Monday, October 29, 2007

$250 Vision Forum Drawing

Kim at Life in a Shoe is sponsoring another Vision Forum giveaway. Three winners will receive up to $250 each in Vision Forum products. Head on over and post a link to your own wishlist on your blog to be entered in the drawing. Here’s my wishlist:

Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God $16.00 p. 6
Thoughts for Young Men $8.00 p. 21
Home-Making $20.00 p. 24
The Wise Woman’s Guide to Blessing Her Husband’s Vision $16.00 p. 25
Raising Maidens of Virtue $20.00 p. 25
Why Satan Wants Your Firstborn and What to Do About It $10.00 p. 27
The Influence of Older Children on Younger Children $10.00 p. 27
Be Fruitful and Multiply $15.00 p. 31
The Liberty Doll $89.00 p. 64
Medieval Princess Doll Dress $19.00 p. 70
Teach Them to Your Children $17.00 p. 80
Rebuilding a Culture of Virtuous Boyhood $10.00 p. 90

Total: $250

Friday, October 26, 2007

Boom Boom

One of the songs I sing to 1-year-old before every nap and bedtime is “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music. In the past week or so, when I get to the part that goes, “Blossom of snow, may you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever,” 1-year-old smiles at me with a twinkle in his eye and says, “boom” or sometimes “boom boom.” I don’t know why, out of the whole song, “bloom” has become his favorite word, but it surely is cute that he repeats it every time we get to that part!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Question About Going to the Dentist

I have had a toothache for almost a week. I’m sure it has nothing to do with sucking on all those Jolly Ranchers that were left over from the baby shower I planned for my friend a few weeks ago. Anyhow, my tooth hurts to the point where I can’t even chew on that side of my mouth, so I’m thinking I need to get to a dentist. I want to get a regular cleaning and have the dentist look at the tooth that is bothering me.

The last time I went to a dentist was before I got married, I was still on my parents’ dental plan, and I was going to same office I’d gone to my whole life. So I don’t know anything about finding or paying a dentist. Do I just look up a dentist in the phone book, say, “Hi, I need to get my teeth cleaned,” and make an appointment? I do not have dental insurance and thus will be paying out-of-pocket. Anyone know approximately how much a cleaning costs? Thanks for any input.

Staying Home Today

Oh my! I just looked at the calendar this morning and realized that there are only two months left until Christmas! I would love to have all gifts made/purchased by the beginning of September, so I need to get started on that. Also, I have decided to make an ornament for each of my children every year of their lives until they are eighteen (to give to them when they leave home/get married), so I need to plan what I'm going to make for 1-year-old's this year.

I have been walking a lot lately, and I think I've overdone it. I am having muscle pain in my belly and legs whenever I walk (even around the house) or pick up 1-year-old. So I am planning to stay home today and take it easy. I hope I will find enough things for 1-year-old to do to keep him occupied. I usually take him on one or two outings a day, mainly for diversion's sake. He is more content and seems to sleep better when he gets some out-of-the-house stimulation--different things to see and do and think about.

1-year-old's digestive system doesn't seem to handle wheat well, so I've been trying to figure out some things to bake for him that don't need wheat. Yesterday I made him some cookies with 2 cups of oats, a jar of sweet potato baby food (sometimes I use applesauce, but we were out, and I had to use up this jar sometime anyway), an egg, some cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, a pinch each of salt, baking powder, and baking soda, a splash of milk, a bit of stevia, and raisins. I baked them at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. They came out kind of rubbery (because of the lack of wheat), but 1-year-old loves them, so I guess that's what counts.

I have also been trying to branch out in the things I make for dinner for Hubby and myself. Pioneer Woman has a cooking blog with step-by-step directions and lots of photos for every recipe she posts, so I've been trying out some of her recipes (please note that I don't endorse all the content on her blogs).

I enjoyed Candy's tour of her home, especially since our home is also around 900 square feet, and I am considering doing a tour myself, once we get our camera fixed (for some reason, it won't accept any memory cards, so I can only take three or four pictures at a time on the internal memory, transfer them to my computer, delete them off the camera, take more pictures, transfer them, etc., which gets tedious).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

UPDATED: Walgreens Deals


It is 72 degrees with not a cloud in the sky. I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and walk to Walgreens with 1-year-old. I had hoped to do this Band-Aid deal, but they were all out of the right kind of Band-Aids, so I will have to go back later this week (which won't be so bad after all if this kind of weather sticks around). They did, however, have all the other things I intended to buy.

2 8.5 oz. Keri Milk Body Lotions. These are on sale for $10 each. I had 2 $3 off coupons, plus when you buy 2, you get $12 in Register Rewards.

6.4 oz. Crest toothpaste. On sale for $1.99. I had a $1 off Walgreens coupon and a $1 off manufacturer's coupon, making this toothpaste free.

Gilette Venus Divine razor. On sale for $7.99. I had a $2 off manufacturer's coupon, and this purchase generated $4 in Register Rewards.

Final cost: $19.98, but I got back $16 in Register Rewards.

By the way, I tried the lotion and really like it. It is unscented and absorbs quickly. Worth every penny of $1. :-)

UPDATED 10/24: I went back to Walgreens this morning and got Band-Aids. They are normally $3.29 a box, but with the Walgreens coupon, they were $.99 each. I bought eight, thus qualifying me for the Johnson and Johnson $10 Register Reward. I also had one $.50 coupon, so my total for eight boxes was $7.42. I paid with a $6 Register Reward I already had, so my out-of-pocket cost was only $1.42. Plus, I got $10 in Register Rewards!

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Pregnancy Update--13 Weeks

Now that my figure is starting to change, I'm starting to really believe that I am pregnant (as if three positive pregnancy tests and morning sickness weren't enough...). I am wearing some maternity clothes now, more because they're the only clothes I own that are appropriate for fall than because I really need them too badly yet. I recently bought three nice pairs of maternity pants in black, brown, and khaki, so those have become a wardrobe staple. (I like wearing dresses and skirts in spring and summer, but I prefer pants for fall and winter because I'm rather cold-blooded, and it can get pretty cold where I live).

I'm almost to the point where I can't (or at least won't bother) sucking in my stomach anymore. My belly is getting firmer. I have felt a few flutters that may or may not have been kicks, but I couldn't tell for sure. I felt movement with my first pregnancy at fourteen weeks.

We are still looking into birth options. I would love to have a homebirth, but I really can't in the apartment we're in now, because we're too close to our neighbors, and these apartments are not soundproof by any means. And I may have made a teensy-tiny bit of noise last time I was in labor.... Our lease is up in December, so there's a slight possibility we might move then (ay yay yay, I don't even want to think about moving at this point!) if we could find a house with affordable rent, but it's more likely that we will use a freestanding birth center like we did for 1-year-old's birth. I had a pretty good experience, and the tub with jets was very helpful during labor, but I would settle for one of these if I could have a homebirth.

I'm trying not to obsess about how much I gain this pregnancy. I certainly gained more than I wanted to with the last one, so I want to be extra careful to eat right and get at least a little exercise every day, but mostly, I want to keep the perspective that something wonderful and miraculous is happening inside my womb, and there is no way my body is ever going to be exactly the way it was before I started having babies (and I hope to have many more). I know there are a few women who, three days after giving birth, are back to their pre-pregnancy shape, but that's not most women, and that's not me. I want to eat healthfully and be a good steward of the body God has given me, but I don't want to get over-focused on myself and the way I look. Having babies is a sacrifice in many ways, including physically, but there are so many rewards.

For instance, today I had the joy of watching 1-year-old take hold of the handle of his walker wagon and push it all the way across the room! His clumsy, fast little steps were so cute, and he had the biggest smile on his face. I also love crawling down the hall after him on my hands and knees, or letting him chase me. He always laughs uproariously! I could go on and on...there are so many things I love about my precious baby. Thank You, Lord, for Your good gifts.

Vision Forum Drawing--My Wishlist

Kim at Life in a Shoe is hosting a drawing in which five lucky entrants will receive products of their choice, up to $150 each, from Vision Forum. You can find more information about the drawing here, but hurry, you only have until October 26 to post your wishlist on your blog.

Here's mine:

Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God $16.00 p. 6
Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God $16.00 p. 6
Home-Making $20.00 p. 24
The Wise Woman’s Guide to Blessing Her Husband’s Vision $16.00 p. 25
Raising Maidens of Virtue $20.00 p. 25
Why Satan Wants Your Firstborn and What to Do About It $10.00 p. 27
The Influence of Older Children on Younger Children $10.00 p. 27
Be Fruitful and Multiply $15.00 p. 31
Teach Them to Your Children $17.00 p. 80
Rebuilding a Culture of Virtuous Boyhood $10.00 p. 90

Friday, October 19, 2007

Successful Walgreens Trip


$57.89 worth of products for $4.91

3 Herbal Essence shampoos, 23.7 oz.--$1.11 each (B2G1 free coupon, plus this purchase generated $10 in Register Rewards. I did this transaction first, then went and got the rest of my items and used the $10 RR to purchase them. As a side note, I don’t really like Herbal Essence shampoo for my hair, but it makes a good body wash.)

Garnier Fructis shampoo, 25.4 oz.—free after rebate

Tropicana Fruit Squeeze—free (manufacturer’s coupon)

Dove Beauty Bar—free (manufacturer’s coupon plus Walgreens coupon)

Colgate Advanced toothpaste, 4.2 oz.—free after rebate

Colgate Total toothpaste, 4.2 oz.—free (on sale for $1.50, plus $1.50 printable internet coupon)

Aquafresh toothpaste, 6.4 oz.--$.24 (on sale for $.99, plus $.75 manufacturer’s coupon)

Dial Yogurt Vanilla Honey handsoap, 9.38 oz.—$.70 (on sale for $1, plus $.30 manufacturer’s coupon)

4 Robitussin cough syrups, 4 oz.--$.99 each (on sale for $3.99, plus $3.00 printable internet coupon for each one)

Pert Plus shampoo plus conditioner—free after rebate (plus $1 manufacturer’s coupon)

I had $3.30 on a gift card, so I used that and only had to pay $17.39 out-of-pocket for all of this. But I will get back $12.48 in rebates, plus $100 to use at a spa. So I got all this stuff for $4.91 (or $8.21, if you count what was on the gift card), and I will get $100 to use at a spa. I have never been to a spa in my life, but I am looking forward to it! I’m thinking a late-pregnancy massage would be delightful.

Make sure to visit Money Saving Mom to see others' Super Savings Saturday deals!

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Recipes, As Requested

A reader asked for the recipes for the Raspberry Cheesecake Bars and Triple-Chocolate Brownies I will be serving at the baby shower tomorrow. Here they are:

Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup stick margarine or butter, softened
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup raspberry or strawberry jam
Powdered sugar, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9x2” pan. Beat flour, granulated sugar, salt, margarine, and 1/3 cup corn syrup with mixer until soft dough forms. Press evenly into pan. Beat cream cheese in separate bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs until well blended, then add 1 cup corn syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth. Pour cheese mixture over dough. Bake 35-40 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Stir jam and spread over hot bars. Refrigerate until chilled. Cut into bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving, if desired. Refrigerate any leftover bars.

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

1 cup butter, softened or melted
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9x2” pan. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. In separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread in pan. Bake about 30 minutes. Cool completely before frosting with Cocoa Frosting.

Cocoa Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup stick margarine or butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2-3 tablespoons milk

Mix all ingredients except milk in medium bowl. Stir in milk until frosting is spreadable.

Tomorrow's Baby Shower Menu

-Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

-Triple-Chocolate Brownies

-Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies

-Hollowed-out bread bowl filled with Spinach Dip


-Carrot and celery sticks


-Mixed nuts



-Strawberry Wedding Punch with a lemon-and-orange-slice ice ring



Hubby did all the grocery shopping for me. Wasn't that sweet of him? Plus, he brought home takeout from our favorite Thai restaurant. I have the best husband! Thanks, Sweetie!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I am busy organizing a baby shower for a friend. It is this Saturday. I need to finalize the menu, make a list, and go grocery shopping, and then I get to bake various kinds of fancy little goodies. I love having a good reason to bake!

Other than that, I need to get my coupons organized. I save everything, but I've pretty much been chucking everything in a closet to await further tending. I really appreciated this post today from Crystal on Money Saving Mom. I think I might try using a similar system.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Giveaway: Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God

Crystal at Biblical Womanhood is giving away ten copies of a new book by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald called Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God. Go here to enter!

I have been wanting to read this book since I first heard it was in the works! And now ten lucky ladies will get it free!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Show-and-Tell Friday: Folk Harp


For Show-and-Tell Friday, I would like to show you the harp that my parents gave me for my birthday. It is a 19-string folk harp. I am learning to play it (the electric tuner Hubby bought for me a couple weeks ago makes it a more pleasant-sounding experience!); I can play a couple of simple songs fairly well. I need to practice, practice, practice!

If you would like to see a video of someone who knows what she is doing on the harp, click here. This woman is playing a song called "The Golden Eagle." Check out how effortlessly she flips the sharping levers (to make a particular string a half step higher). Such a lively, cheerful tune!

Make sure to visit There is No Place Like Home for more Show-and-Tell entries!
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Thursday, October 04, 2007

One Corner of Our Living Room


I mentioned last week that I did some redecorating while Hubby was away on a trip. Here is one corner of our living room. The area above the fireplace is actually a couple feet deep. It is intended for a TV (if you look closely, you can see the jack), but since we don't have one, I just use it for decoration. Right now, I have two plants, my harp, a pregnant lady Willow Tree figurine, and a tart warmer up there. I enjoy changing the knickknacks around every once in a while.
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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Who Knew? Homemade English Muffins

Yeah, the fall baking bug has bit me good. :-) Before I saw this recipe for Whole Wheat English Muffins, I thought English muffins could only be bought in a store! These taste way better than store-bought, and they come out with all those nice little holes that are perfect for soaking up butter and honey. Well, I haven't tried them that way yet, but I probably will soon. Tonight I topped them with roast beef, Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise, and horseradish mustard for dinner. Mmm.... I think tomorrow morning I'll make an egg "McMuffin." And, uh, I'm still on the South Beach Diet. Yeah.

Lemon-Raspberry Scones

I just made these Lemon-Raspberry Scones. They turned out great, even though I used thawed frozen raspberries instead of fresh, as the recipe calls for (because I'm too frugal to pay $3 for a few ounces of fresh berries!). My scones were done after about 18 minutes (the recipe says 20-22).

Oh yeah, I still haven't gained any weight this pregnancy (I'm at 10 weeks), but we'll see how long that lasts if I keep eating pumpkin pie and scones! Something about fall weather makes me want to bake up a storm....

Edited to add: I tried to take a picture of a scone to post here, but it didn't turn out, and our camera's acting up. Anyway, just imagine a lightly browned biscuit-y-looking wedge with raspberries in it. :-)

WFMW: Dirty Dishcloths


I've been waiting for today's Works-for-Me-Wednesday Backwards Day so I can ask: what do you do with your dirty dishcloths until laundry day? I’ve found that I can’t just throw them into the hamper with everything else, or they make everything stink. So, I’ve been keeping them in a little plastic basket under the sink until I’m ready to wash them, but even so, they often get moldy and gross and I have to use a ton of bleach to get them to smell fresh again. So tell me, what works for you?

Make sure to visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for other Works-for-Me-Wednesday ideas, and feel free to post your own "advice-needed" question on your blog for Backwards Day!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Nice Kitty

When 1-year-old and I take a walk to the park, we always pass a house that has two lion statues guarding the driveway. This morning, I stopped at the first statue and made a big deal over it, asking 1-year-old, "What does a lion say? A lion says ROAR!" 1-year-old just smiled. Then I went to the second lion statue and again asked, "What does a lion say?" I waited for a moment, and then 1-year-old very clearly enunciated, "Meow!"

Monday, October 01, 2007

The BEST Pumpkin Pie


I hear that some parts of the country are still in the high 80's or above, but where I live, today was a pumpkin-pie kind of day...chilly, blustery, and off-and-on rainy. Since I was heading to the grocery store anyway, I picked up a few ingredients, and whipped up a couple of pies using my favorite pumpkin pie recipe. What makes this pie so yummy is that you scorch the pumpkin puree to carmelize the sugars. It has such a good flavor! I doubled the recipe below and made 2 pies.

This recipe comes from my most treasured cookbook: Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking. It is a 2-volume, 1500+ page work from the 1950's era. Someday maybe I will do a blog post on why this cookbook is so awesome and stands out among all my other cookbooks. The short version is that the recipes are very descriptive and detailed.

I will quote the recipe exactly as it is printed in the cookbook.

A delicious mildly spiced pie. Scorching the pumpkin, as Grandma did, gives excellent flavor

Pastry for 9-inch Single Crust
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree or home cooked
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar, pkd
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup 12% cream, half-and-half

Adjust rack 4 or 5 inches above bottom of oven. Start oven 10 min before baking; set to moderately hot (425 degrees F).

Make pastry. Roll out and line a 9-inch pie pan, fitting well into angles. Trim off with scissors 1/2-inch beyond pan rim; turn overhang under so fold is even with pan rim. Crimp with fork leaving edge flat or flute with fingers. Do not prick pastry. Turn pumpkin into a 3-qt saucepan, place over direct heat, cook and stir until it is dried out and the natural sugar in it is slightly carmelized (scorched but not burned). This takes about 10 min. Remove from heat. Beat eggs until just mixed, stir in sugar, milk and spices that have been blended to a smooth paste with the hot water. Stir in pumpkin, salt and cream until thoroughly blended. Pour into pastry-lined pan. Bake 15 min; then reduce heat to slow (300 degrees F), opening oven a min or so for heat to drop rapidly to 300 degrees F. Bake about 25 min longer or until custard has coagulated all except a small circle in center. This will set later. Remove to cake rack to cook to lukewarm before cutting. 6 servings.

Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking. Copyright 1969, by Meta Given. Published by J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, Chicago.

Ingredients for 9-inch single crust pastry shell

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp vegetable shortening
3 1/3 tbsp room temperature water

There are some very good, detailed instructions for making pie crust in this cookbook, which I don't have time to type up tonight, but if anyone wants them, let me know in a comment, and I will do a pie crust post soon.

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