Thursday, August 20, 2009

Idol Worship?

"The only reason we fail to pray is because we've made an idol out of self."

Ann Voskamp has written a very convicting post entitled Prayer: Why We Struggle (and how not to) . I encourage you to take a few minutes of your time and read it. Then take a few more minutes and pray.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Super Savings!

*click image to enlarge

I had a very successful shopping trip to Publix and Kroger this week! I got a bunch of groceries, as you can see! Before store specials and coupons this would have cost $159.10. After sales and coupons I paid $69.50!! That's a 56% savings!! (Thanks to my quick math lesson from Austin!)
Not too shabby!

How did you do it, you ask? Simple! I paired coupons up with the sales and items I needed. I try to buy the Sunday paper each week so I can clip the grocery coupons and look at the sales papers. There are also great coupon printables online.

Both Publix and Kroger double coupons up to $.50, which can really add up. Publix also runs Buy One, Get One Free sales each week on many items. Pair that sale with coupons and you can get stuff for free. For example, this week Publix had Purina Beneful dog food on sale for B1G1. The normal cost for one bag was $5.49, but with the sale you could get two bags for that price. I had two coupons for $3.50 off per bag - a total of $7.00 off. I actually had $1.51 in overage and two free bags of dog food! That's what I'm talking about!

We have a weekly grocery budget, so I plan our menu based around what is on sale at the stores. I also cook a lot from scratch...well, a lot for me....which helps to cut costs. I usually don't buy this much pre-packaged food, but I got most of it for just a few cents. All in all, I'd say it was a pretty good shopping week!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Freebie Friday

Today I'm going to share two ways I make free money! It doesn't get much better than free! Granted, it's not oodles of money, but any is better than none in my book.

First, there is Swagbucks. Swagbucks is an online search engine using Google and that rewards you for searching online! How cool is that? It takes less than a minute to sign up and they don't ask you for personal information like your address, phone number, or credit card.

After you sign up, you will be rewarded three free points. Then you download the toolbar, use it to search, and start earning Swagbucks! I just cashed in some bucks for an Amazon gift card which I'm planning on using for some great books. I am seriously considering the Starbucks gift card with my leftover points! Yummy! There are tons of other prizes you can get if those don't appeal to you.

The second way I earn extra cash is through You fill out a short survey and then are paid to view online advertising. They transfer your earnings to your PayPal account each Friday. They do ask for your cell phone number and email address, but no mailing address or credit card information required.

Both Swagbucks and YouData have referral programs, so you can earn more cash if you refer your friends. They earn and you earn! Sweet! This is a great way to earn a little extra money for the upcoming Christmas season without hardly any effort at all.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for Swagbucks and YouData today!

Friday, August 7, 2009

In Case You Didn't Know....

"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works;..." Psalms 139:14

Recently, I posted a little science lesson refresher about what happens during the first couple of weeks of pregnancy.

If you'll remember, there is ovulation in which an egg is released from one of the ovaries into the fallopian tubes. If sperm penetrates the egg then fertilization, or conception, occurs. These cells begin rapidly dividing, becoming a hollow ball of cells. The ball of cells attaches, or implants, to the lining of the uterus. The inner cells develop into the baby and the outer cells develop into the placenta. From there, the baby grows and develops until the blessed day of his/her arrival.

Take a look at the following statement:

Preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the endometrium (uterine lining)

Now the obvious question would be "What would prevent a fertilized egg (baby) from implantation?" The answer: Birth Control Pills. What happens to a fertilized egg (baby) if it doesn't implant? Simple. It dies.

"But I thought birth control pills just caused me to not ovulate?" Yeah, that's what I thought. Turns out I was wrong. They do more than that. They cause changes in the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to pass through. This change affects the endometrium lining, which makes it hard for a fertilized egg to implant, should "breakthrough ovulation" and conception occur.

I never could figure out why some Christians said birth control pills caused abortions. I just thought they were misinformed. Turns out, I was the one without all the facts.

Below are actual statements from the prescribing information for different types of BCP's. There are also other statements from other sources as to how the pill keeps a woman from getting pregnant. Let's take a look:

Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus (which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus) and the endometrium (which reduce the likelihood of implantation).

Making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

Ovulation normally occurs when a spike in estrogen levels signals the ovaries to release an egg. Combination pills prevent ovulation by adjusting hormone levels to prevent this spike. They also thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. In addition, they change the lining of the uterus to make it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant.

Used in combination or alone, these hormones prevent pregnancy by:
~Preventing ovulation
~Keeping the mucus in the cervix thick so sperm cannot penetrate it
~Preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the endometrium (uterine lining)

Combination oral contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotropins. Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus (which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus) and the endometrium (which reduce the likelihood of implantation).

The hormones in the Pill can also sometimes affect the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for an egg to attach to the wall of the uterus.

The lining of the uterus becomes thinner, making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus should ovulation occur and fertilization take place.

According to this statistic, about 5 out of 100 couples will get pregnant in a year while using the pill. Now stay with me here. I'm just logically thinking. It takes a couple of weeks after conception for a pregnancy test to show up positive. The implantation is completed by day 9 or 10, before a test would show up positive.

So if 5 out of 100 women have "accidental" babies, how many of the remaining 95 had unknown "accidental" pregnancies that resulted in the baby dying due to the effects of the pill?

Maybe you already knew this. I didn't. And I just about fell off the couch when I found out.
Thankfully, I have only taken birth control pills for a short time, several years ago. I tried a few and they didn't agree with my emotional state of mind at all. If I were taking them, this information would be enough to make me stop.

Most of the women I know (of child-bearing age) use birth control pills. I'm not looking to start an argument or to seem "holier than thou." Please don't feel like you have to defend or explain your choices to me. I wrote this out of love and concern. Love-because babies are God's gift, only He can give, no matter if we "planned" them or not. Concern-because the devil is a liar and the father of it.

I didn't write this post to tell you what to do with your birth control practices. That is between you, your spouse, and God. I wrote this because I feel it is important that you know because, for some of you, it may influence or change your form of birth control.

**You can download a free copy of Randy Alcorn's book Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions? here. has great article on BCP's here.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday Seven

1) I am now a van mom. The combination of expecting baby #4 and our Total Money Makeover has caused us to sell our SUV and buy a minivan. (Used, of course!) By doing so, we shaved off a pretty nice chunk of our debt, making us closer to our debt-free goal! I think I'm going to like being a van mom. There is so much space! And the automatic sliding that's what I'm talking about.

2) I'm thinking about changing my last name to "Nightingale." You know, like Florence Nightingale, the famous nurse. For the past two weeks the stomach flu has camped out at our house. Fun. Cleaning carpets, mattresses, forcing Pedialyte down with medicine droppers, having to get up 15 times a night, and all the rest that goes with the stomach blues. I have done more laundry and given (and taken) more baths in the past two weeks than the whole year combined. All three kids were sick; then Jacob decided he hadn't had enough, so he got sick again. He is finally feeling better and I am so ready to hang up my nursing hat.

3) Whenever I see, hear, think, etc., about the word "nightingale," I start singing the song from Walt Disney's Cinderella. You know, the part where the stepsisters are practicing their music and singing "Sing, sweet nightingale. Sing, sweet nightingale. Aahhh, aaaahhh, aaahhhh, oohhhh, ahhh, aahhh." They are singing so badly the cat leaves and then he hears Cinderella, who is scrubbing the floors, singing in her beautiful voice. And then the cat starts pouncing his dirty feet on her clean floors and she.....Is it obvious I've seen the movie a hundred times?

4) I'm blogging from my new computer! Yea! We finally broke down and bought a new laptop since our other one was about to die, or maybe fry, on us. Seriously, the kicker was when I started smelling electrical burning one afternoon while checking my email. Austin said "TURN IT OFF NOW! AND UNPLUG IT!" We figured a new computer would be a lot cheaper than a fire. Or having the computer blow up in my face.

5) Chloe is sporting a black eye. She and Luke were chasing each other last night when she fell and hit her eye on the rocking chair. She hit right under her eyebrow and immediately had a big knot. Poor thing. Today it is purple and swollen. She looks like she's been in a boxing match. Maybe we should teach her to say "Yo, Adrian."

6) I've never seen the Rocky movies. Or the Rambo movies. Is that considered un-American? I'm guessing some people out there think so. I'm not a big Sylvester Stallone fan. My parents wouldn't have let us watch them anyway. We didn't have a TV until I was eleven and then it was only the channels you could pick up by antenna. I would have to go out onto the side porch in sunshine, rain, or snow, and turn the antenna pole around slowly and wait for somebody to yell "WHOA!" Any of you have that same memory? Those were the days.

7) Apparently, I have bushy eyebrows. I was getting my hair highlighted a couple of weeks ago and I was using a new stylist. She is Asian and speaks with a thick accent. She asked me if I wanted my eyebrows waxed and I told her no. While she was trimming my hair, I was looking at my eyebrows and decided they could use a little shaping up. I never can seem to get it right with the tweezers anyway. So I asked her if she still had time to wax my eyebrows. She said, (with her Asian accent) "Good. They too bushy. Too bushy." And I'm paying for this kind of harsh criticism? Sheesh. :)