Friday, January 25, 2008

food for thought

as the Alabama primary approaches on Feb 5th, i really appreciated this post by a friend of ours on how those who are in Christ should challenge their thinking on certain issues in the upcoming election. it's very eloquently and fairly written and it put into words some of the things I haven't been able to reconcile in my head. take a look...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

looth tooth

this big guy, the master of the silly face, has lost THREE teeth! what a milestone we have reached. i can't believe i have a child old enough to start losing his baby teeth! he's so excited about being able to whistle now ;) here are a few shots we took outside in what i call his "john krasinski look" (see gap ads).

Monday, January 07, 2008

For my frugal friends

For all my friends who love a bargain and to complement my friend Amanda's blog who is always posting her found deals, I want to share the wonder that is CVS. Where have I been? I've had an Extra Care Card for years and have never paid attn. to it other than knowing it allowed me to get the advertised sale price on items.

Well, I recently learned the system....and now I'm on my way to never paying for toiletries!

Basically, if you don't have an Extra Care Card, go by CVS and sign up and get one on the spot. You are then in their computer system. Each time you shop, give them your card to swipe. It records your purchases and for starters, you get 2% cash back on annual purchases as well as the advertised in-store specials. You also get 1 Extra Care Buck placed in your account for every 2 prescriptions you get at CVS.

This great system requires that you spend a little more up front (I spent $43 tonight), but after that you will be well on your way to paying nothing for toiletries, etc.

Here's how to do it...get the CVS flyer in the paper or one in the store. Find the items w/ the red Extra Circle stating how many Extra Care Bucks you receive if you purchase that item. Make your list of items you need that will give Extra Bucks back.

For example, tonight I purchased Cottonelle toilet tissue, Colgate toothpaste, Nature's Valley granola bars, Palmolive Dish soap, Lysol wipes, etc. all because for each of these items purchased, CVS gave me at least $1 back in my account. Most of them earned me $2 per item back in my account, though!

So, after purchasing just 8 items in the store, I have $12 in my account that is like cash!
After you purchase the items, your extra care bucks print out on your receipt (or you can print them out at home 2 days later). You can then bring those printed bucks back to buy items that are offering Extra Care Bucks and pay nothing for them while making more money in your account at the same time!!

Also, regular coupons will often print out w/ your receipt for items to use in store. Or once you sign up, you may get emails from CVS offering a printable coupon for $4 off a total purchase of $20 or more! So the savings just continue.
It's really so great, it makes you wonder when they are going to figure out what a steal it is and stop offering it!

Tonight, which was my first time to do this (so I was spending a little more up front) I still saved $8 additional dollars b/c I had $3 Extra Care Bucks from a previous purchase, a manufacturer's coupon for $1 off the Cottonelle, and a $4 coupon off a $20 purchase.

I know this is a little confusing, it takes a little time to get used to it, but after shopping once I got it. And, the best part is, it didn't take a bunch of extra time! My goal is to NOT give Walmart so much of our monthly budget. I LOATHE that place and and hope to be able to stay far, far away! Every time I come home from shopping there, I complain to Jamie of how I nearly lost my religion in the check out line or left the store completely out of the Spirit or had to go to 2 other stores to get things b/c THEY WERE OUT OF 10 THINGS ON MY LIST...AGAIN!!!

To further explain, if Colgate is on sale for 2.99 with your Extra Care Card at CVS and they give you 2.00 back in Extra Care bucks (it's like you paid 99 cents for the toothpaste) you can ALSO use a manufacturer's coupon that you clipped from the paper (or if one is not in the coupons this week in the paper, google for one and print it at home!) and use that. So, if you have a 50 cent coupon for Colgate, you are only paying 45 cents for toothpaste!

So to sum up...
  • I circle the things in the flyer that we need (and not necessarily for this week, but down the's a great way to stock the pantry/bathroom cabinet and not have to shop for things as often...or if you don't need it, give it to someone who does!) that give extra bucks back into my account AND ONLY PURCHASE THESE THINGS.
  • I take my Extra Care Bucks (printed on my receipt from previous trips or from the computer) and any other coupons from CVS or clipped from the paper to save even more, and then I shop for things that are giving Extra Care Bucks back this week.
  • I pay for the items with my printed Bucks and accumulate more bucks in my account... and maybe hand over only a couple of dollars in cash!
**Note...Extra Care Bucks do have an expiration don't let them accumulate too long. I believe they expire about one month after they are issued/printed out at the register.

Happy Shopping/Saving!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

good stuff

a couple of quick reviews...

this little gem had been in the netflix queue for some time and i was delighted to finally find it in my mailbox the other day. i'd been hearing great reviews for it for a while. it's a very simply shot, but emotionally packed film about two musicians in Ireland who find each other and the relationship and music that comes from is a very touching film and I haven't heard such refreshing music in a long time. we immediately went to emusic after watching the film to download the music. this film is bare bones and seems like you are there with them watching it unfold before you, which makes it touch your heart even more. go to the amazon link and listen to the song with the 2 of them in the music store and tell me your heart doesn't break. it won at Sundance and is nominated for a Grammy among other awards.
the music is! i can't do it justice in words, just rent it.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

this is the newest book by the author of the Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini. This man, who was born in Afghanistan, moved to America as a teen, and is now a doctor. He has written, I believe, 2 epic novels of our generation. I loved the Kite Runner. A book like that leaves quite an impact on you. But ATSS, unlike Kite Runner, is about women thus resonating with me even more. The gut wrenching part of reading his novels is knowing that millions of people live this life every day. Again, I am not much of a reviewer. I can't find words to do this piece of literature the merit it deserves. It opens my eyes to the plight of women around the world. Women who are the majority, women who are basically slaves and prisoners in their way of life, women who face war and death every day, women who love (no less) their families than I do, yet find love and joy in the midst of their circumstances. Certainly a lesson I need to daily remember in this cushy American life. I find that it is easy for me to block out what happens elsewhere across the ocean...I don't want to think about it...this tends to make me think of these women as faceless, who don't somehow feel the same that I feel. ..who don't have the same hopes and dreams that I have. They are different, I think. But they are not. If not for the grace of God, I could have been born an Afghan woman. I pray that God would continue to open my heart and call me to pray for them.
It truly, as my friend Angie says about the Kite Runner, makes me forever change the way I view immigrants.

I think to myself, if my family were starving, if I knew that there was a strong likelihood of my children being killed or taken prisoner to evil, would I not do everything in my power to flee that hell and take them to a place of freedom? If I knew that having my child born in the U.S. would offer it a life wholly different, wouldn't I go to great lengths to bring my child that life?

But, I ramble. This book is much more than what I can say here. I highly recommend reading it.