May 23, 2008
Frual Friday -- Graduation Party/Party Favors

Our oldest son just graduated from "home school" High School -- we did use a Virtual School so that he would have an "official" Diploma. It wasn't always easy but by the grace of God, he is done!!

Three of the teenagers in our church were graduating and one of the moms came to me last year (May) and asked if we wanted to combine the parties, thereby saving us all money. Great idea! Handing over $20 a month from July wasn't so bad as dishing out $200 (or more) in one shot. (I don't plan ahead that well, but I am working on it!) We rented the local 4-H Building for $35 and had an Open House.

Things turned out really well I think -- we had a TON of food -- meatballs, chicken wings, cheese balls, crackers, chips and homemade salsa, lavosh rolls, a huge vegetable tray and fruit bowls, fruit dip and cake.

Each of the teens had their "own" table and own decorated cake. We used their school colors -- Josh and another both did the same virtual school so theirs were green and gold and W.D.'s were red and black. We bought the cakes at Costco -- they have a great deal for a HUGE cake - $15.99, plus you can have a yummy filling inside

I made my own party favors -- these were paid for ourselves and not out of the party money, so I tried to figure out how I could do them a little more inexpensively.

This is what I came up --

Of course, I purchased all my candy from CVS -- which was free and then printed my own Nugget Labels after looking at the cost on Ebay, I knew I could do it myself. It took a bit to make sure they were adjusted correctly, but they came out great. If you'd like the template, I will add it at the end, and just insert the picture for your gathering, and the words. These would be great for weddings, baby showers, birthdays -- anniversary parties, You name it, it would work. If you use CVS -- getting the candy there is a bonus. You do need a color printer -- but could possibly do these in black and white. I received a lot of compliments for my idea!

(click on the image to see it larger)

For more Frugal Ideas, visit Crystal at Biblicalwomanhood!

Blogger is being ornery -- so I will add the template a little later when it cooperates!


May 22, 2008
Thankful Thursday -- Provision

As always, first and foremost I am thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ, and His ultimate sacrifice for me. I know by scripture that He would have did what He did -- if it was just me -- although it is something I can't fathom.
I am thankful for His love, mercy and grace and listening ear! (I tend to whine a bit) (Ok, more than a bit ...)
I'm thankful for the hope I have thru Him -- when you don't have Hope you don't really have anything. That is when people give up. My hope and my trust are in Him -- it is what keeps me going.
I am thankful for my dear husband -- he really is an awesome man (plus he puts up with me!) , my children who are getting all grown up. Time really does fly, savor the moments my friends.
Our washer (which we bought in a yard sale in 2002 when we moved to Kansas) decided to quit -- water just would not go through to fill the tub. We imagine that it is clogged some where, although my husband tried, to no avail. Filling the washer took forever! We do have our emergency fund but I like having it, and didn't want to use it for a washer. When my husband said, what about that washer in the barn? Uh -- where did that come from? I guess someone was giving it away a while back (years?) and he took it. It works like a charm and the water fills up super fast. It is a huge blessing and give God the glory for it!


May 21, 2008
Photo Editing ... Works for Me Wednesday
I would LOVE to find the time to learn how to use Photo Shop -- but time is short most days, so that is not happening right now.

I love Karen Russell's photos -- I think she is a great photographer and wish she lived close so that I could take some classes from her.

I stumbled upon this photo editing website -- and have to share. The one problem I found is from home, since we use Satellite Internet, its pretty slow on uploading the photos. I tried it out at work this morning and LOOK!

Since I had this photo on my computer at work -- this is the before photo

And this is the after photo! I LOVE using the Vignette -- the dark edges, I just love that look right now. I did add a frame as well, along with a little bear. You can add text as well, and IT. IS. SO. EASY!

There are two options right now, a free account and a premium account. I just used the free account, I guess with the premium account you can use the curves, like Photo shop. This works for me!

Oh -- need the website? LOL! -- Picnik Have fun!

To find out what works for others, please visit Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Rocks in My Dryer!

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May 16, 2008
Our Graduate ...

Before the ceremony in the school office
Above was after the ceremony -- he was talking to his sister!

This is when he actually received the real diploma

Josh -- Happy

His dad and I. Love the smiles.

Why I need the other lens! (sigh)

A brother from church. This one makes me sad -- there were tears after that hug!

Jay, Stephen, Jerrain, Josh, Rolando and Mitch.

Of course I left the lens for distance at home! I thought I wouldn't need it. Why I do that is beyond me? I am bringing the camera bag with me all the time from this time forward! LOL!

We are very proud of him today ...


May 13, 2008
Around the Web ...a few
Free Sample of Teddy Graham's Honey Snack Mix. (I splurged and bought a box this weekend, and there are yummy!)

Free bottle of Wish Bone Bountifuls Dressing -- they do have specific purchase dates 5/30/08- 6/1/08 (which I thought was pretty short!) I saw this in Wal-Mart a couple of weeks ago, it looked ymmy, but I sure didn't like the price. Now I do. Download the form here for a full rebate.

I haven't seen that many super free things this past week -- it was a pretty busy week between my job and the house because my hub was out of town.

Josh graduates tonight and we have an open house planned on Saturday! I will post about how we saved on his open house for frugal friday tomorrow.

Oh, if you don't get this FREE magazine, you must sign up, lots of good recipes and this issue even has a coupon for a free bottle of Kraft Salad Dressing!

Thanks to Budget Helps for posting that this month's issue of Kraft's Food & Family contains a coupon for a free bottle of Kraft Dressing between pages 28 & 29!

If you have not yet signed up for this free magazine, click here.


May 11, 2008
Happy Mother's Day!
Wishing you a wonderful day!


May 3, 2008
May CVS Deals -- Earned $22.04 in ECBs

Melinda and I decided to try the May deals early again this month, because by the end of the month our store has nothing. In a town of 40K -- there are about 5 die hard CVS-ers and we are 2 of them.

I did 5 transactions -- yes 5! The nice supervisor was working and she is one of the town's 5. We tried to get our totals to $15.00 or as close as possible, and I think we did a great job. Check out our deals in the spreadsheet.

I compiled my scenarios/transactions in a Google Spreadsheet for easier access and you are more than welcome to use our ideas.

Keep in mind I did have a few ECBs to roll over -- I like having smaller amounts of ECBs to roll than the large ones. My hub's card has two $20.00 ones that I need to mastermind. Should be interesting, since our store is pretty much out of May deals already. But you can absolutely roll your first transaction ECBs into the second and so on. Just switch around which ones you do first.

I paid $2.32 OOP -- although that came from a CVS Gift Card -- so actually I paid nothing and gained about $75.03 in product. Much of these items, our family can use.

The sunflowers seeds, crackers and one Orapik are missing from the photos.


May 2, 2008
Frugal Fridays -- Cheese Bags

Cheese Bags, you ask?
Well that is what I have aptly named them. We usually purchase our cheese in bulk (5 lb bags) except if there is a super store sale. I measure 2 cups portions in Ziploc bags and place them in baggies and keep them in the freezer.
After throwing away (and wasting) numerous bags. I am just not a bag washer! I thought this would have to change. I did buy the bags from CVS - so in reality I didn't "pay" for them (or not much!)
So, I had a brilliant thought ...

Here is a photo of my full bag of cheese ready to be put on homemade pizza!
After using, I place the empty ... unclean ...gasp! back right in the freezer where it waits until I am low on cheese and need to fill them all back up again!
Probably a little lazy way to save on bags -- but I figure as long as they are in the freezer, any minor cheese crumbs will be just fine as they are kept frozen all the time. =) And I wish my freezer had that many full bags in there right now! This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago and there are more empy cheese bags than full ones! Everyone knows to just stick them back into the fridge and not throw them away.
Visit Frugal Friday hosted by Biblical Womanhood for a bunch of ideas on saving!


Bloomin' Swap

I LOVE swaps -- when I had my online store and lived in Colorado, I joined in tons of scrapbook swaps. I didn't work full time then, and work was about 3 minutes down the street/30 seconds to the U-Haul shop we operated.

No idea what a swap is? According to the dictionary it is to exchange, barter, or trade, as one thing for another Basically you sign up and are responsible for sending a certain item (s) to someone and they in turn send something back. No money is exchanged. I think I may have gotten the short end of the stick a couple of times where someone did not send anything, which we call a "flaker" but I have never flaked. It is such a disappointment, I just could not do it!

It was kind of fun to receive home made scrapbook layouts and embellishments -- many of my pages are graced with other people's work! And looking at other ladies' ideas sparked some creative juices in me. I started with a group called 200 Pages in 2000. I am still in contact with many of those ladies today. I even met a few of them for Creative Keepsakes University in San Antonio, Texas one year. We talked about having a reunion of sorts one day in a central location -- I would still love to do that.

I know my swapper in the Bloomin' Swap received her package -- because she emailed to let me know. I thought I would share some photos of what I sent her.

I will admit I was a little nervous because I wanted to make sure I sent enough, since there was not a specific amount of money you had to spend -- I didn't want to send too litte or really even too much! What do you think, did I do okay? Still waiting on my package to arrive. You can go here to see some of the other participants.

This is the package I sent all wrapped up for shipping!

Here are the items unwrapped --

(there was also a flower mug with Tazo tea bags that are not phtographed!)

Edited: I received my package yesterday afternoon -- I especially love the little white pail --

I have a thing for pails!