Searching for Sunday~ Book Review


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Searching for Sunday

In Rachel Held Evens book, “Searching for Sunday; loving, leaving, and finding the Church“, we are given a theory, from the author, on why many of our culture is leaving the Church behind. Rachel H. Evens shows us her past and her concerns with where the Christian culture is heading and why it isn’t working in our modern life times. She shares personal stories as well as many others from friends and followers. Rachel is a highly respected writer from her blog and Facebook page. Her articles are widely spread around the world and she really has a passion for listening to the voice of the culture and sharing with us the thoughts and motives of a lot of men and woman alike.

Searching for Sunday” goes through the different Church sacraments and dissects them into the traditions the Church held, how they came about, what the Bible tells us about them and her own person story and thoughts on the matter.

This book has many excellent reviews on Amazon, mostly by the culture that Rachel represents and I think it was definitely an eye opener for myself to understand where everyone is coming from and their thoughts on the matter.

Personally, I yearn to close the gap that is causing so many to leave the Church and reject CHRISTIANS rather than CHRIST. I grabbed this book hoping to be enlightened and to understand but I have to admit, I was so confused and even more soul searching. I cannot grasp what Rachel is trying to share. I am not a modern Christian in the “feeling” setting that so many are. I truly did not get past chapter 4. Partly I think its because I don’t feel the way many do. I have often been told I am very mature for my age and I think that causes such a barrier because I don’t experience all these things that my peers have. I tried skipping ahead to different sections and reading but I could not find the connection there and left even more confused. Not by what the Church has or hasn’t taught me, or what our culture feels or doesn’t feel but what God teaching is teaching us through HIS word and I just could not find that anywhere. I found verses that would support something but many more in my own personal research that didn’t add up.

In the end, I think I will try to stick with a more personal conversation with someone. I give this 3 stars because the flow is good, the writing is well done, but in so far as a book I can recommend- I couldn’t. There is so many other books I want to read that I have decided to retire this one and move onto those.

Frugal Friday~ What I did this week.

We were driving home from a activity my son had. I knew I had $10 in my wallet and I wondered to myself how far I could make it go. Just thinking of the salad greens and the almond milk we typically go through in a week is $11… I wondered if I could make something work. So, we headed to the grocery store.

The salad wasn’t on sale. $5 for the big container. Even comparing to the lettuce, it is still cheaper to get the bucket and it will last our family the whole week. The almond milk was 2 for $6. I miss the $1 off one coupons I use to be able to get. I had a $1 of 2 so I went with it. Upon further search of my wallet yielded $6 more dollars for a total of $16… could I get all our groceries for a family of 6 for that?

I grabbed a yogurt… I have the fixins to make granola for the children. I got another thing of lunch meat. Its not frugal but it does in a pinch when I need a quick meal for myself since I am doing the Trim Healthy Mama “diet”. I have a hard time with E meals so this works out great for me. I also grabbed a can of olives for our salad (can’t have a salad without olives!) and on the can of olives had a .55 cent of California Dairy product which took off my yogurt. The bananas I got to make banana bread for Sunday potluck.

My grand total came to $18.02. $2.02 over my $16. I did use my debit card to cover the remaining amount. If I had kept the bananas off the order I could have done it. So now, can we use what is in our pantry/refrigerator for the week?

Did you know that a “reasonable” amount to budget for your groceries is $25 per person per week? Do you think that is a reasonable amount? Could you or do you do it for less?

Teaching Children Money Matters

Do you recall in certain movies watched how someone will be so tired that they fall asleep in their food at the dinner table?  That would perfectly describe me and my life right about now.

We are finishing up the school year, I am one super proud mama of all the hard work my children have put into their education. It is not enough for me to have them know the right answers but to actually have learned the curriculum.  My 7-year old daughter this past month started making and trying to sell these little paper clips with decor on them, my 6-year-old son asked her why she was so intent on earning money and her quick response was, “I want to go to college.”  Now, the fact that she wanted to go to college did not prick the heart as much as the fact that she was trying to work hard and save now for it.  It was that moment of knowing that all my worries about teaching them finances and how to be honest and work hard are not so much in my hands, but in God shaping their little hearts.  He gave me the manual, I am giving her (and the rest of them) the tools, it is up to them to create something. I am so glad she is realizing this now.

On that note, because I get asked this a lot, in terms of finances, this is how we have decided to deal with money when it comes to our children.  They do not get an allowance.  They can work for money.  My daughter has made blankets to sell.  My son is about to do yard work. My husband and I don’t really have a lot they can do but when they have shown a great decision on something we tell them how proud we are and use the Bible verse that says “the labor is worthy of his/her rewards” (Found in the book of Timothy.)  and we will present them with a dollar or two.  We do not consistently do this because part of being responsible is doing something without expecting pay but we do encourage them in this way.   For example, last week my son surprised me by not just clearing the meal dishes from the table but also rinsing and then washing them and sweeping the kitchen floor without me saying a single word about it.  I gave him a dollar.  My daughter decided the car really needed to be cleaned out and she picked up all the trash in it and put the toys away.  She also earned a $1.

We then say that whatever they earn, they get to keep 1/2 and the other half will go into their piggy bank.  Now we are stepping it up with 10% tithe first, 1/2 piggy bank and 1/2 for them to spend.    The goal is to get into the habit of learning to live on less than you make, learning to save, and having a nice nest egg when you are ready for college, your first home, car, whatever.

It is not always an easy lesson. I mean, how well do we adults follow our own advice?

For more family resources on teaching children finances, I highly recommend Dave Ramesy and Rachel Cruze’s book- Smart Money Smart Kids (you can find my book review on this here.)

Cleaning Routines, planners, Monday at its finest~


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Well, Friday’s post didn’t happen due to a yard sale we had. Sodbustin’ Saturday didn’t happen because we had family in town and possible downpour (we didn’t get any). So, here we are today.

I love a clean and orderly kept home. I mean, who doesn’t? The process to get there is long and daunting, not to mention completely overwhelming. I would start out by deciding to go through each room in the house and clean it from top to bottom with a fresh start, only to see the massive elephant before me and scour away to to my organizational self-help books. That is always the hardest part is it not? The doing vs The Knowledge. This past couple weeks, I had this crazy idea. I had heard it before, my mom threatens talks about doing this but I actually tried to come up with a more realistic way of doing this. Even now, I’m hesitant to post this, in case I set myself up for failure. I started going through the house with a view point of packing everything up and moving across the country within six months. What would I take? Do I need this between now and then? If I get rid of this, will I have to replace it before we actually move? Is there other item similar to this that can serve as a dual purpose? And there began my journey to downsize so much that I just needed and upkeep routine.

I have talked before about the whole “Fly Lady” system I do. After we had gotten rid of so much stuff and even in the process of getting rid of a lot of stuff, I noticed a change in everything. And it wasn’t just me that noticed, my husband (a natural cleanie!) began to drop comments like, “Wow. You did a lot today.” “This house looks really nice, Challice.” “I feel good about coming home.” Interestingly enough, I really hadn’t done a whole lot more in the realm of cleaning… I got rid of a lot which made finding homes for everything else much more manageable. I would love to say I had a more peaceful heart during this time, but the ugly truth is, I was Cruella DeVille at her finest! I saw a shoe left out and you would have thought the world ended. The clothes I took time to neatly fold in a manner worthy of the queen were shoved into drawers and that made me want to pull my hair out. Would it ever work out perfectly?

The real test came this weekend and today. We decided to have the mother’s over for Mother’s day for a light meal and conversation. Normally I am frantically trying to hide all the mess and clutter I have in piles everywhere but this weekend, my frantic-ness was in trying to prepare all the food within a couple of hours. Today, I woke up and realized that I didn’t have the Monday Blues when it came to mentally preparing my cleaning list for today. I have my zone schedule set up and I’ll be working along my Fly Lady routine to keep the house in tip top shape.

I feel like I have arrived at that place where I am not going to freak out if someone shows up unexpectedly for a visit. My home is not perfect. It will never be in a Magazine. But it is clean and that has been my goal for years now.

I have got it this way, now, can I keep it this way? Stay tuned! I betcha I do!

Thrifty Thursday~ Online Deals I have found


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I love finding a good Kindle book at a discounted price! And with summer coming, I’d like to think I would have more time to read! Here are some discounted Kindle books I have found.

*Thrifty tip! If you have Amazon Prime you can choose the slower shipping dates and receive a $1 credit on your account good for media purchases (music, video and kindle downloads) it helps stretch that dollar a little further!*

Prayer Warrior Mom: Covering Your Kids with God's Blessings and Protection

Great job. A must read for a believing mom. ~Amazon reviewer- Ma Ingalls~

Dawn's Prelude (Song of Alaska Book #1) Free

Tracie Peterson is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. She continues to produce such incredible books, it’s hard not to enjoy her. ~Amazon reviewer-Ashley Pichea.~

Morning's Refrain (Song of Alaska Book #2)

t was a great book and I am so happy to have read it. ~Amazon Reviewer- CamilleElise~

The Lightkeeper's Daughter (A Mercy Falls Novel Book 1)

“Colleen Coble comes across as a delightful, extroverted lady who loves writing and talking about Historical fiction. This book is truly unforgettable Christian fiction. Oh, I must mention Gideon. What a hero!”~Amazon Reviewer, Grapes.

The Rivers Run Dry (A Raleigh Harmon Novel)

From the inside of a hot FBI surveillance van to the craggy hiking trails of Cougar mountain, The Rivers Run Dry is character driven suspense at its finest. Layered with prowess, each revelation unfolds in perfect time to keep us guessing all the way to the final pages. Don’t be surprised if you finish the novel one day, then pick it up and read it over again the next.” From Amazon Reviewer, C.J. Darlington ~

Kindle Fire 7

Discounted! The Kindle Fire HD is discounted! Perfect for the coming Summer.

Adobe Photoshop & Premiere Elements 13


Got a photographer in the family? Photoshop and Premiere Elements 13 is discounted today!

Please remember that prices can change at any time. Always check the price before making a purchase and see if it fits within your family budget.

Sodbustin’ the budget and the land~

Yesterday was a busy day. I harvested more than pictured but forgot to take a picture before we ate, bartered or gave away the produce. We harvested the whole row of radishes from my own personal garden. That gave about 6-7 radishes and we used them in a delicious green salad that night. I also harvested 1 kohlrabi that I cut up and ate immediately despite my intention on using it for hubby’s lunch today. I pulled up 2-3 beets for a friend and cut off several leaves of the swiss chard plant that came up voluntarily in my garden for another friend. I bartered a few more beets and then between the children picking and eating the snow peas in between play time yesterday and the ones I picked for dinner I would say we easily picked between 3 and 4 pounds. It was a good day!

I also haven’t posted one of my couponing trips in a while because honestly, the deals haven’t been that great. But, fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look at the glass of water) I had filled a new prescription at Rite Aid and took advantage of earning a $25 up reward for new clients. That means that what you see here, I was able to purchase for a grand total of $3.03 and I began their new point system (yuck) and that meant I had another $7 in points ready to redeem.
2 Dawn, 2 Bounty, and 2 Puffs $1 ea when you buy 3 = $6 for all six items has 0.25 coupons available for all three products bringing the cost down to $4.50 for all 6 items and then I earned 2- 100 points (equivalent of $2) on purchasing all 6 items. So all six items for $2.50
Ziplock was $2 ea. I used a $1 off 2 from bringing it down to $1.50 ea and then earned 100 points ($1) for buying 2 ziplock items.
The SURE and BRUT deodorant was $3 and I had 2 $1 off coupons from the Sunday paper and each one gives you 200 points ($2) = free
Pantene stylers 3/$10 used 3 $2/1 coupons = 3/$4
2 OralB battery toothbrushes $5.99 each used 2 $2/1 coupon and thought I was suppose to get 500 points ($5) for buying both but it didn’t work so I paid $3 ea for those
2 Dove hair care $2.99 ea. Used $2/1 from Sunday papers = $1 ea.
bought 2 snickers (1 for my sister who watched the kids while I could this and 1 for the cashier who had to go through all this!) $1.99 for 2.
Used the $25 up reward beinging the total down to $1.87 + tax (tax is calculated before coupons) and $7 on my account for next time.

It was a good trip!

One more way to work the budget and the land!

Why I ditched the whole “no spend” month one day~

We were heading out of town. We are 2 hours away from the next big city where my chiropractor is. Its the middle of April and I had been doing really well on my whole “no spend” month. But here we were, there is a Target, and Michaels, and Kohls, and, and, actually that was the top three I wanted. So I took the funds that I hadn’t spent, I even took some from my little savings jar, and where ever else I could pinch without robbing Peter to pay Paul and we headed on out.

All the way down I gave myself the lecture of being content, staying frugal, and getting only what I need. I had cash. I didn’t use credit and it wasn’t going to be anything that would financially hurt us.

Kohls was our first stop. I was looking for a white ceramic travelers mug, flannel sheets, (We went through 2 this winter 😦 they did last us 5 years though. Can’t complain.) and towels. Bath towels were on sale $2.99. I had intended to pick up a couple more brown towels since that is what we already had but couldn’t find the right shade but then, they had white. Simple white. I got so very excited. My husband was all for it. Those of you know me reading this, yes, I voluntarily bought white towels!!!!!!!!! I also bought matching hand towels. But then we found plain white socks that were not no show that were affordable. I also found a set of PJ’s on sale! This is going to be very hard for me to admit but I actually had a panic attack at the checkout due to the total. My heart was racing as I saw the total. I handed over what coupons I had but it still ended up being over $100.00 It may seem like nothing but when you are living on one income and buy everything second hand, it was a really huge step. I kept thinking, “That is the equivalent two weeks of grocery money.” But then I had to step back and take a look at the whole picture. In 9 years of marriage, I have never bought new towels. So that would be like paying $10 a year for new towels (rounding of course). I can do that. It’s the big picture.

Does anyone else just have a really hard time buying jammies? It just seems like a lot of money for something I am just going to sleep in. Anyway, I won’t go into the whole physobabble about the importance of being thrifty and finding a balance but let me just say, it was good for me to just spend the money. To horde does no one good. To spend frivolously isn’t the answer either. I need to be able to except the fact that once in a while, it is good to loose a good chunk of money at a time.

This month was also a valuable lesson in how quickly the pocket change, the little things here and there, add up so quickly. Because of my “no spend” month, I was able to completely pay for a $200 dental trip for my son, another $1200 medical bill, without dipping into savings. No, that wasn’t just from saving what we already had, I did have to sell and come up with the the rest, but we did not dip into savings! And that is on top of the $100 Kohls trip I did.

Now, who is with me for a “no spend” month of May! I’m at it again!

Sodbuster’s Saturday

Well, it’s 95 degrees Fahrenheit here folks. Yes, you read me correctly. Second day of May and I’m sweating over here while a turkey cooks in my oven, no cooler on, just surviving in my 95 degree weather. Yuck.

Yes, there is a Turkey in the oven. Yes, I did turn on said oven even though it was hot. No, I did not want too. Why did I? The turkey needs to eat. Food vs comfort…

So what is happening on the homestead? Well, we know summer is quickly approaching. I am enjoying all this greenery while it lasts, which won’t be much longer. I have my little garden bed up here by the house. The Kohlrabi is growing beautifully. Radishes are coming up in abundance. Cantaloupe, from our previous experience, is peeking its head through the ground. The basil is surviving and my cilantro is already going to seed! I planted peppers in the pots all around my bed… but funny thing, tomato plants are coming up!!!! So I don’t know if it is the volunteers from the soil or a mixed up batch of seeds.

David’s garden beds are doing beautifully. The tomato plants are becoming abundant in blooms and maters.

The swiss chard is finally going to seed! I feel like we have had that every night and even for breakfast every morning. It can get old. Good to note though, swiss chard does well here in the desert.

The zucchini plants are slowly but surely coming along.

What you see under this bed is carrots and garlic/onion. They are looking really well too. David did more of drip system idea. He still comes out and waters and night but is trying to get more and more into drop irrigation system.

In this bed, we have snow peas looking over the pallet fence aka “wind block” that we have built around this bed.

The peas are doing beautifully, more garlic (no that is not corn.) and green beans. Garlic is ready to harvest. Goodness, what am I going to do with all that?

Our final bed has beets, okra and ton of volunteer plants!

We have a huge mint plant that came up.

The tomatoes that came up voluntarily as well and a peach tree. I can’t even name all the plants that are in here. Some we will eventually pull up but in the meantime, it sure is pretty seeing all this green stuff.

Well, there you have it! It was so windy that I didn’t get to do a lot outside today… but I did spend an awful lot of time deep cleaning the kitchen…

30 Days of Sex Talks Series, Or how I spent my Anniversary

Ok, so I am REALLY stepping outside my comfort zone here. Did I mention that I still have a hard time reading Song of Solomon… in private? So, to publicly write a review on having *that* talk with your children, my ears are burning just thinking of it. Did I mention that it is also my ninth anniversary? So why am I? What better grand opening to that statement then a book on teaching your children and because, as the book starts out it gives certain pointers to the parents, and one of the pointers is;

Be the source.

Yes! I agree. We are so bombarded with everything today that our children need US to be the ones to educate and “empower” as this book calls it. So, what are these books that I keep hinting on? There are three of them, they are put out by the company “EducateEmpowersKids” and what their focus is on is bringing the material to you so that you can go out and educate your kids in 30 days.  The three books are broken up into ages; the first book is geared towards children ages 3-7.  The second book is for children 8-11, and the third is for children 12 and older. What I liked; They are simply done. They give you the tools and you can pick and choose which section is relevant to your time and current child’s needs. In fact, in the introduction of the book it plainly states;

This curriculum is not a one size fits all. You guide the conversation and lead the discussion according to your unique situation.

The whole book is set up with bullet points and cute little characters. For the first book, ages 3-7, we approach the way our bodies are, the names of our parts, what we wear and why we cover up, we discuss appropriate behavior, what to do when we are uncomfortable and even how to think of others that may not want a hug or a touch. Not only is it teaching us bit also opens the door for thinking of others. Again, since this is left up to the discretion on the parents for how much they can open and talk about, I was able to pick and choose the things I thought my children needed to know, and other things that I could share later on. The book had a glossary which was super important to me. I love having the definitions to easily access in order to asses any situations and how to properly handle them. It’s just the way my brain works. I read on my own the older age books (8-12+) so I could gather information on what to be more informed and aware of. It is important for me to be aware and mentally ready should my child come to me with information, question or a statement within the sexual content of our generation. You can’t go into the store anymore without hearing nasty music playing and I’ve already had my daughter ask me what a “whore” is. I know that I won’t be able to shelter myself or my children from the realities of this world and I want to be there with an answer for the questions that are bound to rise and in this generation, they come sooner than expected. What I don’t like about these books; I’m a prude. There I said it. It’s very hard for me to be “open” about all this. Some of the things I kept shaking my head in wonder that a child so young would need to know any of this but as stated earlier, you treat this curriculum as a buffet, take what you need to fit your particular child. Would I buy these books? I think they were absolutely well done. Again, I liked the simplicity of it and the fact that it was more geared towards giving ME the tools to help my child and not a book I handed directly to them with a whole “ask me if you have any questions” kind of attitude. I loved that it was spread out so that it wasn’t everything all at once in their little minds. Part of me was like, “Oh let’s just get it over with.” and the other part of me didn’t want it to be all they thought of night and day and the way these series broke it out kept it at a nice even pace where questions could be asked easily that day… or several days down the road. So yes, I would! I also very much recommend them. See the series here.

Plodding up the sod~ Sodbuster’s musings


It was one of those days, where everything just seems to go wrong.  I have much to be thankful for. Much has been blessed upon me. But the daily grind was grinding me into the ground.

First dentist appointments, the pressing list that keeps on growing, the children that need a mother’s care, a mother feeling guilty about the time she is not spending investing in her children, a house that needs looking after, and friends that need an encouraging word or two.

I felt like I was in a spinning top, round and round the merry-go-round goes. Children laughter one minute and wailing the next.  The battle fatigue began to sink in.

I kept disciplining myself, reminding how well I have it. I kept on thinking; “If I could just complete one task today!” how everything wouldn’t seem so overwhelming. But the day has come and gone.  The children are all fast asleep. Sleepy hands are creeping to the edge of the clock, or so a Lullaby in Ragtime says. I think its days like these where you just sit back and say, “Lord, the children are all alive today. Thank you for getting me through it.  Please be there tomorrow, same time, same place.

Hang on Mamas. It was never promised to us that this would be an easy journey.