Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coupon Clipping

Kim has been encouraging me to clip coupons for over a year now. I just couldn't get into it. I would clip the coupons and then could never figure out what to put with what to get the best deals.

Last week she sent me a blog link to Frugal Chic Living. You can find the link on my sidebar. This lady spells out the best deals and what coupons to use to save the most money. Now I'm totally hooked. I've been clipping coupons like crazy. Today was my first trip using my coupons at Albertsons. They have a big cereal sale going on - Post cereals for $1.57 a box if you buy 2. If you buy 5 boxes then you get a coupon for $5 off your next shopping visit. I had a coupon for $1.00 off 2 boxes. The brands are the grown up brands like Raisin Bran, Honey Bunches of Oats, etc. I had other coupons too for in store specials. Here's how todays shopping trip stacked up.

3 boxes of Raisin Bran
2 boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats
2 12 packs of Pepsi
2 lbs bacon from the Butcher Block
2 lbs of 15% ground beef from the Butcher Block
2 pkgs of Ball Park Franks
6 boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
1 box of Home Storage freezer bags

Total before coupons $74.67

Total after coupons $27.22 (includes my $5 coupon good on my next visit)

Pretty darn good for my first time! Kim brought me a zippered binder and I'm getting ready to put my coupon binder together. I'm having so much fun and saving money too!!

The Gardener Guy Has Been Cancelled From HGTV

It's true!! HGTV has finally gotten rid of the very last gardening show left on their channel. Paul James, The Gardener Guy has been cancelled. You can read about it here.

I loved that channel when it first came on the air and for many years after. The gardening and craft shows were my favorites. I've barely watched for a couple of years now. I love to decorate as well as the next person but you need a little variety! After all the channel is called Home and GARDEN TV!

It's a sad day in the Butler house!

Monday, March 30, 2009

I Got My Books Today

I got my books for school today! Now I really feel like it's for real. I've been talking about this forever.

I am taking Medical Law Ethics/Bioethics and Computer Applications for Microsoft Office 2007. I am on the wait list for one more class which is Math for Medical Office Admins. I'm number one on the wait list so hopefully I will get in.

My first class is April 6th and I'm so excited!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Playing With A New Toy

I went to my friend Kim's tonight and we played with her brand new Singer sewing/embroidery machine!! It is so cool. It took us the whole evening just to figure out the basics, how to thread it and what kind of built-in stitches it had. It will take another evening to start learning how to embroider.

She asked me over to teach her and we had to call her husband in to help us! In fact, he ended up teaching us. Seems he learned to sew when he was in the Coast Guard working on sails and emergency gear. Not only does her husband give sewing lessons but he makes some great oven fried chicken. That's what we had for dinner.

It has been so rainy, windy and cold here today. Feels more like winter than Spring. I talked to my brother in IL and he said they were supposed to get 4 inches of snow! I wanted to get some seeds started today but didn't feel like going out in the cold to get soil and seeds. I am getting anxious to get something started and waiting for warm weather so I can plant.

My Victory Garden won't be a big one - mostly containers on the patio. But I figure it will be enough to eat out of for the summer and save some money on groceries. I will go the Farmer's Markets to get things in bulk to freeze and can for next winter. The fuel prices have gone down some but I don't see the grocery prices going down - supposedly the high fuel costs were the reason groceries were getting so expensive.

I'm doing everything I can to try and spend only $50 a week on groceries. I've never been a coupon clipper but Kim just keeps encouraging me. She is the queen of great grocery bargains and a coupon queen. We went to Safeway yesterday to look for a pasta bargain and she pulled out her coupon book. I stuff mine in the side pocket of my purse. Hers is a zippered binder with 8 1/2 x 11 plastic baseball card sleeves inside with one coupon in each little section of the sleeve. Everything is right at her fingertips and she can see all her coupons. Very impressive. I need to make one and get busy filling it with coupons.

Have a great weekend!!!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Power Publicity Makeover

Trying to figure out how to market your online business and get publicity to help it grow is an area where I really need help! It's great to have a website or other online presence, but you also need to know how to get people to visit your site.

I found this great website through Twitter called Indie Biz Chicks. Crissy Herron is an expert who helps Indie Biz Women by sharing her expertise. She's having a Power Publicity 6 Week Makeover and she's giving away one free spot!

Please visit Indie Biz Chicks and pick up some tips to run your own indie biz!

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Grandson's Blog

My grandson, Justin, has started a blog. As his grandma I told him that I would shamelessly plug it for him here! After all, that's what grandmas do. You can find his blog here.

Justin's blog is about his walk with Christ and also about his photography. I believe with all my heart that God has touched Justin with the ability to truly interpret scripture. Many of us read it and know what it means. God speaks to us through scripture. It touches our hearts. But to really be able to take a verse, tear it apart, and truly understand it is a special gift. For only being 21 years old, Justin is very wise.

Justin loves to tear apart scripture. He will read for hours over one passage. He will go word by word to discover the meaning. Often times if I have a question about something I've read I will go to him. We have very interesting discussions and I always walk away having learned something new.

Would you take a moment to visit Justin's blog and leave a comment?? It would mean the world to him and to me!!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

From Church Bulletins

They're Back! Those Wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services
(Summer, 2007 Release).

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
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The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'
Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
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Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I Will Not Pass This Way Again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
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The Rector will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing: 'Break Forth Into Joy.'
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24th in the church So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - Prayer and medication to follow.
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The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
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This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM . All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM . Please use the back door.
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7=2 0PM . The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double doors at the side entrance.
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday : 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours'

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What It's All About

For some time now I've been struggling with business. Things have been so slow and I get discouraged. I see others selling online - selling lots - and I just can't figure out why I don't. I was going to give it up completely. I had the retirement sale and then got so many kind emails from customers begging me not to. I knew in my heart that I could never give up making soap or bath products. I love it that much.

But I still have felt a sense of restlessness. I've prayed and prayed for God's direction. After all, this is His business. He gave me the talent and guides my hands in what I do.

Today I got direction. I got an email from sweet Cora who is battling breast cancer. She is now undergoing radiation treatment - we all know what that does to a person's skin. She was checking in to thank me for prayers and then asked if I had ever thought about making a salve/balm/butter for breast cancer radiation patients. Something that would be natural and healing (the stuff she got from the hospital is mostly petroleum jelly and mineral oil). My mind had kind of been going that way for a couple of days after reading her posts on her blog about her treatments.

I read a post on MaryJane's Farm Forum the other day from a Farmgirl who was asking for help with her skin problems. She said that her skin was so dry and sometimes her face just burned and hurt. I posted some ideas for her and then decided to send her a sample bar of my calendula soap.

There have been other instances like these two. People who have skin issues and just can't find relief from over-the-counter things. When I send samples I truly don't do it to try and sell. I just want these poor people to find some relief from their discomfort. That's when I realized why I haven't felt like I have been getting an answer to my prayers about my business.

I was focusing on selling. I was so worried about being one of the "big soap sellers." I was trying to build a business so that I could have income for retirement in a few years. It was all about the dollar. That's not what it's all about. That's what God has been trying to tell me and I wasn't listening.

It's about helping. It's about listening to those around me who are having problems with their skin and finding a way to help them. Finding a way for them to have natural products with ingredients that will actually do something for their skin. It all became so clear - the money is like the frosting on the cake. It's the added blessing. I just wept because I finally had my answer.

I have felt excitement today that I haven't felt for a long, long time. I will probably never get rich monitarily from my business. That has never been my intention anyway. I do it because I love it. Now I will be rich in the knowledge that I can create to help people to feel better. What a blessing!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Won!

I won another giveaway!! I'm so excited because I normally don't win anything. This time it is a beautiful canvas print from Tina at The Victory Garden. I don't know what it will look like as she had 16 of them she was giving away. It will be a surprise and I'll post pictures when I get it. The picture above is just on of the ones she was giving away.

Are you thinking of starting a Victory Garden this Spring? I know that I am and I'm going to try and do it for $25 or less. I joined a challenge on Twitter. Tina has wonderful heirloom seeds in her Etsy shop - My Victory Garden. That's where I'll be buying mine. Stop by and take a look.

Waiting for the Transition

It's 2:45 AM and I can't sleep. I went to bed at midnight which is about my normal time. Then an hour later I wake up hot and kicking the covers. I seldom have a hot flash during the day but I sure would love to not have them at night. They aren't as bad as they used to be but I sure wish they'd go away entirely.

I don't sleep well and never have. Like my friend Kim says - it takes an act of congress for me to fall asleep. The covers have to be just right, the room has to be almost cold, and I have to have my fan running. I remember the days when I could get 8 hours straight and feel like a new woman. Then it was down to 6 hours and now I'm excited when I get 4 hours sleep at one time. My usual nightly routine is go to bed, sleep for 2 hours, get up for 2 hours, and then go back to bed for 4 hours. No wonder I need a nap every day.

I wonder when the transition will come. The transition of freezing everyone to death because you can't stand the heat on to the one where you're an old lady that runs the heat on 80. The transition when my kids and grandkids will come over and say after they leave "Nana had her house so hot I could hardly stand it." At this moment in time I wish it was now!

Give Her Some Blog Love

My friend is feeling lonely on her blog. Can you stop by and give her some blog love? She posted the funniest St. Patty's joke - I cracked up. b b in a box

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bunnies and Birdies - Spring Soaps

Spring has arrived at The Rustic Cottage!! Soft Spring floral scent of Tender Tulip. Only $4 each!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Quick Hello

Just wanted to say a quick hello! I've been busy working on my new website, getting registered for school, and making the cutest Easter soaps.

My website will be live in the next few days and I'll let you know when it opens. I'm really excited because I've wanted a site for some time but just couldn't figure out how to make one. I finally found a place that all I had to do was upload my pictures and fill in file names! It's DIY Mini-Shoppes. I really like the way it turned out - very cottage looking.

I got all registered for school, get my books on the 25th and my first class is April 7th. I'm only taking two classes this quarter - one online and one in the evening. It will be an easy schedule to get me acclimated - I haven't been to school for 39 years!

The Easter soaps will be done in a few days and I will get them put on my website. They are the prettiest pastel colors but I'm not telling what they look like. You'll have to stop by and see.

Now it's time for this gal to watch a little TV and go to bed!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Where is God?

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”- Joshua 1:9

This is the verse of the day on Bible Gateway.com - so appropriate anytime, but especially for the hard times that we are all living in right now.

It is so easy to get discouraged. We listen to the news or read the paper with all the gloom and doom. Maybe you've recently experienced a broken marriage. Maybe you have a child who has strayed from the Lord. Maybe you're down to the last $5 in your pocket. Maybe there's no food to feed your family and you wonder what you're going to do. Sometimes we wonder if there is any hope!

In these hard times it can feel like God is far away. It can feel like He is not hearing our prayers. When I have times like this I remember something I read a long time ago. "God doesn't move away, we do." Then I remember that maybe I haven't been spending as much quiet time with the Lord as I should, I'm not reading my Bible, and I'm not praying as much. I have to move back to God. He is always there waiting for His child to come back and spend time with Him.

There is hope!! The verse says it all!! God is ALWAYS with us!! Cling to that hope and we will all get through these trying times!! God loves you and will never leave you!!

Happy 15th Birthday to My Girl

My Stephany is 15 today! I just looked at the clock and it's 12:14 AM - she was born at 12:35AM. She'll shoot me for posting this picture but it's just so cute - taken when she was in 4th grade.

Here's how she looks today.

Happy Birthday!!! I love you with all my heart!!!