Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Follow: Gamers!

Friday Follow

I am a board game hubby not so much! BUT my girlie loves board games too! I can only play Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders so many times though. I pulled out my Monopoly game one day and tried to play with girlie...I basically kept taking her money to buy her properties and she finally said "You are spending all of my money, I want to save it!" So we didn't make it to buying houses and hotels and haven't played that one again! I also tried to play my Scrabble with was just like playing Scrabble with myself since I made all of the words!

We did just buy Scrabble Junior...we LOVE it...and she beats me! It is so cool to have her say "Let's play some Scrabble!" instead of "Can I watch some TV?" The beginner side has words already on it and you have to play your letters in spelling order. When you complete a word you get a scoring chip. I ask her to spell the word and tell me what she spelled to earn the chip. There is also a blank big kid side of the board on the back when we can play making our own words when she is ready!

Happy Friday Follow! What games do you just LOVE?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Girlie's Giggles

Sometimes I have to try so hard to not laugh out loud when my girlie says something! You know the times, when our kids are super serious and matter of fact? She is not trying to make mommy and daddy laugh at all! Then there are times when she sounds a little sassy and should be corrected and it is really hard to not laugh while telling her "That was not appropriate!"

The other day while I was getting her ready for dance class she sassily told me:

"You know I'm not your Barbie doll?"

For added emphasis she had to lift her leg up and firmly stomp her foot back down!

She gave me her "I'm sorry mommy" and hubby and I had a good giggle when I told him later that day!

What have your kids said that made you want to laugh out loud?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Understanding Reg E, Opt-In & The REAL Overdraft

I "grew up" in the banking/financial industry...working in a bank was my first real professional job. As the years went by I began to realize what a blessing that career path was.

I did not learn about managing a checking account or using credit the right way at home. As you can imagine I made mistakes financially in my early twenties because of that lack of knowledge. Thankfully I learned responsible money management through working in banking that helped me correct my mistakes!

As I moved among different locations and dealt with a diverse customer base I began to see that there were many people that didn't know how to balance a checkbook or live within the balance of their checkbook (a budget), let alone understand the rules and regulations that impacted them as a customer of a bank!

Recently Federal Regulators made a change to Regulation E...think E for Electronic transactions. Specifically the change will impact how you use your ATM and debit card for purchases in stores or at the gas pumps.

Basically, you need to tell them if you want to opt-in to have your transactions approved at the register regardless of whether or not you have the available balance in your account. If you do not opt-in then the transaction will be denied at the register if you do not have the available blance in your account.

Now, what I find is confusing to most is the wording they are required to use as bankers and the fact that they are not allowed to expand or explain pros or cons. What wording? They call it "overdraft on your debit card or ATM card."

Opting-in to this service is not overdraft protection. You will be charged an overdraft fee for each day your account remains in the negative. These fees are steep, some banks charge $35 per transaction that overdraws your account per day! Yes, I am aware that there is a cap on the amount they can charge in a day, but frankly who has an extra $115 a day that they can give to their bank in fees?

We all try to do a good job keeping our accounts balanced and sticking to our budgets, but we can make a mistake in our calculations. I know it can be embarrasing to have a transaction denied at the register, but look in to true overdraft protection options at your bank.
  • Overdraft Savings: Link a savings account to your checking account. The bank will usually transfer in increments, maybe $25 or $50 to cover an overdraft in your checking account. Some banks will transfer only the exact amount you are overdrawn in your checking account too. The fee for this service is usually much less than an overdraft fee...$10 vs $35 for example! On a personal note, I was always weary of doing this...what if someone stole by debit card and drained my savings account by overdrafting my checking account? What we do is have a savings account with a small balance that meets the minimum required for that account at the bank to avoid a service charge ($300 balance).
  • Overdraft Line Of Credit: This is another option, where the bank approves you for a line amount based on your credit (sometimes this is tied to the equity line available on your home or a credit card). As you overdraw your checking account they move money from the line to bring your checking account back to the positive. What I don't like about this product personally is that it can be too easy for people to rely on it like a credit card. You will be charged a fee for the transfer to your checking account and interest on the unpaid balance.

Discipline and a budget are high priorities when managing your checking account. Being educated about the options and real costs involved with my bank accounts works for me!

What do you think are the most common questions people have about banking and their accounts?

This post is linked with We Are THAT Family for Works For Me Wednesday. Check out the other helpful tips and information there!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Creative In The Kitchen?

I am a collector of cookbooks. My hubby always teased me about being a collector of them since I didn't crack them open very often! I will admit I am a creature of habit and can tend to make the same meals all month just on different days...and then start over again next month!

That was true at least until I discovered linking up for recipes! I have loved discovering new dishes to try each week...I have to remind myself to look for dinners not just yummy desserts though! Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday have been a blessing to our family! My menus each month have delicious surprises!

I have to give a holy wow and thank you to the ladies that shared these recipes we tried this past week:

The dough that the Lemon Drop Cookies were made from reminded my hubby of a cookie his mom makes. She puts strawberry jam in the thumbprint and rolls the outside with crushed nuts...they are so good!

Now, since hubby is always encouraging me to not be so exact on recipes, to get creative, I decided to use the dough but add something different. (We ate all those lemon drop cookies in two days!)

I am not the biggest risk taker or creative genius in the kitchen so I just added chocolate chips...and kept the same ball shape...slow down I know! They kind of reminded me of little balls of raw cookie dough...the kind you can safely eat though since these were baked!

They were good, though not as good as the Lemon Drop Cookies! I think next time I may make them in a pan so I can cut them in bars. I also thought they may be good if the bars had a gooey topping, maybe peanut butter and chocolate? I am open to any suggestions, this was my first attempt at stepping outside of a recipe. Not the biggest step, but baby steps right?

This post is linked with Blessed With Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday. Spice up your monthly menus by getting some fresh ideas there! I can't wait to see what new dishes I can try!

Blessed with GraceBeauty and Bedlam


Sunday, April 25, 2010

In Him: The New & Better Covenant

Today's message from Pastor Rickey was so cool! He showed the relationship between God's Covenant with Abram and the new covenant fulfilled in Jesus! Over the past few weeks he has described Holy Ground as it applies to our lives from Genesis 12 and today expanded in to Genesis 15.

The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
Genesis 12:1-3 (NIV)

But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?" So the LORD said to him, "Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon." Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
Genesis 15:8-11 (NIV)

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates"
Genesis 15:17-18 (NIV)

I don't know about you, but sometimes reading the bible can be a challenge to understand and relate to me. The Genesis 15 verses above explain God's Covenant with Abram, and honestly I never really understood fully what a covenant from old testament time meant. I am always eager to learn more than the words on the page, to dig deeper for the meaning, so Pastor's explanation as taken from the book "The Covenant" by James L. Garlow kept my attention. He shared that having a covenant partner was a good thing, like if one had bad crops and the other good crops, they were there for each other. Husbands and wives today are covenant partners, there for each other.

Elements of a Covenant Ceremony

1. Exchange of robes- back then your robe was your identity, people knew who was coming down the road before they saw their face based on their robe. Today I suppose we know our married friends as they drive down the road based on the vehicle we know them to own.

2. Exchange of belts- Think of a money belt. As covenant partners they combined assets. Combining of assets in a marriage to me is critical...we are equal, one is not more important or independent based on the amount in "their" account. My hubby has a spending account that I fund each time he gets paid with his budget, but this is more a managing tool of our expenses.

3. Exchange of weapons- Symbolizes if you want to get him, you need to go through me. Husbands and wives stand strong together, think of marriage vows..."Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Mark 10:9

4. Exchange of names- In old testament time they each took the others last name with their own. Marriages today the wife takes the husband's name, sometimes her own and his.

5. The sacrifice- Through the blood of an animal. As married couples we should humble ourselves and serve each other, sacrificing self and selfish tendencies.

6. The walk of death- They would mentally say as they walked between the two halves of the animal, let it be done to me as done to this animal if I break this covenant. My mom was divorced twice when I was growing up. Divorce is so painful for everyone involved. I pray for my marriage every day, for God to give us the blessing of a strong union, and to help us when we are weak, to rely on Him for strength, so that our family does not go through the pain of divorce.

7. Mark on the body- Pastor explained this was typically a mark/cut on the wrist, sometimes an image burned. Married couples have wedding rings to wear on their bodies.

8. Blessings and curses-

If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
Deuteronomy 28:1-4 (NIV)

However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed. The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
Deuteronomy 28:15-18 (NIV)

I have to admit, this one I had a hard time thinking of how it related to a marriage. I know that I have read that children are blessings from God. This is not to say that a couple unable to conceive is not blessed...God has a plan for each of us, we need to trust Him and what He has planned for us. I do know that just from my perspective of our lives as husband and wife, when we are focused on Him and trusting His will, we are not stressed which is a blessing! However, when we forget to rely on Him, worry over controlling things, stress is indeed a curse!

9. Covenant meal- Fed each other first bites, what's mine is yours and yours is mine. My hubby was very kind to me when he fed me our wedding cake...until I smushed some on his nose!

10. Exchange first born son- With Abram, God did not take his first born son, but wanted to see if he would obey.

As you know, the old testament language didn't make people be good! But, when we realize all that Jesus did for us we want to be good, to not break his heart! My girlie has such a heart for the Lord, I love listening to her sing songs to Jesus! I have told her to remember when she makes a bad choice that hurts Jesus, that He loves us and wants us to make good/right choices.

You know what is really cool? Jesus is our covenant partner!

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

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23:1-6 (NIV)

Elements of a Covenant Ceremony Fulfilled Through Jesus

1. Exchange of robes- My rags of sin for His righteousness!

2. Exchange of belts- My belts of weakness for His belt of strength!

3. Exchange of weapons- We exchange enemies, we can pray in His name! Declare God's will over your problems! Declare it to be so!

4. Exchange names- He is the Son of Man and we are Christians! We are to be like Christ, His light shining through us!

5. The sacrifice- Jesus paid it all! He was pure and spotless!

6. The walk of death- Baptism is a means of grace to go away from the old you/life and be a new creation in Him! Remember that He died for us, may we do what is pleasing to Him!

7. Mark on the body- Jesus was pierced for us!

8. Blessings and curses- There are no curses in the new covenant! He is not mad at us! Jesus takes the curses and gives us grace!

9. Covenant meal-

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."
Luke 22:17-20 (NIV)

10. Exchange first born son- God did fulfill his covenant with Abram and gave his son Jesus! Amazing!

So why does this new covenant matter to us? When you look at each blessing we gained from the new covenant we have so much to be thankful for! We are so loved by God! We are forgiven! We are made stronger through Him! Did you ever want to really please someone in your family or a teacher while growing up? We have the best reason to be good, to be better, Jesus!

When you pray, if you don't already, give Him praise for the wonderful blessings we have from the new covenant!

I know we are all online so much, so on my Facebook page I made a Things I Am Thankful For list! What do you do to help you have a thankful heart?

In Him,

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Follow...Puzzling?

Friday Follow

Happy Friday everyone! This past week girlie and I have found we are totally loving doing puzzles together. We have done them in the past, or should I say, I tried to do them with her, but she wasn't really in to them. She would conveniently have to go potty just when they were getting good! That all changed this week, a total of six for the week, one day we did 4 puzzles on the dining room table in one day! We were so proud we left them until we ran out of room, so I took a picture before we put them away! Oh, did I mention we dropped a couple of pieces and our dog ate them??

So I just bought a 500 piece puzzle, ignoring the fact that the box read age 10+...she is a new 5! We started it, kind of, then she dumped out one of the 50 piece puzzles we did and started to do that one again as I struggled with the 500 piecer! Live and learn...I am thankful for something new we can do together though!

I look forward to getting to know some new friends today! What do you enjoy doing when you have some spare time?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt

Girlie and I went on an Earth Day Scavenger Hunt today as we walked through our neighborhood. I found this idea at Writing The Waves of Motherhood. She had so many great ideas!

I used a piece of our recycled scrap paper to make a list of things to look for on our Earth Day walk...birds, squirrels, clouds, tree with leaves, pine cone...

We noticed at the pine tree area that there were tiny pine trees growing up from the ground! We talked about how trees give us oxygen so the more trees the better!

We had to venture to a nearby neighborhood that has big trees to look for a squirrel....never did find one! But, we did get to talk about what they eat and where they live, what would happen if all the trees were gone and that our neighborhood probably didn't have squirrels because we need to plant more trees for them.

My girlie loves nature, so she called it a nature walk! She also informed me that she "Didn't get to bring anything home from nature!" Which gave us a chance to talk about what is better for nature to pick a flower or let it grow?

We had a great time together learning about the blessings all around us. How did you share Earth Day with your kids?

Vera Bradley Save EXTRA 20%

I have a "thing" for bags...but I do only buy them when they are on sale. Vera Bradley online clearances/sales "older" patterns...I am not picky so it's OK with me if it's so last season!

Save an Extra 20% on all sale items April 21 - 25, 2010. I have saved 40% on sale items online before, so an extra 20% is even better!

Enter To Win FREE Groceries & GREEN Home

Here are two enter to win contests I just entered and wanted to pass them on to you too!

HGTV 2010 Green Home (It is Earth Day!)

Campbell's $80,000 Grocery Giveaway (You need to have Publix in your area for this one.)

I added the links and dates to my Enter To Win Page!

Good Luck,

FREE Sample Pantene

I found that P&G Brand Sampler is now offering a FREE Sample of Pantene...and when I asked for mine I also was asked if I wanted a sample of Cascade Action packs...yes please!

Are you not one for using free samples? Consider getting them and donating them to your local church or shelter...they'll appreciate it!

Olay Rebate

Olay is offering another $20 rebate...I just added the links to my Rebates page.

If you normally buy it, why not save on it?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day Green Kids

My girlie was watching Betsy's Kindergarten Adventures on PBS Kids the other day and the teacher on there said "A long, long time ago back in 1970 the first Earth Day was celebrated!" My first reaction was "What does she mean a long, long time ago back in 1970??"

Once I was able to move beyond feeling old I really appreciated the good lesson they were teaching. My girlie has also enjoyed playing Arthur's Groovy Garden that asks "which is greener" questions and you get to plant a garden. For parents, though I find Arthur's garden fun too, check out this site I found from Consumer Reports,

Here are some things we do to be greener:
  • I have a drawer that I keep paper that is used on one side. My girlie knows to use the paper from that drawer to color and draw on the other side.
  • We use CFL bulbs inside and outside, shut off lights when we are not in a room, and use the sunshine through the windows instead of turning on a light switch.
  • We recycle bin newspaper, bottles, girlie looks for the symbol on the bottom of things to see if we can recycle them.
  • We donate to Goodwill, use ebay, yard sales, and others to avoid throwing out or buying new all the time.
  • In the winter we set the heat lower and in the summer set the a/c higher.
  • We are hoping for better success this year with our garden!
  • We don't leave the water running while brushing our teeth.
  • We use rechargeable batteries in all of our toys.
  • We enjoy our bird feeder in the backyard. Here's a link for how to build a recycled one!
Hearing my girlie say say "There are little things that we can do to make a big difference!" works for me!

What do you do to be greener?

This post is linked with We Are THAT Family for Works For Me Wednesday. Check out the other helpful posts there!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Angel Lush With Pineapple

I used to save baking, especially the pretty things, for a special occasion. For the past few months though, I have sworn off buying store bought cookies and I am baking more. Store bought cookies were always so easy for me to say "here's dessert!" My hubby longs for those store bought cookie packages at times though...he would eat an entire package in one sitting! Not good for him...have you seen the fat content alone in one serving? Now multiply that times the number of servings in the package! I don't think he was buring that fat off in a month let alone a day!

I am not saying that what I am baking is diet dessert, but he has learned moderation since he has to share it with the rest of us! I am loving making our own desserts more too! I couldn't wait for girlie to be born to cook and bake with her! I even had her in her high chair at six months watching me as I explained to her what I was doing...then I turned on the mixer and she started to cry! Too soon for her I guess! She just turned five and has since gotten over her fear of the loud mixer...she loves to cook and bake with me!

Here is a simple dessert that I just dusted off from my recipe box (I have made it every spring with her). I cut it a few years ago from the coupons and it is also online here.

Angel Lush With Pineapple


1 can 20 oz crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 pkg. 4 serving size of vanilla instant pudding
1 cup thawed Cool Whip whipped topping
1 Prepared Angel Food Cake, round


Mix pineapple with juice and vanilla pudding. Gently stir in whipped topping. Let stand about 5 minutes while you cut the cake horizontally into 3 layers.

Place bottom layer, cut side up on your serving plate. (I have a thing for pretty serving dishes, my hubby bought me this one for Christmas one year. You can flip it over and use it for veggies and dip too!)

We never measure the amount of topping on each layer (even though we should as seen in the picture!) but here is how much you should do per layer. Spread 1 1/3 cups pudding mixture onto bottom cake layer. Add the middle cake layer and cover with 1 cup of the pudding mixture. Top with the last cake layer and cover with the rest of the pudding mixture. Refrigerate at least one hour and then garnish with berries. I used blueberries, strawberries would be good too!

This post is linked with Blessed With Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Balancing Beauty With Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday. Hop over to see what's cookin!

Blessed with GraceBeauty and Bedlam


Sunday, April 18, 2010

In Him: Living By Faith

If you owe more than your home is worth raise your hand. My hand is up, how about yours? Two years ago this August my control freak tendencies had our house up for sale. Yes, two years ago we owed more than it was worth...and we still owe more than it's worth!

At that time there was a ton of doubt that hubby and I both had in the longevity of the company he worked for. That combined with me staying home with our girlie really scared income and if it went away what would we do? We scoured our budget for things to cut, but we (thankfully) did not have a car payment, credit card payments, excessive spending...but, there was that pesky mortgage! So we put the house on the market...and struggled with not really wanting to leave our home...weren't we doing the "responsible" thing by getting rid of that debt/mortgage in light of his unknown job situation? After a month on the market I started to question myself about my faith in God...where was it now? Wasn't I trying to control everything and at the same time worrying about everything? My judgment was so clouded by wanting to control the situation that I rationalized wiping out our savings to sell the house (we weren't trying to short sell, we were just going to bring money to the table and walk away from the house with nothing).

I knew from other situations in my life that when I fully trusted God He worked everything out.

About a month and half after the house was on the market my hubby's company tanked, as we feared, and even more unanswered questions about the future of a job for him came flooding in. Hubby reminded me that we would just have to trust in God and wait to see what would happen. So, we pulled the house off the market deciding that if we were going to trust Him we were all the way going to trust Him with everything.

So 1 year, 9 months later we are still in the house, he does, praise God, still have a job, but everything is not perfect. Our home is still worth less than what we owe. Hubby's pay is not the same as it was before either. We have been blessed with savings, which we are using each month to make up a shortfall in our budget due to the change in hubby's pay. He has a chance of getting a bonus of sorts, based on performance, one time a year, that we are praying will pay back our savings we are using. I have thought before...should I go back to work? I have prayed for God to provide us direction, I have wanted to home school girlie since before she was born! We are still blessed with no credit card debt or car payments. We give each week at church, I know it is not much, but we do what we can knowing how much they will accomplish for Him with every dollar they receive. We are thankful that we have been able to make our budget each month with His blessings and will go in the direction He points us in when he says it's time to go. We are living by faith, trusting in Him each day that He will provide for us. It is an amazing feeling to not worry daily or toil trying to control everything!

Today's sermon from Pastor Rickey spoke right to my heart...Holy Ground: God Always...

Pastor shared some things that are always true about eating chocolate when it is available and having dessert before dinner if that's possible...ME TOO! There are also some things that are always true about God...thank you!

1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. 2 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
4 So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. Genesis 12:1-5 (NIV)

1. God always calls me to live by faith.

The Lord had said to Abram, ""Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go...Genesis 12:1 (NIV)

Pastor mentioned that we tend to rely on others' voices or our own voice instead of the voice of God. Trying to sell our house to control our situation and future at that time was not God's will, we were not listening to Him, trusting in Him. I also believe that I will know when and if God wants me to go back to work, until then I am trusting in Him that I am where He wants me to be, regardless of what others' opinions may be.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

2. God always assumes responsibility for guiding my steps.

The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. Genesis 12:1

If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:23-24 (NIV)

Pastor shared that He will guide your steps, but if you don't know what your next steps are to be stay where you are to avoid making a foolish mistake. We are staying in our house until we know it is really time to leave...we almost did make a foolish mistake by selling for a loss and wiping out our savings to do so.

3. God always keeps His promises.

I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. Genesis 12:2

God's timing is's not as fast as I would always like it to be...but it is perfect. I continue to pray to Him, trusting His timing, because I know He has been faithful to me in the past and will be always!

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV)

4. God always asks me to pass on His blessings.

I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Genesis 12:3

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38 (NIV)

Pastor reminded us what Jesus' life was here: preaching, teaching, healing. God wants us to be a blessing funnel...use our time, talents, resources to bless others. I pray that my posts will be a blessing to you.

5. God Always rewards everyone who says yes!

So Abram left, as the LORD had told him...Genesis 12:4

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. Hebrews 11:8-9

Action Steps of Faith

1. Trust God with your future.

Let go of your worries!

2. Bless others now with what you have.

Use your talents, time, resources!

3. Say yes to Jesus today.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV)

What worry can you give to God today? Are you trusting in Him to guide your steps? What talents are you using to bless others?

In Him,

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's Friday Friends

Hi there! I can't type that anymore without hearing Doug's voice from UP! Such a sweet movie...I get teared up every time I watch it! It's Friday! I am looking forward to some family movie girlie gets so excited to get "the snack tray" filled up! We switched to a hot air popper for popcorn after all the crazy stuff I read about microwave the fresh popped popcorn! Why is it so hard to realize if you want something good and good for you it takes a little more effort, but is so worth it? Funny how that applies to more than just food too!

I also look forward to meeting new friends on Friday! So I get to know you better and get some movie snack ideas...what's your favorite movie snack?

Friday Follow The Girl Creative

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Great Piggy Bank Adventure

I started my girlie early with learning to be smart with money. She was only a few months old when she sat with me at a desk to open her savings account! I have taken her once a month ever since opening that account to make a deposit. She has a bear bank that we put coins in all month long and we add to that money from chores, us and gift money. Over the past two years (she just turned five) every time she receives gift money I ask her what she wants to do with it. Girlie looks at me and says with excitement "Put it in my bank!" She even points to her bank and says "That's my bank!" when we drive past.

I haven't held back on telling her when I think something is too expensive or that we need to save and budget for buying something that is a bit pricey either. Of course, sometimes she uses her own words and understanding on how we will shop and did I mention she talks loud? The other day we were walking through Kohl's, I had told her before getting there that I was looking for photo albums on clearance since I had found them there several times before for only $3.99...beautiful albums too! So as we walked through the center of the store she announces to my hubby that we are looking for cheap stuff and will only buy cheap stuff that is less than $10! An employee got a good chuckle!

I like her learning about money management through other sources too...not just me. You know, I am hoping when she reaches the age where mom knows nothing she will at least remember and believe what she learned elsewhere as well. I posted before about us having annual passes to Disney, and how much I love Epcot for the educational attractions. We tried out The Great Piggy Bank Adventure a few weeks ago...leave it to Disney to make saving, inflation and diversification fun! You can try out an online version here.

You start out The Great Piggy Bank Adventure by selecting a goal that you want to achieve:
  • Extreme Bedroom Makeover
  • College
  • Dream Vacation
  • Retirement

My girlie choose to save for the Extreme Bedroom Makeover complete with a water slide! Once you choose your goal on the touch screen you open a drawer and take your piggy bank and the adventure begins! It was such a cute piggy bank too!

The first game you play teaches you that money comes from several places...odd jobs, allowance, gifts...and that you can choose to either save it or spend it! Coins fall from the top of the screen and you need to adjust your ramps to make as much money as possible fall into the savings buckets...but the big bad wolf is sneaky and switches your buckets so some falls into candy or toy buckets and is spent!

As you go to each game your piggy bank hopefully gets fuller and closer to your goal! There is a game that teaches you to ride the currents of inflation and another to learn the importance of not putting all your eggs in one basket...diversification! The diversification game was my hide money in different parts of your room, each hiding space has a different rate of return! Then the big bad wolf comes in once your time to hide is up and he takes your money from one spot...hopefully you didn't put too much there!

At the end you take your piggy to the final counting spot and he tells you if you saved enough to reach your goal! We did...yay!

Teaching my girlie how to earn, save and spend where it's fun and she loves learning and earning works for me!

This post is linked with We Are THAT Family for Works For Me Wednesday. Check out the other helpful ideas over there too!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Crockpot Chicken & Crescents

Have you ever read a recipe and thought it sounded really good, but when you make it you're like "What happened?" I always have a little fun with my hubby on those failures while we are eating dinner. I make comments on how good I think it turned out and my hubby says, "YES it is good!" Of course after the dishes are all cleaned up I tell him I am never making that again and he is relieved!

We all love chicken pot pie! I have a recipe for one here that is done on the stove and is sooo yummy! BUT I adore my crockpot and the time it saves I have been searching for a crockpot recipe for chicken pot pie. I found a recipe that we all agreed I was not to make again...and then I found one we agreed deserved to be made again!

OK, so it is not technically a recipe for chicken pot's for chicken and biscuits. I have learned the hard way that you can't necessarily use rice in a dish that does not call for it and you can't not use rice in a dish that does call for it! But, when it comes to biscuits or crescents with this recipe it still tasted yummy! I used crescent rolls since that is what I had in the fridge and this recipe fit the bill for comfort food.


  • Chicken Breasts
  • Chopped Onion
  • Chopped Celery
  • 1 Can Cream Of Chicken Soup
  • Jar Chicken Gravy
  • 1/4 tsp Thyme
  • Pepper to taste
  • Frozen Mixed Veggies, Thawed
  • Biscuits or Crescents


Layer chicken with onion and celery in crockpot. Combine soup, gravy, thyme and pepper in a bowl and then pour over chicken. Cook on low 5-6 hours. Add thawed mixed veggies and cook on high for 30 minutes. Bake biscuits or crescents. Put biscuit or crescent on plate and ladle chicken and veggies over it.

This post is linked up with Blessed With Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Balancing Beauty & Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday. Drop over to their places and get some new ideas for meals and desserts today!

Blessed with Grace Beauty and Bedlam


Monday, April 12, 2010

Scholarship From Tylenol

Some of you have seen firsthand how helpful a scholarship (or multiple scholarships) can be to a student's and parents' budget. Students should start early, research and apply for as many scholarships as they qualify for.

Here is one from Tylenol that I came across. This scholarship helps students getting a healthcare-related education manage the rising costs of education. This year, they will be awarding $250,000 in scholarships to forty students based on leadership qualities and performance. They encourage any student who is pursuing a career in healthcare to apply.

Click here to go to their website for more details and the link to the application.

Good Luck,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In Him: Saying Yes

When I started my site and blog it started as an avenue for me to share things I have learned over 15 years in the financial industry, things I used to teach to bankers for them to help clients, things I learned for managing my own finances and credit. It was so rewarding to see people get excited about learning how to get out of debt, improve their credit, save for the see them appreciate learning something that will help them. I had decided that while I was now a SAHM, I still could help others, teach them and make a difference, even if it was to one person. I realized the opportunity I had to expand from the basics of financial education to also include the deals, rebates, money saving tips at the grocery store, ways I have used my talents and time at home to make a little spending money...the extra things I do that help our monthly budget.

Shortly after starting my site I felt God tugging at my heart...what about Me? What about sharing your faith? I struggled a years in the corporate world where you were frowned upon to talk about your faith...after all, you may offend someone...played in my mind. Then I remembered...wait a felt so good to leave those live by only pleasing One...take me for who I am and what I believe...or don't. I added a faith page to my site, but I still felt Him saying "you can do more."

More? My blog too? But how...what? I am new at this...then it (He) hit me. Something I am always giving thanks for...the sermons our Pastor, Brett Rickey, delivers. I always walk out feeling like I learned something...something to apply to my daily life...something more about myself...something I can do.

It's a start, small as it may be...a few weeks ago I started sharing my take aways as part of my pastor's sermon. As I grow, so will my postings, but this is a good start, I sense that from God. It's pretty cool to think that a humble pastor (I say that with the utmost respect, he is humble, but myself and others see the amazing impact he is making one life at a time in our church) from my town can reach someone across the country or the globe via the internet and my blog posting.

What did he share today? His sermon was called "Holy Ground: When God Asks BIG."

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up."

Pastor shared with humor how men are always drawn to fire, even as little boys being told not to play with matches...and as men asking with admiration what kind of fuel are you using, how'd you get that fire going so big? He asked us if we have ever seen a Christian on fire for God? Have you? Are you?

When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am."
"Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."

Exodus 3:1-10 (NIV)

Pastor reminded us that God sends a person to do what he wants done. Can you think of someone that God used to accomplish something? Maybe He used you? He wants to use each of us for as long as we are here!

Do we always say yes when He asks us to do something? Truthfully, no, we never think it is the right time for us, right? Here are five common objections we give when God asks for more that our pastor shared.

Objection 1: But who am I?

But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" Exodus 3:11 (NIV)

Affirmation 1: And God said, I will be with you... Exodus 3:12

Objection 2: But who are you?

Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" Exodus 3:13

Affirmation 2: God said to Moses, "I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' " God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation. "Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. Exodus 3:14-16 (NIV)

Objection 3: I don't have what it takes.

Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?" Exodus 4:1 (NIV)

The enemy tells us these lies. While here the stick in Moses' hand is called a staff, later it is called the rod of God..."He raises you up to be the person He wants you to be!"

Affirmation 3: Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" "A staff," he replied.
The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground." Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the LORD said to him, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. "This," said the LORD, "is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you." Exodus 4:2-5 (NIV)

Objection 4: I'm not good with words.

Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." Exodus 4:10 (NIV)

The enemy convinces us to not get invloved because of one deficiency. Anone that knew me before I was a corporate trainer was surprised that I was able to get up in front of people and speak. Did you know that public speaking is at the top of "the list" of fears people have? I prayed before starting every class I taught for Him to give me the confidence and the words...and He did..not me!

Affirmation 4: The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." Exodus 4:11-12 (NIV)

Objection 5: I don't want to do it!

But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." Exodus 4:13 (NIV)

Affirmation 5: Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. Exodus 4:14-16 (NIV)

Pastor reminded us that the Apostles were sent out by two, and that Moses was able to do what was asked of him once he had his partner. There were ladies I trained with at the same location and we encouraged one another (SB, CT, DS), we found strength in one another. He blessed us with each other.

God wants you to be on fire for Him...He will use a small yes to do big things!

You say what you don't have...He asks what you DO have!

Holy Ground is where God is asking you to do something with what you have.

Will you say yes?

In Him,

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Welcome! I am super excited to participate in the 2010 Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5 Minutes For Mom! You don't have to have a blog to join the fun! Click here to find out more. There are so many wonderful people to meet and learn from...I can't wait!

I am Michele, mom to a girlie who just turned 5! My hubby and I can't believe how fast she is growing up. I have a passion for learning, teaching and blog has given me an opportunity to focus on what I love. I learn best by seeing how things apply to my daily to save for big ticket items, budget while still including some splurges, shining His light on what I do and say, building relationships with family and friends...these are some things I blog about here. I am so thankful for the wonderful bloggers I have met and will continue to meet...I have learned so much from each of you!

Thanks to our hosts at 5 Minutes for Mom I may even win a prize! My top three:

I'd love to learn more about you...what is your passion...what do you blog about? I look forward to hopping over to meet you too!

Enjoy the party,

Friday Follow

Friday Follow

Sponsored by:

Hi there! We are eating up the last of our colored eggs today! I think I will be good for a bit without hard boiled eggs...but we have enjoyed them in some yummy new ways! Check out this Cobb Pasta Salad! Time to meet some new friends!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Did You Know: April Is Financial Literacy Month

April is recognized in the US as National Financial Literacy Month to highlight its importance and teach us how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. Financial literacy and education is close to my heart and why I started my site and blog.

Financial Literacy Month has a site with tips, gadgets and more to help you! They have a cool certificate you can make to set a goal and a FREE ebook Tips For Change.

Cobb Pasta Salad

While my girlie loves to just eat a hard boiled egg right from the shell we decorated for Easter, I prefer to find some ways to eat them in or with something. I have always loved a fresh Cobb Salad, but since I had some pasta in the pantry and ham (instead of chicken) I decided to try a Cobb Pasta Salad (variation)! My girlie and I had fun making it together and we all enjoyed eating it!

  • Hard Boiled (Easter) Eggs

  • Pasta (I had a 1/4 box each of ditallini and ziti in the pantry so that's what we used)

  • Ham diced or chopped (use your leftover Easter ham or deli ham)

  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese

  • Crumbled Bacon

  • Chunks of fresh tomato

  • Cucumber slices

  • Onion chopped

  • Salt & Pepper to taste

  • Italian & Ranch Dressing


Boil pasta, drain and let cool. Dice your tomatoes and onions and slice cucumbers. Put veggies in a big bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and a splash of Italian Dressing, stir to coat. Add your pasta to the bowl, add a little more Italian Dressing and stir to coat and combine with the veggies.

Layer your plate: pasta and veggies, then top with a row of diced/chopped ham, a row of chopped hard boiled egg, a row of shredded cheddar and finally a row of chopped bacon.

You can then decide whether to eat with Italian Dressing or as I did with some Ranch Dressing on the side!

This post is linked with Blessed With Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday. Check out the other yummy dishes over there...sure helps me with my meal planning!

Blessed with Grace Beauty and Bedlam


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