Monday, May 09, 2011

Tuscaloosa Tornado

I tear up every time I think about what I saw when driving through my home town this past weekend. My family was right when they told me that the pictures don't do it justice. It's hard to believe that wind can cause so much destruction. My mind has been plagued with worrisome thoughts like:

What would we do if such a storm were coming toward my house?

Where would I hide my kids?

My next house needs to have a better "safe place."

It's also easy for me to start thinking about the technicalities of clean-up:

Where to even begin? Someone needs to organize this thing city-wide.

Seems like FEMA is almost more trouble than its worth.

I wish I could help!

But, after hours of mental turmoil, my mind goes back to the content of a Piper article written after the tsunami of 2004. I think it's pretty fitting for us. May we not miss the lesson in the storm.

Every deadly calamity is a merciful call from God for the living to repent. 'Weep with those who weep,' the Bible says. Yes, but let us also weep for our own rebellion against the living God. Lesson one: weep for the dead. Lesson two: weep for yourselves.

Every deadly calamity is a merciful call from God for the living to repent. That was Jesus’ stunning statement to those who brought him news of calamity. The tower of Siloam had fallen, and 18 people were crushed. What about this, Jesus? they asked. He answered, “Do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4-5).

The point of every deadly calamity is this: Repent. Let our hearts be broken that God means so little to us. Grieve that he is a whipping boy to be blamed for pain, but not praised for pleasure. Lament that he makes headlines only when man mocks his power, but no headlines for ten thousand days of wrath withheld. Let us rend our hearts that we love life more than we love Jesus Christ. Let us cast ourselves on the mercy of our Maker. He offers it through the death and resurrection of his Son.

This is the point of all pleasure and all pain. Pleasure says: “God is like this, only better; don’t make an idol out of me. I only point to him.” Pain says: “What sin deserves is like this, only worse; don’t take offense at me. I am a merciful warning.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Few Reasons Why Two Are Better Than One

I know I've not updated since October. We can just blame it on the fact that I got pregnant in November.

Truth be told, I got tired of writing down my couponing deals. There are plenty of websites that already do that, and I didn't want my blog to be one of them, but I apparently had nothing else significant to write about.

So I had another baby girl on August 4th. Here's my new family:

And I've decided in the last two weeks that having two girls is WAY better than having just one:

1. Everything about labor & delivery was easier this second time.
Less worry, less time in labor, less time delivering, quicker recovery, etc.

2. Everything about nursing #2 has been easier. We’ll just leave it at that.

3. #1 LOVES her lil’ sis. She’s also a big-time helper. She helps me burp the baby, and fetches necessities when I’m diaper-changing/nursing/etc. She distracts me from clock-watching while I’m nursing, so it’s not such a tedious task. (I don’t tend to enjoy nursing until it takes fewer than 20 minutes. Right now it’s more like 30-50 minutes and feels like a chore.)

4. #2 is an amazing sleeper. She has slept anywhere from 6 to 9 consecutive hours every night for the past week. And just she’s two weeks old. This means that I've been well-rested enough to only require one nap during the day, and #1 currently takes a three-hour afternoon nap just when I need it.

5. Their daddy took two weeks off from work to be with us. He just took one week with #1. Maybe he’ll take three weeks with #3? ..Probably not.

It's naptime now. But I'm guessing my list will only grow as time passes. I can't wait for them to be old enough to really be sweet companions.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rite Aid (or CVS) Gift Card

Here's a printable coupon for a free $25 Rite Aid gift card when you fill a prescription. It says its for a "transfer," but I actually used one at CVS last weekend on an antibiotic (which had no refills) for MER. I heard that CVS would honor competitors coupons for this particular offer, so I just asked and they did! Yippee!

If you have two prescriptions to fill at the same time, you can get TWO $25 gift cards! Sad as this is, I'm kinda hoping well need some before it expires on 11/30.

And I just realized that I didn't post my CVS deals for this week. I'll have to do that later...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Rite Aid Diaper Deal for Beginners

A friend asked me to help her understand the Rite Aid Rebates program. But she has a baby, so I'm assuming she really just wants some diaper deals! I think the best way to explain it is to give an example of a deal (for this week).

I look at BabyCheapskate to find out about the deals each week. Right now there's one for Huggies & one for Pampers, but the Pampers is actually the better deal.

If you buy $30 worth of P&G products (including Pampers) before 10/24, you get a $10 Rite Aid gift card. There's also something called the Rite Aid "Fall Gift of Savings" going on right now where you get another $10 for spending over $50 (or $5 for spending over $25, or $20 for spending over $100 - and it's all before coupons!), but it must be done before 10/17.

You can purchase two big packs of Pampers diapers in separate transactions, using two $5 off $25 Rite Aid coupons & any Pampers coupons you have, and pick up $5.01 worth of other stuff as filler items (the diapers are $19.99).

Here's step by step what I'd do. (I probably will do it later this week, before 10/17):

1. Print off two $5 off $25 Rite Aid coupons.

2. Print off four $2 off Huggies diaper product coupons (You can only print two per computer, but hopefully you have access to multiple computers or friends who'll do it for you. Once it prints the first time, hit the "back" button on your browser & it should automatically print off another coupon.)

3. Find the two highest value Pampers coupons you have. I have a $2 off and a $1.50 off.

4. Gather up these coupons (I put mine in an envelope or use a paper clip), and head to the store.

5. Pick up 2 value boxes of Pampers. Pick up 4 boxes of Huggies wipes (if you only printed out 2 Huggies coupons you'll have to pick up enough items (that you need) so that the total after tax will be over $25 for the two transactions. Maybe some gum or something.)

6. At the register, do the following:

Transaction #1:
1 box of Pampers
2 boxes of Huggies wipes

Give the cashier the $5/25 Rite Aid coupon first, then Pampers & (2) Huggies coupons.

Transaction #2:
Do the same thing again with the rest of your items, giving $5/25 coupon before the other coupons.

You will be paying about $30 out of pocket for all of these items (not a bad deal by itself), but then you can get the $10 gift card and the other $10 gift certificate by doing the following:

7. Go to this site & become a member of the Rebates system:

8. Then enter your receipts (you should see a link that says "Enter Your Receipts").

In a few days you'll get an email (check your junk mail) saying that you've qualified for a $10 Gift Card (for your P&G purchases) and also a $10 Gift Certificate (for the Fall Gift of Savings program). It'll also tell you that you have to "Request your Gift Card" by a certain day - probably in November. You can go ahead and do it, or you may want to wait to see if there are any other deals at Rite Aid you want to get before the month is over. (I'm not sure about the gift cards, but I know that if it were a "Single Check Rebate" deal, you'd have to wait till ALL your receipts were entered for the month before you request the check, or you won't get all your rebates.)

So bottom line (after your gift cards come), you've spent about $10 for 2 Big Packs of Pampers (size 4 has 82 diapers per box) & 4 boxes of wipes!

Oh, and:

9. When they come, use the gift cards on other great diaper deals at Rite Aid!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Publix, take two

I printed out more coupons and made another Publix trip yesterday.

I purchased:

Mary Ellen was jealous that I was taking more pictures of my groceries!

(8) Yoplait Fiber One yogurts (4 pk) for 1.25 ea
(4) 1.25/1 Qs = free
(4) 1.001 Qs = .25 ea

(4) Hunts tomatoes for .69 ea
(2) .50/1 Qs (doubled) = .19 ea

(4) Knorr sides (pasta & rice) for .79 ea
(4) .45/1 Qs (doubled) = free + overage

(4) Betty Crocker potatoes for .84 ea
(4) .40/1 Qs = .08 ea

Lipton tea (family bags 24 ct) for 2.00

Publix coffee for .01
(the penny item!)

Grand total: $1.95

I did use a $3/$15 CVS coupon. Receipt says I saved $45.35! Definitely my best Publix trip.

I know 8 packs of yogurt seems like a lot, but MER & I each eat a cup every day, so it's only 16 days worth. If we don't like the instant potatoes or the Knorr sides, we can always give the unopened ones to charity. I bet we'll like them, though.

This trip was definitely worth it for the yogurt alone. Or the tea alone. Or the tomatoes alone (Ben loves my taco soup in the winter!).

I think I need a bigger pantry!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Publix, week of 10/7-10/13

I made my Publix trip early this week. Yogurt is on sale, and from past experiences I know it tends to sell out quickly when it's marked down. Me and MER both eat a cup of yogurt every day, so I wanted to make sure I got some while they had it! But if can get the coupons to print & I happen to have time on Sunday or Monday I might pick up $10 worth of the free-ish items so I can get the penny item.

Here's what I got:

(5) Yoplait Fiber One Yogurt (4-pk) for 1.25 ea
(2) $1.25/1 Qs = free
(3) $1/1 Qs = .25 each

(2) Ronzoni Pasta for .69 ea

(2) Classico Pasta Sauce for 1.25 ea

(2) Knorr Sides for .67 ea
(I didn't know what this was before finding it in the store; it's flavored rice or pasta packets)

(2) .45/1 Qs (doubled) = free + overage

Betty Crocker potatoes for .88 ea
(1) .40/1 Q (doubled) = .08

(6) Hunt's Tomatoes (14.5 oz can) for .69 ea
(2) .50/1 Qs (doubled) = 4 for .19 ea

Bear Creek Chicken Noodle soup mix for 3.89
I was going to get some elsewhere but found it cheaper here - we're feeding soups to the college class next Sun. I add egg noodles, chicken, veggies, etc and make it really hardy. It's one of Ben's faves!

Red Baron Pizza for 2.89 ea
(1) .75/1 Q = 2.06

(2) Keebler Club Crackers 1.99

My total with tax was $12.80. The receipt says I saved $41.25.

Hopefully I can get some more yogurt (if Publix will re-stock), Hunt's tomatoes, and Betty Crocker coupons to print out from another computer (you can only print 2 per computer of some coupons) and get the penny item! We'll see.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Rite Aid

Rite Aid became my dear friend in September.

I had a $25 Rite Aid gift card from July's purchases (from buying $50 worth of Kimberly-Clark products - the maker of Huggies), and I determined I would spend it either on great diaper deals or items we actually use that would give me a rebate.

After a few weeks and 5 transactions, I used up the gift card & paid $39.07 out of pocket, getting over $125 worth of products. I'll be getting $26.69 in rebates for some of those things and will also get a $20 gift card. So essentially, I got PAID $7.62 to shop there.

Here are the items I got paid to "buy":
1 Huggies Big Pack diapers
3 Huggies jumbos diapers
4 Huggies wipes (travel size)
5 Johnson's baby washes
2 CG foundations
2 CG eyeshadows
3 boxes of Kleenex
1 canister of Wet Ones
1 Crest toothpaste
2 Tylenol extra strength (24 ct)
1 Suave lotion
2 Stayfree products

As I've said before, I don't love Rite Aid's rewards program because you do have to pay up front with real money & can't roll it over like with CVS. I guess I could cash out my rebate & put it in an envelope specially marked "for Rite Aid" or something, and then it'd basically be the same. Maybe I'll do that.

For now, I'm waiting on my rebate & keeping my eyes on the Rite Aid ads for Huggies or Pampers deals.

If you want to save $ on diapers (but maybe not wait for a rebate), Rite Aid always has their Huggies & Pampers "big packs" for $19.99. You can use this coupon ($5 off $25 - print it out however many times you want! - and pick up something else you need to make your subtotal $25) and paired with a manufacturer's coupon get a pretty good deal. (But if you do this, just go ahead on to & enter your receipt to get a $5 gift card for spending $25 this fall.)