Gearing up for an Outback Adventure!

It is going to be a supremely busy week!

We're taking a railroad adventure through the Australian Outback Monday through Thursday!
It's the theme to our church VBS program this year!

Most everything is ready and in place...some last minute prep tomorrow but other than that- we're ready to roll!

I'll post pictures at the end of the week-- just wait until you see our set-up! My set decorating team did a FABULOUS job this year! I'm officially blown away and you will be too!

I'm excited at the prospect of blessing the children in our community and getting to share Christ with them for four nights in a row. Their enthusiasm and curiousity is contagious!

Check back Friday or Saturday, friends! And until then..just a couple sweet pics I'm currently adoring. Haven't had much time to edit pics lately but these are just a few from...June. Terrible, I know!



Clean Kids & Gorgeous Necklaces

Went to Walmart yesterday to pick up some school supplies, t.p. and soap.
I could spend a small fortune on school supplies---I *LOVE* them! They had crayons for 25cents, notebooks for 35cents, colored pencils for 50cents... so we stocked up a little.

I also had 2 coupons for Johnson & Johnson... $3 off 3 J&J items. So we stocked up on soap! At 97 cents each, I ended up with an 18 cent overage and the cashier was a bit perplexed with that. Apparently she doesn't have much experience with couponing yet either! But in the end she congratulated me on my deal and wagged her finger at the kids saying "scrub behind your ears!".

I got to have an evening out with my bff last night, which was perfectly lovely (as it most always is!!). Grabbed some coffee @ Starbucks, meandered at Target briefly, Saw a movie (The Proposal- pretty cute. Predictable, goofy, and exactly what I was in the mood for) and had dinner at a 24hr diner so we could sit and gab as long as our little hearts desired. I think we both needed it!!!

I discovered this Etsy shop quite a while ago and was going to share immediately then and forgot. RUBY SUE is tremendously talented and creates the most amazing pieces! This one has my name on it...rather literally! She names her creations and this one is called "Sarah So Sweet"... I'm in love. Click on the link above and go check out her other pieces.... each one is a work of art!




It's my first week participating over at I Heart Faces but I couldn't resist...

This week they're focusing on feet!
Here's a photo of my littles this past Spring, after playing all afternoon in the field...love it.
Take a moment to check the other entries as well!

i'm liking this. a lot.

I read about some good TARGET deals late last night and this afternoon, after double-checking my coupon stash and ensuring I had the "facts" straight on how to use them-- I went to give it a go. I was fairly successful. Didn't get everything I wanted to but for what I paid..I did pretty good, I think!

You know how much razors cost...ridiculous expensive. And I *hate* spending wads of cash on stupid necessities like that! Don't you?? So in all these blogs, these women (I've yet to discover a coupon-clipping blog run by a mister- but if you find one, let me know! I'm curious!) have mentioned that they have these HUGE stockpiles of shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and RAZORS amongst many other things I'm envious of... So when I read on a way to score a few cheaply I took notes...

TARGET (my beloved) has Schick Quattro and Titanium, on sale for $6.99 each. Now when I went in, the sale price wasn't listed. The regular price of $8.99 was posted. I took one and scanned it- and lo and behold...$6.99. I then used one B1G1 coupon And one $4/1 coupon. Then they both had a $1/1 Schick Target peelie coupon stuck to the front of them= $0.99 out of my pocket. The kicker? If you purchased two razors you earned a $5 Target gift card, so essentially I got paid $4 to buy two razors! Suh-weet! The Softsoap handsoaps were 29 cents each after using one coupon each on them. The Irish Spring bodysoap were 50 cents each after using a coupon on each of them. The Electrasol FINISH tabs were $1 each after using a coupon on each.

Grand Total for all items: $5.15 out of pocket. ( but since I got a $5 gift card, I'm only out 15 cents!)

The cashier had fun ringing me up and looking at my final bill... always nice when the employee is equally excited at the savings!

And this??

That's just my 54 cent (after coupon)fancy-pants ice cream from Walmart last week... meant to be savored slowly with feet kicked up. Which is precisely what I did.



little things=happiness

Last weekend the kids stayed with their cousins for a few days of fun. While they were away- we had a low-key weekend of our own. Rented movies, espresso, dinner at Red Robin (the hubster got his birthday burger dinner & sundae), a tiny FREE Slurpee @ 7-11, and a few garage/estate sales. I *SCORED* at the sales.

The hubster spied a brand NEW tripod for me and dickered down to $5! It still had the tags on it and everything! It's not high-end but it'll do JUST FINE for me for quite a while.

At the Estate Sale we did what we always do when we attend them... walked around, gaining glimpses of this persons life. This woman had lived in the same house for over 56 years, per one of the handlers. The house was on a quiet street downtown- it looked tiny on the outside and inside it was HUGE! There was a basement that ran the entire length of the house with a fireplace upstairs/downstairs, just like our old rental in Lebanon. We wove in and out of each room and level of the house, commenting on the accumulation. The collections. The interests/hobbies. The entertaining/holiday decor. The family room that made you feel as though you had walked back in time...the bright green shag carpet. Green & gold couches and matching recliner. Old, OLD board games and coloring books stacked. An OLD. HUGE t.v. in the corner turned to a t.v. station that plays old shows/movies... there was an old b/w western flick on... It was just WEIRD but in a cool way. The basement was full of fishing/camping gear in one nook. A nook created to be a little shop with tools and a workbench. Two ping pong tables set up. TONS of holiday decor in one corner. The coolest thing? Dusty, faded old penants tacked to the wall from all the places they must've traveled to/from. I would've taken a picture but it was pretty crowded down there.

When I go to these, I feel sad-- here I am, amongst a crowd of people, picking over someone's things. Paying a price for pieces of their life. Part of me wants to buy EVERYTHING-- I feel like I'm rescuing it from being dumped. And I get completely sentimental (can you tell?! *laugh*) looking at their things and imagining the sort of person they were.

I ended up walking away with a coffee mug from a coffee company in the Black Forest in Germany for a quarter, a tiny vintage trinket for a friend and THIS! (happy sigh)... I *adore* it!

I need to clean her up a little bit. She's been lovingly used and I'm not certain it's still functional. I think just having it sit in the corner of my kitchen counter, making me smile, is enough.



Frugal Shopping SUCCESS!

Yesterday I read on one of my favorite frugal blogs, A Thrifty Mom (see my sidebar for a link!), that there was a great deal at Albertson's and NO Coupons were required. I've been attempting to shop with coupons and I'm relatively new at the whole stockpiling concept,etc. but I'm trying! I googled "frugal grocery shopping" and was bombarded with hundreds of blogs dedicated to shoppers that share their success and tips on how they fill their cupboards for little to NO cash...saving more than 75% or MORE on their grocery bills. That's pretty eye catching, isn't it? I thought so! A THRIFTY MOM is one of my favorites that frequently posts the best deals at various grocery stores.

BACK to the great Albertson's deal!

*Buy 10 Kraft BBQ sauce at $1.00 each, but they are part of the epic promo so when you buy 10 you get $5.00 off instantly.

*After you pay 5 $1.00 catalinas print out for a total of $5.00 ( now you can use them on anything in the store, or you can turn around and buy another 10 bottles, pay with the catalinas and have another 5 catalinas print!)

So I headed to the closest Albertsons (not bad- 10 minutes away)and hoped for the best. I've never shopped there before but after my great success, I'm DEFINITELY going to be a frequent customer! When I arrived, I signed up for the store card, grabbed a flyer and headed to the bbq sauce. I followed the deal- purchased 10 bottles and received the instant $5 off and then the $1 Catalinas. I then had a kind lady hand me 5 MORE $1 Catalinas she'd just received and didn't want (??!). So then I decided to go for ANOTHER deal I'd read about.... for Breyer's ice cream.

..here's the deal on the Breyer's:

The Breyer’s pints are on sale at Albertson’s for $1 each!
There's a catalina deal that is still valid:
Buy (2) & get $2/3 Breyers, Klondike, Popsicle, or Good HumorBuy (3) & get $3/4 Breyers, Klondike, Popsicle, or Good HumorBuy (4) & get $4/5 Breyers, Klondike, Popsicle, or Good HumorValid through 9/23/09

Here's what I did....
*Bought 4 pints Breyers for $4.00
*Used two $1/2 coupons (coupon doesn’t specify size!)
*Used two doubles (Albertson's doubles up to $1 on mfq. coupons)

My Grand Total: FREE! PLUS I got a $4/5 catalina!
I bought another 5 small containers and paid $1 total for 9 containers of ice cream!!!
And I got another $4/5 catalina!!
I went back through and bought some supplies for an easy dinner (tuna fish sandwiches) and due to their great sales and using a $1 catalina I only paid $4 for it. Essentially $4 for all that ice cream and my dinner stuff. YESSSSSS!!!! My children and husband were dually impressed (or maybe just scared into acting so- by the manic woman bouncing around the kitchen taking pictures of her groceries and flailing the bill about!).

So today we headed BACK to Albertson's to stock up on more pints but they were gone! Cleaned out! Luckily- I had some Klondike coupons I had printed and they were also on sale and part of the Catalina deal!

Albertson's had 6-packs of Klondike bars on sale Buy One Get One Free. Price per pkg: $4.99
I had two $1/2 pkg. of Klondike coupons. Plus using the Albertson's doubles...
$4.99x2 (2 free)= $ 9.98 MINUS $2 mfq. coupons= $7.98 MINUS the Albertson's doubles, another $2= $5.98
Then I pulled a few of the $1 catalinas I had from the day before and ended up only paying for the magazine I caved and bought for $3!

Not too shabby, right?!?!
I'm still pretty elated...


PS- I tweaked my blog a bit. I felt like adding some color and lightening it up a bit... plus I added a new blog for my photography and homeschooling... leaving this one for general family news, my own interests, shopping successes,etc! I've added links in the sidebar for the other two blogs! Not much there yet but you're invited to check them out. I enjoy comments a great deal, so if you'd be so kind....?? I know you're out there...


I'm going to miss Summer. A lot.

I've LOVED it and it will be gone all too soon.

Watching my water-babies in the pool. Wearing flip flops & sunglasses. Tank tops & shorts. Driving with the car windows and sunroof down. Sonic slushes. Grilling a LOT. Summer produce. Garage Sales. Camping & playing on the lake. Being TAN!

The smell of coconut EVERYTHING. Sunblock. Coffee Creamer. Bath & Body Spray.

The idea of living somewhere where it's warm all the time is appealing. QUITE appealing.

But I DO love living here.

Experiencing the change of the seasons. The weather is relatively mild and beautiful. Yes..there's beauty even on those rainy days...

I know that once Indian Summer passes, I'll be ready to don my scarves and cardigans again. Occasional galoshes.And then my boots and parkas. Occasional galoshes. Then galoshes for a few months. Then flip flops again. AND occasional galoshes. It IS Oregon, afterall!

As with everything.. each day and the weather it brings should be savored. Appreciated for what it is. The potential of what's to come. It is what we make it, isn't it?

Make certain you take this day and make the MOST of it. Rain or shine.


New Cinnamon Roll Recipe!

I was given a new CINNAMON ROLL recipe to try out..touted to reign supreme above all others. Well...they WERE pretty tasty but I'd tweak things a bit next go 'round. And let's face it..there WILL be another go 'round, likely sooner than later! This family LOVES cinnamon rolls!

First, I'd go with a dough from scratch. The recipe calls for a hot roll boxed mix. Easy but just not. the. same. Ya know? There's nothing like slowly building the ingredients and that yeasty smell...

I had to make a caramel sauce for the base of the pan and I've never done this before. It made for a slightly gooey bottom to the rolls. I'm persnickety and not sure I like the texture of that optimally. Think I might cut the caramel recipe in half for less sauce on the bottom and see how that goes.

Then we have the adding of other key ingredients.. I used some Penzey's Chinese Cassia Cinnamon instead of generic (my norm). I'd scored several brand new Penzey spices at a garage sale a month or so ago, and boy- is this cinnamon delicious!! SUCH flavor! I didn't expect much of a difference but I was pleasantly surprised.

After the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon were GENEROUSLY spread over the dough- I rolled it up then used my weapon of choice to slice off each roll... floss. I would recommend you use UNflavored floss for this. Bubble gum or mint flavor just doesn't jive in this case. Now the rolls rise for a little bit... you could go ahead and floss your teeth while you wait...recycle, reuse and all that...

Lovingly put in the oven and keep peeking in on the rolls as they rise and turn golden.
Set out to cool and make an icing to pour over while the rolls are still warm. I'd add more cream cheese to this next time too.. I didn't taste it as I put the ingredients together and was too eager to dig into a roll, I guess. Next time I'll give a taste or two until it truly tastes like Cinnabon-style, as I like that best!

Here's the recipe in case you'd like to try it yourself! They ARE pretty tasty!


1 box Pillsbury hot roll mix
1 T. sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar
chopped nuts, optional

Caramel Sauce:
1/3 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. vanilla ice cream

1 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. milk

Melt 1/3 c. butter, add 1/2 c. brown sugar and vanilla ice cream in saucepan. Bring to boil, then cook additional 2 minutes. Pour caramel in 9x13 pan to coat bottom. Make hot roll mix according to instructions, and use the side cinnamon roll recipe on the side of the box. After kneading, roll into a ball and let rise for 5 minutes under a warm bowl. Roll out dough in large rectangle and spread softened butter over dough. Follow with crumbling of brown sugar and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Roll up and cut into rolls. Place rolls on top of caramel in pan, let rise for 45 minutes. Bake at 350 (the roll mix box says 375 but I went with the recipes 350degrees) degrees for 20-25 minutes. Top with icing while still warm! DIG. IN.

If you try it, let me know what you think!



I seem to be really faltering at this blog thing as of late.
Lots swirling in my mind and I have many pictures but I just can't seem to get back into the swing of things where blogging is concerned.
Maybe in a few weeks I'll have a clearer head.
I'm consumed with VBS and Ebay at the moment.
Exciting stuff, I know!! *laugh*

And it seems that's all I mention when I *do* post.
Maybe I should go wordless....
Just pictures.
Or maybe I just need to come back and post only when I have something of interest to share.
Prepare for LOOOOONNNNG gaps, then!