Monday, March 9, 2009

Tips & Tricks

1. Most grocery items run on sale on a 12 week schedule
2. Combine store sales with coupons. For example, Starkist Tuna on sale for 10 for 10. You have a coupon for 50 cents. The store doubles the 50 cent coupon so you get the product for FREE.
3. If an item is on sale for 3 items for $5.00. You do not have to purchase all three items to receive the discount. For example, Cereal is on sale for 3/$5. You have two coupons for 50 cents off. You purchase two boxes of cereal - using your two coupons that are then doubled.
4. Buy one, get one free. Here is a good example of a sale I found this week. Crystal Lite was on sale, buy two, get two free. Regular price of $4.50 each. I found a coupon online for .75 cents off. I printed four coupons. The store then doubled the coupon, saving me $1.50 on each can. So my final cost was $3 for all four cans.
5. Remember to stock pile items that are on deep discount or FREE.
6. I use Walgreens to get free items, such as lotion or lip gloss and make gift baskets for teachers, etc.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Extreme Times Call for Extreme Measures

Save Now on Groceries
O.K. I have been receiving 6 free weeks of the Sunday newspaper, however, now that it is up it was time to find a new resource. Here is a site that allows you to look at the paper's coupons from your area and only order what you need.

I would spend $2.00 per week or $8.00 per month on the Sunday paper - with this site I just went through coupons from January to March, picking what I use. For the coupons that I would use through June I paid less than $10.00 including shipping and handling.
Email Referral:

Coupon Sites

Print or download your own coupons on the following sites:

Download to your Kroger card - do not forget to print the shopping list of coupons in case they are not deducted at checkout you will have a backup to get the refund at the customer service counter.

Register your Meijer1 card and you can either print your store coupons or download to your card. Do not forget to pick up the Meijer circular as it contains weekly coupons.

Bar-S Coupons - Printable coupons for Bar-S products. - Register to Print Grocery Coupons
BLUE BUNNY® - Printable .75¢ on any one BLUE BUNNY® novelty
Brown Cow Yogurt - Printable coupons.
Cattlemen's Barbecue Sauce - Printable $1 off
Coffee Mate - Four $1 off printable coupons.
Cole's Bread - Sign up for coupons
Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce - Postal mail coupon for a free bottle.
Country Crock - Register for Coupons
Cremora - Printable .75¢ off
Dreamfields Pasta - Printable $1 off
Frank's Red Hot - Printable .50¢ off
Gortons - Printable .75¢ off 2, changes often
Jolly Time Pop Corn - Print a $1 off Microwave pop corn coupon.
Kangaroo Pita Bread - Postal Mail Coupons
Knudson Juice
Lactaid Eggnog - Printable $1 off coupon.
LACTAID® Milk - Printable $1 off
Land O Lakes - Join the Simple Rewards Club & print coupons
Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms - Printable coupons
Libby's Juicy Juice - Printable .75¢ off Juicy Juice coupon.
Little Crow Foods - Postal Mail Coupons
Margaritaville Shrimp - Printable $1 off
Nature's Plus - Postal mail coupons.
Nestle Products - Several Printable Coupons
Nestle Strawberry & Creme Treasures - Printable .75¢ off
Nestle Swirled Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - Printable $1 off 2
No Yolks - Printable .40¢ off coupon.
Pillsbury - Print coupons for a dozen different Pillsbury products.
Pillsbury - Several printable Pillsbury coupons.
Progresso Microwave Bowls - Print a $1 off Progresso Microwave Bowls coupon.
Smart Ones® - Print a coupon for New Higher Protein EntrĂ©es.
Sue Bee Honey - register for Coupons
Turtle Mountain Soy Products - Postal Mail Coupons
Uncle Bens Rice - Printable .50¢ off one.
Weight Watchers Smart Ones - Register for a Coupon

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Leaving the New China

"Zai jian" (good-bye) China, and "ni hao" (hello) America, as the United States is referred to in China.

We set out to create memories, and experience the true essence of China. We did not crunch on fried sea horses, or fried silkworms, however we ate a lot of rice even for breakfast: Memorable.

Attempting to speak Chinese with the right ethnic tone, using deliberate drawls when saying "dui, dui" (o.k. or right) as "dweai" and addressing our Papa as "Ya Ya" (grandfather): Memorable.

Looking for roadsigns and advertisements meant to be Western English but more like "Chinglish" - noticing the errors. Learning that the advertisement of "Western Food" really meant that the only thing Western about it was the name. Memorable.

Walking the noisy winding streets of Hou Hia at night or taking a Rickshaw ride: Memorable.

Learning to walk a hundred miles a day - or almost! Memorable.

Realizing that OSHA does not exist here - yet. Memorable.
That bamboo - is still used in building: Memorable.
The crazy traffic, and crowded streets: Memorable.

Seeing the farmers plant vegetables anywhere, including along the sidewalk and up the stairs. Memorable.

But ultimately, it is the people that we will remember.

The local framer and his horse drawn cart that came by the house each day.
The milk man who pulled his ice box by bicycle to deliver the days milk.

The Farmers in their fields and rice patties.

The white gloved guard who stood at attention outside our complex throughout the day - emotionless by daylight, smiling at dusk, and quietly snoozing at midnight.

The food stall vendors selling deep fried beetles and corn on the cob.

The children eating "Green Pea" Popsicles, or "Corn" Popsicles.
The handicap boy who came by the house to collect all of the recyclables.

The children who want their pictures with our children.

Each of these individuals that we met never failed to engage us in their life story. Each of the million faces we saw daily had a story, a dream.

They love life, even the hardship of it. The people of Beijing take it all with stride, enduring through the tremendous change Beijing is experiencing as the "new" replaces the "old". However, one thing that seems to remain even with all of the change is a sense of community. A sense of who they are -a respect for people and land.

It is said to understand your own world, you must immerse yourself in another. This past time in China has provided me with insight into who we are as Americans - the good, the bad, the hope and the dream. There are times that I look around at our own country and I see the sense of community fading away as we race towards the capitalist goal to thrive and survive in a global economy. I hope we always remember our roots, the men and women who gave us the freedoms we have today - and I pray that we do not give up all of our rights in the name of national security.

Fishy Spa and Pedicure (Made in China)

It was the strangest thing I ever saw - people paying big bucks to sit in a pool of water and allow little carps to eat away their dead skin, the Chinese swear by it.

Yuck! Then while waiting the slingbox on Good Morning America I see the new craze sweeping the U.S. .....Fishy Pedicures!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Prayer at Tian Anmien Square

As we stood in the Square - all that I could think of was the day in 1989 when a lone student stood off with the Governments Tanks. I explained to my children the significance of that students act of bravery and that today we stand in that same spot - and we witness a freer China, a New China as a result.

That afternoon where that student lost his battle, but made strides to improve the lives of millions, we knelt for prayer. Thanking God that today He has a presence in this land that was closed for over fifty years.

On that fateful day on June 4, 1989 a lone student stopped the parade of tanks. Just like Esther in the Bible he stood up and showed that he was in fact created, "for such a time as this."

(Catholic Church in Beijing, China)

There seems to be much confusion on the stance the Central Government of China takes on religion. In visiting Chinese friends we see Bible's displayed in their homes, and learned that it is the Central Governments opinion that all Chinese are free to worship any religion that does not advocate the overthrow of the government. One of the fastest growing religions in China is Islam.

However, the people we meet all point out that just because the main government believes this way - the local/countryside government might interpret the law differently. Keeping in mind that China was religiously free until the 1940's when Chairman Mao came to power - I met many older Chinese Christians as the Catholic Church has a long history in the country.

One day while in 'Subway' we ran into a few American women and their children. In observing them we saw them stop to pray before their meal - at once I knew they were missionaries. We talked for a while and they admitted that it was easier to practice their faith in public, however, the Central Government did not readily issue Visas to 'missionaries' so many come in as business people.

We talked about the struggles and joys of the ministry. I related to their stories. While we traveled throughout China I really felt a spiritual quietness. One night I found myself in prayer asking God for his presence, just His peace. There seems to be a spiritual silence that hangs over the land, unlike anything I have ever felt before. I imagine that it is much like the 400 years of silence that we see between the Old and New Testaments.

I give the missionaries a lot of credit, to endure during silent times. They are seeing hearts and lives changed as people come to Christ, however, they admit that the country is far from revival that is so desperately needed.

One thing that I clearly noticed is that children throughout the country are taught evolution as are our children in the United States. One thing that is quite disturbing is that since there has been no religious influence for the past fifty years - many of these individuals are lost....trapped by a curtain of darkness and unbelief.

In the same turn I see an opportunity for Christians to step up and make a positive difference in the lives of these children. Unlike the U.S. not every child has the opportunity to go to high school or college. In the eighth grade they take a placement test, if their scores are not high enough then they must choose a vocation like taxi driver or police officer, thus sealing their economic fate.

Several times during our trip we were approached by individuals who children did not pass the entrance exams - like all parents they want more for their children and asked if we could take their children back to the U.S. for schooling - or if we knew of any organizations that would provide foreign exchange so that their children could further their education. What an opportunity for Christian families to make a difference.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Climbing the Great Wall

Since we have been in China we have seen the mountains that surround Beijing on two occasions - known as "Blue Sky Days" - the day we set out for the Great Wall was not one of those days. It was supposed to be a cool 89 degrees with a 50% chance of rain - so we decided to make our climb.
The air was thick with humidity- as we made the two hours car ride to the Wall. The day started out as any other, walking to catch a bus to McDonald's, then a taxi to where buses departed for the wall - and then into a private taxi car for the two hour ride.

I had a vision of the Wall in my mind, we would climb a few flights of stairs then we would take a leisurely stroll along the wall - what the wall really was did not match my vision at all.

(in this picture, we are at the top all in white, this was the first part of the wall, an easy climb with hand rails)

The Wall was built to keep invaders out - and thus it was rugged. The wall was not a leisurely stroll - it was a climb up a steep mountain. The wall is flat in parts - but mostly comprised of steps up the side of the mountains. The steps meant to slow down invaders were not uniform in size, but varied from 20" to 6" each without hand rails.

The climb up the wall started early in the morning. It was warm, and the clouds hung low on the wall. We breathed in the cloudy mist as we slowly made our ascent. As we climbed higher into the mountains the air became thicker and thicker. It started to sprinkle a few hours into our journey and the steps became very slippery, making are journey slower, at points we climbed on our hands and knees up the wall as not to fall.

What started as a sprinkle, however, soon turned into a torrential down pour, a monsoon rain. The steps soon became a waterfall of water that covered are climbing shoes, however, we could not stop our climb for fear we might be swept away - we had to push upward to a tower higher on the mountain.

It rained sheets down on us as we slowly made our way to a tower at a point on the wall - there we sat for over an hour waiting for the rain to slow enough for us to either climb higher or descend down the wall - we welcomed the wait as we were all exhausted from the climb.
(hiding from the rain)
I had only seen the Great Wall in text books - and today even though the climb was hard and we are all exhausted we have done what few people ever get to do or see -

"We Have Climbed the Great Wall."