31 August 2009

"But right now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the law and the prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,l and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood." (Romans 3:21-25)

This sums up the whole of the Gospel. All of us have fallen short of God's standard---every single one of us. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves right with God---but in His infinite mercy, He himself provided the way. God sent His one and only Son to be made the sacrifice for our sins. The only thing we need (or can) do to be reconciled with God is to accept the price that Jesus Himself paid on the Cross. Eternal life is a free gift offered to us by God Himself---free to us, because Jesus Himself paid the entire price. No other love on this earth could ever compare to that!

Last Week for Meijer Purina One coupon!!

The Meijer $5/1 Purina One cat/dog food coupon is good until 9/05 and the cat food is on sale for $5.99 (small bag) until 9/05. If you need cat food, now would be a good time to stock up. (Note---it is one coupon per transaction so if you want more than one, you have to do separate transactions.)

This is really good cat food. My cats love it. When I first bought Kitty the pet store people talked me into buying the "premium" food you can only get in the pet store (you know, 6-lb bag, $19.99) citing all the terrible things grocery store cat food does to a cat. When I bought Kitty#2 it quickly became clear she had digestive issues. We tried three premium brands, and then we tried the Good Life, but the digestive issues remained. I decided to try this food because, frankly, it was so cheap after the coupon. The food looks just as good as those horribly expensive premium brands we were buying, the cats like it really well, but best of all---Kitty #2 has not had any digestive issues since we switched over!! I would recommend this food to anyone.

Nabisco/Kraft mail-in offers

A few weeks ago, Nabisco made available a $55 back-to-school savings booklet. I just received mine in the mail, and besides the coupons, there are two $20 mail-in rebate offers. One is good from now until 12/31 andthe second is good 1/1/10-6/30/10. For both, you buy 10 Nabisco cookies and crackers, 5 Kool-Aid Jammers or Capri Sun, and 5 Kraft Easy Mac single cups. I do not believe these need to be in a single transaction because each form says to mail in your receipts with prices circled.

I am mentioning this now because if you sent away for the booklet but haven't yet received it, you can still start looking for coupon matchups to make this deal worthwhile. For instance, Meijer right now has Capri Suns on sale for $1.65, and when you buy four you get a $3 catalina coupon. Meijer mealbox also has $1/2 Kraft Easy Mac coupons.

27 August 2009

Vocalpoint coupons

Vocalpoint members: Check your mailboxes! I just received a packet from Vocalpoint with Kashi coupons: one for a free box of Honey Sunshine cereal and five for $1.50/1 box. If you received these coupons, or if you receive them this week---Meijer has several varieties of Kashi cereal, including Honey Sunshine, on sale for 2/$5. With the $1.50/1 coupon, that would be $1 per box!!

If you are not yet a member of Vocalpoint, go to their website and sign up. It's a great program where you get to try new things. Every so often they send their members samples or a packet of coupons, usually including one for a free product. (I should have mentioned that this last packet came with a sample-sized box of the cereal---great afternoon snack for one of the kids. We just won't tell them it's healthy.)

Schwan's $10 free food

According to Deal Seeking Mom, the Schwan's $10 free food offer is still available if you have not yet taken advantage of it. I ordered the meatballs a few weeks ago. We received them within a week and they were of very good quality (though, at $8.99, more expensive than if I bought them at Meijer or GFS). If you decide to take advantage of this offer, do remember one thing: most route salesman work largely or solely based on commission, so they are going to want to keep selling you things. This is not to say that you must buy from them if you do not like the product or it is too expensive. But please understand, if they seem persistent, they are not trying to harass you---they are trying to make a living. My husband works as a route salesman with a different company, and he has daily contact with salesmen from quite a number of companies. Most all of them are saying the same thing---sales are considerably down.
Here's a tip for you---don't forget to check the clearance racks at your local supermarket for some great deals! It's hit or miss, of course, but sometimes you can find a really great deal---especially if your supermarket lets you use coupons on clearance items. Yesterday I found an entire shelf of Dawn Direct Foam and Dawn Plus dish soap marked down to $1.70. With the $1.50/1 coupons from the coupon booklets which were recently available, the Direct Foam dish soaps were only $0.20!! This was at the Meijer on Springboro Pike, for those of you in the Dayton, OH area. Many stores also have freezer clearance items available from time to time---you just have to search for them.

26 August 2009

Stockpiling for Flu Season

It seems the media lately keeps talking about the possibility of a flu pandemic this coming season. While no-one can predict the future and panic benefits no-one, a little preparedness certainly does not hurt. For a few years now the government has been urging people to be prepared for the possibility of a flu pandemic, and whether or not it happens this season really isn't the point. The point is this---every family should have an emergency preparedness stockpile regardless of whether or not we are expecting a pandemic. (If you live in southwestern Ohio, you will recall a certain windstorm last year convincing many people of the benefits of being prepared.)

One thing that is certain, in my household at least, is that the new school year brings with it flu, strep, colds, and lots of other fun things. But in my family, not just one child gets sick. No, it goes through all six, and some years, once a virus has finally passed through all six---one of them comes down with something else and we go through the entire cycle again!! Ever had several children ill with a high fever or digestive upset, yourself ill as well, and no Gatorade or canned soups/other bland foods anywhere in the house? Been there, done that. You don't want to, believe me.

I would urge everyone now to kind of take inventory of your stockpile and see what you have/what you need. Consider that if there were a rush on the stores, you might not be able to obtain the things you need even if your children aren't sick and you could actually go to the store. I looked at ours---we're fine if the kids want to eat lots of cereal, rice, and brownie mixes (actually, they would probably enjoy the latter). I even have several large cans of Gatorade mix, as well as a ton of Koolaid mixes and Kraft mac&cheese from this summer's Meijer promotion. However, children's Tyelenol and bottled water are another matter entirely!! Make a list of what you think you might need if you were required to survive for, say, 2 weeks (a month or even three would be better) without access to a grocery store. Check it against what you have, and start adding to the stockpile. This way you can start looking for the best prices now, long before you ever need it. Consider, also, that if a situation did arise, you would probably be inclined to want to share with those around you who have NOT prepared, and set aside a little extra above what you think your family might need.

If you are not sure where to start...pandemicflu.gov is a website that, by the way, has for a few years now been urging every family and business to be prepared. Their concern is more flu preparedness, but their list of supplies to have on hand would work well for any kind of emergency. If you need ideas on what to stock, visit their website check out their recommendations.

25 August 2009

Restaurant.com 80% off sale

Restaurant.com is offering 80% off their normal prices when you enter the code TASTE at checkout. A $25 certificate, which would normally cost $10, will now cost $2 with this promotion. There is a minimum amount you must spend, usually $35, to be able to use the $25 certificate. Even so, this could make for an inexpensive dinner. For a $35 bill, you would only spend $12 (the $10 above the certificate value and the $2 you paid for the certificate) plus tip.

24 August 2009


I like to make foods from different parts of the world so the children are exposed to a little more diversity than they would be otherwise. This dish is from Iran. I believe Iranian cuisine offers some of the tastiest dishes in the world. There are many different khoresht dishes. They are basically a thick sauce served over rice.

You will need:

1 1/2 lbs stewing beef
1 cup dried split peas or lentils (the yellow kind works well)
3-4 onions
1 lb potatoes
cooking oil
small can tomato paste
2T lime or lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon (minimum) spices (paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin---whatever you like in whatever combination you like)

Soak peas or lentils for about 3 hours, then drain.

Peel and slice onions. Fry in oil. Cut meat into small pieces and fry until color changes. Add 3-4 cups of water and bring to boil. Let simmer slowly for an hour or so until meat is tender. Add more water if necessary.

Peel potatoes, cut up into small pieces. Add potatoes, split peas, salt, pepper, spices and tomato paste. Simmer until done. Add lime juice near the end. During cooking, add more water if needed. The end result should not be dry, nor too watery---it should be a thick, rich sauce full of meat and vegetables. This is served over white rice. I have found that Basmati rice works the best.

If you are a vegetarian, you could adapt the recipe by omitting the meat and either increasing the potatoes, or better yet, replacing the meat with eggplant or with portobello mushrooms. If using eggplant: fry them slowly with the onions, adjust the water (it should cover the vegetables but not look too soupy), and simmer only until tender. Then, proceed as in the original recipe. If using mushrooms: I would probably just saute them lightly and add them with the potatoes and such.

Jungle Jim's

If you live within driving distance of Fairfield, OH you might want to check out this amazing supermarket called Jungle Jim's. They have a huge selection of groceries from every part of the world, including the United States, and their prices are quite reasonable. Jungle Jim's does accept manufacturer's coupons, and they also have a selection of coupons available to print in-store. On Wednesdays, senior citizens can get a 5% discount with their Golden Buckeye card.

Here are some selections from this week's advertisement:

milk $1.88
Crystal Farms cheese 4 for $5
Edie's ice cream $2.49 (48 oz)
Hunt's snack pudding 4-packs $0.89
Swiss sweet tea $1.25 minus in-store $0.75 Q=$0.49!
Peter Pan peanut butter, $1.89
Eggo waffles 4 for $5
whole tilapia $1.49/lb
pork tenderloins B1G1
chuck roast $1.99/lb
ground chuck $1.79/lb
pork country-style ribs $1.49/lb
family pack split breasts $1.49/lb
Nickle's bread $0.89
tomatoes $0.99/lb
bananas $0.39/lb
grapes $0.88/lb
red potatoes $1.99 5-lb bag
watermelons $0.29/lb
sweet potatoes $0.59/lb
jumbo avocadoes 5 for $5
Kellogg's cereal $1.79
Pillsbury brownie mix $1.49
Hunt's ketchup $0.99
Starkist tuna $0.69/can
Hunt's 14-oz cans tomatoes $0.89
Empress canned pineapple $0.79
Cottonelle bath tissue $5.89 (12-ct double rolls)
Softsoap hand soap $0.99
Tidy cats litter $5.49 (14 lbs)

Jungle Jim's has a fantastic selection of teas and fresh produce from all areas of the world. If you want, for example, fresh Chinese broccoli, they have it. Like Korean Kimchi? They have several varieties. Rices from India, or different kinds of lentils? They have that as well. My family makes the trip down there every so often---that is where I buy most of my teas---and when we do go, I buy all of our groceries for that week there. Their prices are very competitive---and often better---than my local Kroger or Meijer. This is especially true if you are buying something that you usually don't have coupons for, such as fresh produce, meats or milk, or if you are looking for something out of the ordinary.

Fried plantains

Plantains look like oversized bananas, but they must be cooked. They are at their best for cooking when they are soft and the skin is well-speckled with black.

1 or 2 large plantains
butter or oil for frying

Peel the plantains. Slice them lengthwise, then crosswise, and then into strips. Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan; add the plantains and fry them slowly until golden. Some people like to add a little cinnamon to them, but if they are well ripened, they are just as good plain. These make a good side dish along with rice and beans.

Black beans

My husband's aunt makes beans this way and they are delicious!!

1 cup dried black beans (or you can use pinto)
1 onion, chopped
several cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch beet greens or fresh spinach, washed and chopped

Soak the beans several hours or overnight. When ready to cook, bring to a boil and cook them with the onions and garlic until beans are tender and liquid is reduced. The beans should not be dry, but the liquid should be reduced and kind of thick. When the beans are tender, add the greens and cook until done. Season to taste with salt.

For refried black beans: Omit the greens. Heat oil or shortening in a pan until hot; saute some chopped onion and several cloves of diced garlic until soft; add beans and enough liquid so they aren't too dry. Mash with a potato masher or fork. When they are well mashed, you can add grated cheese, cover and reduce heat to low until cheese is melted. This works for pinto beans as well, but black beans are especially delicious refried.

Meijer cat food sale

Meijer has the 3-lb bags of Purina One cat food marked down to $5.99 again. I checked meijer.com; the $5/0ff coupon is still available. Go on meijer.com and look under the heading "pets." This is really good cat food and for $0.99 plus tax, it is a great deal!! The coupon is valid until 9/05.

23 August 2009

Meijer bonus box tops

From 8/23 to 9/3, if you buy 8 Box Tops 4 Education items you get 50 bonus box tops, or if you buy 12 you get 100 bonus box tops to give to your school of choice!! Several of the Box Tops items are on sale this week...Nature Valley granola bars, Betty Crocker fruit snacks (though the prices for both are better at Kroger this week with the mega-sale), Pillsbury Grands, Betty Crocker brownie mixes and Warm Delight, Total Cereal, and Toaster Strudels, to name a few. Combine these with coupons and, depending on the item, you could get a good deal PLUS get extra box tops for your school. You don't have to buy 12 of the same item.

This would be a really good way to help your school earn money for extra stuff. Schools, just like everyone else, are having a really difficult time in this economy and can use any extra help. If any of these items are something you would use anyway and you have coupons, you might want to consider doing this as a way to help your school.

22 August 2009

"One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple." (Ps. 27:4)

20 August 2009

Meatless Cincinnati Chili

You will need: 16 oz. brown lentils, (1) 15-oz can tomato sauce, 2 cans vegetable broth (or beef broth), 2 bay leaves, 2 t (minimum) cinnamon, 1/4 cup chili powder, 1 t cumin, 2 whole cloves (or 1/4 t ground), 2 whole allspice (or 1/4 t ground), 2 t (or a little more) Dutch-process cocoa, 2 T vinegar (or a little less, to taste) (I generally use at least 3 t cinnamon; taste the sauce as it simmers and adjust the seasonings as necessary)

Put the broth in a pan, bring to boil and add lentils. Reduce heat; stir in the other ingredients and simmer at least an hour and a half, checking often and adding more broth or water if necessary so lentils don't get dry.

This is served over spaghetti, with chopped fresh onion and grated cheddar cheese on top.

Note: If you love Cincinnati Chili but absolutely hate lentils, you can still make the chili healthier by using ground turkey rather than ground beef, or you could use soy crumbles (meatless ground beef). I like the lentil version very much and even a couple of my kids liked it.

19 August 2009

Kroger mega sale

Thanks to Cindy at The Happy Homemaker for this idea! Betty Crocker Fruit snacks and Nature Valley Granola bars are part of the promo. There are IPs and newpaper coupons available and when you buy 5 of either one, you get a $3.50 catalina. So, if you bought 5 of each, you would get the $5 off for the promo and get 2 $3.50 catalinas. Use coupons and it is a pretty good deal! These items make good lunchbox items for those heading back to school, and of course clip the Box Tops from the packages!

When I went to Kroger I had originally planned to get Honey Nut Cheerios, using coupons along with the promo for really cheap cereal. Unfortunately, Honey Nut Cheerios is not included in the promo but if you have any coupons for the original flavor, they are a part of the promo.
"'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who was, and is, and is to come, the Almighty.'" (Rev. 1:8)

Later in Revelation (see Chapter 22, starting vs. 12) he repeats the phrase and adds (vs. 16) "I, Jesus, have sent my angel..."

It can't be any clearer as to the true identity of Jesus. Those religious groups that claim he was just a man, not God, have not read these verses. It's astonishing that the God of the universe would have come to earth and paid the price Himself for our sin, so that we might live with Him throughout eternity. None of us deserve it, but praise God He was willing to do it!

18 August 2009

Another restaurant.com discount!

Now through Monday, 8/24, you can get 70% off the price of a restaurant.com gift certificate when you enter the discount code PALATE at checkout. That would be $3 for a $25 certificate (they normally sell for $10). Read the fine print; there is a minimum you need to spend on most.

I had purchased a couple of certificates a week ago when the discount was 80%. We used one of them this weekend with no problems whatsoever. Our large family rarely eats out because of the cost involved; this brought it down to a much more reasonable amount. I am thinking these would make excellent Christmas gifts!!

17 August 2009

Walmart eyeglass sale

If your child needs new eyeglasses, Walmart has select youth frames starting at $9. The lenses for youths (ages 18 and under) are $29 and I was told that this deal is good through the end of the month. It is my understanding that if the child is 18 or under, even if he/she cannot use the youth frames (ex. a middle schooler or high schooler who needs adult size frames), he/she is still eligible for the youth price on the lenses, but you might want to double-check that. Their frames, even when not on sale, are quite reasonably priced.

Walmart deals

I don't usually shop at Walmart but we did go this weekend. There were a couple of deals that I thought were worth mentioning. Keep in mind that Walmart's prices can vary.

---Peaches, $0.69/lb
---fresh corn on the cob, $0.18 each
---cantaloupe, $0.50 each (normally $2.50) (stock up and freeze)
---select 2-liter sodas, $1.00 each (this includes Dr. Pepper; if you have any of the $1/1 coupons that were printed inside select 12-packs, this would make for free Dr. Pepper)
---school supply deals are still going on, including $0.05 70-page spiral-bound notebooks (I buy enough of these this time of year to last us until next year's school supply sales start---we use A LOT of these)
---check out the clearance aisles; we found sun tea pitchers on sale for $3
---Good Earth tea $2.68 (the only other local place I have found this tea is the health food store, and they charge considerably more for it. Walmart has the Original, Original decaf, Chai, and several other varieties)

14 August 2009

"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.'" (Matthew 3:16-17)

Restaurant.com 60% off sale!!

The 80% off gift certificate sale is ended, but from Friday 8/14 to Monday, 8/17 you can get restaurant.com gift certificates for 60% off!! That's $4 for a $25 certificate (they normally sell for $10). Enter the promo code CHOW at checkout to get the discount. This would be a good way to eat out pretty inexpensively or to give as gifts. Just be sure you read the fine print under each certificate's description; there is a minimum purchase (usually $35 for the $25-value certificates). Of course, if you have more than, say, three people in your family, reaching $35 (before the discount) is no trouble at all!!

12 August 2009

"Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'" (John 4:13-14)

11 August 2009

Back to School

Well, school is set to start in just a few short weeks!! Did this summer go fast or what? If you have a student going into a grade where they start band or orchestra lessons (for us it is sixth grade), you will have to make the decision as to whether you want to rent an instrument or purchase it. Your child's music teacher will show you the options, but keep in mind that they likely will not show you ALL the options.

I have a daughter in orchestra and a son in band, and we purchased both the violin (actually 2, since she started with a 3/4 and now uses a full size) and the clarinet. We spent less on the three instruments than some music stores charge for one full-sized violin or one clarinet. We got them new, not used, and they are of excellent quality.

You of course will want to explore all the options, but I will tell you that I was not impressed with the idea of renting or rent-to-own unless you are confident your child will drop out of the music program after, say, the first year. I was leery of garage sales and e-bay, and the music stores in our area charge outrageous prices for USED band and orchestra instruments, let alone new! The option we used was to go on musiciansfriend.com. They have a wide range of instruments from beginner's level to advanced, and if you are not happy with your purchase I believe they have a money-back guarantee. We never had to use the guarantee because we were more than pleased with what we bought. Both my daughter's orchestra teacher (who discourages buying an instrument on-line) and my son's band instructor had very good things to say about the quality of the instrument. I would strongly encourage you to check out this option if you need to purchase an instrument for your child.

Kellogg's coupons

Just a quick note---Meijer has select varieties of Kellogg's cereal for $1.88. I had a coupon for $1 off cereal and another one for $1 off fresh fruit WYB cereal. Meijer would not let me use both. I don't know if the coupons themselves are coded not to accept both, or if the Meijer cash registers are. The cashier did say they have a new coupon policy. She did not elaborate except to express her dislike of it.


(This is an Irish dish. It takes a little time, but I think it is well worth the extra effort.)

several large potatoes (one per person is good)
2 medium leeks, washed well and sliced
about 1/4 a head of cabbage or equal amount of kale, washed and chopped
1 cup milk

Boil the potatoes in a pot of boiling water until they are tender, as for mashed potatoes. Bring another pan of water to the boil and boil the cabbage. In a smaller saucepan, heat the milk (do not boil it) and simmer the leeks in it for about ten minutes.

Meanwhile, mash the potatoes well (you can peel them or not, as you like). When they are mashed, add the drained cabbage and stir it in. Then, add the hot milk and leeks, and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon just like for mashed potatoes. You can add a little more milk if necessary, and butter for flavor. It should be of about the same consistency as mashed potatoes.

The traditional way to eat this is to make a well in the middle of your colcannon, and add melted butter to the well. You dip forkfuls of it into the well of butter and enjoy. It's quite tasty like that, but it would be healthier (and almost as tasty!) to skip the melted butter.

The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat

This afternoon, one of my daughters came to me and said, worried, "I can't find Kitty!" To which I replied: "She's a cat. She's hiding somewhere."
"But I've looked everywhere and I can't find her," said my daughter. "Maybe she got outside." (Our cats are indoor cats; they are not allowed outside.)
"She can't have gotten outside," I told her. "We haven't opened the door all day."
"But she's gone!"
I decided it might be wise to look for Kitty, not so much to calm my daughter but because of the fact that this particular Kitty is a quite resourceful and naughty little creature. There's really no telling what clever little tricks she could pull if left to her own devices long enough. I'm not talking just shredding rolls of toilet paper or other normal cat antics. No, Kitty is much more creative. (That being said, she is not above shredding rolls of toilet paper when the mood strikes.)
Now rather worried myself, we proceeded to look in all of Kitty's favorite resting spots---the window perch, on top of the bunny cage, under the sofa, in the bathtub, in the pantry behind the cereal boxes---but we found no Kitty.
By now, my daughter had calmed down. Apparently having thought through the situation and deciding it could be to her advantage, she asked, "If we can't find Kitty, can we get another cat?"
"We have another cat. Kitty #2 is nice, most of the time."
"But I need 2 cats and we can't find Kitty, so we'll need another cat." This coming from the girl who is a cat magnet. It isn't even funny when we go into a pet store. ALL the cats want to come home with my daughter, and of course she's in total agreement with them.
"Kitty is here," I told her. "She'll come out when she's ready to play." I fervently hoped she was napping, and not involved in more creative endeavors.
"Maybe she's in my room," suggested my daughter.
Oh, not a good thought. Kitty is banned from her room because Hamster resides in that room, in a pink plastic cage shaped like a princess castle. On the rare occasion that Kitty manages to get into that room, she can be found gazing into the castle with a longing, hungry look in those cat eyes. With a hard enough swipe at the tower part of the castle, Kitty might just have herself a furry little snack.
We searched the room, but no Kitty. We searched the other upstairs bedrooms, which we keep closed during the day because the cats are not allowed in there. (That, of course, is why they can often be found lounging outside the bedroom doors, awaiting the opportunity to get in.)
We went about the rest of our afternoon and evening. My husband came home about 9 and my daughter tried to sweet-talk him into another cat. (Wrong person to ask---he detests cats. Kitty once held a staring contest with him and he thought she was about to attack.) When he learned she was nowhere to be found, he looked pretty nervous. I imagine he was picturing her lurking around in our room, ready to pounce on him in the middle of the night. She is, of course, mischievous enough to try something like that.
Just, then, who should come prancing into the room? Kitty. The white part of her face was gray with dust. I have no idea where she'd been all day, nor do I care to know. It's like my Mom always says---some things you're better off not knowing.

10 August 2009

A Decent Cup Of Tea

Warm a teapot (I got mine in a thrift store very cheap) by rinsing it well with warm water. As you are doing this, bring a kettle of fresh water to a rolling boil. When the teapot is warmed, put in looseleaf tea (1 spoon per cup PLUS one extra) and add the boiling water. VERY IMPORTANT: While the tea is steeping, wrap a tea towel or some other small towel around the pot. Steep it according to how strong you like it; I usually do it for 5 to 7 minutes. If you want a really good cup of tea, please---no tea bags!! Use a good quality British or Irish tea. (I get mine from Jungle Jim's. It costs more than Lipton's, but I figure if I am very careful in the rest of my grocery shopping, it evens out.)
"But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'"

What an amazing passage---there was Stephen, about to be martyred for his faith in Jesus, and God granted him this vision of the Savior standing at God's right hand. It must have given him strength to endure what was about to come, but if you read a little farther, it says that Saul was standing in the crowd watching. Saul, the persecutor and murderer of Christians who later became a follower of Christ---may have approved of Stephen's stoning, but as he stood there and witnessed to what he saw, perhaps a seed was planted in his heart. That is speculation on my part, but the vision Stephen had is powerful indeed. He lived his faith to the point that he was willing to be martyred. Most of us will never be called to martyrdom, but I think of how many times I have failed to be a good witness with my actions or my words, and when I think of Stephen, I am inspired to do better. I may never be called to die for my faith, but every day I am called to die to myself and live for Jesus.


Very thin steaks (skirt steak works) or you can use skinless chicken meat, pounded thin

Dip each steak or chicken slice in beaten egg, then in bread crumbs. Fry these in a little hot oil until done. (If you use seasoned bread crumbs it is better) Serve these in one of two ways: on a plate with refried beans and Mexican rice on the side, or serve as a sandwich on a thick roll, topped with tomato slices, avocado, and mayonnaise.

This is one of the recipes my mother-in-law, who is from Mexico, taught me. She said that in Mexico they use sour cream (or the equivalent) rather than mayo. I tried it---it's good. This recipe cooks really fast and it's VERY easy.
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into destruction and ruin. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

I think this is a struggle for most all of us---some of us to a greater extent, some to a lesser extent. We live in a society that values material things, good looks, and worldly success above all else. For those who don't measure up in one way or another (by the world's standards) it can be really difficult. The Bible, however, makes it clear that this is NOT God's standard for success. I am so glad that in Jesus I can be free of all these worldly desires if I choose to live my life through Him on a day to day basis. God provides all of our needs (but not always our GREEDS!!) and I truly believe our society as a whole would be much better, and healthier, if we started seeing people the way God does---as His precious creation---rather than judging them by our worldly standards.

Paw Points club

Have a cat (or more than one)? If you like Fresh Step litter, then go to their website and join the Paw Points club. Every time you buy their litter, you get a code off the package and enter it to earn rewards. Up until the end of September, the 20-lb boxes---which normally are worth 50 points---get double the point value.

I have tried several different litters, most infamously a huge bag of litter from a pet store for under $4.00. It was so big I could hardly lift it, and it lasted forever. That was unfortunate, because it was the absolute worst litter I have ever used. It not only didn't clump, it didn't help with odor control. I am not kidding, you about needed a gas mask to approach that litter box---and I clean it on a regular basis.

Fresh Step so far has worked the best for us (one of my cats has tummy issues so ODOR can be a real problem). If you use it, sign up for the club and earn points. I'm collecting points to earn a free bag of litter.

09 August 2009

restaurant.com certificates

According to The Krazy Coupon Lady, restaurant.com is offering an awesome deal on gift certificates through August 13th. You type in your zip code on their website and it pulls up a list of participating restaurants. You can order discounted gift cards through them---but when you type in the promo code PORTION, you get an 80% discount---which means if the certificate normally costs $10 (for a $25 card), you end up paying $2. You print these right from your computer, but you want to be sure and read the fine print which is listed in the description of each gift certificate, because there is a minimum order (usually around $35). I did order one, it printed out fine and only charged me the $2, but I haven't tried to use it yet.

04 August 2009

Marinade for beef

Slice about a pound of beef in very thin strips (you can also use pork). In a bowl or plastic ziplock bag, mix together 6 T good-quality soy sauce, 3 T sesame oil, 3 T water or rice cooking wine, and 2-3T sugar. You can also slice thin several green onions and dice 2-3 cloves of garlic and add this to the marinade. Marinate the meat in this (in fridge) for at least an hour (2 or 3 would be better). Then, remove from marinade and broil until meat is cooked through.

This is a Korean recipe, so you want to serve this with a good quality white rice and, if you like it, kimchi. It is also good with a green salad on the side.

03 August 2009

Kellogg's coupon booklet

At Cub Foods (and possibly other grocery stores) there is a Kellogg's display shaped like a school bus. On the side of the display are free coupon booklets which would be good matched with some of the other Kellogg's coupons out there. There is a coupon for $2.00 off milk wyb 2 Keebler graham crackers or graham crackers sandwich bites, $2 off milk wyb 2 Keebler cookies and/or Gripz, $2 off fresh fruit wyb 2 Eggo waffles, $2 off store brand coffee wyb 2 Nutrigrain bars packages, $2 off IOcean Spray cranberry juice wyb 2 Frosted Mini-wheats or Raisin Bran, $2 off bread wyb 2 Yogos or Kellogg's fruit snacks, $2 off milk wyb 2 packages of Keebler or Sunshine Right Bites snacks, $2 off bread wyb 2 pkgs rice krispies treats, $2 off store brand 12-24 pack bottled water wyb 1 Special K cereal and 1 Special K protein products (4 ct or lgr), $2 off Sprite wyb 2 Cheez-its, $2 off fruit wyb 2 pkgs Kebbler or Austin sandwich crackers, and $2 off 2 Dannon Danimals crush-cup 4-packs or smoothie 6 packs wyb 2 packages of select Kellogg's cereals. If you plan to buy any of the above products you might pick up a coupon booklet and make the deal a little better. The coupons are good until 9/30/09. Of course, if you haven't yet submitted a $10 Kellogg's rebate, these items could count toward that as well (there is a rebate form in the booklet).