Friday, December 24, 2010

The Brick House Wishes You a Very Merry Christmas!

Christmas is the most important holiday of the year in our home, right next to Easter.  This is the time of year that we celebrate the Birth of our Savior and share His love with all of our family and friends.  For this reason, my attention has been turned toward these very special people so that they know just how important they are to Jesus and to me.  I pray that you are enjoying your family and friends while you celebrate the Reason for the Season as well!

The Brick House was formed to be your source for encouragement and resources to make your home a strong  dwelling for your loved ones.  Invite your friends to The Brick House and leave a comment about topics that you would like to see covered in the coming year. 

I have an exciting announcement about a new development that I will get into a bit more next week, but stay tuned to find out how YOU can benefit from this great offer from The Brick House!

God Bless You All
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December Photo Project 2010 Day 8

My sweet niece Stella is walking!
She won't even be a year until towards the end of January!

December Photo Project

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December Photo Project 2010 Day 2

Dads Know Their Children So Well
Though "Christmas" is not completely unpacked in my house, I kept this treasure in a safe spot so it would be one of the first things unpacked.  Last year, my dad and step-mom gave this gift to my family knowing just how much our Christ-filled Christmas means to us. The wise men traveled far to bring such precious treasure to our Savior.  It is become a favorite among our Christmas decorations.

December Photo Project

December Photo Project 2010 *Starting a Day Late!"

December Photo Project

I just got on the bandwagon, but thankfully my sweet boy took this photo yesterday so I can officially say
 I have a photo for December 1st!

Folks, meet Brady-
Brady, meet all of blogville...

Brady is a mama's can normally find him wrapped around my neck, sleeping on the headrest of my chair as I blog.  He is my overseer of all great deals...haha...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Little Scribble from the Soul...

As I was journaling this morning, I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving for that are 'right' in my world.  Please don't misunderstand, that hasn't always been the atmosphere of my heart. You see, I tend to be the melancholy type.  You know, the one who has an ideal way for things to be; one who likes things to be just so, and when it isn't, my view of the world is askew. Though this is my natural tendency, I don't believe that is the response that reflects my faith in God. 

Over the years, as battles have rolled onto the landscape of life, there have been times that I cannot see past them to realize that even after they are over, my God is still there. Somewhere along the road, the Lord has begun to correct my vision.  It's not 20/20 just yet, but I've begun to wear my "Trust God" boots and just walk right through the battle.  No way over it, no way around it, just gotta go through it!   It is not hard to see the bright silver lining when the storm is fierce, which is why it makes perfect sense that the 'right' things in life are standing out in bold color right now.  May the lessons that we learn in this time stay with us for a lifetime...

“Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” – Isaiah 43:1-3

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Who said that you can't save $$ at the Healthfood Store?

The first Tuesday of every month is Rainbow Tuesday at Debbie's Health Foods and you get 20% off all regular priced items and there are also many additional items that have been reduced up to 75% off!  When I reviewed Katz Gluten Free yummies and gave them a recommendation to sell at Debbie's, they (Katz) kindly gave me a $50 certificate for any Katz items at Debbie's.  So, armed with my certificate, I was determined to make this work for me! Check out what I got for $2.32! I saved $57! My God Provides!

Even without the $50 certificate, I would have done really well. So...I made a mistake of going to the store hungry, and the Black Bean Chips were 75% off at only $1.00 so I caved...and only a portion of them made it home. :-)  The main reason I went to Debbie's it to get my favorite grain.  Quionoa! I love quinoa and few stores carry it, however Debbie's is definately the cheapest place to get it on Rainbow Tuesday.  The regular price is $5.49 but with the 20% off it is only $4.39!  Publix sells a box of it for around $6 so as you can see it is almost a $2.00 savings.  It is the only grain that is more protein than carbohydrate and is a great substitute for rice in many dishes.  It is similar to the texture of couscous and can be used in any dish that you would use couscous.  Look for it in healthfood section of your grocery.  It is prepared using the same water to grain ratio as with rice.  Season with olive oil, garlic and salt & pepper. Yummy! Go get you some!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Homemakers Are Priceless...

When you think of
What is the first thing that you think of?

Just like you, my family is my heartbeat.  When I think about my life's aspirations, to have a happy, healthy household ranks at the very top of my list.  The investment in my home and those who dwell in it is the type of investment that multiplies.  Somehow the hours translate into character building opportunities and the source of joy emanates through one another. 

To me, homemaking is building the structure in which a household can grow and flourish in a stable and strong environment.  The precious souls that make up our homes depend on us to mold and shape their worlds.  

:{Homemaking is among the greatest callings
to which we will ever answer}: 

No one can ever replace the homemaker.  A homemaker's value is not measured by a rate-per-hour.  Do you ever wonder why? Because the homemaker is PRICELESS!  A homemaker can not be hired.  There is a miraculous thing that happens when a homemaker takes steps into her role.  There is an ownership mechanism that takes place and it unveils a creative side in this woman that she never even saw.  She is able to breath life into her home that would otherwise seem like hollow collection of 2x4's & drywall.  Suddenly she discovers her love for her home and all those who visit.  This love takes wings and carries us over every sleepless night and through every unanswered challenge. You are PRICELESS!

:{Tasha Brickhouse}:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Building The Brick House

...He huffed, and he puffed, and he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed and huffed; but he could not get the house down...
{The Story of the Three Little Pigs}

There is no question which little pig we would like to be, but what are we doing to build our brick house? When the adversary comes knocking at the door, what is your first response? Do you panic, fret and cower to the enemy? Or is your home built upon The Rock as in Matthew 7:24 "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:" 

We have a choice to respond in that hour of trouble and Psalms 50:15 tells us to " upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me."  With every breath I have, and all the strength in my being, I seek to glorify God even when the adversary is at my door.  There is a very real purpose for the challenges that come our way, and we must realize that " strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor 12:9. 
What sort of building materials are you using to build your
brick house? 
Did you know that "Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];"?  Has your house been built upon faith in Him alone?  We all know that foundation is the most vital component to any sturdy structure. 
Are you building your walls by fixing your mind on the Rock of Ages as in Isaiah 26:3-4 "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength {Translated as Rock of Ages}." 

Is your home covered (roof) " the blood of the Lamb, and by ithe word of their (your) testimony..." as in Rev 12:11?  The scripture says that is the way to overcome the adversary.  This word is truth, and it lights the path along our brick house.  Though the adversary stands at the door and threatens to "huff and puff and blow our house down,"  our advocate, Jesus Christ has provided a way to persevere during great struggle.  He amazes us with His method of warfare, and seek to hold firmly to Romans 8:28 which says "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose."
Written by Tasha Brickhouse

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What Can You Get at the Farmers Market for Under $20?

I am a huge Farmer's Market fanatic. It started long ago, when as a teenager, my sister Kristi and I both worked at the Virginia Beach Farmers Market.  The summers were filled with trailers of Silver Queen corn, watermelons, snow cones and cotton candy and the fall was pumpkin patches and hay bales.  Combine that with my mother's love of any vegetable, and now as an adult, it is hard to go a week without a trip to the market.

This morning my sweet neighbor, Val, went with me to get a basket of goodies.  Each of us went with just $20 and we came back with bags of food & money left over!  Check out what I got for just $17!
  • 10 Plums $2
  • 2 Avocados $1
  • 4 Beef Stake Tomatoes $2
  • 12 Pickling Cucumber (this variety is tender and yummy for slicing with red onions & red wine vinegar) $1.50
  • 4 Red Peppers $2
  • 2 Yellow Peppers $1
  • 3lb bag of Cooking Onions $1
  • 1lb bag of Carrots $.75
  • 1lb of Asparagus $1
  • 1 large Red Onion $.75
  • 2 Spaghetti Squash $2
  • 5 small Bok Choy $1
  • 1 Celery $1
You cannot beat the deals!  There is no other way to provide healthy foods for your family at a reasonable cost.  There are a few things that you may want to keep in mind when going to the market for the first time. 
  • Don't buy the first thing you see.  Take your time and check prices because competing vendors may have better prices or better quality.  If you have never been to the market, take a walk around first, making note of prices as you go. 
  • Ask the vendors what is in season right now.  Those items will be at the lowest prices.  Other items may be available, but remember, if it is not in season, you may pay more and there may be a loss of quality because it is not the time of year for premium production (for instance, oranges will not be as flavorful in the summer as they are in the winter)
  • Bring a cart, wagon, stroller, etc. because you are sure to fill it up!  Don't forget your reuseable bags too!
Once you are a regular at the market, the vendors get to know you and often times are willing to give you a bit of a deal now and then. A trip to your local market may be out of your normal routine, but check with your county agriculture center to find one near you.

Going to the market reminds me of the woman in Proverbs 31:14 "She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar." Taking care of my family is the highest calling!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do You Want Some FREE Recipes for this Fall?

Check out this Free Fall eCookbook containing recipes like:
  • Fontina Fondue
  • Fruited Acorn Squash
  • Au Gratin Potoatoes
  • Apple Glaze Chicken
  • Piled-High Apple Pie
Looks like a good reason to dirty up the kitchen and try out some new dishes!

The Blessing of Walking with a Stranger...

Yesterday morning, I took my normal morning walk a little later than usual.  The music was flowing out of my headphones and I was moving along at a pretty brisk pace.  Just ahead of me was an older gentleman, out for his morning walk, carrying a cane just in case he may need a little help on his travels.  The pace I kept was just a bit faster than his so in time I caught up with him.  First, I cleared my throat to create a little noise so he would not be startled when I came up along side of him.  When he turned, I apologized if I had startled him, and he kindly said thank you. 

At first, I was going to keep my pace and pass him, but then he said, "Do you walk here much?"  So I answered, "Yes, a few times a week."  He explained that he was hoping the walk would strengthen his back, so he committed to walk as much as possible.  The questions kept coming.  He was kind, gentle and almost seemed glad for someone to chat with while he pressed himself to walk this 3 mile treck.  I got to know a little about him, how he recently had to place his beloved wife in a nursing home, which explained his desire for a little conversation.  He told me that he served in the military and retired from 35 years of service at the Post Office.  We talked about family that lived close by and he gave me a little grandfatherly wisdom concerning the path to success from his viewpoint.  Never pushy, just very kind. 

I felt like I had taken a walk with my Grampy.  Anyone who knows me, knows that my Grampy means the world to me.  It's been a couple of years since I've been able to visit him, so this little walk with a stranger seemed to be a blessing that Jesus taylor made for me.  It is a reminder to me to not get so busy that I "forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Welcome the The Brick House!

Make yourself at home here!
For those who have not had a chance to come in and make yourself comfortable, I urge you to grab a cup of coffee and let's get to know each other!

At The Brick House, we will learn from each other about taking care of our families while we grow in the Light of Christ.  Some of the areas that we will talk about are faith, families, childrearing, cooking, strategic shopping (on a shoestring), crafts, housekeeping, friendships and many more!  If I come acrossed a great deal or a something new, you will be the next to know!  A passion for all thing home and family has led me to this great world of blogging and now to you! Will you join me?  Find us on Facebook and you will never miss a post!

God Bless you!
Tasha Brickhouse

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Building Upon THE ROCK

Everyday is about living a life built upon the Rock of My Salvation and sharing it with those who do not know Him. Do You Know Jesus and what He has done for YOU?

in reference to: Facebook (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What's On The Stove?

This weather makes me want to break out the chopping block and
Cook Away! 
Today's recipe is one of my simple & healthy favorites!
Lentil Soup

For starters, the basic 4:
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed with flat side of the knife and coursely chopped
  • 2 celery stalk, chopped (I include the leaves for flavor)
  • 2 carrots, sliced
Get these things sauteing over med-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil.

While that is going, rinse your dry lentils and make sure there is no debris. After about 3-4 minutes, slowly add:
  • 1 carton of beef or chicken stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • lentels

Allow this to simmer (covered) on medium or just below for about 45 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Lentils are the best vegetable source of iron and are high in fiber and protein and are on the low glycemic load index. Not to mention, easy on the wallet! There are so many things that can be done with lentils: in soups, salads and as a meat replacement in many meals.

I just tried something new! I went here to find out the nutritional data for this recipe! Pretty cool!

Homemade Pizza Dough

Since I've been in "Ultimate Cheapskate Mode", I've been on the hunt for pizza dough that I can freeze. At the grocery store you can normally buy it for about $2, but I was hoping to make a large quantity for under $1 each.  I think that is easily done with the following recipe.  This not only looks super easy, but it can be played with a bit to incorporate some whole wheat flour and such as you get the hang of it. Check it out!

Compliments of MoneySavingMom

 Pizza Crust:

  • 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the rest of the ingredients in and mix (I have a KitchenAide with a dough hook).

Dump onto a floured surface .
Knead into a smooth dough (five minutes or so).

Roll out and press down onto a greased pizza pan.
Add toppings. (Have fun and be creative with this! Our favorite variety is
salsa or barbecue sauce, diced cooked chicken, and cheese.)

Bake at 450 degrees F. for around 12-15 minutes until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned.

By the way, you can make up a double or triple batch of the pizza crust
dough and freeze the extras if you don't need it. This speeds up the
preparation even more as all you have to do is pull out a bag of dough
and a bag of chopped cooked chicken in the morning and then put the
pizza together right before you're ready to eat. You can also freeze
the pizzas already cooked but I doubt it would ever stay uneaten long
enough to make it to the freezer around here!


Friday, October 8, 2010

A Faithful Woman, TGIF:: Marketplace Leaders

TGIF « Marketplace Leaders
Today God Is First

A Faithful Woman

October 8th, 2010 by Os Hillman

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Proverbs 31:28

She was the Vice President of Household Affairs for her entire adult life. She had a husband, four daughters, and one son whom she managed. Her calling was not to the workplace; it was to the home. It was a calling that she fulfilled well. She often went beyond her job description to fulfill menial tasks like sewing clothes for her twin girls, playing dolls, and even playing catch with the only boy in the clan.

Things were going along well until midway in life a telephone call came that changed everything. The caller informed her that the love of her life had been killed in an airplane crash. She was in her early 40’s, still beautiful, with five kids to raise on her own in spite of the fact that she hadn’t worked in the business place for nearly 20 years. The death of her husband removed their steady upper middle-class income, and she was now faced with the greatest test of her life. At her lowest moment, wondering how she was going to make it, she cried out to God. God answered, “Trust Me, Lillian.” Those audible words became the strength that she needed to care for her family for the next 40 years. From that moment on, she came to know her Savior personally and shared Him with her family. Her children came to know Him as well. Grandchildren became the recipient of her prayers, and they came to know Him too. She was building an inheritance in Heaven, one prayer at a time, one soul at a time. She never remarried; Christ became her Husband.

Whatever wisdom and encouragement has come to you through these devotionals, it is only as a result of one who answered the call to the greatest and most important workplace there is: the home. You can thank my mom, Lillian Hillman, for whatever grace you have gained from these messages throughout the year, because she remained faithful to the call to invest in those she was called to love and serve. “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”

Tasha's note: We leave a legacy for other to follow when we we allow the Lord to mold us through the challenges that come our way.  It can be very difficult, but when we yield to the Master's Hand, the results will be beautiful!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Few Shortcuts...

Your maiden voyage to the grocery store with your passel of coupons can be a little nerve-wracking if you are not sure if you planned it out completely.  Just remember, any money saved is worth the time invested.  Your first trip, you may discover that there are items that you misapply the coupons to, or perhaps, didn't apply enough coupons to, but count it all as a part of the learning process and shortly you will become a coupon pro!

Take a look at the previous posts which contain my shopping lists for this week.  Be sure to gather your coupons and your list before you leave for the store.  Here is my little hint: I use a clear page protector to put my list in as well as any applicable coupons, rewards bucks, etc. so that when I get to the register I am not fishing for my coupons from my pocket, purse or what-have-you.  I carry a coupon binder/file into the store with a page protector for each store (Winn Dixie, Publix, CVS, Walgreens, etc.).  Everything has a place and I can put my hands on everything quickly.

What is your favorite method of organizing your coupons when you go to the store?

Classic Meat Loaf Cooking Club of America

Classic Meat Loaf Cooking Club of America

This is the meat loaf to make when you long for a nostalgic taste of the foods of your childhood. It’s moist, and the combination of beef, veal and pork gives it a rich, meaty flavor. It’s equally good served warm from the oven or cold in sandwiches the next day.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs
2/3 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 lb. ground beef chuck
1/4 lb. ground veal
1/4 lb. ground pork

1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion; cook 5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Place in large bowl; cool to room temperature.

2. Whisk eggs into onion mixture. Stir in bread crumbs, parsley, milk, 2 tablespoons mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, thyme, salt and pepper. Add ground beef, ground veal and ground pork; mix together by hand or with large fork until evenly blended. Press into 9x5-inch loaf pan or place freeform loaf in shallow baking pan. To prevent glaze from dripping off pan during baking, mound meat in center with sloping sides.

3. In small bowl, stir together all glaze ingredients. Brush 1/4 cup of the glaze over top of loaf. Bake 45 minutes; remove pan from oven. Brush top of loaf with remaining 1/4 cup glaze. Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until meat loaf is firm and juices run clear. Loosely cover with foil; let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

8 servings

PER SERVING: 330 calories, 18.5 g total fat (6.5 g saturated fat), 24.5 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 125 mg cholesterol, 585 mg sodium, 1 g fiber

Friday, October 1, 2010

Great Holiday Serving Plate!

Isn't this the coolest serving plate! Great for the Fall Holiday Season!

Pursuing Hospitality from Our Daily Bread

Pursuing Hospitality

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les LambornRead: Romans 12:3-13

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. —1 Peter 4:9

The Greek word translated “hospitality” means “love of strangers.” When Paul speaks of being “given to hospitality” (Rom. 12:13), he is calling us to pursue relationships with people who are in need. It is not an easy task.

Writer Henri Nouwen likens it to reaching out to those we meet on our way through life—people who may be estranged from their culture, country, friends, family, or even from God. Nouwen writes: “Hospitality, therefore, means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.”

Whether we inhabit a home, a college dorm, a prison cell, or a military barracks, we can welcome others as a way of showing our love for them and for Christ. Hospitality is making room for people in need.

Reaching out to needy people,

Showing them our love and care, is one way that God can use us to bring hope to their despair. —Sper

Hospitality can fill the emptiness of a lonely heart.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

You can do this too!

Couponing is work.  It's a job that I can do (for the most part) in the comfort of my home while I am with my children.  It is a reverse job, so to speak. I don't exactly get paid per hour, but I 'save' per hour.   Everyone buys groceries.  Everyone uses products in their homes for cleaning, toiletries, etc.  We all try to save money wherever we can buy catching a sale, but many times we have to buy a product because we absolutely have to have it, regardless of the cost.  Using the method of Coupon-Shopping, you can stock up on items at it's lowest price.  When you combine with store promotions and/or competitor coupons, the deals can be enormous!
If I wasn't checking sales and combining with coupons, my total for all these items would have been $98.67. Instead I paid a whopping $15.30!   All of these products came from Walgreens, Publix & Food Lion, all of which are less than a 6 mile radius of my home.  A little planning and time at the store can go a long way. I am so thankful to those who have shown me this way of contributing to our family.  I would love to share with you also!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Wisdom in the Multitude of Counselors!

Proverbs 11:14 says:
Where no counsel [is], the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors [there is] safety.

Why do we sometimes find it difficult to take advice from others? Pride? Naivety? Whatever the case may be, we may miss out on valuable information and instruction if we do not know how to learn from others!  When I look around and think of how many people are part of my 'multitude of counselors', I am astounded at the amount time invested by these individuals and know that there is no way for me to repay them except to find someone else to invest in, thus, I write to you!

This weekend, my friend Darcy and I attended a coupon class by Couponmamacita.  She did a wonderful job of giving us some new tips on saving $$$ by using coupons for shopping for our family.  If you have a chance, take a look at her site.  Good info that you will want to put to use right away.

My kids and I wrapped up the weekend with wonderful church services yesterday.  In a day and hour when there are so many uncertainties, being able to stand firmly on the Rock of My Salvation is extremely important.  Pastor Glenn Hires from The Pentecostals of Deland always provides strong wisdom that is applicable for our day.  He invited Rev. Eli Hernandez all the way from California to be here to wrap up our 40 Days of Fire revival.  Rev. Hernandez's level of faith challenged us to take God out of our box and let Him do what He does best without being hindered by our preconceived ideas of what He can do. 

Who is on your 'Multitude of Counselors' List?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Whatsoever your hand…{Part 2}

The second thing that I’ve gotten my hands into lately is couponing. Before you completely shut down this blog, give me just a few minutes to demystify some of the wildly popular misconceptions about couponing. Also, let me just add that I am not one to be able to spout off what coupons that I have right off the top of my head and be on the lookout for sales to use them at. That is what I leave to the experts! Can I also tell you, I HATE TO SHOP! –But I love to find a great deal! The deals are what keep me going.

Strategic shopping seems much more impressive than ‘couponing’. Strategy is exactly what makes coupons work for you! If you like games, this is definitely up your alley… (Did I mention that I hate games…But I love to find a great deal!) What I hope to accomplish is to point you in the direction of some great resources and get you on the road to cutting your grocery bill! If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Sometimes there is a learning curve to matching coupons and scoring the best deals. Give yourself a good month of regularly strategic shopping and you will be pleasantly surprised.

First step, get to know the types of coupons that are out there.

• Manufacturer Coupons
• Store Coupons
• Rewards Bucks(CVS)/Register Rewards (Walgreens)
• Mail In Rebates

Here are how these measure up. Manufacture coupons are put out by the product manufacturers to give you an incentive to buy their products. Store Coupons are provided by the Store for specific item or brand. These come in flyers placed in the stores, in your newspaper or in the mail. In general, those coupons are meant to be used at that particular store, however, in our area, Publix takes all competitors coupons. This is a golden opportunity. Rewards Bucks and Register Rewards are offered by the store after you have purchased a certain product during their promotional dates. These rewards are good for your next purchase at that store. They are meant to be used only at that store, however, Publix does accept them. Mail-In-Rebates are offered by Manufacturers as a bonus for buying their product.

Next step that I suggest is to watch the tutorials  
Get familiar with the website. It is a comprehensive resource for any of the stores in our area. This website will help build your shopping lists based on what is on sale, what you should have coupons for (or can get them by printing them off of the internet) as well as any additional mail in rebates. They do all of the homework for you. I have no idea how they compile their database, but they have it going on! Once you have been clipping coupons for a while, you will see that you probably have the coupons for items that go on sale!

As you are preparing to plunge into strategic shopping, make note of these coupon tricks:

• Purchase 2 Sunday newspapers. Many products go on sale ‘buy 1 get 1’ regularly. The stores allow you to use a coupon for each of those items, essentially doubling your coupon value! You can easily make up the cost of your newspaper by catching 1 b1g1 sale.

• Clip coupons that you would possibly buy if the price was just pocket change (because inevitably you will find the product on sale or clearance and kick yourself for not clipping it!

• Coupons that say Buy 1 Get 1 free are GOLDEN! If you stash that coupon until you see a Buy 1 Get 1 free sale, you will get BOTH ITEMS FREE! The coupon covers the item that you are supposed to pay for (within the monetary limit that the coupon states).

• Publix allows for the combination of a store coupon (even if it is not their own) and a manufacturer’s coupon. I do not know of another store around this area that does this. What this means is, If you catch Kelloggs cereal on sale b1g1, you can use a manufacturer’s coupon for each box of cereal and a store coupon for each box.

Another great video tutorial is She has tons of youtube videos at . is another must have resource. does a good job reviewing the Publix ads but I have found additional coupons and resources on iheartpublix, especially the page and click on the mega deals link.

So now that you have all of these coupons, what do you do with them all? Well, I started out with a little accordion file, and then I realized that I was out growing that system so I switched over to a very primitive envelope style. Today, I officially moved up to a coupon binder. Many coupon sites show people building coupon binders and using baseball card protector sheets to hold the coupons. Being the frugalista that I am, I was determined to find something that I already had that could work. In my homeschool stash, I had tons of CD binder sleeves, so I went to work making a binder using this pretty little layout by . I love her tagline :-).

The internet has a wealth of information that I have yet to conquer, and by no means do I feel like I have the supreme knowledge on the topic of couponing, but I love to share great opportunities with other and hope that you may have great success with your Strategic Shopping.

I leave you with a picture of my mega deal of the week…this keeps me couponing!

You've got it!  I paid $.92 for all this! Just peanuts (pardon the pun) :-)

Whatsoever your hand...{Part 1}

Whatsoever your hand…{Part 1}

It is interesting how challenges can bring about a clear opportunity for strategizing on levels that you may have never thought of before. The current economic recession (and some have dubbed depression) can have us scrambling to create resources that we hadn’t even discovered before. My mother used to say, necessity is the mother of invention. She sure was right. That woman could make a full meal using 3 ingredients and make you feel like you were eating a feast. When Cindy cooked, it was divine. She knew how to use the most basic thing and make it a treat, always putting plenty of color on the plate. As a child, I craved her creativity and as an adult, I realize that my memory of her teaches me every day, resulting in the birth of a couple creative ways to contribute to my household while raising my children. Let me tell you about them!

Especially since I have become a mother, photographs have become a very important part of documenting the lives of my children. Not just any photographs, but those that capture the essence and emotion of their individual personalities. Those photos bring me right back to the time and day that they were taken. The more that I took photos, the more that I became aware of the elements of a good picture verses a bad picture. Pretty soon I realized that this was something that I would like to do to help others capture the wonderful memories of their family as it grows. So, little by little, I would photo this one and that one until early this year, at the encouragement of my sister, I stepped into the photography business. It has been amazing to have the wonderful opportunities to connect with families and catch that first smile or even a bit of a sad face. God has been good and He gifts us all individually, and it is up to us to be sure that whatsoever we put our hand to, do it with all of our might (Eccl 9:10).
If you haven’t already, check out how I am writing history through photography at

Stay tuned for {Part 2} of Whatsoever Your Hand…

Word of the Day | Tenacious

Words mean a great deal to me, the Word of God being the most important of all.  When it feels like the Lord gives me a word of inspiration, many times it is just that, a word.  As I sat in church last week listening to Pastor preach about increasing our faith and commitment during our 40 Days of Fire revival, the word  "Tenacious" came to mind. Though I've used this word in many ways, I immediately I jotted it down to look up the official meaning.

te·na·cious [tuh-ney-shuhs]

1. holding fast; characterized by keeping a firm hold (often fol. by of ): a tenacious grip on my arm; tenacious of old habits.
2. highly retentive: a tenacious memory.
3. pertinacious, persistent, stubborn, or obstinate.
4. adhesive or sticky; viscous or glutinous.
5. holding together; cohesive; not easily pulled asunder; tough. 

And then I saw on #3 the word PERTINACIOUS.  On the hunt again...

per·ti·na·cious  [pur-tn-ey-shuhs]

1. holding tenaciously to a purpose, course of action, or opinion; resolute.
That is it! So clearly, I could see how God was redirecting my attention to THE PURPOSE of all that I do.  So many times, the discouragements of the day or the frustrations of family life can leave us feeling like we should be doing something else or that we have gotten ourselves wrapped up in stuff that has led us away from what is our true purpose.  He was telling me loud and clear that I need to  "Hold tenaciously to a purpose"...not just any purpose, but His purpose for my life, as one of his daughters, a wife, a mother, a business person as a tool in His hand for the greater good of all creation...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Prayer Journals

The woman at the well was changed forever after her encounter with Jesus. He told her things about herself that she had been in denial about. God can illuminate areas necessary for growth in a way that makes us aware of just how much He loves us. The Biblical symbol of the well is a place of fresh, sustaining water. To “come to the Well” spiritually is to come to God to fill afresh of his life giving water. His water is necessary for every season of our lives. It is what teaches us, shapes our lives and gives us direction for the future. We don’t ever want to forget where he has brought us from because God will use our past to minister to another. A prayer journal can be a vital tool for remembering where we have come from and finding direction for our future.

There are actually 2 lessons regarding prayer journals that can help us incorporate this tool into our personal time with the Lord.

1. The importance of Memorials for spiritual growth and for teaching others.

2. The impact of WORDS in our lives.

Let’s take a quick look at a time when God instructs his people to leave a memorial for His provision through a trial.


As the children of Israel came upon the Jordan River with the Ark of the Covenant, it seemed an impossible task to cross this body of water, but Joshua sought God and God directed him as to how he would lead them through this trial, and thankfully, someone wrote it all down….here we go….

Joshua 3:7- When Joshua sought God, God gave him the promise Divine Presence & Divine Friendship.

7And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.

Joshua 3:8 – Learning to wait on God

8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the Ark of the Covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

Joshua 3:13- The promise unfolded before them

13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the LORD of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

Joshua 3:17 – Passing through the trial

17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

Joshua 4:8- God told Joshua to have the Israelites take 12 stones from the midst of the Jordan River to be placed on the other side of the Jordan for a memorial.

8 And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.



Joshua 4:9 - Joshua also set 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan River as a memorial of where they came through, as proof that they had been there.

9 And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the Ark of the Covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.

When we utilize the tool of a prayer journal, we have a memorial of where He has brought us from and how Jesus provides for our every trial.

There are certain lessons that we will never learn, except through a trial and if we carry a stone out of the midst of that trial as a remembrance, it can become a ROCK that we can build upon.


You may think words on a page are just ink. But, truly what we should aspire to is JUST INK.

Recently I was inspired to begin a blog and I do believe the Lord gave me the title, JUST INK. In a world where anything can be printed, we need a place where what is printed is JUST. says:

JUST: adj. Guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness. In keeping with truth or fact.

Our culture today uses words very loosely. Words like love, hate, perfect or stupid are used so frequently that their value seems to be diminished. God, however, has carefully chosen the precise words to give us direction for our daily lives, and when we are communicating with God through prayer, it is an opportunity to put our feelings into words. At times our verbal prayers may seem to lack direction or fail to fully expose the depth of gratitude or need at the given time. Taking the time to put your conversation with God on paper can help you to clearly express yourself. There is also something amazing that happens when you establish the habit of journaling.  As you begin to write, there often times is an immediate attitude change.  Sometimes you can immediately recognize an angered spirit, or an area that your focus is in the wrong direction.  Oftentimes, you can walk away from your prayer journal feeling like you have taken a tangled mess to God and He has helped you to sort it out and given you insight for strategic battle.

Journaling is a place of transparency and is an opportunity to take a look at situations that are troubling you and forces you take account of your blessings.

Tips for Success:

1. Pick a journal, and stick with the same one. Hopping from journal to journal can make it difficult to see your spiritual growth as you use this tool.

2. Journaling does not have to be done every day, but it is a good goal to try and journal at least once a week. You may even want to make it a Saturday Morning quiet time, or a time that fits your schedule.

3. Put your journal in a place that you have access to it readily; by your Bible, in a nightstand, etc..

Here is a small sampling from my prayer journal:

{God, I don't know what or when or how but I am calling on you for help.  Strengthen the soul that you have blessed me with.  Change my thoughts so that I am not tormented constantly by the things that are not the way I think they should be.  Give me a strength in the face of opposition that doesn't waiver.  As I write, I see the problems of my own ways.  It is not about me, but I seem to make it about me.  Let me decrease, so that you may increase.  Other People Minded....Lord, increase.  It is not about me.

When our deepest desire is not the things of God, or a favor from God, but God himself, we cross a threshold.  Less self-focus, more God-focus.  Less about me, More about Him.  IT'S NOT ABOUT ME by Max Lucado

I could look around and find fear, or look at my father and find faith.  I choose my father's face.}

Let’s take a few minutes to apply this concept of prayer journaling by using this simple framework for journaling:

*3 things that you are most grateful to the Lord

*2 areas in which you desire to see God change circumstances or help you grow.

*Prayer needed for others

Try it out!  You may find that a prayer journal is exactly what you need to deepen your walk with the Lord.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Friends are the flowers in life's garden

Friends are amazing. True friends know you so well that they can read even the slightest expression or body language. They can tell just by the way you answer the phone if things are good or bad. Friends help to shape our lives.

~The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship. (adapted) Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Great and the Small

This was written almost a year ago, but in many ways, it is something that needs to be visited often to be sure that we are doing just this...

As a means to press through this “economic downturn”, most of us are praying, crossing our fingers, strategizing and holding our breath until it passes over. Even as I have been praying, I feel like I have been holding my breath, waiting for life to get back to normal. But what happens to us when we hold our breath? We die…and that is exactly what I have been like…the walking dead. Oh, I have been doing all of the essential stuff, but in this coma like existence that I was never really present in anything that was going on…I just kept waiting. It may take 6 months or 3 years for life as we know it to get back on track…do I really want to miss out on that time?

2 Corinthians 4:8 & 9 says:

8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Recently, our church has been challenged to increase our prayer time. There are so many needs. People are hurting everywhere. Even the “experts” are saying they are not sure how to fix things. It would seem that the only place to turn is up. Even as I pray, I find myself whining and griping about the things I want God to fix…Do you ever get tired of hearing yourself say the same thing over and over again? Couple these thoughts with a few sermons about “Praising God through the Circumstances” and I began to have a paradigm shift. I began to notice that there were many mini-miracles that went on daily and I didn’t take the time to thank God (to my shame). One of the things that sadden me is when my children seem totally unsatisfied with something that my husband and I have done for them. God must feel that way when He swoops down to perform some awesome act in our lives only for us to have the attitude of, “Oh, that’s nice but really, I wanted you to…” I asked God to open my eyes to every little thing that He does for me, give me that child-like wonder and amazement so that nothing is taken for granted. Let me be fully aware, present and engaged in the great and mighty thing He has going on today.

The Message says in 2 Corinthians 4:13-18:

13 -15We're not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, "I believed it, so I said it," we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God's glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!

16 -18So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.

This has encouraged and inspired my spirit. I believe it so I am saying it…Whether it be great or small, I am going to walk with a spirit of gratitude. If all I have left is a little meal and bit of oil, I will give it to God, because I know He will work a miracle!

Would you join me on this journey where praise and thanksgiving pave the way to joy and contentment in Christ?

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Christmas Blessing....

Babies are making their entrance to the world and God is blessing in ways that we never thought would be possible. This little boy, Brody Stone Christmas has been born into the family of Billy, Cheryl Christmas & big sister Ivy. God has been so good to orchestrate every detail of his arrival. There is no doubt that in the days and weeks ahead as he learns what it means to be a part of this loving family, they will all know the magnitude of love their Heavenly Father has for them. I am so blessed to be an eyewitness to His wonder working power in their lives!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


This is totally AMAZING! My little 10 year old wanted to have his picture taken with his school books! Truthfully, as a part of our homeschooling goals, the love of learning is way up there on our list. Trenton does love to learn new things, but sometimes on his terms. His favorite subjects are History and Science. He does like to read when he gets into it, but mostly it is really hard for him to settle his wiggles down enough to digest what he is reading. He is often found doodling something, but he says he is not really into Art. This year he is taking an art class at Co-op and the first semester went fine, mostly because there were a couple other boys in the class. This semester it is just him and the girls, so he begged me to let him out of it. I prayed that he would not quit but just stick it out. Over Christmas break, we gave him a calendar that had instructions to make all sorts of origami figures. This is an all time favorite of his. When we went back to Co-op we told the art teacher of his new love and she suggested that he show the class how to do origami! Talk about a total attitude change! He cannot wait until Monday when we get to go back to art class and HE gets to be the teacher!


Regardless of the fact that she has surpassed my shoe size or that she looks eyeball to eyeball at me, Hannah Rae will always be my little girl. God saw fit to strategically place her between two eweyy-gooey boys and she loves it, despite what she will tell you. Being the only girl has afforded her the undeniable privilege of being the only Daddy’s Girl, and let me tell you, she works it. =) If there is a baby or an animal anywhere in sight, she is sure to be sitting by, observing, holding, or loving on it as much as it will let her. She has taken a great interest in fixing her hair in new ways and loves to try new bubble bath and perfume. Don’t get me wrong now, if there is a ballgame anywhere, she is sure to find her way into it, and when she does, those boys better watch out….


Almost 15 year old Trevor has a backpack full of things he is looking forward to in the next coming year, namely getting his permit sometime in March. His days are filled with freshman high school work, ministry classes, playing his bass guitar and beginning this season’s Senior Bible Quizzing. Trevor is the type of guy that is quick to lend a hand, whether it is at his daddy’s shop, helping Trenton understand a math concept or just about anything you throw his way. His temperament is easy-going and happy go lucky…

Another beautiful fruit from the Bainbridge Family Tree

Today, January 21, 2010, my neice Stella Rayne Bainbridge was born.  Her parents Cory and Lori Bainbridge could not be happier.  Lori did a wonderful job of taking care of this baby during pregnancy and came thru delivery quite impressively.  Short, sweet and to the point.  There was no messing around when Stella decided it was her time to enter this world.  My children are so thrilled to have a baby cousin who lives so close by.  Each one of them is dying to get their hands on her.  Of course all of the grandparents are as proud as they can be.  In the days and weeks ahead we will find out what this little girl is all about.  We will enjoy rocking her, reading to her, showing her things that her little eyes have never beholden before.  What a great privilege and honor it is to participate in the lives of our loved ones.  Thank you, Cory and Lori, for sharing not only such a special event with us, but for sharing this little one with us all.