Friday, December 30, 2011

Opinion on Anti-Gay Calendar

I don't like it when people are made fun of or ridiculed.  I just don't.  I never have.  It REALLY bothers me.  It did in my High School Sunday School class (however long ago that was).
 It really bugged me when I went to a Christian Leadership camp just after high school and it was considered perfectly acceptable to make fun of the nations leaders. 
I didn't like hearing derogatory jokes during college... especially the "That's what she said" ones.

It's no different today.  Yesterday, I stumbled across an online controversy.  A large online retailer is selling a calendar titled, "I'm Not Gay, I'm Just a Sissy."  Please understand that I have not actually looked at any previews of the calendar so what I am saying should be taken with that in consideration.  From what I have gathered, it is a calendar dedicated to making fun of people who are living a homosexual lifestyle.  Naturally, GLAAD and others in the LGBT community are highly offended and calling for online retailers to pull it off their websites (Barnes and Noble already has). 

The fact that this calendar existed and was being sold bothered me. 
Do I think that people living in a homosexual lifestyle are living as men and women were designed to live? Absolutely not! 
Do I believe that their lifestyle is contrary to God's plan as laid out in the Bible?  Yes! 
Do I want to see them be made fun of because of their choice to live that way?  NO!

You see, it never has mattered to me whether the person being made fun of was popular or not.  The fact remained that they were a person that had feelings just like mine
That fact is still there.  Just because someone has chosen to live a life contrary to what I believe (and more importantly, contrary to God's will for our lives) does not mean that they should be fair game for ridicule. 
They are people, just like you and I. 
They have feelings, just like you and I. 
And, they are loved by God, just like you and I.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cheese Cracker Recipe

First off, I want to make it clear that this was not my idea!  I was searching for some alternative to the mainline snacks for infants such as Gerber Puffs.  I wanted something that would be easy for my 9-month-old to pick up and eat without me worrying about him choking on it, or spreading crumbs all over the place.  I had extra pie dough left over from Thanksgiving and had made pie dough crackers, which he loved, but they are so flaky that they make a terrible mess.  So in my searching, I came across this site and recipe.  She has wonderful step-by-step pictures, so be sure to check it out!

Here are the instructions:
Cheese Crackers
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper (optional) - I left this out.
4 TBSP cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces  (I used light stick margarine)
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese (I used part sharp cheddar and part mexican blend cheese)
3-4 TBSP water

In a food processor, Pulse the flour, salt and pepper, then add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add grated cheese a little at a time until the mixture again resembles coarse meal.
Pulse in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms into a ball. It will probably take a minute or so.
Remove, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Roll the dough out to 1/8th-inch thickness directly onto a baking sheet. You don't want to roll them paper thin, neither do you want to roll them too thick. If they are too thin, they will not puff up as much. If they are too thick, they will not be as crispy.
Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut 1 inch squares.
Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes or until crackers are golden brown. Watch them after the 10 minute mark.

I decided I wanted to try the recipe, but didn't want to make the whole batch in case I didn't like them, so I halved everything.  I left out the pepper (It just didn't sound right).  I also used light margarine instead of unsalted butter. 
I don't have a food processor, so I used my blender for everything through adding the cheese.  Then I transferred it to a small bowl and used my pastry cutter to add the water. 
After it had been in the refrigerator for a couple hours, I rolled it out an a parchment covered cookie sheet. 
Here is where I would change how I did things.  I used a round cookie cutter, but I think it's too big.  Next time, I will probably use a pizza cutter or something to cut them into smaller squares.

I LIKE them!  My little guy seems to like them to.  I broke them into smaller pieces for him and he did fine.  My husband will be lucky if there is even one left for him!  Next time, I will definitely make a full batch!  They are kinda a mix between Cheez-It's and the cheese rolls that they serve at... I think it's at Ruby Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I want to win a carseat!

Today, I found a give-away that I would REALLY like to win.  It's for a Combi Coccoro Carseat!  My little guy is quickly growing, and I know that before too long, he will need something a little bigger than his infant seat.  This Combi carseat can hold rear-facing children up to 33 pounds, and forward facing children up to 40 pounds.  Sounds perfect!  If you are looking for a carseat, head over to Sugar Pop Ribbons & Reviews and read her review of this seat, and enter to win one yourself!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Watch for Coupons in Magazines!

Yesterday, I got the October edition of my "AllYou" magazine (Which I love getting!) as well as the October edition of "Better Homes and Gardens".  After I had gone through and found all the coupons in "AllYou" (you can find those match ups over at I Heart the Mart), I started going through the "Better Homes and Gardens" because it occasionally will have a coupon or two in it.  What should I find in the middle but an insert with over a dozen coupons in it!  I was thrilled!
Today, I went out to the mail and got my October edition of "Parents".  Guess what was in the middle?  That's right! The very same insert!

Here are the coupons:
$0.55 off Shout Color Catcher (x 2-28-12)
$0.55 off any Shout product (x 2-28-12)
$2.00 off any 2 Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaners (x 2-28-12)
$2.00 off any 2 Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning products (x 2-28-12)
$5.00 off any Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner starter kit (x 2-28-12)
$2.00 off any 2 Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner refills (x 2-28-12)
$1.00 off any Windex Multi-surface cleaning product (x 2-28-12)
$1.00 off any Windex Electronics product (x 2-28-12)
$1.00 off any Pledge or Armstrong floor cleaner (x 2-28-12)
$1.00 off any Pledge Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair (x 2-28-12)
$2.00 off any 2 Pledge furniture care products (x 2-28-12)
$1.00 off any Pledge furniture care product (x 2-28-12)
$1.00 off any 2 Ziploc brand Bags (x 12-31-11)
$1.50 off any 2 Ziploc containers (x 12-31-11)
$1.00 off any Glade Press & Spray starter kit (x 12-31-11)
$3.00 off any Glade Sense & Spray starter kit (x 12-31-11)
$1.00 off any 2 Glade 4-oz. Jar Candles (x 12-31-11)
$2.00 off any Glade Scented Oil Candle OR 2 refills (x 12-31-11)

I love finding unexpected coupons, especially ones that don't expire for a while!  :)

Thank a Veteran!

Do you know someone who is active or retired military?  Do they deserve a free night away?  Then send them the link to Better Way to Stay's current promotion.  They have quite a few Bed & Breakfast or Inn locations that are offering one free nights stay on November 10th, 2011 for veterans and one guest each. Head on over and check out the details!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Homemade Baby Food made easy!

My little guy is just starting on solid foods.  He has been eating rice cereal and oatmeal and will soon start on other fruits and veggies.  In order to make some foods ahead of time, I have cooked and blended the foods until they were smooth, then put them in ice cube trays to freeze them.  After they are frozen, they can be transferred to plastic bags or freezer safe containers.  My only problem is that they often stick in the ice cube trays and I have a hard time getting them out.  The trays also take up quite a bit of room in the freezer. 

There's a solution for both of those problems!  The Mumi & Bubi Solids Started Kit! 
They are very thin, allowing them to be set in the freezer easily.  They also hold 21 cubes on each tray (which is definitely more than one of my ice cube trays hold).  Plus, they come with covers to prevent spilling or being exposed in the freezer. (No more wrapping the tray in plastic wrap!)

I would like to have one!  In fact, I would love to win one from Sugar Pop Ribbons Reviews & Giveaways.  She has recently reviewed the product and seems very pleased with it!  Go over and check it out.  Who knows?  Maybe you'll win the trays!

Free Kids Music!

What else could you want?
Check out Amazon free music for your kids!  The one I just discovered is Cedarmont Kids Sampler for Moms!  It has 5 free songs including "The Wheels on the Bus", "Father Abraham", and "The Ants go Marching".

While you are there, check out some of their other free downloads!
Sesame Street Music Amazon Sampler
Veggie Tales Five Super Silly Songs 
The Wiggles Summer 2011 Sampler

And there are more! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cloth Diapers - What I Use

I mentioned in the last post that one way to save money is to use cloth diapers.  Now I realize that if you are working full time, and your child is in daycare, this may not be practical for you.  But for me, it's been a great way to save money.

When many people first think of cloth diapers, they think of having to fold the diapers, and pin them on, then cover them with the clear plastic pants.  That's what my mother did for most of her children.  Let me tell you, it has changed.  Now there are so many options out there that don't require pins or ugly plastic pants.

What I started out with was the Flip Diaper System.  I purchased a kit that comes with 2 diaper covers and 6 inserts.  The cover is a One-Size cover with snaps to adjust it for a small, medium, or large fit.  The inserts have fold marks for each of the three sizes.  I like them, but they didn't quite work the way I wanted them too.  At the time, my baby would have a dirty diaper every 2-3 days, and every time, I would have to toss the cover in the wash because it got dirty.  The system is supposed to allow you to use the cover multiple times, but it didn't always work that way. 

I have a friend who used pocket diapers... not any particular brand, just the cheap ones off of Ebay.  So I thought I'd pick up a couple of those and see how I like them.  The ones I purchased were also one-size diapers with snaps to make them adjustable.  They aren't as absorbent as I would like them to be, but I remedied that by taking a couple of flat diapers that were worn out and turning them into extra inserts for the pocket diapers.  They sometimes have a tendency to leak around the legs, and I haven't figured out whether that is something that I am doing, or whether that's just the way they are.  They are nice, and I still use them, but there is no way to use the cover more than once. 

So I came up with my own system using what I already had.  My mother had given me a bunch of used flat diapers, and I had also received some prefolds as shower gifts.  So I spent just a little more money to buy a Snappi (as apposed to using diaper pins) and started folding the flats, fastening them on with the Snappi, and using the Flip diaper covers to cover them.  I like this method.  Folding the diaper and fastening it on gives it more of a fitted feel which usually keeps everything on the cloth diaper and not the cover.  The cover does get a bit damp, so I alternate covers so that they can air out in between uses.  I rinse them in cold water with baking soda, then wash them in hot water with a small amount of ALL Free and Clear while using vinegar as a softener.  After they are washed, I hang them all out of the line (as often as the weather allows anyway).  I haven't had any trouble with staining.

So cost wise, I spent about $45 on the Flip system and about $10 more on the pocket diapers and Snappi.  That's a total of $55 for the cloth diapering system that we have been using almost exclusively for the past 3 months.  I realize that I had an advantage of having flats and prefolds given to me for free, so for the sake of argument, let's say I bought a pack of 12 prefolds from Walmart for $10.  That makes the total $65.

Now, if I were not using cloth diapers, I would most likely be getting my disposable ones off of Amazon Mom because I like their subscribe and save discount of 30% and their free shipping.  I can go there and get a 84 pack of Size 2 Huggies Little Snugglers for $15 ($0.18 per diaper) if I use the subscribe and save option.    That means that I would need to buy 5 boxes in order to pass up my cloth diaper total of $65.   Let's say, for the sake of calculation, that my baby goes through 5 diapers a day.  That means that the box will last almost 17 days (let's say 16).  5 Boxes will last 84 days or almost 3 months. 

365 days a year times 5 diapers a day is 1,825 diapers.  If you are paying $0.18 per diaper, that's $328.50 for diapers.  So if I use my cloth diapers for 1 year, I'll be saving approximately $263.

So, having used cloth diapers almost exclusively for 3 months, I am probably at the break even point.  There are a lot of factors that this doesn't include.  For instance, there is the detergent, water, electricity, and time that it takes to wash the diapers. 

Now I'm not saying that disposable diapers are bad, I'm just saying that if you have the time and desire to do so, a lot of money can be saved through using cloth diapers.  My son still wears disposable diapers from time to time when his cloth ones are being washed, or when we are away from home.  But, I have never paid full price for a package of diapers.  I have either purchased them using sales and coupons, or purchased them off of Amazon Mom. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Money Saving Diapers

Yep, you heard me right!  You can save money by using diapers... cloth diapers!  Yes, they are more expensive to start out with, but if you look at the fact that you can use the same diaper over, and over, and over again, it makes sense.  You can even use them for more than one child if you so desire.

We won't get into all the details of the different kinds of cloth diapers and where to get them today... that's a whole other post... or multiple posts! 

Today, I just wanted to tell you about a great blog that hosts many different giveaways.  And right now, one of those giveaways is for a diaper from Calgary Cloth Diaper Depot.  So go check it out!  Head on over to Sugar Pop Ribbons Reviews & Giveaways to check out the Calgary Cloth Diaper Depot Giveaway.  You never know, you just might win your first cloth diaper!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Saving Money at Target!

One of the ways I am learning about to save money is using coupons.  Don't jump off the train here, I am not going to store canned goods under my kids beds or anything like that.  Just using coupons and sales to buy things I need at lower prices and stocking up on a few non-perishables.  Most of my "stocking up" so far is just things like have a couple extra packs of toilet paper in the linen closet, a couple extra jugs of laundry detergent in the garage, and extra diapers in the baby's closet. 

One of the tricks I have found though is that Target will accept one manufacturer's coupon and one Target coupon on the same item.  This is great... makes for some half-price diapers if you can hit the right sale! 

Here is one of the deals I was able to do the other day.  I had some Gerber Baby Food coupons that were about to expire.  I also had a Target coupon that was good for $2 off any Gerber baby food purchase of $10 or more.  Now, here is where I have to admit my failings... I didn't do my calculations right and ended up with almost $15 worth of baby food instead of just over $10 like I was planning.  However, between the Target coupon, and several Gerber coupons, I was able to save 33% on 4 boxes of baby cereal (rice and oatmeal), 4 (2-packs) of Gerber 1st foods, and 1 (4-pack) of yogurt.

Don't know where to get Target coupons?  Well, some of the ones I have used have come in the mail, and some I got for registering there before my baby was born.  But one place to get them (if you have a printer) is on the Target Website.
Now, if you are like me, you are terrible at taking the time to match up the sales with the coupons.  There's a cheat for that too!  Here!

Friday, September 2, 2011

First Post

So here I am.  I suddenly have found myself staying at home with my child.  This is different.  I have worked my way through college and ever since.  Don't get me wrong, I love staying home with my little guy!  But, I also want to do what I can to help stretch my husband's income a little farther.  So here, I'm going to blog about my adventures in trying to save money and maybe even make a little spending money, all while taking care of my little guy.