Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Happy Birthday Baby!

Two Years Old Today!

You are everything I did not anticipate in a child. I was fully prepared for the normal strong headiness that comes with a toddler. What I wasn't prepared for was your ability to make me laugh when I'm trying to discipline you. Or how you stubbornly stomp your foot in refusal of my attempt to steer you away from your tenth pack of fruit snacks by offering an alternative, all the while you're politely saying, "no thank you". Or how you do a teasing little dance when I tell you to come to me, one step forward and two steps back with a sweet little mischievous grin on your face. All the while I'm holding in a grin of my own as I'm threatening to discipline you. And then, once you've push the charade to the point that I feel as I must act to show you I mean business, you run to me with arms wide open with the most marvelous kiss intended sheepishly saying, "momma"? Therefore, somehow leaving me to wonder if maybe you didn't know that I wasn't kidding and afraid that I will break your will or your trust in me if I punish you while you were innocently trying to play with me. Even though, I am quite positive that you are fully aware of your manipulating abilities and that the only will that is being broken is my own. Because somewhere, you have convinced me that these sneaky little plays you preform are one of your most alluring qualities though I'm quite sure that your future teachers will disagree. Yes dear, you have me smitten. And I'm quite sure at some point, this will cause us trouble.

You're a complicated little bundle of joy. The life of the party to those that you love and trust and a complete turtle in a shell to someone new. You have better rhythm than some adults and can already run across the room kicking a ball like a skilled soccer player. You have a HUGE vocabulary though it often needs help from your translator to those that are not with you all day. I love to pass Chic fil' A and hear your shouts of "Chic P Lay Cow, Chic P Lay Cow"! To you, life is one big game. And to the rest of your family who often takes themselves WAY to seriously, you are just what we need.

Chloe Anne Ellis, you light up my life. I'm so glad that God made me your mother!

I love you,

Deals and Matchups


Rite Aid



Penny item: Greenwise toilet paper


Will post publix penny item and Krogers deals and matchups as soon as they're up!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Knotts Family

They are home with a diagnosis of Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. It is a rare disease but has a 70% complete remission rate. Janell has a
where she's put regular updates. You can read all about it over there. Her words to me when she called to give me the definite word was, "Dana, it's just been a series of God things".

I have marvelled at so many things this week... Ken and Janell's ability to soak everything in. If I hadn't known any better I wouldn't have thought that all of this information was new to them. I am amazed at how clear headed they seemed to be thinking. They, somehow pulled it together, with the only goal of getting their son better. They are amazing parents.

And our church family! Can I just say that I am so honored to be a part of this family. We're a motley crew. The words that were said to me when we first met them was, "we've all been broken in some way". That is so true and how wonderful it feels to be my broken self with these broken people. Everyone is laid back and comfortable so much that we're sometimes unorganized. Except when it comes to these sort of things and I am telling you, The love and compassion that these people naturally expel to those who are hurting is unbelievable. Since we have been here, I have seen this little church of about 75 members (they don't have an official count because they don't want getting our numbers up to be our focus. If we are the people that God wants us to be, He will bring us the people that He wants to be there) do more for hurting families than I've ever seen much larger churches do. Ken and Janell went home to clean laundry (well not actually went home to it since I still have to take it to them but they didn't go home to dirty laundry), a stocked refrigerator, covered in tear poured prayers and touched with thousands of hugs and no telling what that I don't even know about. I was at the hospital visiting one night when the doctor came in. His words, "you people have got to quit multiplying. I can't keep up with you". I feel sure that he thought they belonged to a thousand member church. We have had lots of discussions about we were are, what our mission at our church is. I know what our gift is,( helping hurting people heal). I don't know how that translates into an official ministry or even if it needs to. They do it quite well without it being orchestrated. The one thing I'm quite sure of.. I love my church family and there's nowhere in this world I'd rather be.


Friday, August 28, 2009


We will hopefully have an update on the Benjamin soon. If you're here in town, they have repeatedly stated how blessed they have been by the outpouring of love they have received. However, they will be meeting with several specialists to determine the path they will be taking with his treatment so they have requested no visitors for today only. There are a lot of decisions to be made. Not all tests are in but they have given a priliminary diagnosis of "Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis". They have a long road ahead but this disease has a very high complete remission rate when treated with Chemo. Please keep the prayers going up. They have felt them. And this sweet little boy has blessed us all!

I did post my promised tip below.


Tuesday's Tips and Tricks-- Removing a dent from your car

Yes, I know it's Friday, at least I think it's Friday. It has been a long week (see post below)

I had intended on trying this one out myself since Adam's car has a big dent in from where I backed into it. But, if you've been following the stuff going on with the Knotts family, you know that I'm not that concerned with a dent in our car right now. I did however want to share this because it's so awesome. I'd love to hear from someone that has actually tried this.

Remove Car Dent With Airduster - For more funny movies, click here


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Begging for prayers

I'm exhausted.. I'm not sure that this is going to be coherent. I will surely write a more detailed post later. Adam's secretary and I went to sit with a friend from our church yesterday (wow, only yesterday it seems like forever ago) while she waited for the results from an MRI her little boy was having. Benign tumors run in their family. His older sister has one. They are typically outgrown but they were more concerned because this tumor is located in his head and he was swelling around his eyes.. We were shocked when the optomologist came out and told us that it wasn't that type of tumor (there is a name for this type of tumor but I am a completely ignorant when it comes to any medical terms and I can't remember it. Someone comment what it is if you know) and that she was suspicious that it was cancer. Just a few minutes later the doctor confirmed that it was cancer. He just turned two.. Just two weeks older than Chloe. He has had more cat scans, a biopsy and will have bone scans tomorrow. They are discussing starting Chemo this weekend. In just a few minutes their world has been turned upside down. They are awaiting the results of the biopsy to find out exactly what they are dealing with.. I keep thinking that I will wake up from this horrible dream. I can't imagine what his mom is thinking..

I of course cried like a loser. I am so frustrated with myself that I just become a blubbering idiot in situations when I need to be the strongest. Thank goodness for Adam's awesome secretary who not only is one of the most positive faith filled people I've ever met but is also a breast cancer survivor. She quickly grabbed us all together and prayed. I could have never gotten that prayer out. I must have skipped that chapter in my 'How to be a Minister's Wife" handbook. Please, please pray for this family. And pray for me to have strength when I need it for others..


Monday, August 24, 2009

Meet George

For Tuesday's Tips and Tricks, I was going to show you a cool trick I learned to remove a dent from a car. And I mean it is super cool! But, you're going to have to come back Thursday for that. Because, Tuesday is my highest traffic day and I have to free it up so you can meet George because what he has to say is kind of important. Okay, it's REALLY important. And well, I love him. And, I want you to love him too..

So George was in our youth group when we were in Albany Georgia. We kind of had a rough start with him. However, I still maintain that he had me at hello.. Or whatever it was he said because I'm pretty sure he was too cool to just say hello. Anyway, even though we had a rough start, George has an awesome mom that totally supported Adam through that rough start and before it was all said and done, I was threatening to give him chores to do at our house because he was there so much. He sort of became our partner in crime and we became quite a trio pulling pranks on the other kids in the youth ministry.. Anyway, I had a soft spot for George and was bound and determined to find him a bride.. And, I sort of did. I introduced them but they didn't decide they liked each other until like four years later. But that's just because they were too stubborn to let me think it was my idea :). Anyway, Mrs. George is named Jay. And well, I have an even softer spot for her. And their little girl, well, it was a strange thing that they ended up having their first child, just six months behind us having ours but, they did. And that little girl just melts my heart..

Anyway, Jay and George and Sarah Jane came to visit a couple of months ago and George was telling me about this cause "One Verse" that he has gotten involved in and well.. I'm just going to let him tell you the rest.. The following is my interview with George:

Let's hear your version of how we met.. This should be fun:)

We met about 15 years ago when I was in 9th grade. Adam came to my church to be the Youth Minster. For the first several months that I was there I didn’t care for Adam too much. I thought he was a big Dork. I remember one time Adam kicked me out of his class. To this day I think I’m the only one he’s ever had to kick out.

But for whatever reason my opinion of Adam (and Dana) changed. Turns out before I graduated High School I would go over and hang out with them all the time at their house. Later on I worked for Adam at the church as a Youth Intern. Then many years later Adam married me and my wife.

My relationship with Adam and Dana has come full circle. Since I’ve been married my wife and I make trips ever so often to see Adam and Dana.

Can you explain to me exactly what the organization "One Verse" is and how you found out about them?

What is OneVerse? – OneVerse is partnered with the Seed Company and they are working hard to translate the Bible for different People Groups that don’t have a Bible in their language. Right now there are 200 million people represented by 2,200 language groups in the world that don’t have God’s Word in their native language.

How I found out about them - My wife and I took a bunch kids to a Passion Youth Conference. While we were there Louie Giglio got up and stated talking about a One of the People Groups in Africa. He held up a Bible and said this is “So & So” Bible. He flipped through talking about how they would read about how much God loved them and they would read how Jesus wanted to have relationship with them. But while he was talking, he flipped the Bible around and all of the pages were blank. When he did that I was shocked. I couldn’t imagine not having a Bible in my own language. Louie challenged us to get involved and ever since I felt I’ve felt a need to help.

How did you become involved with One Verse?

A few years after I left that Youth Conference I was reading blogs and I came across one call Team OneVerse. What Team OneVerse is a way for Marathoners & Endurance Athletes to help raise money for OneVerse. When I read that I knew that I had to be a part of this team because now I can use passion of running to help a Great Cause!

Right now I’m raising money for the Rutara People Group in South Asia. There are 200,000 people in the language group that don’t have Bible in their language. I’m running Ironman 70.3 Augusta on September 27 to raise money for the Rutara People

Do you have specific personal goals related to One Verse?

Each member of Team OneVerse has a goal of raising $1,500. My personal goal is to not only raise $1500 but also raise awareness to the cause. I’ve talked with lots of people who never knew that 200 million people can’t read God’s Word because it has not been translated in to the langue yet.

How are you progressing so far in meeting those goals?
I have a long way to go in reaching the 1,500 dollar mark. I’m still looking for sponsors to help me reach my finical goal. Just $26 will translate One Verse for the Rutara People group. A gift of $26 can allow some to read God’s word for the first time. This gift can change someone’s Life, Family, and even a Nation.

If you actually could share only one verse from the Bible with the whole world, which verse would it be (ha! no pressure)?
If I could only pick One Verse to share with the WHOLE WORLD then it would have to be John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

So there you have it.. I'm so proud of him and the person he's become! He's still a long way away from his goal. So pick the couch cushions up, look underneath, toss the cheerios, and toss the rest George's way. You can click on the "One Verse" icon on my left side bar and you can make a donation to support George and more importantly, you can help tell the story of Jesus to people that have never heard it!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Coupon Deals and Matchups

*One set of Smart Source and one set of Red Plum. Lot's of clearance items going on

Penny Item: One big roll of paper towels



*I'm seeing reports that some CVSs have Huggies Mega packs on clearance.
*Summer items are clearanced 50% OFF


Rite Aid

Other Areas:

Food World

Kroger, Texas region

Friday, August 21, 2009

Picture of the Week -- Clever Mamas

I thought I'd join in on a picture of the week contest that I came across over at "Clever Mamas". So, here's my entry.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This one is worth that to me. But what do you think it's saying?

I know you all have some great pictures on your hard drive. Let's go over there and help these girls get their contest going.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mom Select Swag Suite

I was excited when Mom Select contacted me about participating in the Swag Suite reviews. They said they would send me some products for me to try and they asked that I review at least three of the products. I was super excited when I opened the box I received and found this loot inside!

I was also very excited to find that it contained some products that I'm already a fan of. So, I thought I'd go ahead and tell you about those.

First, up is Hyland's Calms Forte'. I am a huge fan of the Hyland's products! Calms Forte' is a sleep aide, sort of.. It is made with all natural ingredients like Chamomille. I'm going to be honest, this product is not going to be a replacement for a prescription sleep medication. It won't even do the job of Benadryl. It works more like a relaxant. It's a great option for dealing with nervous tension or if you don't have the full 8 hours to dedicate to sleep. My sleep problems seem to be more of a an inability to wind down. It seems that after a long day of work that is physically taxing, my body is tired but my mind is running wild. Calms Forte seems to do the job of calming, hence the name. The thing that I like the most about it is: since it doesn't leave the groggy effect that sleep medication leaves, when I wake in the wee hours of the morning, thinking about my to do list for the next day, I can even take it at that time of the morning and still wake up without that drugged feeling. There is also a formula for children. Works like a charm..And, if you are a couponer, there is a coupon in the 6/1/09 Smart Source packet for a dollar off that doesn't expire until 9/1/09

Another product included was Hyland's Teething Gel. I've used this as well as the Hyland's teething tablets. Both products are absolutely wonderful. It took me by surprise the first time I used them but just a couple of minutes after using either of these items, my children were sleeping soundly.. I have yet to try a Hyland's product that I don't love! You can print a coupon for teething gel HERE

There was one other Hyland's product that I have yet to try and that is the Hyland's Cough and Cold medicine. And from the looks of the runny nose that Chloe started yesterday, it looks like I might have a review on that soon too.

More great products coming soon!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday's Tips and Tricks-- Laundry

Adam keeps getting these grease stains on his shirt. I'm not sure where these stains are coming from as he's not much of a mechanic but, none the less... grease stains. So, I searched the internet for a remedy and I found one. Along with a couple of other laundry solutions I think I'll try. I have not yet tested these out so, proceed at your own risk!

Grease Stains: Sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch or baby powder over the grease stain, allow it to sit for a couple of minutes, then brush the powder off. The powder absorbs the grease and it brushes off with the powder.

Fabric Softener: Use an old dish towel as a fabric softener sheet. Pour a couple of cap fulls of Downey on it and throw it in the dryer. .Reuse the towel for about 15 loads until you start noticing static again. It helps to use a towel that is distinct from the other laundry.

My thoughts on this one.. I think you would need to dry the fabric first or you might end up needing the grease stain removal one. I'm not sure that my grease stain problem isn't from liquid fabric softner.

Ink Stains: Put rubbing alcohol on the stain - it disappears! This must be done before washing.

Zippers: To make a zipper slide up and down more smoothly, rub a bar of soap over the teeth.


Monday, August 17, 2009

First Day of First Grade!

We took Emma for her first day of school this morning. It went off without a hitch or so I thought until I got home and looked at the pictures I took and realized that she had a bracelet on in the pictures. How did that get by me? Strong lecture coming this afternoon...

Anyway, it was much less traumatizing than last year. We already love her teacher. I did shed a couple of tears as I was writing the note to go in her lunch box. But, if you know me, you know that just a couple of tears for anything is quite an achievement for me.

For record keeping sake and because I doubt the note makes it back home, this is what it said:
Emma, Chloe and I will be waiting on you at home to hear how your first day went. Remember that there might be someone there that is sad. Be their friend and I know that they will be happy. We will miss you but we know that the the world needs you. We love you, Dad, Mom, and Chloe

As every parent says, time is flying by. In one way, I want time to stand still and in another, I can't wait to have one of the best adult friends I'll ever have. She walked into that school like she owned the place. It seemed like everyone knew her name. I wish I had just half of her confidence. She's already a person that I admire so much.

Chloe and I went to the grocery store and I have to admit I enjoyed having time alone with her. She is at such a fun age. And it's nice to know that she can talk herself when her big sister isn't there to answer for her.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Coupon Deals and Matchups

Mega deals Buy 10, get 5 dollars off


Penny item: Publix half gallon deli tea



in other areas:

Food World

Winn Dixie


Still waiting on a few.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sugar and Spice

I thought that now would be a great time to record some cute things they've said lately...

The girls visited my mom and sister a couple of weeks ago. My nephew was teasing Emma and said, "are you retarded or something". For obvious reasons, we don't allow our children to use this terminology in a dirogitory sense. Way to go Justin ;).. Not to worry, Emma straightened him out by saying, "no and I said that to my mom once and it did not turn out well for me"

Emma and I finally finished up our chapter book that we read this summer "Pollyanna". It took us a while. She and her daddy finished up two of the Narnia stories but, in my own defense, Adam has an unfair advantage because he gets the bedtime reading time and I have to squeeze my reading time with her in with all the chores I have to do during Chloe's nap. Anyway, we were watching the movie last night to commemerate our success and Emma remarked, at Pollyanna's braid, "wow, they had ponytail holders even back then".

Chloe has mastered singing her ABC's all except the lmnop part in which she sings something like, "ah yo yo yo" and the end in which she replaces Y and Z with "Vitamin C"... I'm having a hard time singing the right version since hers is so much cuter! Video of this coming soon!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Guest post for Jesus Needs New PR..

 Thanks, to my mom and dad for the inspiration for the following article. Sorry I exploited your sex life for my fifteen minutes of fame ;).

by Dana Ellis

After a long day of playing outside with my then, three-year-old, and fervently re-applying sunscreen to her delicate skin, I was sporting a nice little sunburn of my own. As I was standing their in all of my naked glory, while my husband applied one of God’s miracles, aloe vera gel, Emma pranced into the room. With worry in her eyes, she exclaimed, “Don’t let daddy see your bottom”!! Since she was getting older, we had began to try to break her, much loved, streaking habit by trying to teach her the importance of modesty. No wonder, she was confused about my lack of modesty in front of someone not on the list of acceptable people to see your bottom: IE: doctor, daddy, etc..

My husband and I looked at each other with a look that said, “Wow, what do we do with this one” while at the same time, trying to hold in a little snicker at the thought of “being caught.” In the hastiness of trying to make a decision on having to deal with the issue at hand, I looked down at her and laughingly said, “It’s okay for dad to see my bottom. He’s my husband. One day, you’ll be married and your husband will like seeing your bottom too”. Because of the look of surprise from my husband, maybe even shock, I could no longer hold my laughter. And though both my daughter and my husband stood there looking at me like my hair was on fire instead of my skin, I felt sure that I had said the right thing.

After ten years in ministry, I have seen many, many Christian women that struggle in their sexual relationships with their husbands. At first, this phenomenon took me by surprise. A lot of the women that I have spoken to about this issue followed all the rules, saving themselves for their husbands. Therefore, I was shocked that with them having “followed all the rules”, they didn’t have the most amazing sex life possible.

But, after having some time to analyze this situation, I came to believe that after years and years being told , “sex is bad, sex is bad”, many women, maybe men too, are unable to make the jump to, “oh, you’re getting married? Sex is GOOD”..

Though I can’t express the number of times I rolled my eyes in disgust at my parents as a teenager, I am so thankful for the display of affection that they displayed on a regular basis. Though it was not inappropriate in any way, I was very aware that they were intimate and it wasn’t just my dad that enjoyed it but my mom as well. I have thanked God many times since I’ve been married for the healthy view of sex that He gave me through witnessing my parent’s relationship.

I don’t believe that “sexual purity” is a bad thing to want for our children. But, I do believe that this goal alone is anemic. I pray that my husband and I, like my parents did me, teach our girls that sex is a wonderful, gift that God gives to married people. Teaching them will, no doubt, include the fact that sexual impurity cheapens that gift, leaving it less than the blessing that God designed. But our prayer for our girls, is not only, that they remain “sexually pure” but, that my husband and I will display marriage in the way that God intended it to be. And, that they will in turn, live a lifestyle that will help them to fully embrace the blessings that God desires so badly to give them.

Dana Ellis
"Thoughts on Life and Dirty Diapers"

Tuesday's Tips and Tricks-- Back to School

Top 10 Back to School Jitters and Easy Solutions
Are your kids coming down with a bad case of back to school jitters?

Here are our kid-tested cures for the top 10 school worries!

By: Kit Bennett and the Bennett kids

1. New Classmates
Your attitude is everything. Share from?your personal experience
of making new friends.
"A new room?of classmates is like going into a mansion
with several doors. Open each door and see what's inside.?
You may find a treasure of friend!"

2. New Teachers
Try to schedule a brief introduction time with?the teacher a few days
before school starts. Often just seeing the teacher and the room will ease concerns. Speak positively about the new class and the exciting year ahead. Your enthusiasm will give them positive outlook.

3. Being Prepared

Some children worry about having all of the supplies they need to get through the day. Enlist your child in?the planning for the first day of school?this gives a sense of control and independence. Organize supplies, clothing, lunch money and snacks the night before school to ensure a smoother start to the day.

4. Getting Lost
It is extremely comforting for younger students to visit their new school ahead of time in order to see their new classroom, or walk down the school's hallways before the hustle and bustle of the first day. Many schools provide a day during registration or the week before. Call your school office to make arrangements.

5. The Bathroom
You can help by making sure your child knows where the bathrooms are located, how to take care of his/her bathroom needs independently (leave the zippers, snap leotards and more complicated jumpsuits in the drawer).
If your child expresses concern about meeting up with new,
or older children, help develop and practice brief responses to any comments or inquiries she might encounter. Practicing social situations ahead of time is always a great way to develop confidence and problem-solving skills.?

6.Making the Grade
Children can "stress-out" about the workload or the increasing level of difficulty of a new grade.?

Reminders of academic and or personality strengths are in order here.
Let your child know you and the teacher are there to assist and encourage their efforts. Being assured of parental support during successes as well as failures can aid a child's overall academic performance and develop trust.
Stress the importance of excellent efforts instead of grades,?
and the value of learning as opposed to "performing".
If the fear of failure exists from past performance, provide appropriate support systems: tutoring, extra study time or special placements.

7. Lunchtime
Children come up with cafeteria worries that you never thought of....
How will I pay for my lunch? - Where will I sit?
What if I don't finish...or don't like the food.
First tip- Send in a lunch from home as long as you need to.
Be sure to pack food your child likes and in packages he/she can open---
One year, in an attempt to be earth friendly, I bought several reusable containers that?my youngest could not open; poor thing went hungry the first two days.
Before the first day of school, ensure that your child's little hands can tackel chip or cracker bags, juice containers, sandwich boxes etc.
Cafeteria Aides may not be able to assist them.
- When they are acclimated to their new dining arrangements
they may show interest in buying lunch.

Although I hate to admit it....this matters to kids---
especially in the older grades.?
Before shopping, go through catalogs and magazines to
get?an idea of what your child wants to wear. Encourage?independent style and self expression.?Working as a team in this area can be frustrating,
but if your child likes their wardrobe---everyone is happier.?
And don't forget to refer to your school dress-code regulations.

9. Scheduling
Address concerns about dropping off, picking?up and after school plans clearly and repeatedly. Older "latch- key" students should practice the routine before school begins. Middle school students who worry about changing classes, lockers etc. may only need a few reminders that everyone is?in the same boat. Most schools have a couple of days for practice.

10. Getting To and From School
Have you ridden on a school?bus lately???
It can be overwhelming to say the least!??
The noise, "big-kids" and confusion combine to make riding the bus a?very
common fear for younger students. Especially very young students, who cannot even see out the window to ensure they are at the right stop. There are several solutions to this dilemma:
-First decide how important it is for your child to take?the bus.
Many students get a ride until second grade.
- Drive the route several times before school starts.
- Obtain the bus number from your district office before school starts.
Practice this number ahead of time.
- Invite the neighbors to have a picnic at the bus-stop.
- Listen to your child....if they are frightened, address the problem
with the bus-driver and supervisor.?
On a Personal Note...
When my son began first grade he was so excited about the bus ride.
It took a week for the novelty to wear off. Soon he was arriving home
with complaints of headaches, stomach aches and getting bullied
by "big-kids"
Although his driver was a caring fella' he simply could not drive safely
in addition to addressing the needs of every child. Complaints from my son increased and soon he "hated" school in general. After talking to his teacher we realized it wasn't the school day, but the bus-ride.?His teacher very
gently asked my husband and me,
"Is it necessary for him to ride the bus?"
Well ....DUH! - of course not - Problem Solved!
For the remainder of the year, I provided rides not only for him but several other kids in in class as well.
It simply wasn't worth ruining his academic attitude.

Find more great resources at AMAZING MOMS

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Parent's Vacation -- Please don't decide to hate me until you've read it

For the first time in six years, Adam and I were childless for a few days. We had left Emma for ministry reasons on occasion and never had left Chloe for more than a few hours. But this time, the trip was simply to let the girls spend time with their extended family and to give Adam and I time to spend together alone. So, this was a switch for us. On Friday July 24th, we met my parents and sister at Six Flags in Atlanta and played a little and handed the girls off. We went out to eat a couple of times at places that serve big people food, slept in a few days, Adam got some school work done and though it would take me a year with no children to do all that I want to do around the house, I was able to catch up on a few things. They spent a couple of days with my mom, and then a couple with my sister. We met my sister in Montgomery on Thursday July 3oth and got the girls and went to south Alabama for Wynn's first birthday party. I must admit that it was nice to be free of some responsibility but by the time we got back to them, my heart was beginning to ache a little. We were in Alabama for a couple of days and then we left Emma with Adam's parents and came back home. On Thursday, we met Lynn back in Atlanta to get Emma. We are glad to have everyone back in their rightful places. And, Emma and Chloe are learning once again how to share our attention (not a fun lesson for any of us).

The following e-mail was sent to me by my sister. I was very hesitant to post it because I feel like the easiest way to make sure your children are little monsters is to brag about your parenting. But, it seems as if just my sister doing it has caused them to be little monsters because we've had a few rough days here lately.

Please read my commentary on my sister's "guest post" before you decide to stop being my friend.

Dana, I would like to do another guest blog post for you. I know that it is hard to brag on yourself but I just want everyone to know what a great time I have had with my nieces and I know that most of the enjoyment is due to you being such a great mother! I will be awfully hurt if you do not post this, it is very important!!!

First, I want to point out that I asked Dana if I could do another guest post for her blog. Then I told her how hurt I would be if she did not post it. Everyone who knows Dana knows that she would not blatantly brag on herself. For that matter, I am not sure if she even fully knows what a wonderful mother she is! I think that it is very important to acknowledge the accomplishments of those that we love and doing what she does every day, I have found out, is quite an accomplishment!

Emma and Chloe came to spend several days with my mom and me recently. Now, I have a 20 year old son and even though I teach 5 and 6 year olds all day, it has been quite a while since I have had any little ones full time by myself, so you might imagine that I wondered how this would all go down! Well, it went of seamlessly, I believe, in thanks to my sister’s wonderful parenting.

The thing that I was most worried about was bedtime. If you have ever had a toddler off a schedule, you know that bedtime can be difficult. Well, not so with this toddler! All I had to do was tell her that it was bedtime and put her in the pack-n-play. She immediately stuck that hiney up in the air, I put a blanket over it and that was the last I heard from her! How many two year olds can you do that with? I chalk that up to good parenting! There were several nights that she ended up in bed with us but even then, she laid right back down and went right back to sleep. (and Aunt Denise enjoyed the snuggling anyway!) On the same note, Emma went straight down when told also. Even though it was apparent that she might not be quite ready, she has been taught not to argue, so she obeyed and got a good night sleep so that we could play all day the next day!

I think that it is important for Dana to know that her girls have great manners, obey very well, and are the sweetest little ones that anyone could ever meet. Even when they are told “no” they take it well. Emma has a little pout (which looks an awful lot like Dana at that age) that might show up for a split second but she recovers very quickly. When Chloe gets upset, she also recovers very quickly. For a two year old, she seems to understand and accept explanations quite readily. Another sign of good parenting! And the manners of these girls! Both very sweetly say “please” and “thank you” and even when Chloe has her nose wrinkled up and is refusing something, she is saying “no thank you”. You would have to see this one to believe it.

I have seen so much more that could illustrate what great parents Dana and Adam are but I know that you have other things to do. So I will just say that I am very proud of my little sister and the role she has chosen. She has definitely found what she does best. Being a stay at home mother is often a thankless job. But I can tell you that even though Dana makes it look easy, it is NOT! I would take her girls anywhere without a second thought and I can do that because of her talent for being a mom!

So today, my dear sweet sister, I salute you! Please know that you are doing a tremendous job with your two girls and I love you!

P.S. I don’t want to leave Adam out. I know that he is an excellent father and provider and should be commended for his part in the upbringing of these wonderful children. Maybe I will write about that at another time. Love you too, Adam!

Okay, so yeah, that was uncomfortable..

I had to laugh when I read this because I opened this e-mail just after I had lost my temper and yelled at Emma. Honestly, I was surprised that they behaved so well while they were away from me. I was concerned that since they are with me all the time, they wouldn't be able to behave without me (the enforcer). So, this was very good news to me. I think it's way too early to judge our parenting. We still have the hardest ahead of us. Emma has started to show signs of developing some of the character traits that we hope will follow her into adulthood. But, for the most part, at this point, please forgive me for referring to my children as dogs but, they are pretty much like trained dogs. Not to say that having a trained dog is a bad thing when that is the thing that works. Do this, there are bad consequences, do this, good consequences. Going to bed easily is the result of "On Becoming Baby Wise". I realize that that book is almost as controversial as the bottle/breastfeeding or the stay at home/working mom debate. I just want to say here that if you let your children sleep in the bed with you or if you rock them to sleep or do anything differently than I do, I don't think that makes me a better mother. In fact it very well might mean that you are a better mother than I am. My children go to bed in their own beds because after a long day of having children hanging on me, I need space. Plain and simple, it was because of my needs, not theirs that we decided to use that system. If I had slept better next to them, that's where they would be. And as far as Chloe not throwing fits... This is just a part of her temperament. I know that it isn't because of my parenting because Emma did throw fits. BIG ONES. In fact, that was what sparked me starting this blog. It was my therapy. If you were to go back to the beginning, which was four years ago, you wouldn't find that my very first post was titled "Terrible Twos". Besides, Chloe isn't even two yet, I may still have it coming. My prayers is that one day, I will see my children determine the choices that they make based on what is right, not what is easy. And then, I will feel like I have succeeded as a parent.

I do think there is something very important that can be gleaned from this e-mail from my sister. I needed it.. I had started to question myself. In a world with lots of opinions, I often find myself interacting with people that believe corporal punishment (spanking) is wrong. This is another one of those topics that contribute to those political labels that make me so angry. Somehow, caring about the environment makes me a liberal hippie but, the fact that I "spank" my children makes me a staunch conservative.. I really don't see what either of the two things have to do with politics. Anyway, I don't believe that there is only one way to parent a child but for us, using corporal punishment along with other types of reinforcement works best. But, I had noticed that I had slacked off on disciplining my children when we were around other people (not that I spank my children in front of other people. My goal is not to embarrass them) because of the current debate about this subject. It left me feeling helpless and even violated.

Anyway, reading my sister's e-mail helped me to see that the best thing to do was to consistently stick with our course of action. You see, if I have done anything right in this parenting thing, I owe the gratitude to my supportive family. All of the people that are important to me are incredibly encouraging and supportive. That keeps me able to be confident and consistent. If you are a person that doesn't have great support from your family, I'm not saying this to try to make you angry or to make you feel bad. Shame on them!

But, for those of you that have a mother in your life, I can guarantee you that she not only desires but she needs your support. And if you love the child of this mother, the best thing you can do for that child is to support that mother.

And to our families, I owe you a debt of gratitude. Yes for taking our children and giving us a chance to focus on each other. But even more for your love and support. For my dad for teaching me the importance of work and dedication. To my mom for being the mother I want to be. To Lynn for teaching her son how to love me. To Keith for teaching him how to be a daddy and for our sisters for being unconditional best friends.

I feel confident that because of God's and your love and support, I will one day become the mother that you insist that I be.

And here are some pictures from the trip.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Chemicals in Baby Products..

So once I made my post about being concerned about the chemicals in cosmetic products (especially those used on my children), I have received an overwhelming amount of information. I am glad to see that I am not the only mother with those concerns. And I do have to tell you that I am far from being true "hippie" If I were a true "hippie", I would be more peaceful instead of bitter about the scrutiny I seem to be getting over being concerned about my children's health. Nothing like being mocked for trying to make the best choices for your children. None the less, the information out there is no less that frightening. Before I announce the winner of my ECOSTORE USA GIVEAWAY, I want to tell you about a sale they have going on. For the month of August, if you spend more than 50 dollars, they will double your order! Plus, they have free shipping for orders over 25 dollars. I made my order yesterday so I can get stocked up while it's on sale. With the sale, it came out way cheaper than the chemical free stuff I've bought in the store.

Also very useful is this website where you can go and check the levels of toxins in your current baby care products.

Cosmetic database

and here is a news story that I came across.

I must say, it got my attention..

And now, the winner selected by a random drawing at, is Elodie over at, Grinning While Growing! Congratulations Elodie!! I have e-mailed Melissa to let her know you are the winner. She will be e-mailing you with a Code to enter for 25 dollars off! I'd love to hear what you think once you get your products. Your gift certificate will apply to the 50 dollar doubling deal if you want to do that. Make sure you get some of that baby moisturizer. It is divine!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tuesday's Tips and Tricks-- Linen closet

I really thought that this was a simple trick that no one would be interested in but my sister insists that I should post it because she would have never thought of it...

So: here we go...

I used to dream that my linen closet looked like this:

I have even at times worked hard and got it close (minus all the matching) and it lasted until someone pulled one thing out of the closet.. So, I have given up that dream and gone for more practical methods. One of those methods is storing all the pieces of one sheet set inside one of the pillowcases. Then, I can reach in there and grab that one set without worrying about jumbling up everything that sits on top.. So, there you go. Pretty simple. But, effective, at least for me.

And no, I am not showing you a picture of my linen closet..


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Store Deals and Coupon matchups

Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY!!

There are enough good coupons in the paper this week that I will buy a few papers. You can see the coupon list HERE

pay attention to the scenerio of what she plans to buy. If you are new and unsure of how to approach it, completely following her list would be a great way to get a feel of how CVS works.

There are a ton of free school supplies with your EB. Also, before you make the mistake that I did... Blink Tears are are 7.99 with 7.99 ECBs making them free. Except, there was a three dollar off coupon in todays paper making them a three dollar money maker. I ran out this morning because my CVS is so popular that they run out of things before church. But, when I got back home, I realized that I lost three dollars. :(


Rite Aid

Publix Penny item is 6 pack Publix water.

Kroger someone has also started a "free or really cheap" thread.

And in other areas:

Food World

Kroger Texas Region

Shaws deals only matchups are not yet made.

Find Coupon FAQ's and Lingo HERE

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Couponing for the Casual Couponer..

I was hesitant to put another post here because I don't want to deter anyone away from entering my giveaway. So please, don't forget to scroll down and enter my giveaway in the post below!

On to the couponing... I've had several questions lately about my coupon system.. Well first, let me address this assumption that I have a system.. I am a person that passionately desires to have a system.. I am also a person that can't seem to stop trying to spin a hundred plates at one time.. Often while trying to spin those many plates, a few crash to the floor. Notice that you haven't seen much photography from me lately? Well, that's because my photography is one of those fallen plates at the moment because I'm trying to sweep up the plates that I dropped at the end of the school year... Coupons and paper work kind of stuff are the current plate focus.. Okay, okay, I took the plate analogy too far.. The point is, I want to have a system but usually, I fall just a little short..

So, I will say if you have the dream of becoming a pro couponer... There are a lot better places to learn to do that. I will suggest a few sites during this post from ladies that are experts in the couponing arena. If you want to learn to spin one more plate that will likely teeter every now and then, then maybe I have something to offer... So here is my couponing un-system..

First, I highly recommend that you read "The Southern Saver's" getting started guides. If you read those, you probably will have more information than you can imagine. She also has great sales lists with coupon matchups. Another great place to find deals and matchups is Hot Coupon World. I also post matchups on my blog every Sunday. I began doing this for myself, so I could have all of my lists in one easy to locate place, and for my hard working mom and sister, so they didn't have to learn to navigate through everything to find what they needed. But, as I've found that it's been useful for others, I have added their stores. If you have a store that you would like to be included, let me know. If I can find it, I'll add it for you so you don't have to search through different places to find it.

The most important thing that you need to know is that a coupon is pretty useless on it's own. You have to combine it with sales to really save money. Learn your stores coupon policy. Some will let you double coupons, use competitor coupons, and/or use a store coupon combined with a manufacture coupon.. You can probably find their policy by googling it (or swagbucking it if you want to earn points while you search).

Second, I don't clip coupons.. Well, not until I need them anyway. When I first started doing coupons, I tried to mock my friend Tiffany's system. Tiffany is a dedicated coupon mom. Tiffany uses the baseball card binder method. She clips each coupon and puts them in slot, and has them divided into categories. It is truly a work of art.. It took me one Sunday paper to realize that that was not something I was going to be committed enough to keep up with. So, I switched to an accordian filer. This worked pretty well but I still found that at times when my life was the busiest, I fell behind on clipping coupons and would do something like squander all of my savings by eating out because I didn't have my coupons clipped and ready to go to the store. So, I began to use the system that the girl over IheartCVS described. Basically, you take the coupons out of the paper, put them in a file with the date on it and then you look at a list of the deals and coupon matchups and then you locate your coupons and clip only the ones you are going to use. I have found that this is the system that works best for me.

I just go to the deal and matchup list of the store of my choice, make a grocery list on an envelope, put the coupons that I need in the envelope, and then there is no clipping coupons I don't use and no shuffling coupons around in the store. This does mean that I miss out on any unadvertised deals but for myself, I decided that those deals weren't worth the extra work.. I still have cut my grocery bill in more than half and for right now, I've settled for that being the best I can do.

I would also advise setting some sort of parameters for yourself to keep you buying things simply because you have a coupon for it. Here are my parameters: If it is free, or a money maker like I described in the CVS 101 post, I get it regardless of what it is. If I don't use it, I donate it to someone that can. There is one glaring exception to this and that is when a companies product or philosophy conflicts with my conscience. For example: a company that employees child labor or a company that actively expresses a lack of support for our military troops. For other items, my rule of thumb is that it has to save more money than the generic brand (few exceptions for me are toilet paper, mayonaise, and peanut butter) or it has to replace an item that would normally cost me more money. For example: If there is cereal on a great deal. I might purchase it as a replacement for the waffles that I normally buy for breakfast for the girls.

When I find a great deal, I usually stock up on that item. The goal is to get stocked up enough to where you never have to buy an item when you need it. That way, I can hold out for a deal Example: Last week Kroger had crest toothpaste on sale for 10 for 10. I had three dollar off coupons. I got three tubes of toothpaste for free. That gets me stocked up on toothpaste enough that now, I can hold out for a deal before I buy more, or better yet, get some for free.

Lastly, start small and don't give up. If it's too overwhelming for you, make a small list and do a small trip. Practice makes perfect.. Or rather, practice makes you really good. Who needs to pressure of being perfect. As you do it, things will "click" with each trip.

I know that this just a small jab at all the questions you might have. If you have more questions or other tips and suggestions, please leave them in a comment here so that everyone can benefit from them. If I don't know the answer, I probably know somewhere that we can find it.