Wednesday, January 30, 2008



Check out the Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Hass. Very funny alternative lyrics to a bunch of songs that I either strongly dislike, or I feel a strange need to enjoy, even though intellectually I really don't like them.

Here's my favorite from their site:

Anthem of the Hymn Writers (after Tom Conry's Anthem)

We write hymns, we're composers,
We are fans of one another.
We make hymn books for tomorrow
While we rake in cash today.
We're the best, we're the greatest,
So our hymns are all you need.
And our songs are all you hear in church,
The only ones indeed.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bloggy Giveaways Carnival


So, what a cool way to grow an online community! I've been spending all my free time today checking out all the great stuff posted, and entering a bunch! When I showed hubby, he thought that I should give something away, too!

So, I have for you a copy of Dave Ramsey's best selling book "The Total Money Makeover" that helped us pay off $10,000 in just under a year. We don't need the book anymore, as we now know what to I'd love to pass it along!

Just for fun, please post your biggest financial challenge, or your best financial tip in your comment! I'd love to hear other people's challenges and triumphs!

So, please leave your email or blog so I can contact you, and please US mailing addresses only! I'll randomly select a winner on Sunday, February 3rd at noon.

And don't forget to check out all the other great stuff at Bloggy Giveaways!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pray-as-you-go mp3 Meditation...

I am in the middle of the second week of the "Full of Grace" study by Johnette Benkovic (through the apostolate "Women of Grace"). The second week focuses on prayer. Vocal prayer, meditation and contemplation, all three types of prayer seem to ellude me most days. So, I was going to go find some sort of meditation podcast so that I could use it first thing in the morning. (A while back, I was praying the rosary first thing every morning...but as I am really not a morning person, I had a hard time focusing, and I became a human jungle gym for my girls as soon as they woke up as I attemted to pray with both of them trying to take my rosary to wear around the house...)

I found out that hubby must be having a similar difficulty with morning prayer. He's set up a folding chair in our laundry room (the closest thing we have to a quiet space in our two bedroom one bath house) and was trying to read something to meditate on. However, he hasn't had much success with that.

Fortunately for me, he had already found something to try out. The podcast is called "Pray-as-you-go" and is a 10-13 minute prayer and reflection time. Beautiful music, readings, reflection/meditation questions are all in it; the podcast is produced by the British Jesuits, so great accents, too (I have an unnatural love for British accents!)

So, I listened to my first one today (I actually don't think it was today's podcast...not sure which ones hubby chose to download, and since we have them on my old Ipod shuffle, there's no screen to tell me what day it was for!) Absolutely amazing! The scripture reading was (naturally, I don't remember the book, chapter or verse...I think it was from Matthew, but could be horribly wrong) about a person going out and sowing seeds, and then waking and rising everyday, until finally the harvest was ready. Then it went on to the parable of the mustard seed.

So, I was struck by how I need to sow the seeds for spiritual growth not by doing great things (I'm always tempted to give up if I can't pray "properly"!) but by doing small things. Getting up and attempting meditation every morning and accepting my imperfectness and what I am able to do will help me grow more than grand resolutions to pray X,Y, and Z everyday in a perfect (or close to perfect) manner.

Hopefully I will be able to remember that it can be small things that leads to a great harvest!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

BigCrumbs or Ebates?

Well, we are in the process of tightening our belts around here to try to pay cash for a nice used car for our tenth anniversary in 17 months. So far we are almost a month in, and with hubby's paycheck this Friday, we will have $1000 saved. Not bad! My goal is to save $1100 per month on average, but I think most months we will be a little under. Hopefully the months with 3 paychecks will make up for that, but then again, we will get what we can with the money we save up!

Some things about rural living are just so much cheaper than city living. We'd never have a house this nice (albeit, small) in a city or a just can't buy a house for $75, least not in a Colorado city! (Okay, technically we live in a "city", but I guess I mean an urban area by city...) But there is the downside that it is difficult to get good used stuff...Getting good used stuff in an urban or suburban area is much easier. Cities have thrift and consignment stores, suburbs have garage sales...rural areas have farm auctions...not exactly handy for good quality kids clothes or plus sized women's clothes. Other household things are hard to get, too. So, I do quite a bit of online shopping. I even sometimes buy groceries online.

Several months ago I found out about BigCrumbs (from someones blog...I don't remember whose) and signed up. Since I'm not exactly a refer-er, I just signed up for the basic plan. It worked pretty well, and I got my first payment from them ($3 and some change) a week or so ago. I still have to confirm my bank account with paypal to get it moved out of there, but that's no big deal. BigCrumbs has some pretty good deals, and I thought of it as a ton of stores (well, Ebates kinda blew it out of the water in terms of # of stores!). The $3 was from two purchases: a Christmas gift for my BIL, and new curtains (on clearance) for our living room.

Well, then another blog suggested Ebates, so I signed up there. They have so many stores it is just mindboggling! Another awesome thing there is they also have coupons listed with the stores, which is excellent! I started out by getting photo prints from Snapfish (40 free prints, plus the % back on the rest) and have a whopping .11 in my account there so far. They only pay out when you get to $5.

BigCrumbs has a better system (you can set up your own mall of favorites) than Ebates (you can set up favorites, but are only allowed 20 stores...a fact that they didn't make clear to me until after I marked every store out of there hundreds of stores that I might possibly someday want to shop at...)

So, I am trying to figure out which system works better for me, and in case someone stumbles across this post, Do you use BigCrumbs, Ebates, something else that gives cash back on online purchases? Which do you prefer? Why?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Well, it's one half of hubby's favorite "gourmet" lunch...

You Are a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

You are a traditional person with very simple tastes.
In your opinion, the best things in life are free, easy, and fun.
You totally go with the flow. And you enjoy every minute of it!

Your best friend: The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Ham Sandwich

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, I think I may finally be recovered from New Year's Eve...just in time to go visit my parents again!

We went to hubby's uncle's house for his annual New Year's Eve party, which is always a fun mix of older couples, adult children with their children, and a whole bunch of teenagers (thanks to this uncle having both adult children, and still having one teen stepdaughter in the house). We were the youngest of the couples, and the first ones to leave (at 12:30!!! I grew up going to bed at 12:05 on New Years, as I was never allowed to go anywhere to celebrate). So, we went over the MILs house to spend the night (she's a mile from this uncle's house), but my little BIL was having a New Year's party there...with all of the teens spending the night (okay BIL is now 21, but he was the oldest in this group, which included 3 15-16 year old girls). So, we got the girls to bed in MILs room, set up the playpen in there for Charlotte, and we slept on the couches in the living room...the party raged on until about 4 in the morning in the basement, when they all finally crashed. Let's just say it certainly wasn't the most restful night's sleep I've ever gotten.

Been busy trying to keep the house in order...I even managed to mop the kitchen floors yesterday, which is a MAJOR accomplishment in this house.

So, on to our trip today. Once hubby gets off work we are heading up to the mountains to see my mom. Her sister got tickets out here to visit for Christmas from her hubby (they live in Ohio) so she's going to help out my mom for about a week, as my mom still can't do a lot since her surgery last month. Hopefully she'll be up to speed by February.

The funny part about this all is that we are going to end up missing hubby's family's big Christmas shindig, which I've been threatening to miss for months to my MIL (she's so much fun to tease!)...but in the end, we actually are missing it...

It's fine by me to miss the whole thing, as all the fun has been sucked out of it used to be in people's homes, and we used to at least do some sort of gift exchange or something (sometimes it was drawing names, sometimes it was a generic gift for your gender, etc.) but complete lack of tact and some oversensitivity has led to no more of that...and the size of the family has led to people hosting at alternate locations (this year it is at the fairgrounds, woo hoo!) Honestly, I have a feeling that the turnout will be low enough that it could have been done at someone's house. Of course, more people might want to come if it were a little more cozy and a little more feels more like an office Christmas party than a family one.

Oh, and this cracks me up...EVERYONE in hubby's family is really good at cooking for an army. Our family cookbook has recipes like "Sloppy Joes for 100-125" in it...but the aunt in charge of the Christmas get together this year gave everyone TWO items to bring...I'm supposed to bring a vegetable and a dessert...and told 3-5 women to bring POTATOES, including my MIL who makes enough potatoes for 20 if we come up for dinner (bringing the grand total of people to 7...but that includes a 3 year old and a 1 year old!) The thing I am going to miss is seeing just how much food comes to this gathering!