Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Lenten Sacrifice

Since Lent has started I decided to come up with a Top 10 list of things to give up/do for lent in case you hadn't started yet.
  1. Give up some type of social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest - Even better if you replace these activities with #4:)
  2. Stop using the lords name in vain and/or stop using cuss words. 
  3. Give up your favorite dessert/snack or treat.
  4. Read books, blogs, magazines and newspapers that focus on faith and strengthen your relationship with God. 
  5. Go to weekly stations of the cross at your local church if available. 
  6. Give up listening to the radio in your car. Replace the silence with religious music or audio books, talk with those riding with you, or spend time talking to God.
  7. Focus more on others instead of self by doing daily or weekly random acts of kindness for people. Do these things anonymously if possible.
  8. Give up watching TV or even just your favorite TV shows. 
  9. Give to the poor in any way you can. Food, clothing or even time. 
  10. Spend time daily talking to Jesus. Thank him. Ask him for guidance in something you might be struggling with. Be sure to listen as well.

I wish I could say that I'm doing everything on this list but I am trying to do a couple different things. I have given up pop (aka:soda for those of you that don't know what pop is;) which is super hard for me. I love to have a nice cold caffeinated Pepsi or Dr. Pepper right after lunch in the afternoons to keep me awake. I also love it with popcorn, pizza, Mexican food, at the movies.....you get the idea. Luckily, I love water and Ice Tea as well so I should hopefully survive these 40 days and nights just fine. 

I'm also working on reading several different books that the head LifeNight teacher loaned me over a year ago (yikes). My goal is to return all three after Lent is over. 

Several of the other ideas on the list I'm trying to be more active in but I don't want to try to over commit and then fail. I guess we will just have to wait and see how I do. My goal is to have a deeper understanding of my faith and closer relationship with God. Wish me luck!

Have you decided to give up/do something for lent? What is it?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Why do I believe in God?

(This turned out a little longer than I intended so if you just want to read my reasons skip down to "Here goes...")

I help teach the high school youth group at my church on Wednesday nights. We call it LifeNight. 

Recently, the Youth Group Leader, had a high school science speaker come talk to the students about how our faith can co-exist with evolution. Basically, we can believe in God AND that we, as a species, have evolved over time. These are two different truths in our church and it's okay to believe both because they go hand in hand.

Honestly, this can be a little complicated to wrap your head around both ideas and I know if I even try to explain it I will most likely butcher the facts so I will just move on with my main point of this post. (Maybe in the future I will write another post on this and get some feed back from someone who has a little more authority on the subject than myself.)

This idea of God and Evolution is not the main reason for the post but it's intent is to give you a little background on the evening and how it led into this next question asked of the speaker...

"Why do you believe in God?" 

I was honestly taken a little aback that one of the students would ask our speaker this question considering he had basically just told us that he does believe in God and science and how the two work together. 

Then I realized that the student didn't merely ask, "Do you?" but "WHY do you believe in God?"

This seems like a question that should be so easy to answer but in reality can be very complicated. Our speaker gave a fantastic answer for his reasons Why but even after listening to his answer I kept pondering the question in my own mind. 

"Why do I believe in God?"

Sure I believe in God because that is what I was taught from the moment I was born. I was raised by a family who is Catholic and as a Catholic that's what we do, WE believe in God. 

The prayer, The Apostles Creed, basically spells out our beliefs as Catholics and the first sentence says, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth." 

While it's great to grow up Catholic I definitely think that we need to understand why "We" actually believe what we believe. 

I've put together a short list of reasons why I personally believe in God. While the list may be short, these were all significant moments in my life that strengthened my faith.

Here goes...

I believe in God because my parents tried for over 10 years to have a child (me). At a certain point they opened their hearts to God and decided that maybe he was leading him into having a child another way. On the day my mom received a letter from the Catholic adoption agency telling her they would be able to apply for adoption she tells how she felt filled with the Holy Spirit and at that moment she knew that she was pregnant. A quick test and 9 months later I was born. 

I believe in God because when I was 5 years old I woke up to the sound of an ambulance on the highway. Never before had I said a prayer for the person to whom an ambulance was traveling too, but at that moment I did. Several minutes later my Dad came upstairs to find me awake and tell me that my cousin and best friend, Maria, who was also 5, had just been hit by a car. The ambulance was coming to take her to the hospital. Thankfully she only had a broken collar bone and has since recovered:)

I believe in God because when I was 8 years old my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and survived. She had a mammogram only 1 month before finding a dime sized lump in her breast during a self exam. God gave her the strength to fight cancer and to win!

I believe in God because I met my husband at the age of 14 years old and my life was changed for the better. He is truly my best friend and the most respectful man I have ever met. He is the kind of husband that you would want for your children. It is truly the power of God that made everything align so that I even had the opportunity to meet my husband. One small change in our lives and we may have never met. For this, I am eternally grateful and will share more about some other time. 

I believe in God because when my brother, Joe, was 18 years old he jumped from a car filming a "stunt" and was in a coma with a Traumatic Brain Injury. It was such a serious injury that my parents and I had to meet with people about donating his organs if he, most likely, didn't make it. Later that day I was in the ICU standing next to my brother who had not moved since being brought into the hospital. A priest, who was a great family friend, came in to say a blessing over Joe. In the middle of his prayer I watched Joe move his hand! I believe that God was in that room with us and that He was not yet ready to take Joe into his loving arms in Heaven. God has great plans for Joe here on earth that I will tell you about later. From that moment of prayer and blessing in his ICU hospital room Joe has continued to improve. 

These are only a handful of some of the reasons why I believe in God, the Father Almighty. 

I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason. For God's reasons to be more specific. I no longer try to understand God's plan for me because I know that someday it will be revealed when he is ready. 

At this point in life I am just thankful and content to be in awe of God's power and Grace. 

So, Why do YOU believe in God?

Here's the Apostles Creed in case your interested:)

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Day

I must admit that I'm not an over the top lover of Valentines day. I mean, I like it just fine. I have nothing against it. I guess it's just not my thing. 

Typically I don't really do anything for Valentines Day except go to dinner with my husband, which is the best way to celebrate if you ask me. This year though, I decided to test Valentines day out a little bit by doing some decorating. 

Honestly, I'm not sure why. My husband is out of town working and the only person that has seen the decorations, besides myself, is Gunnar (my dog). Pretty sure he didn't even notice though. Oh well.

I took things pretty easy this year and only decorated my fireplace and mantle. 

Here's the normal look of my fireplace...

...and here's the decorated version. 

I didn't want to spend a ton of money on decorations so most of the decor is random stuff around my house. I did splurge and buy the "XO" letters at Hobby Lobby and then paint them a shimmery red color. 

The little white vases I found at a thrift store for .50 cents each. 
I used them as part of table decor in my wedding. 

The hurricane vases I got from Seth's Grandma. 
I filled them with pink paper punches (that I saved from the trashcan at work).

I also used the pink paper punches to attach to ribbon and hang from the shutters. 

Prom photo from my Senior year of high school in 2005! 
Seth came home from college to take me:)

I honestly can't remember where I got this gumball machine. I'm guessing probably a thrift store. I guarantee I didn't pay over $3 for it though and it's one of the cool old ones that really works. I want to fill it with candy hearts but I haven't been to the store since I decorated. Maybe next year. 

I also splurged on 1 sheet of sparkly red scrapbook paper that I cut and taped to ribbon.

The little mailbox is from the $1 section of Target (love that place) and I had the "Love" magnet already. The black and white sign was a wedding gift that I LOVE and always stays on my mantle. I also just pulled a bunch of pink books from my book shelf to help vary the height of things. 

Well, I guess that's the end of the mantle tour. 

Here's the sappy part if you want to quit reading....

Happy Valentines Day to my very best friend and husband, Seth. When we started dating 11 years ago it changed my life for the best and I'm so happy to be your wife and grow old with you. You make everyday wonderful and continue to spoil me even when it's not Valentines Day. I love you and can't wait to see you tomorrow to celebrate with dinner and a movie (cause we're old like that;). 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I must admit that I love couponing!

Now, I'm not an "extreme" couponer like what you see on TLC's "Extreme Couponers" but I think I do all right. 

Most times shopping I try to leave the store with at least 50% savings. In my book, 50% savings is great! Plus I actually get reasonable amounts of the different products as opposed to 72 bottles of mustard that I will never be able to use. 

Fortunately I live in a location that has lots of different shopping choices to choose from. I can pick up different deals from the different stores. Or, if I don't want to go to multiple places my local Wal-Mart price matches.  

Most recently, I hit up my local Dillons. I managed a bill totaling $14 and change and I saved over $36! Plus, one of the products I purchased earned me a $3 catalina coupon on my next purchase. How great is that?! 

A quick summary of some of the things I bought or got for free included:

  • 4 Reach Floss - on sale for .45 cents each - I had two $1.00 off two coupon which means I got all 4 free! This is the item that also gave me the $3 catalina off my next puchase.
  • 2 Reach Toothbrushes - on sale for .99 cents each  - I had two $1.00 off one coupon which meant both were free!
  • 1 yoplait yogurt - on sale for .50 cents each - I had one .30 cent off coupon that doubled meaning it was free!
  • 1 Men's Dove Body Wash - on sale for $2.99 - I had a coupon for $2.00 of one making the body wash only .99 cents
  • 4 packages of Hefty ziplock bags - on sale for .99 cents each - I had two $1 off two coupons making each box of bags only .50 cents

Now these are only a few of the things I got and I obviously buy some things that don't have coupons but I always try to watch the sales and avoid paying full price for anything if at all possible. 

I learned most of my couponing skills, not from tv or blogs, but from my mom who was years ahead of the times in regards to the coupon world. She is now the one I call to tell about my favorite couponing deals and she is always willing to share her deals as well. 

Couponing, done correctly, can save your family a lot of money. However, as my husband likes to remind me, don't buy it if you don't need it or won't use it :) If you can get it for free or fairly inexpensively and want to donate it then I think that's great! That's what I like to do with a lot of the hygiene products I get. 

In the comments section tell us what are some of your favorite couponing tips? What was the best deal you have ever gotten?

Until next time, remember, if you buy too much, it probably Freezes Beautifully:)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Life Experiences vs. Things

We have all heard the phrase, "money can't buy happiness" which is something I do agree with to an extent. I still like to imagine what it must be like to win the lottery and become instantly rich. I might add that my chances of winning said lottery are probably pretty slim since I never play....but anyways...I recently stumbled across, what I considered to be, a little gem of an article discussing how money can make you happy if you spend it the right way. 

I know you must be on the edge of your seat right now just wondering how in the world your piles of riches can in fact make you happy. What, you don't have piles of riches to spend on said happiness? That's okay! You don't need to be rich.

According to the article, instead of spending discretionary income on material possessions spend it on life experiences. Especially life experiences that include others

This seems so obvious that I'm surprised it's not discussed more frequently.

Think about it though. 

How many forgotten Birthday and Christmas gifts are buried in the back of a (desperately needs to be cleaned) closet or drawer? I don't even know but my guess is a lot. 

You know what hasn't been forgotten though? The time my family pulled over on the side of the road to feed the chipmunks on the way to Colorado. When I stayed up all night with my Mom and the rest of the Relay for Life team walking the track. How my Dad taught me to use waxed paper on our metal slide to make it super slippery fast. Playing softball on the Barbie's Dolls team and winning league three years in a row with my stepdad as the coach. Getting kicked out of the water park in Oklahoma City when I was with my cousins and the baseball team that my (now) husband was on. 

All of these are experiences may have cost a little bit of money but I can assure I would have been willing to pay double the price for all the memories and the fun that I have had along the way. 

In order to try to focus my life more around experiences, as opposed to material possessions, I've decided to come up with a list. 

The experiences range from $5 to $5000 on how you can spend your discretionary income to get more joy from life. They are not overly difficult things to do and any of them can be done with a friend, child, sibling or significant other.

Play a fierce game of spoons after you clean up the dinner dishes.
Ride your bike to go get ice cream during the summer and race to eat it before it melts. 
Go out to dinner at a restaurant that you have never tried before and close your eyes to pick the appetizer. 
Volunteer at a local food pantry to help those who may be down on their luck.
Start a book club and have everyone bring a food item to share that is in theme with the book.
Join a local intramural team to keep your love for the game strong.
Plan a cruise to visit the crystal blue waters that you find so beautiful and enjoy the anticipation of the actual trip.
My Husband on one of the beaches we stopped at on our Honeymoon.

Create a list of life experiences you want to have with others in your life:)

What's on your "To do" list of life experiences?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Save $50 in 10 Minutes!

Super easy way to save $50!

My husband and I currently use Dish Network for our television watching needs (wants??). Well, I would estimate that I get probably 3 mailings a month from DirectTV trying to convince us to switch our service to them. The last mailing looked pretty intriguing but I didn't want to go through the hassle of trying to switch providers, plus it seems like there is always a catch. You know the saying...If it looks to good to be true....

Well, I decided to do the next best thing. Call Dish Network, my current provider. 

When calling and going through the automated system I selected the option that said I was wanting to cancel my service. I have noticed when you do this they answer right away.  No boring wait times with elevator music. They are also super friendly and happy to help you in any way to keep you from canceling your service. 

(I feel I should add that we have been with Dish for over 2 years so we weren't locked into the 2 year contract anymore. Not sure if this would change the outcome or not.)

When the girl answered the phone I simply told her what a great deal DirectTV was offering me. I also made sure to tell her that I was very happy with my Dish service and wasn't really wanting to change but I was hoping she could help me. 

And help she did!

Within just a few seconds of explaining why I had called she was offering me $5 off my bill for 10 months. Sweet deal!!

$5x10 months = $50 in my pocket!!

PLUS, she threw in 3 months of the premium movie channels for free:) 

(I do have to remember to call and cancel after 3 months but no biggie)

All of this and no renewed 2 year contract. Once my 10 months of reduced prices is over I'm hoping to have another great offer from DirectTV so I can call Dish again!

I'm hoping to try this out with my internet provider next. 

Have you done this yet? Did they lower your rates?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Little About Me

A little background about me. 

I believe in God. 

I married my high school sweetheart and now I'm a happily married wife and hopefully one day a mother. 

I'm the oldest of three with two (taller than me) younger brothers. 

I'm blessed to be from a very large extended family with over 30 first cousins. 

Besides my husband, my mom is my best friend followed very closely by several cousins and a great friend from college. 

I have a puppy named Gunnar, who is not really a puppy anymore since he is 
nine months old but he will always be a puppy to me. 

Before Gunnar I was not a dog/animal lover. I have since changed my ways:)

Gunnar eats things. Lots and lots of things. Including the neighbors things.

I'm mildly obsessed with making lists. (In case you can't tell, yet)

I enjoy photography and pretty things like those that can be found on Pinterest. 

I like to bake and cook and have a great relationship with garlic, onion, and cinnamon. (not all together though)

I have had my own garden for one year and LOVE it!

I might have a TV addiction. 


Monday, February 4, 2013

Welcome to It Freezes Beautifully!


It Freezes Beautifully! A saying that's been passed down in my family from Grandma P. Anyone that knows Grandma has probably heard her say it at least once in their life. She freezes anything and everything. Honestly, I don't think I have ever heard her say that something doesn't freeze beautifully. 

It has long been a standing joke in our family and I've heard the phrase countless times. One year we even made t-shirts with all of Grandma's phrases and "It Freezes Beautifully" was by far the most popular and made it to the top of the list. 

At this point in life, my Mom is now telling me it freezes beautifully if I even mention anything that has a chance of being frozen. I know it's only a matter of time (if it hasn't happened already) before I become my mother and essentially my grandmother. Good thing these are two women who I completely admire and can only pray I learn something from them along the way. 

So you may be wondering, "what the heck kind of blog is this anyway?" Well, I promise it won't be all about freezing things (even though it will probably have some freezing ideas) because honestly that sounds a little dull. I'm hoping that this is a place where I can write and discuss things that I enjoy or that peak my interest. 

I want to talk about family and how blessed I am to have such an amazing one. 

I want to talk about food because I love to eat and let's face it, don't we all?

I want to talk about saving money because I enjoy things like clipping coupons and finding steals on anything and everything. 

I want to talk about creativity and things that are beautiful. 

I know there are many more things I want to discuss but I think I will save those for some posts later on. 

Thanks for stopping by!


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