally intrigued by these homes and the people who choose them. Enjoy the story:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Strange things are happening...

I spent the morning building and putting together furniture...then varnishing. The get-together at my brother's house was great, lobster and all...I even managed to get a bunch of free Aveeno at Rite-Aid on the ride home, but...

Wednesday night my husband called to tell me that his sister Marcia had been in a bad bike wreck on vacation and was in ICU in Gainesville, GA. She was knocked out completely when the postman found her on the road. Fractured clavicle, and road rash pretty much everywhere. She is doing much better and, from what I hear plans to go home tomorrow. Her oldest son is getting married in two weeks...yikes!

Then, yesterday my nephew's 5-year-old girl, Claire, who is in Maine for the first time with Mom, Dad and little sis, was taken to the ER in Lincoln and transferred to Bangor. She'd had a fever and vomiting for several days. She is in the hospital at EMMC and they still aren't sure what is going on, but it appears she has kidney stones and some swelling in her pancreas.

Now, I just learned that my oldest sister is in the hospital in Bangor also (not sure which one yet). She has been having some heart issues and was scheduled to go in on the 28th for a check on her valves. Waiting to hear what's going on...

And Mom's visit at the doctor yesterday went very well. Seems everyone is on the same page now with her not wanting further treatment. else??? So thankful we can talk to the one who knows the answers!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

8 new freebies...and scrounging

Here are seven new freebies for you at:

Some really good stuff!

And here is a coupon for a free 10X13 portrait at WalMart Picture Studios:

Here at the cabin (which was originally the barn), we literally have an old farmhouse, the original, that is completely caving in. I, being a scrounger, can find all kinds of things I'd like to salvage. My husband wants it gone--yesterday! So, this morning I was doing my best to salvage all I can. Got three heavy duty wood doors, lots of hooks and some heavy wire. I'm going back for more! And when my husband needs something, I'll charge, just kidding!

Cookout at my brothers house on the lake tonight, woot!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

good living...

Today had been one of those "good busy" days. I had dear friends Dale and Margaret Gallagher here at the cabin for lunch. I managed to make quite a salad from lettuce, beet, and spinach greens from my brother's garden...and a few radish on top. Amazing the difference in growing seasons.

After lunch the boys and I went down the road to pick blueberries. We got about a pint and then, for whatever reason the deer flies and copperheads ( a type of fly that hurts like a wasp) just got wicked we headed for the lake. Poor Lee then got "attacked" by 5 leeches...he has decided that maybe this isn't the lake where he should swim!!

Tonight I am visiting with a nephew and family. I have never met the wife and kids and I haven't seen Larry Dean for about 10 years. They are staying at the cabin while we are at mom's house. And I have a group of 12 renting for one night on Saturday. So I've been busy cleaning.

That has been the time for looking up deals, but I figure I saved about 3 bucks by picking the berries!

Happy Evening!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A national return to frugality?

Before I forget...sorry for so many typos in the last few posts. I'll try to do better. You can generally say that the more tired I am, the more typos there are:)!

Have you noticed all the articles, books and TV spots about thrifty living and "simplifying" lately?  I sure have! It seems to be very in vogue as of late. Of course, "it's the ecomony, stupid, " but there's this huge part of me that doesn't want it to end. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that when the economy finally turns around (and it likely will--though no one but God knows when), those who are chosing thrift just to get by right now will go right back to their spendthrift ways. But those of us who are true tightwads will continue to shop at Goodwill and drink powdered milk. Why? Because it's the smart thing to do. Seriously. To be honest, I haven't noticed the effects of the recession too much. Part of that is having fairly recession proof jobs (nurse/educator), but even if we lost our jobs, I'm pretty certain we could stay in our Maine cabin and make a go of it. That's because thrifty living has everything to do with attitude and not the amount on your paycheck. Some of the poorest people I know are the least frugal; they spend their money on cigarettes, junk food, cable TV and other vices. On the other hand, I know some wealthy families who are always looking for smart ways to spend and save. Obviously, there are exceptions to both sides, but you know what I'm getting at. Frugality is a mentality that says less is more. It's knowing that the things that really matter in life aren't things at all. My husband and I have been truly blessed over the years. We have lacked for nothing. But I maintain (a good Maine word) that we have been able to afford some nicer things--and give a lot away--because we don't have many items that most people call necessity--new cars/clothes, cable TV, brand name food....just to name a few. I've had my share of scoffers over the years. "Oh, lighten up," they say, "spend the money...go out to eat!" But I love my life the way it is.

One nurse that I worked with a few years back (who has since retired) told me that when she started working, she and her husband made a commitment to always live on that first year salary and save the rest. So every year when she got a raise, they would bank it. They raised a family and big garden, lived simply and retired fairly early. And she was one of the most generous people I know, quietly helping those in need and always bringing in homemade goodies to share. That's what I'm talking about!!

We all have tales of grandparents who we admire for their tenacity in tough times...let's be like that! Share your frugal stories...bless someone else...

Monday, July 12, 2010

prints for pennies, stupid tax

Got my free Crystal Light sample from Vocal Point. They came in the cutest little cardboard cylinder. And I gave my free Neti Pot to my sister, who actually uses them! (I'm sure she'll give it away to someone else as she already has one.)

When I entered my forwarding address for vacation with the USPS, it gave me the option to sign up for some catalogs. Normally I wouldn't do this as I don't like the junk mail, but this time I did because I like Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrell. I was hoping for some coupons and I wasn't disappointed! Pottery Barn actually sent a coupon for two free pints of Benjamin Moore paint...perfect for a couple of small projects I have in mind.

Stupid Tax: This is a first..if all my checks clear before my husband gets paid on Thursday, I will overdraft. UGH! I could kick my self because I have the money in an ING account, but that takes 3 days to transfer over...the same day Mike gets paid. What happened? I forgot the utility bill, which is automatically deducted. I've NEVER done that before, but this time I was in Maine and didn't get the hardcopy I've been a little stressed out with everything here!! So bottom line: I'm praying some checks don't clear before Thursday:). Ahhh well...see, I'm human!!

Here's good deal at I'm thinking I'm going to do this because I have to get some copies made: Go order 50 Prints for $0.50 from Snapfish with coupon code JULY4PENNY and you pay $3.44 for shipping. So including the shipping you spend $3.94 (and save $4.00) – it’s like paying a shipped price of 7 cents per print. Go order 99 Prints for $0.99 from Snapfish with coupon code JULY99PENNY and you pay $5.89 for shipping. So including the shipping you spend $6.88 (and save $7.92) – it’s like paying a shipped price of 7 cents per print. You can get this prints deal thru Tuesday, July 13. You can only use each coupon code once per account. (thanks freebies4mom)

Happy Hot summer day!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

"We know that God works all things for good to those who love Him, who are those who are called according to His purpose."

This has been in my mind so much lately. This morning I was sitting on my deck drinking coffee,  listenting to the mourning doves and smelling the wild roses and thinking about all that has been allowed to come our way in the couse of our lives. We don't have to be alive for very long to realize that life is not a cake-walk. Tough things happen to all of us. And the point of this verse is not that all things ARE good, but that He uses all things FOR good. I pray for you, my blogger buddies, that you will allow every circumstance that comes your way to glorify Him who either sent or allowed it.  Remember that! Blessings to you!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Free Meat! Free software!!

Sign up at this link and get 6 free packages of Johnsonville Deli Bites!! Woot!!

Office Depot is having a great FAR sale starting 7/11. Lot of software and some back to school goodies. I love these sales! And here's a link for a $10 off $25.00 purchase to boot! has many new coupons up right now. If you are new to the couponing world, let me just tell you that it took me awhile to warm up to these printable coupons, but they can really save you more than the ink and paper cost of printing.  If you check every week, Jenny will show you exactly where to combine sales and coupons. It will be worth your time.

Sign up for Cracker Barrell's newsletter and get a $5 off $20 coupon. Go to and look for the link.

On Sunday 7-11, go to any 7-11 store from 8am to 11pm and get yourself a free slurpee!! Take all the kids...yummm. If the heat index stays high, this will be a great treat!

Go to and scroll to the bottom of the page. There is one link for $10.00 rebate when you purchase $25 in products and another link to get free samples. I'm pretty sure I listed the free sample link earlier, so if you signed up before, you won't be able to get it again.

If you need a blood glucose meter, check out this link. Completely free, even shipping and handling.

Happy Shopping!

Friday, July 9, 2010

$40.00 Freebie & Second Hand Blessings

A friend from NC just emailed a notice that the Oak Hollow Thrift Store in High Point is having a great summer sale on all their summer clothing. My niece, who works at a second hand shop on Broadway in Bangor, ME (the name escapes me at the moment), told me the same thing. So, I'm guessing it's that time of know...when you are just getting full-tilt into summer and you notice all the back-to-school sale flyers coming in the mailbox! That really drives me crazy...can we just enjoy summer, thank you very much? Anywho...I guess it is the time to start thinking about the summer stuff being on sale.

On that note, I dropped by the camp bookstore this afternoon. I LOVE this place. A few years back, they started taking donations of used Christian books/CDs/Videos to resell. Consequently, they are able to offer some really good deals. I bought stocking stuffer CDs for all the kids ($2 each) and found 4 books for a buck and a Sara Groves CD for me! And I help out the camp in the process.

Last weekend I stopped at a yardsale in Danforth on the way home from getting the kids. (It's harder to go yard-salin' in  Maine because there's such a distance between stops.) This was a pretty good one. I picked up a bunch of baby clothes for a friend at 10 cents each and also found a nice pair of leather mens' shoes for Aaron for 50 cents. So there really are deals everywhere, if you are willing to shop around.

I'm sure you've seen ads for the new Barnes and Noble e-reader called "nook"- similar to Amazon's Kindle. Did you know that you can download e-reader onto your computer for free? Head to Barnes & Noble with a book that you are reading on their eReader from today until July 15th and get a free coffee! Nice little perk. And there are hundreds and hundreds of free book personal favorite being Pride and Prejudice, of course!

Here's a really great freebie on Neutrogena:  From 7/11 through 7/18 get Neutrogena Clinical SPF 30, Night or Eye FREE after mail in rebate. The rebate is up to $40 so this should cover it most anywhere that you choose to get it. Here's the link:
I'm going to try to find this in Lincoln, Maine...could be tricky!!

Happy Day!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Volunteer work?? New codes

As you know, I am working as the camp nurse at Living Waters this week. Obviously for me, this has more perks than I can even write. I've been coming here for years. But I just talked with a high school friend who is also a nurse, came here as a camper, and now comes back as a volunteer. We both agreed that for us, not having to buy, prepare, plan or cook any meals for a whole week is a huge plus...on the "material" side of things anyway. And the whole family can come and enjoy what the camp has to offer. For me, listening to the great speakers and singers is a needed and uplifting experience every summer.

A few years ago I googled "camp nurse positions in NC" and found quite a list. Most camps actually pay you a stipend, along with room and board. This is certainly something to think about if you are looking for a way to have a quality vacation. I'm not saying it's all fun...obviously I have to be on call 24-7, and I spent 5 hours yesterday in an emergency room, but the perks are well worth it. We even have 2 nurses now, which makes the job much easier...and I think any nurse who has worked here will tell you that it beats a 12 hour hospital shift any day!

Your "volunteer work" doesn't have to be in nursing. Think outside the box and take a hard look at what God has given you for talents. Could you offer your services in exchange for a vacation on the side?

The greatest thing about volunteering your time? Just the knowledge that you are making a difference...quite possibly for do it even when there aren't any perks involved other than the knowledge that you are doing the right thing!!

Looking forward to picking blueberries and raspberries when we get back to our cabin next week. Little buggers are soooo expensive, and I get such satisfaction from picking them beside the roadside!!

Here are a couple of codes for you:

8o% off with code FUN at

25% off everything with code WHH7887 at

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


"I will not offer to my Lord that which cost me nothing." King David

For some reason, known to God and perhaps slightly feared by me, I cannot seem to get this verse out of my mind. As usual when I am at camp, there is a wonderfully unsettled feeling that has come upon me. I know this happens when I am serious about seeking God's will. I am convinced that the majority of us--myself included--don't like the idea of sacrifice. We want even our "sacrifices" to God to be easy...but "sacrifice" by definition, must involve some level of discomfort. We enjoy our cush lives and when something happens that makes us even the slighest bit uncomfortable, we try to figure out the "problem," and generally think that God must be upset with us to cause us this pain ( I am a master at this!). Not necessarily so...although I do believe God loves us enough to do what it takes to get our attention.

A friend of mine (I love you Mary:) who has lost a husband and daughter to cancer was telling me a story about a friend of hers who is very wealthy, has a beautiful home, model-material wife, 3 healthy kids...but recently ditched his family. When she confronted him about it, he said he was going through "stuff." Oh please...this to a lady who has sacrificed so much. My blogger friends, guess what? Life is all about what we do with the "stuff." And saving all the money in the world won't take the "stuff" out of our paths.

Time for me to go spend some quality time with the "stuff-Master"!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Free McArthur book and great deals all around...

Here's a free book for you...I LOVE John Mc Arthur. This is only good until 7/19/2010

Old Navy is having a "fundamentals" sale, great for school uniforms. Khakis are $12, polos $7. Also having up to 60% of in clearance.

Free Blockbuster Kiosk codes: GT16A (ex 7/30) GT15A (exp unknown) or try GA 15A.

Next time you are at the mall grab a FREE Signature Body Care item (up to $12) with any $10 or more purchase at Bath & Body Works. This is good through 7/25. Want to shop online? Use the code SUNSHIP to get the free full size Signature item. (Thanks Southern savers) Click here:

Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day is coming again on July 9. Come dressed like a cow and receive a free Chick-Fil-A meal.  You can even download a costume kit from the Chick-Fil-A site. How about a white sheet with black dots pinned on, draped over your shoulders? It's extra work for a free meal but it's the kind of thing the kids will remember forever. Your whole group gets a free meal if each one is dressed like a cow. (thanks refund cents)

For one week only entertainment books are only $7.99!! This is a great price.  Go to the site and check your zip code and the zip codes of your travel destinations. Use just one coupon and you'll more than pay for your book!

Happy Shopping!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

It's 10:26 pm...I need to blog!!

Today has been a bit crazy. I'm working as the camp nurse at Living Waters in Danforth this week, so we arrived there Sunday after going to church in Springfield. This morning I came back to Springfield to take my mom to the doctor in Lincoln. He pulled the drain and also told us that the pathology report had come back. Originally we had hoped that only one or two lymph nodes housed the cancer; all the nodes he removed were cancerous. So, she still has some decisions to make and will follow up with other doctors in a couple of weeks. I think this news hit her pretty hard but she still wanted to stop in Lee and see her cousins on the way home. She also had a visit this morning from her cousin Henry who is her age and who went to grade school with her. They hadn't seen each other in 20 years...that was a life of value lesson! Family matters...always!!  

So, given this news, I decided to come back to Springfield tonight (after going back to Danforth) to be with her as we have to get up at 3am to take Mike to the airport in Bangor. To some of you, all this driving is meaningless, but let's just say we've put 2200 miles on the van in the last 2 weeks. That's not very frugal, now is it?? But being here with Mom, that's priceless. Other deals will have to wait.

It's  taken me way too long to type this because I'm tired and I keep making off to bed for me, and maybe some better blogging tomorrow. Life is a gift, that's why it's called the present! Dont' forget it...cherish every day God gives you.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!!

Today, just be thankful for the freedoms we still have as Americans. What a blessing to live in the greatest country on earth!! Thank you to all the great men and women who have fought and are fighting to keep our country free. Let us never take those freedoms for granted and let us always thank God that there were those who went before us who were willing to sacrifice everything so that we could be here today.

"We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free." Ronald Reagan, Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, 1984

America, Bless God!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Today we are celebrating Lee's birthday(our youngest-see photo), even though it isn't really until the 10th. Mike flies home Tuesday and today we will have Abby and Will with us. Yesterday we took him fishing. He will need a license after his birthday, but until then, it's free fishing for the kid. He caught 8: 3 Sunfish, 4 Yellow Perch and the whopper in the picture, a 12" brown trout from Duck Lake Stream. We only kept the big one and 2 Perch...and man, was that trout delish!! Best fish I've had in a long time. Memory of him realing it in...priceless. I gutted the first two while he watched. I made him do the last one. He gagged, but he did it! Also priceless:).

The next photo is of a sundial that has been there for years. It keeps incredibly accurate time...and it just wears its patina well. I run by it on my morning jog and it reminds me that every minute is a gift.

Winner of the $25.00 Brookstone giftcard is Mary Beth M. from Greensboro, NC. Congrats Mary Beth!! Email me your address and I'll send it from here. We actually added 15 to the subscriber list just yesterday; we are now at 170. Don't forget to verify the feedburn after you subscribe; you will get an email from them reminding you to do so. Only 30 to go next month and I will do the cookware set. Get a friend to sign up!

Made Lee's homemade cake yesterday and will decorate with stawberries my brother dropped off, along with a peck of peas. (Bonus kudos to anyone who can tell me-without googling it-how many pounds that is:) We'll have homemade pizza for his birhtday dinner. I'm also going to make pumpkin chip cookies as there are several cans of pumpkin in the pantry here and I'm trying to use the canned goods up this summer as some of them are getting old. code FREEDOM for 50% off. Not as good as some, but if you need it now, that will work. Ends 7/6.

Free Facebook Freebie, a Philosophy Cleasing Pad (I like this brand, but don't purchse it often). Click here: For those of you new to the blog, you have to have a facebook account to get facebook freebies. If you are not interested in "connecting," but want in on the deals, just set up an account using a separate email address. It will be worth it for you!

And finally, don't forget to check out Jenny's deals at for the 3 big drugstores: CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid. Just click on the icon you are interested in. She does an awesome job of putting it all together.

Have a great 4th Weekend!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Let's get in on some deals...

With this being a holiday weekend, be looking for some great sales and post your finds! Here a a few to get you started:

Click here for a $1.00 coupon for Del Monte whole pineapples. Wal Mart has them for $1.50 right now. 50 cents is a great deal on pineapple!!

Coldwater Creek is having a 25% off everything sale online and in stores (including clearance). Use code WHH7845. I love their clothes. Ends 7/9. is having a wonderful airline sale. MANY flights are under $150.00 roundtrip. Check this one out for sure.

Free sample of Secret Clinical Strength here:

Kids ages 12 and under and get a free kids meal at Applebee’s (up to 2 free kids meals with purchase of 1 adult entree) from Saturday, July 3 through Monday, July 5 for those dining-in at Applebee’s. They are also offering 20% off “Carside To Go” orders. Please call your local Applebee’s to confirm that they are participating in this promotion. (thanks freebies 4 mom)

If you missed the last sale or need more flip flops this is your chance! Old Navy is having another $1 solid flip flop sale July 3rd. You must print out this Facebook page and take it with you to get the sale: (look for the link)

Starting today through Monday 7/05 the Disney Store is offering FREE shipping on any order!! That makes small items a great deal!! Plus right now they are having their “Twice Upon A Year Sale” with lots of low priced clearance items. To get your free shipping, use the code FREESHIP (thanks southernsavers)

If you are not on the Arby's email list, sign up! I just got a coupon for a free Jr. Deluxe good on the 5th only.

Got that free Neti Pot in the mail too. It went to NC and was forwarded to Maine. Didn't think they would forward that.

Let us know other great deals...

Thursday, July 1, 2010 landscaping!

Maine is filled with such beautiful flowers. It seems that every year when I come home, we find more and more varities growing on the property. And most years I dig up a few to take back to NC. About half of them have grown in the southern climate-- Columbine and Lily of the Valley to name a couple. Most of the Mainers I know are of the generous ilk. I have asked many folks around this area if I could dig up a flower or two and the answer has always been "yes," usually followed by advice on how they best grow. I have likewise offered to let fellow gardeners dig on my property. It's a wonderful way to have a natural landscape for no cost except your labor. Finding time to dig the flowers right before we travel home and them finding time to transplant them when we get there is always a bit tricky...but it is so worth the time when I see the Columbine come back every year.

Last year Mike and I bought two Lupine plants(see picture) at the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC. I was so excited because it is the one plant that I have never successfully transplanted. We asked at the shop and were assured that they grew quite well and would come back every year. This was in October last year. They never grew this spring. UGH. Maybe I'll keep trying...they grow like weeds up here.

This year I want to bring back more Columbine, Daisies, ferns and some various other plants. (I don't know the names.) I'll let you know the progress on the other end.

Don't forget that tomorrow we have our monthly drawing. I am up to 155 subscribers/followers. If you have been putting off subscribing, now is the time to do so. If I somehow get 45 additions by 9 pm, I'll do the drawing for the cookware. If not, the prize will be a $25.00 gift card to Brookstone...and you can use it online!