The Intention of My Blog


Welcome, my beloved readers!

In case you're wondering, it's not a typo up there for you see the definition of goodly is:

used as an adjective to describe something
1. of ample or good size, ex: a goodly amount.
2. of a fine appearance, ex: a goodly young man.
3. Archaic. of good quality, ex: a goodly gift.

I am a mother who home educates her children; I would be pleased if you'd look around. You never know if I might have something to your liking. I've blogged about different topics. I hope you enjoy your stay here. May God bless you with peace, a renewing of your mind, and rest as you read my posts.

Please remember to subscribe to my blog, using any variety of methods, which are below to the right, including Facebook.

Thanks to all for your patience as I have been on the mend. I had double heart bypass surgery in February of 2013, and I needed to focus on my recovery, which has been in steady progress. Thanks for your kind consideration.


Thanks for visiting!



Monday, February 28, 2011

Progress On My Blog Dare

On my calendar, I input my blog entry titles.

I thought I would take some time to review the progress I have made on my blogging adventure.

When I first started blogging this year, I asked my husband to purchase a monthly planner for 2011.  In it, I have logged in what I wanted to write.  For this month, I have erased some entries from the blogging prompts if something of high interest came up in life.  That is why I have an eclectic mix of topics that I have blogged about thus far.

I have been enjoying my blogging.  I have also been frustrated at times, when I knew what I wanted to say but had to think it over before hitting the "post" button.  I am glad to be writing because I have been practicing.  My writing is also having a positive impact on teaching my teens how to write.  Writing is also allowing me to vent when necessary.

Blogging is allowing me to be more creative.  I like taking pictures relating to what I will be writing about.  I get to combine an image to words.  I am enjoying that new aspect that I started to include in this month of February.  I hope to continue using pictures in March, too.

Of course, I cannot go on without saying that I actually started a more formal blogging site this month, here at Blogging With Goodly Intentions.  It was fun to come up with a name, too.  What name could sum up what my reason for blogging was?  That's when I realized what it should be.  I wanted to have versatility within my blogging to include topics of interest to me and my readers.

In the future, I might focus more on educational and/or homeschooling posts.  I want to address the idea of homeschooling in the high school years as I learn along the way.  There is already plenty of information out in the internet about home educating in the lower grades.  I think more needs to be put out for the higher grades, though.  I do hope to contribute to society whatever nuggets of wisdom I can impart in that arena.

What about you, my readers?  Is there some topic you think I could research or discuss in my blog?  Don't be shy.  Just please be reasonable and nice with your requests.  Okay?

God bless you all, my beloveds, with His perfect peace.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Insulin-Resistance and Inflammation of the Body

Two book I bought at www.amazon.com.

I have several afflictions in my body.  One of them is inflammation.  Also,  the insulin in my body is out of whack.  I had found two books which deal with these two situations at www.amazon.com.  I had kept them in my wish list until I had enough money to buy them.  

I finally bought them, and they came in last week.  Both of the following books deal in some way with Insulin-Resistance, which is also called Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X:

One is called The Insulin-Resistance Diet: How to Turn Off Your Body's Fat-Making Machine by Cheryle R. Hart, M.D. and Mary Kay Grossman, R.D.  What sold me on buying this book is the sentence that reads: "Discover if insulin resistance is the culprit for those extra pounds." 

From what I have read elsewhere, and in this book, is that it is recommended to pair up a carbohydrate with a protein anytime you eat.  I have striven to do this in the past, ever since the first time I became pregnant and had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  If I've eaten cottage cheese, I have paired it up with saltine crackers.  If I've eaten a cheese egg omelet, I have paired it up with Malt-O-Meal, sprinkled with cinnamon (which is good for diabetics, too).

I am hoping to find out if I was afflicted with insulin-resistance while I was pregnant with my last (fourth) child.  No matter how much insulin I took, the amount of sugar in my blood would not decrease.  The doctor who was seeing me for my gestational diabetes often chided me for "whatever" I was doing.  I had to take matters into my own hands towards the end of my pregnancy and eat only one meal a day of chicken with something else, to prevent my baby from getting too big to fit through the birth canal.  By the way, she was my heaviest, but I managed to give birth to her without a C-section.

The other book is called Stopping Inflammation: Relieving the Cause of Degenerative Diseases by Nancy Appleton, PhD.

This book deals with symptoms and allergies of various foods and possible environmental causes.  Here's the situation: I itch all the time.  If I am exposed to sunlight, I itch.  I even itch when I am under stress.  I want relief from that symptom!  Ugh!

One main reason for researching about Metabolic Syndrome is that high blood pressure, high cholesterol and anxiety really reared their ugly heads in my life a few years ago.  In just perusing the book about inflammation, these very symptoms are mentioned, along with others.  I was taking medication four years ago for all of those symptoms.  I know I should not have done it, but I stopped taking them, without notifying my doctor.  I was getting chest pains after taking Lipitor, which I took for high cholesterol.  I was then prescribed another medication for angina attacks.

It was then that I decided I did not want to be on a roller coaster ride of medication-taking so I went on a quest to lose weight, hoping, as some radical doctors had suggested, that some of the maladies would disappear.  I ended up losing a total of thirty pounds, and I felt less anxious.  I know that I still need to lose more weight so I am now looking into exactly what happened to my body when I was heavier and what is still happening to me.  I highly suspect, as vegan and/or vegetarian groups do, that what is in our food supply could be hurting my body. 

What could be causing the extra weight?  What could be causing all the symptoms that my body is afflicted with?  Could it be gluten?  Could it be contamination of food that has been modified or over-processed?  Could it simply be the combination of food that I am eating that is causing me to feel sick all the time?

What I do know is that I am empowered enough to read the literature that is available.  Sifting through it is another thing.  I am a slow reader when it comes to new content.  It takes time for new ideas to be digested by my brain.  I am hoping that these books give me some concrete answers.  I really think, also, that more people need to learn about what could possibly be afflicting their own bodies.


How about you, my readers?  Are you concerned about what you eat?  What about the cleaning agents you use?  Are you worried that what you are putting into your mouth could be affecting your body negatively?    If so, I encourage you to research the symptoms online.  Your doctors might only be prescribing medications to treat the symptoms, but you need to research what is causing those symptoms.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, my faithful readers.

I pray for peace for all of you, my beloveds.


Disclaimer: The viewpoints that I discussed here are just my opinions.  Please consult your physician before altering anything relating to your health.  I am only suggesting here to take charge of your health.  Don't just leave your health in the hands of your doctors; become your own advocate.  You know best how your body is doing.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

How I Lost Thirty Pounds

Me at my heaviest.
 About four years ago, after having gone on a trip to the beach, I saw some photos of myself.  I was amazed at what I saw.  My lower calf legs, which were my pride and joy, were too chunky.  Sure, I had been suffering with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and anxiety at the time, not to mention shortness of breath, every time I walked at all.  I just did not realize how much my extra weight really showed.

I decided to weigh myself and set on the course to weight loss.  I'm not saying that I went all out to try to lose the weight at once.  I knew that I had gained and lost weight before.  I had already had all four of my children by the year 2005.  I had already experienced the yo-yo of weight with all of those four pregnancies.

I chose a few methods to help me lose weight.  I read information on the internet, listened to doctors on television, and read books.  I compiled my ideas and added a few.  Here is what I came up with (in no particular order) that have helped me lose a total of 30 pounds:


1. I put on my tennis shoes.
 
I think this is the most important one.  I got this idea from a cleaning guru.  This person, the Fly Lady, recommends that you put your shoes so it can trigger in your mind to get up and do something in the cleaning arena of your life.  I just added it to my priorities because it did cause me to get up and clean, which involves movement.  When you clean, you sweat and exercise.

2. I drank less soda.

 I have struggled with this one recently.  When you take into account how much sugar there is in one can of soda, you would think that the mind would rule over the strange taste buds.

3. I ate less junk food.

 This one I struggle with nowadays; however, with food prices going up, this is one thing, including pre-packaged and highly processed foods, that I am hoping to give up.  I already announced this at a family meeting after dinner a few nights ago.

4. I ate more fruits and vegetables.

I made smoothies with anything imaginable.  I mixed yogurt, frozen strawberries, and fresh bananas.  I used whatever frozen fruit I had available and added cinnamon, flax seeds, and/or powdered supplements I thought that my body needed at the time.

5. I exercised with the help of the Wii.

This was a lot of fun.  The games include balancing a ball and dropping it into a hole, jogging in place, and using a hula hoop.

6. I used light weight dumb bells, a large exercise ball, and resistance bands, while exercising.

I often viewed exercise videos, which included using dumb bells.  Whenever I watched television, I used the dumb bells and resistance bands.  I became good at multi-tasking with the large ball by sitting on it, while reading my emails on the computer.

7. I drank more water.

I made it a point to leave bottles of water everywhere I might sit.  This encouraged me to drink more water than ever before.  I still have this good habit, four years later.

8. I drank water while cooking.

Okay, this one was easy.  Once I got into the habit of drinking water, I started to drink water while cooking because I would often became thirsty.  Also, this keeps you from over-eating when it is time to sit and eat dinner.  Your tummy is already somewhat full.

9. I danced while cooking.

I turned on the radio and danced to the oldies, disco, contemporary music or anything that was fun.  I found music videos at www.youtube.com to dance to with my hubby, after dinner.  I still do this on occasion.

10. I planted a veggie garden.

This is a big one.  When you garden, you are doing many positive things.  You are creating a self-sustaining object--you are feeding yourself off of the land you cultivate and plant.  You also exercise and sweat off the pounds and toxins.
 
This is me now.
I'm not a health guru by any means.  I have kept off the weight, yes, but I still have more weight that I need to lose.  I need to pick up these habits again (or gain some new ones) to lose even more pounds.  I'm looking to lose an additional 13 pounds for this year. I want to feel healthier and not just slimmer.

It is hard to lose the weight with all of the temptations and cost of food rising.  I have a husband who loves, loves, loves Pepsi and brings it home with him.  He is also guilty of bringing me junk food.  I am guilty of asking him to bring it home.  What is the happy medium for us both?

I know my husband wants to please me and comfort me.  I would rather make more smoothies with fresh fruit.  I want to make more nutritious meals, too.  I could enlist the kids to create menus that include vegetables, too.  Is that too much to ask for? 



 How about you, my readers?  Did you vow, at the beginning of the year, to lose weight?  to get healthier?  What's stopping you?  Let's do some research but then act on whatever we learn.

God bless you all with peace, my beloveds.

This is a Medical Mondays entry.

Disclaimer: The viewpoints that I discuss here are just my opinions.  Please consult your physician before altering anything relating to your health.  I am only suggesting here to take charge of your health.  Don't just leave your health in the hands of your doctors; become your own advocate.  You know best how your body is doing.

 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Was Bored--It Must Be Spring Fever



Yesterday, I was feeling so utterly bored!  Yes, I had many things still on my plate--many writing projects still to do.  I still had chores to do, but I was bored...so I decided to fill my salt shakers.  I got my supplies together--shakers, salt packets from restaurants, and tray.  I started to tear the little suckers, and it felt great.

Being able to tear something, again and again, felt exhilarating.  It's like I did some damage and something constructive at the same time.  I did some mundane chore, without having to do any deep thinking.  In the midst of that, I still had the pile of clothes to put away.  I still had to make my bed, too.

Did I mention that it was already two o'clock in the afternoon?  Did I say that I was still in my pajamas?  Oh, yes, many of us have had those days.  It doesn't matter if you are a stay-at-home mother or a work-out-of-home mother, we all have had a day like this.  I think it might be an indication that we need to spice up our days a bit.

Perhaps it is the spring bug biting me.  You know, it's like when you are aching to go outside and enjoy a wonderful spring day, frolicking in the green, green grass.  Oh, yes, I can see us all wearing white--sundresses, white pant, and white t-shirts, and running in the sand in the beach on a bright, sunny day.  Recharging our batteries is sometimes necessary.  We need to rest our bodies, minds, and souls; then we can conquer the world when we land back into reality again.

What's to stop us from enjoying the warmer weather out there? Time?  Money?  Do we really need those things?  No.  How much does it cost to drive out to our local park, if the weather is right?

Whatcha gonna do, my readers?  Are you gonna take me up on my challenge?  Go out there and have some fun!  I know what I'm gonna do--I'm gonna plant me some tomato and cucumber seeds for my garden this weekend. 

Have yourselves some pre-spring fun for me.  I already started by grabbing my mp3 player, cranking it up whilst I made my bed and put away my pile of clothes, all the while dancing like a crazy buffoon.  Hehe!

God bless you all with peace, my beloveds.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Different Uses of Crafting Hobbies

Manipulatives--simple crafts for educational purposes.
I have dabbled in several crafts.  A lot of them have been hands on learning tools for my children.  I learned how to make some of them back in my college days during my elementary education courses.  I still on occasion make some for my kindergarten child. Manipulatives for teaching language arts, math, social studies, and science are just some of the collections that I have made and/or kept.

Bracelets--made by my oldest daughter and me.
I once made some bracelets, with red, white, and blue beads for patriotism, which a lady bought from me during a yard sale that I was conducting.  That gave me the idea to encourage my daughter to create some with different types of beads of different colors.  It was fun to see what she could come up with.  Even more exciting was to see that she can make money with the bracelets she made.  My aim was to show her that she could make money with something she created. 
 
Many years ago, I saw that my mother, as a widow, always struggled financially. I'm not saying that I am rich, by any means.  I just decided to equip my daughter with a means to help herself if she were ever strapped for cash.  I like the saying that if you give a fish to a man, he will not be hungry for that day; however, if you teach that man to fish, you feed him forever.  I know, I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

I think it is important to show our children that we can conduct yard sales or create novels to sell for money.  If they see us do those things for ourselves, instead of depending on the government for handouts, we can change their lives.  The legacy we can pass on is immeasurable.  I have seen too many families passing down the idea of entitlement of financial help in the form of food stamps.  I want to change that in my lifetime.  I want to be an inspiration to my children.


How about you, my precious readers?  How do you use simple crafts in your life?  Do you use them to relax?  to make money?  to socialize like in crocheting clubs?  I hope you have some craft you participate in to enrich your life in some way.

May God bless you all with a deep peace, my beloveds.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Advantages of a Hobby Like Crocheting

Above is the baby blanket for my youngest child.
I began crocheting by teaching myself. I bought a book which was accompanied with different sizes of needles. I bought a few skeins of yarn. I looked at the pictures, especially those that explained how to crochet for the left-handed. I began with the basics; then I attempted my first project--pot holders.

The pair came out ugly. I did not throw them away, though. I still have them and use them. They are a reminder that I taught myself how to do something. I know that I made something useful.

I think that this single thing defines me. I don't want to just take up space in this world. I want to be useful and to be a blessing to those around me. Others may not see me as such, but it only matters how my God sees me. I don't have to prove myself to others because I know that I matter to God.

Anyway, I have since made more pot holders, scarves, hats, booties, pillows, blankets, rugs, , sweater vests, one pullover sweater, and travel pillows. I am not one to use elaborate patterns nor will I ever boast making baby clothes and/or doilies. I am not that sophisticated. All I can claim to do is to make a few things for my kids on demand. Yes, I have made a little bit of money off of some of the items but not much to say that I have ever broken even.

Why do it then? Well, for starters, whenever I have been under a lot of stress, crocheting calms me down. Sure, I do some thinking while I crochet, but I get some satisfaction in knowing that the end result will be a colorful, useful item that comes out of my mental anguish. For example, when we were house hunting once, I made a thick blanket that I later gave to my mother-in-law. Also, when I was bed-ridden while pregnant with my last child, I made her a blanket, too, which she still has.

The other thing that I like about crocheting is that it lends itself to creativity. I can create the same items in different colors. I have made scarves of different sizes and different colors to experiment. I also have made booties in different sizes as my child demand them. Sometimes I make them bigger so my children can wear them for a longer time.

The blankets, some of which are very colorful, have allowed me to lovingly create a lasting hug for my children. Long after they have left my nest, they will still have a piece of their home with them wherever they go.

I have also given away some of the items. It feels good that even if I can't sell the items right away, they will be going to good homes. Also, I have blessed some of the items, like scarves as presents. I like giving them, as I am able, to members of my husband's large family.

Is this craft expensive? Yes, but which craft isn't? Once I have bought the tools, I don't need to buy them again, unless the needles are lost. It is like the woodworker. He needs his cutting tools and then the wood that he works on. The yarn I need to buy is like the wood that the woodworker would need.

Crocheting is fun but to some, I'm sure it's tedious. For me, I work at my own pace. I can put it away and come back at my own leisure. It is like my writing, I can come back to a piece I am working on and pick up where I left off. Crocheting, like writing, require forethought, but once you are on a roll, you can create something very beautiful.

How about you, my readers? Is there some craft or hobby you do? Is it gardening? Is it fishing? Does it relax you? No matter what, it is worth the time and money for your peace of mind. Try a new one if you have been feeling stressed.

Thanks for reading this entry.

May God grant you peace, my beloveds.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What I Want My Children to Attain from Their Homeschooling Life

My older daughter is seen here teaching her baby sister.

As promised here is the next portion to my homeschooling adventure series:

I learned a lot from homeschooling my teenage nephew.  He was in his early teens when I began homeschooling my oldest son who was only five years-old at the time.  Ironically, that same son is now fifteen--the age when my nephew left my home.  Fortunately, my son has no intentions, like my other children, in leaving home too soon.  I am grateful for that because I want the time to equip him with as much life skills as possible before he leaves my nest.

My homeschooling philosophy has evolved, undoubtedly.  I haven't done too much direct teaching. Instead, I believe in I'll-hold-your-hand-sometimes-but-not-forever.  As soon as the children are reading independently, I give them their material, like workbooks, textbooks, etc.   I give the children instructions over how much to do per day per subject, and they only come to me when they are stuck with something they don't understand.  They input into their daily logs what they have done for each day.  

Our homeschooling is as follows:

--Eclectic (including many ideas and material)

--Montessori (lots of self-learning with available material);

--a little bit of unschooling (varied schedules, some do work in the morning, some at night);

--some interest-driven electives (computers and drawing), and 

--using teachable moments (for example, writing an essay about why you want your parents to buy you a computer tower).

Here is a sampling of concrete skills that I want education to give my children:

-Writing--
for them to have a way for my children to express themselves in the written word when they desire something; for example, writing a letter to their councilmen about an issue involving their neighborhood;

-Math--
for them to balance their checkbooks and budget their money;

-History--
for them to know the background behind the news they hear;

-Bible--
for them to be able to discern the real truth behind people's actions and words and to know what God expects of them; also for them to know how to conduct themselves;

-Science--
for them to know about what their bodies need and what nourishes them and about the natural world around them;

-Reading--
for them to know how to empower themselves by seeking out information that is understandable to them because they comprehend the words; and
-Chores--
for them to cook, clean, and fix problems for themselves.

The above is not an exhausted list; there are more things I want my children to know before they leave me.  As you can see, I want my children to be productive, loving individuals that will go out into the world and be positive members of society.  I want them to be equipped to face the challenges of this world.  Yes, experience will give them plenty of knowledge, but the skills they learn through me, their facilitator, I hope will take them further.  Isn't this what every parent would like for their children?

How about you, my readers?  What skills would you like for the children in your life to acquire?  Good public speaking skills?   What about our future waste collectors, doctors, and lawyers?  What skills would they need?  Think about it.  You could enhance their lives by taking the time to pause to review what is needed vs. what is already learned.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my homeschooling career.  I hope it benefits someone and/or that it causes some reflection about their child's education.

By the way, stay tuned to read on a future entry: What I Need to Teach My Ninth Grader.

Peace I extend to you all, my friends and family. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Beginning of My Homeschooling Journey

Homeschooling was the best decision I ever made.


I am a mother who was (and remains) compelled to homeschool her children.  I can't say that there is one main reason for this decision.  There are many reasons why one would homeschool.  Some of the reasons include religious, medical, and physical reasons.  For me, homeschooling began because of several reasons and morphed into others.

What do I mean by that?  Well, you have to understand that I have a background in education.  I received my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education.  Then, during my first year of teaching a fourth grade class, I realized many truths.  Those truths startled me into deciding to stay home with my first born baby.

For one, I heard that children were assaulting each other in the bathroom of the school where I was teaching.  Second, a big majority of the children in my own classroom were severely behind.  Third, the philosophies of how to teach children how to read varied every school year.  My biggest pet peeve was the big emphasis in teaching the children to pass the standardized testing.  I still don't know if it was due to me being a new teacher, but the administrators had all sorts of extra teachers coming in and out of my classroom. 

In the end, I felt like I was a mere baby-sitter to my students so I quit.  I felt that I wasn't earning my paycheck.  With these realizations, I eventually decided to take up the challenge from a friend to homeschool.  She had already decided to do it, even though she was of a different religion and not even college educated.  She had an asthmatic child and was afraid he would go without quick treatment should an emergency occur.  She also knew her own temperament, that if anyone "messed" with her kid, she would go ballistic. 

With that beginning, I had also to homeschool a nephew who had come to live with my family and me.  My mother, who had been his guardian, passed away.  I had decided that, as he was a child who had been in and out of the principal's office (due to his ADHD--hyperactivity and emotional problems--going back and forth between my mother and my sister, his birth mother), he needed time to heal his broken heart over the loss of his grandmother. I had envisioned me dragging my three children with me to every meeting due to his misbehavior at public school and I decided NO, I am not going through that, especially the psychiatrist's appointments for prescriptions to drug my nephew into submission.

Oh, the struggles I had with that boy!  He was a soon to be 13 year-old who would ride his bike in the streets often leaving my mother wondering where he was.  When he came to live with us, the only way he would listen up is if we shouted at him.  I hated that!  If I gave him work to do, he practically wanted me to hold his hand, wanting me to sit right next to him like the special education teachers did in the public school.

It was so frustrating!  It was even harder when he would give me the excuse that he needed his medication in order to attend to his work.  I told him that it was a crutch to depend on those medications.  Imagine what it was like to teach him how to write.  He would protest for many long minutes after which I would point out that he could have been writing all that time that he was protesting.

In the end, he did learn how to make a decent essay.  He was doing very well school-wise, but then he wanted to go live with his mother.  It was so sad to see him go, but I understood that he wanted to give it a shot at being with her.  I didn't get to teach him about how to budget his money or other life skills.  To be honest, he did not go on to finish high school.

He did attempt to go to high school at one point.  One English teacher was impressed with his writing.  Well, at least that went well.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not mad at anyone for this failure.

I was disappointed that time ran out before I could finish educating my nephew.  That's why I have striven thus far to occasionally review what needs to be taught to my children.  I have recently dug out a checklist of skills to be learned by every child, not just homeschooled children.  I will be looking at it closely to check off those skills already learned.  I will then focus on the ones yet to be acquired.

I hope to make my next blog about What I Want My Children to Attain.  Please tune in to that tomorrow.

Thanks for reading, friends and family.

My peace I extend to you all, my beloveds.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Couponing--My Love-Hate Relationship With It



I have tried several times to use coupons to save money.  A long time ago, my mother explained that there are times that coupons are not worth it.  She showed me that a generic brand might be cheaper than a brand item, even with the coupon.  Granted there are some brand items that taste better, and I will draw the line there.  Ketchup is one culprit that I cannot substitute for generic.  I can always taste the difference. 

Anyway, couponing saves me over $15 on a good trip. While I'm at the store, I pass around the good coupons to one person, usually my hubby.  The grocery list is handed off to another one, usually my teenage daughter. Then, I put away those coupons I won't be using in my purse.  My method is so frustrating.  I literally start to sweat.

Many times I have cut coupons ahead of time.  Fortunately, I have a blue organizer with dividers for the categories; however, I think its usefulness is nil, when I am at the grocery store.  There are times that I have had to throw away those coupons that expire.  It's embarrassing when the cashier hands you back an expired one.  Sometimes I also run out of time to create a good grocery list to match up useful coupons; my efforts at cutting them ahead of time is wasted. 

That's why I started looking at some of the couponing websites.  I wanted to go into the forums to see how those that are coupon-savvy do their thing.  Here are some fact that I have discovered:

1. Some women cut only the coupons that they need, when they make out their grocery lists.

2. Some of them use binders to organize their coupons.  They insert those see-through baseball card holder pages and place the individual coupons in each slot.  They actually take these binders with them to the grocery store.

3. Some of them trade coupons within couponing websites.  This is an awesome idea.

4. Some of them combine coupons.  I still am not ready for this, especially at the drug stores.

5. Some of them love to share their adventures daily, with pictures and mathematical explanations.  You can sign up with newsletters.

6. Some of them love to share coupons sites, advice, and their philosophy about couponing.  That's great for us novices.

7. Some of them actually save $40 per week or more for their families. I wish I had the patience and knowledgeable to do the same.


If you, my readers, are game for attempting the couponing challenge I urge you to try these websites, which I found are also on Facebook:   

http://www.coupondispatch.com
   
http://www.CouponsEqualCash.com

http://www.weusecoupons.com

http://www.couponmountain.com

http://www.couponcabin.com


I hope you, my readers, find this blog entry useful.

How about you?  Do you know of other websites pertaining to coupons?  Would you be willing to share what you know about couponing?

Peace out, my beloveds.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

De-cluttering the Storage Shed of Yard Sale Stuff

My storage shed had been yelling at me like a banshee woman, "Clean me out!" 

The problem was that life events had gotten in the way.  The weather was quite frigid.  My mother-in-law, who had been ailing, passed away.  My sister-in-law, who had been caring for her, had to move out of her home.  My cluttered storage shed stayed in the back burner, stewing in her anger.

Finally, while not feeling so great, with all my hormonal problems, I decided that it was fair weather enough to tackle the beast in the abyss.  I started with the many bags of clothes that I had accumulated.  You must understand that not all of the clutter was from my little household.  A lot of it I had held onto in the hopes of having yet another yard sale.  


Since I had been suffering (and still do) with hot flashes--too cumbersome to deal with in this Texas heat--I kept putting it off.  Here in San Antonio, you could pay for three yard sales and get the last one free (with proof of having paid for the prior three).  I realize now that I never had one in the whole of last year.  Huh? How about that?  No wonder I had so much clutter to deal with on Sunday.



Getting back to the actual de-cluttering,  I started to sort the clothes by size and gender.  I had piles for men, women, boys, and two sets for girls sizes (6 and under & 7 and above).  Everything was going fine until the piles started getting higher.  That's when it dawned on me (with the reminder from a hormonal attack), I can't have another yard sale.  Of course, my wise husband already knew that. 

I still bagged the clothes as much as I could by category.  I'm a nutty stickler like that.  I finally broke down and asked my husband to call one of his other sisters who I knew has had yard sales to please ask if she would like the stuff.  Yes!  Sorry, sis-in-law, my trash has become your treasure.  May you be blessed with that which you want and make some money from the rest.

I also had some household stuff like small appliances and dishes.  Those I attempted to put in larger boxes for easier exporting from my home.  I let hubby know what he could pile into the van to make it disappear from my eyes.  OH, I now have space to walk into my storage shed.  I have had to keep some of the gardening stuff inside my utility room, which already houses the washer and dryer and the wheeled hampers (for dirty clothes).  My utility room will breathe a sigh of relief when I work in there next.

Even though I think I have a small family with a mere four children, some individuals may think I have a large family.  I am very blessed to have the family of four children and two parents.  I just never realized how many times, probably two per year, that I would have to de-clutter.  My yard sales would often give me a real reason to de-clutter.

I used my yard sales to socialize with other adults, too, but that did not pan out last year.  It turned out that no one (out of four persons) could sell with me for the first yard sale.  I was greatly disappointed, but I understood their excuses.  I had also used my yard sales to make a little bit of extra money to buy organizational aids and containers and home schooling material, but it did not even pan out the prior year due to the economy.  People wanted to pay next to nothing for our items. 

For the many reasons I have listed, I am now resorting to the internet to hopefully create some revenue for our household.  The door to making money at yard sales has closed.  Another door could be opening.  I am hoping that my venture at creative writing will pan out for me.  Writing is my passion, and I am enjoying it so much.  I pray that my readers are enjoying my writing and getting some entertainment, too.
How about you, my readers?  How do you help your household financially?  I would love some feedback and/or advice.

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry.

Peace, I pray for you, my beloveds.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Can You Believe This Credit Card Offer?

Mock credit card

Where do I start with this crazy rant about this new credit card offer?  Well, perhaps if I begin with some interesting facts.  To begin, we don't have credit cards.  We used to, but they got us into lots of trouble with debt.  Needless to say, we don't want to have anymore debt than we already have.

This offer was presented to my husband.  The Pre-Approved Status has been confirmed for a Platinum Visa card with a possible credit line of UP TO $1,500.  There is no enrollment fee, but if you look at the back there is a $75 first year Annual Membership Fee with a subsequent Annual Fee of $99 (for the years, thereafter), billed at $8.25 monthly.  I must mention that if the initial credit limit were to turn out to really be $300, then the $75 would be deducted from it so you would only have $225 to begin with. Does that sound at all appealing? 

I do want to congratulate the Credit One Bank for spelling everything out so nicely for me to understand.  Lest you wonder what the Annual Percentage Rate is, let me clue you to that: 23.90%.  That's amazing, isn't it?!  Also, there is a Minimum Interest Charge of $1.00 for every billing cycle in which an interest charge is due.  This means that if we failed to pay off the entire balance by the next billing cycle, there would be a guaranteed extra $1.00 attached to the total due.  Isn't that just so wonderful for them?!

Will we be accepting this offer?  NO!  Even if we wanted to re-establish our credit, this kind of offer is built for the benefit of the bank that sent this application to us.  We, as consumers, must, must, must learn that this type of bank is what is called a  predatory lender.  That means that your money is prey to these money hungry entities. The fees are too high, and the consequences of more debt and headaches aren't worth it!

I write this entry to entertain, inform, and vent about this type of injustice.  Please understand that it is important to read the fine print in these credit offers.  I want my teenagers and everyone else to read this because we need to recognize the importance of reading and math in everyday life.  Please consider spreading the word about this issue.  It is important for everyone to open their eyes to the reality that as the government attempts to regulate these credit extenders, the very banks and companies are finding new ways to part you from your hard-earned money.
 
How about you, my beloved readers?  Have you been offered such ridiculous credit offers as this one?  Please consider the facts before signing on the dotted line for more credit.

Thanks so much for reading about this important issue.

Blessings of peace to you all, my family and friends.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A New Love--Puppy Love--That Is!

Puppy Love

This is a perfect time for a new love to come into my family.  Who would think that a new love would come into our lives in the form of a canine.  Yes, a large 11 month-old yellow Labrador Retriever puppy has made his way into our hearts.  His name is Coco.  My sister-in-law was moving and couldn't take him with her so we decided to adopt him. 

My husband brought Coco home just this past Saturday.  While settling here, he became acquainted with the next-door neighbor's little black doggie, which I think is a Chihuahua.  Only the chain link fence separates them.

They both ran next to each other. 
They stared at each other.  They growled.  They noses met.  They marked their territory.    It was hilarious!
 

Saturday night, feeling more safer than ever before about leaving the house by itself, we went to Walmart to buy Coco a large bag of dog food.  In the short time that I had prior to our grocery trip, I looked up information about how to train him so I opted to buy him some treats.  Hubby wanted to buy him a large collar, a long leash, and a flea collar, too.  He had also brought over the igloo-type dog house from his former residence.  All we need now is to take him to the vet, when we can, to get his shots and and a checkup.

I am very happy and thankful to my sister-in-law for letting us take Coco.  We are already so in love with him.  Even my three youngest went out to play with him so that he can get to know them.  My teenage daughter, Iris, has expressed a desire to train him, and that will be a great experience for her.  The fortunate situation is that labs are gentle and skillful, if given a chance to shine.

I pray that my family will have many wonderful moments with him.  


How about you, my family and friends?  Do you have a pet that you love?  Aren't they a great source of love?  I pray you have a pet to enhance the love in your life.

My loving peace I extend to you all, my beloved family and friends.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Day Wishes


At this time of year, I enter a Walmart store and what do I see?  I spy stuffed animals of all kinds, some pink, some black, some are monkeys, some are frogs, and some have hearts on them. I also see the greeting cards, pink blankets, and heart-shaped pillows.  The products are endless.  The gift ideas are endless, too.

I must admit that for many years, I expected the greeting card and chocolate candy from my sweetheart.  Now, it could be just any other day.  Hey, I'm just being honest.  There have already been several other holidays in which I have been disappointed so I am not going to set myself up for it anymore.  Valentine's Day, just like all other holidays, has been too commercialized.

Why is there so much hype about this holiday and others?  The almighty dollar is reigning here.  Companies are banking on people needing gift ideas and they have plenty of them--that is, plenty of ideas to separate you from your hard-earned money.  That's why I propose that we go back to the basics.  I mean really, can't we just make gifts for each other?!

As a housewife, I can cook a delicious meal of my hubby's choosing.  My girls can make me a greeting card, like they did for my birthday.  The boys can just remember to do their chores.  That's enough for me.  My husband can eat his meal with great zest.  That's enough for me. 

I can get a little me-time by allowing me to sit in a hot bath set by my hubby.  That's enough for me; oh, but I need my Barry Manilow to play on the radio.  Ah, that's right.  Oh, I almost forgot the scented candles.  I'm not asking for much, am I?

I hope that my hubby and my kids read this.  Anyone reading this, please let my family know what I want.  Okay?  I don't want to have to tell them exactly what I want.  That wouldn't be right, would it?  Haha.

How about you, my faithful readers?  How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?  Do you celebrate it at all?  What special traditions do you have for this special day?  Or is it a regular day for you, like I pretend?

Thanks for reading this light-hearted poke at America's love-hate relationship with the LOVE holiday.  Happy Valentine's Day to you all.

May you all have loving peace today, my beloveds.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Letter Writing--A Passing Art?

We recently went through the passing of my mother-in-law.  It has been over a week already, but we will continue to miss her.  I am comforted to know that there are many well-wishers out there in the world.  I appreciate them very much.  It is amazing to find out who will reach out to you in this trying time.

Imagine my surprise when my husband brought the mail into our van as we were leaving to go grocery shopping.  Yes, there was a small envelope, and it was quite bulky.  I opened it up and saw a colorful greeting card inside.  I pulled it out and immediately opened to find a typed letter inside it.  I couldn't believe what I saw.

There were so many words that I started to read it first silently, then I started it from the beginning outloud so the children and my husband could read it.  It was a letter from some co-workers from the welding company who even knew my husband's father.  They (the secretary and her family) mentioned him as "Shorty," by the way.  Patty started off by apologizing for not attending my mother-in-law's funeral service.  (It had been the beginning of a severe cold front, which later turned to a snow event--a rarity in San Antonio, TX.)

She goes on to echo much of what I have already learned in my young life about missing a dearly loved one who has passed on and having to moving on in life.  The suffering is really tough to watch, while the loved one tries to endure.  She exhorts us to remember and hold the memories close to our heart.  We should share the memories with our children so that Ramona will live on in their hearts, too.

We should not harbor regrets and keep family close, Patty adds. We should not take life for granted because it can go in a flash.  We should share laughs, hugs, and even the tears with one another and leave the embarrassment aside.  She encourages us to make a difference in this world and to reach out to those that we have been at odds with.  "Forgive and try to forget."

It's bittersweet to receive such a letter as this.  It feels good to receive this loving act of a three page letter.  It is unfortunate that I get to experience the wonderfulness of the people that my husband works with through a sad turn of events.  I do feel blessed though to know that while my husband is away at work, he is surrounded by a great bunch of co-workers.

I have always loved letter writing.  In writing letters, one gets to think out what one feels before putting the actual pen to paper.  I wrote a few letters to a fellow in the Army during the Persian Gulf war around 1990-91.  I tried to write long, entertaining letters to distract him and his buddies from the terror of being in the midst of a war.  It was a blessing to me to serve him in that manner. We were very patriotic back then with the yellow bows and red, white, and blue ribbons and sent a few care packages with snacks and other goodies to him, too. 

I have also encouraged my teenage daughter to have penpals, too.  She's had three to four of them in her young life.  She loves sharing of herself.  I am glad that she has that love of writing.  It will serve her well in the future.

For now, I am glad to have had the practice of writing so I can send a thank you note of my own to my husband's co-workers.

How about you, my readers?  Have you written a letter to somebody lately?  an email thanking a friend for being there for you?  How about a simple line on Facebook to your faraway relatives?  

I encourage you to reach out to somebody today.  You might just might give them the first smile of the day.

Peace out, my beloveds.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Belong in the Suffragist's Era


I believe that if I ever existed in the past, I would have been fighting for the rights of women.  I think I would have been protesting for something or another, especially for the right of women to vote. I would have been working towards the goal that women be allowed to work to provide for themselves, especially if single or widowed.  Another goal would have been for women to own their property, without having to defer to a man. 

I am not necessarily saying that I would have fought for women to be allowed to have all the abortions they ever wanted.  I'm not even saying that I would really want to work outside of the house if I were married.  I'm just saying that a woman should be able to help her spouse financially if she could handle the physical and emotional aspects of working, whether in or out of the house.  She should not have to be considered a man's property, born to him or married to him, without any rights of her own.  It is sad to think that other cultures and nations still have this situation in their hands.  Hopefully with time, this will change elsewhere and also improve here in the United States.

In today's standards, women are still not getting paid fairly in the United States.  If I worked at Walmart, I would only be making $7 an hour--that is, if I were to get hired.  You see, with a university degree, I would probably be over-qualified to work there.  My husband gets paid over twice the amount (as a seasoned welder) than I would earn at Walmart. It wouldn't be worth it for me to work there or at any other similar job site.  I think about the cost of the gas, the upkeep of the car, having to leave my kids behind, the stress of dealing with rude/greedy customers, and I realize that I should just stay home and educate my children.  Anyway, there are other opportunities to make money with virtual (online) and physical (yard) sales.

When I was a teenager, a teacher once told me that I resembled a protester.  I immediately took that as a compliment.  Since then, as an adult I have emailed my representatives many times.  I have added my voice to certain issues that were dear to my heart like home schooling and parent's rights.  Much like the empty chairs and small bookcase above imply, we must decide when to stand up out of them and exact change in our society. 

What sorts of things do we fill our shelves with?  Books, knick knacks or artifacts?  What about our hearts?  What's important in our lives?  Let's act on what is top priority in our lives and not worry about the rest.

How about you, my readers?  What era or time period would you belong to?  Why?  What would it mean to you?  Think it over.

My peace I spread to you, my beloveds.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Our Favorite Dinnertime Meals



My favorite meals involves beans and rice.

What does my family love to eat?

It is difficult at times to make a meal that all of the family will enjoy.  One person may want something different from the others.  I often have to make a meal that has different components to it.  Then, one person can leave out or add any ingredient if they like. A mother and/or her helpers often have to tweak the meals to accommodate everyone.

For example, when I make spaghetti, I leave out the sauce from the ground meat.  My younger son and I love the sauce on our pasta, but the others sometimes do and sometimes don't.  I don't bother to make meatballs, either; they're too time-consuming to make.  Then, we made some toast, adding butter.  For mine, I add a sprinkling of garlic.

My children also like to eat tacos of various kinds.  I like that they are versatile.  The kids can add any ingredients they like.  One daughter likes lettuce.  The other daughter likes tomatoes.  My youngest son likes a cheese taco, while the older one likes ground meat with the shredded mild cheddar in it.  My husband and I like to add avocado, to which I add a few drops of lemon.

Some of them like cheeseburgers.  Two of my children--the oldest ones--like cheeseburgers.  All of them seem to like chicken nuggets.  Some of us like the nuggets with or without barbeque sauce.  Of course, we need our fries, and again, some like ketchup and some don't.

What about you, my readers?  What do your children like?  What does your significant other love to eat?  Can you see the value of making your meals with choices?  I just love the challenge of having everyone eat a meal together, one that everyone can enjoy.

Peace to you, my beloveds.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Five Reasons to Eat Dinner As a Family

Hubby and daughter eating dinner together.

There are many reasons a family should eat dinner together.  When we first started our little family, I made it a priority to eat together.  There have been many benefits to this wonderful family practice.  Here are a few:

1. You get to share stories with each other.

When my husband gets home after work, he gets to hear about how our home schooling day went.  He gets to tell us how his work day went, too.  There are often hilarious things to talk about.  The children like to explain about what they learned.  My husband likes to talk about the lunchtime antics of his co-workers.

2. You get to socialize with each other.

The children are able to hang out with the adults.  It is important for the children to know how to communicate with adults.  We parents get to visit with our children.  I believe that we parents need to spend time with them to show them that we care and love them.  How else can we show the children about how much we appreciate them than to spend time with them.

3. You get to have family meetings.

There are times when some major issue comes up like Christmas or the illness of a family member.  We need to have a special time when we come together to discuss those situations that arise.  Taking the time to actually hash out the problems is necessary to have a successful family life.  Finding solutions to those problems is essential for the household to run smoothly.  This is the perfect time to talk about financial circumstances and/or the balancing of the chores.

4. You get to show gratitude for each other.

Sometimes for Thanksgiving and/or birthdays, I like for each one of us to show our gratitude.  It can be a few words.  These positive words that show how we appreciate one another goes a long way to building our children's self-esteem.  It also shows each child that they are valuable to the family.  Each member pulls his share of the responsibilities.

5. You get to see your family grow together.

I love that we can come together and learn something new from one another.  The children often have something new to share from their learning.  It could be something that they read in their history studies.  It could be about how fascinated they are about the latest gadget from the technological world.  This is the perfect opportunity to laugh at the funny things that happen throughout the day, too.


Thanks for reading this blog entry.  I hope you have enjoyed my short list of reasons why families should eat together.  Of course these are not the only benefits to eating together, but I have found, through experience, that the family is much stronger.  If you don't already do it, please consider making it a priority to eat a meal together at the same time.  It would be a great blessing for all family members involved.

My peace I send to you, my beloveds.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Happy Fifteenth Birthday To Gabriel, My Son

Today, I am celebrating the fifteenth birthday of my oldest child, Gabriel, who has grown to be quite a computer buff.  Here he is at the beginning:
Gabriel is shown here using the dinosaur computer as a youngster.

I still remember that being called into the OB/GYN's office, where he calmly explained that I needed to get on a special diet.  I was working at the time as a fourth grade teacher.  I ate peanut butter and crackers on my break.  I would come home after teaching and would go to bed exhausted by eight in the evening.  The gestational diabetes would go away once I gave birth to my son.

I still remember having the contractions and waiting until they were about four minutes apart before heading to the hospital.  I spent most of the day from about ten in the morning until about five in the afternoon on the sofa, counting the minutes until my husband arrived.

I still remember the old, fixed up Chevy station wagon that carried us to the hospital.  Every time my husband turned that car on, it sounded like an airplane.  Hubby had re-painted it red and white.  It was a very roomy car.Oh, they don't make cars like them anymore.

I still remember that a young doula, out of nowhere, came into the tiny room to help me breath my son into the world.  She held my hand through it all.  I was so happy to have someone help me.  I never went to Lamaze classes.  I almost went through all the contractions without the help of pain medications.

I still remember finally looking into the face of my son and seeing the uncanny resemblance to my father.  I forced myself to talk to him, even though I was not trained to care for a newborn; I just knew that I had to make the best effort for him.  I remember that there were renovations in the hospital so even the private room for me to visit with my son was tiny.  I held him as much as I could and then started walking back to my room.  I held onto the railing because I was dizzy.

I still remember that I had gotten up, despite my dizziness, because one rude nurse told me that I had to get up.  When another kind nurse saw that I was struggling to walk, she got me a wheelchair to go the rest of the way.  My sister would later recount how they wanted to visit with me but were turned away by one nurse because I was not conscious.

I still remember sitting in my bedroom, holding my son who had been released one week later because of an infection.  I realized that my life would never be the same.  I had a precious life in my hands.  I had to feed him.  I had to clothe him.

Now, my boy is a teenager.  He's cooking, cleaning, and caring for his siblings.  I am very blessed to have such a wonderful, kind, and obedient son.  I am living the song, "Butterfly Kisses," by Bob Carlisle. 

Even though he sings the song for his daughter, I still feel that "...I don't know what I did to deserve this..."  I am just happy that our sacrifice of me staying home with him and his siblings, instead of working outside of the home, has been paying off--Gabriel has turned out to be a young man that I can be proud of.

Here is Gabriel recently, probably tweaking my laptop:

Gabriel is shown here as a teenager.

Happy birthday, to you, my beautiful son, Gabriel.

Yes, I think you do deserve that new computer, son. ;)

Thanks for reading this, everyone.  Peace to you all.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Another Bittersweet Moment--Rare Snow Event Coupled With Sadness


Hi Everyone,

I am rejoicing at this moment because a little while ago, we woke up to actual snow here in San Antonio, TX.  Yes, I know that it is not a big deal to those of you who have experienced snow many times, but it is a rarity here where I live.  We even took some pictures, in the middle of the night.


This is my mother-in-law.


I am still very sad because we just had the rosary and viewing for my mother-in-law last night.  It was tear-filled, and I had to be as strong as I could be for my husband and his family.  It was beautiful because the oldest of my brothers-in-law played a pre-recording of two songs he sang in honor of his mother.  There were prayers, laughter, and remembrances of how much my mom-in-law has meant to us.  She will continue to live in our hearts as we continue the traditions of get-togethers on holidays, like Easter.

With the light snow we have experienced, we now have icy situations.  San Antonians are not used to driving in these conditions so we do not know if we will be meeting at the church later this morning.  I pray that God's will be done about this.  I also ask for prayer for strength and peace for the family as we move forward, without our dearly departed one.

I thank those of you who would join me in this heartfelt hope that we will all settle into our new lives--it will never be the same without Ramona Villanueva.  The joy in all of this is that, for those of us with a Christian and/or Catholic faith, my mother-in-law is not suffering anymore and is now resting in peace.  We also have the hope of seeing her again on the other side of heaven; this brings me much comfort, as it did when my own mother passed away ten years ago.

I pray for peace for us all, in Jesus' name.  Amen!

Rebecca

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What Would I Tell My Younger Self?

The following is my response to a blog dare prompt:

I would tell myself to chill out!
 
I have noticed that the worst thing I have done is worry about things that have never happened.  When those bad things have happened, I have overcome them, anyway. 

I would tell myself that I was pretty.
 
I looked decent back then, but I never believed it.  There were many individuals who picked on me because of my looks.  I think it may have been because of my nose which is not big, but I always thought it was big.  I think it is a Roman nose like probably of German stock.  I look at pictures from the past, and I realize that I did not look ugly.

I would also tell myself that eventually I'll have a nice little family of my own.
 
I have a wonderful husband and four children, each with their own personalities.  My husband is well respected in his field of welding.  At times, his reputation precedes him.  He is in high demand.  My children are healthy most of the time and none are developmentally behind.  They don't require ongoing medical treatments.  I truly feel blessed to have such a loving family.

Finally, I would tell myself that I do deserve to be loved.
 
I was abused several times, and that left many scars.  Now that I am older, I know what the Bible says about God's children.  He loves them unconditionally.  I, as a person who accepts Jesus as my King and Savior, am a child of God.  I accept His love with open arms.

My friends and family, what would you tell your younger selves?
  

I hope that you would have some wisdom to pass down to the younger generation around you.

Blessings of peace to you all, my beloveds.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I'm Grieving Over My Mom-In-Law's Passing

Hi Everyone,

I am finding it hard not to write about my mother-in-law.  She was a special woman in so many ways.  She was a mother to many children, a grandmother to even more, and also a great grandmother.  She was a blessing to me, too, understanding what it was like to lose a mother to cancer.  

The Villanuevas, including my mother-in-law, have always had a knack for cracking cascarones (eggs with confetti in them) on each other's heads during Easter.  They often enjoyed pulling pranks and joked around with each other too, and that's how I choose to remember her.  I smile just thinking about how she'd chide her grown up children, like if they were little kids.

I am going to miss my mother-in-law, Ramona Villanueva.  May the wonderful memories we have of her live on in our hearts.  May we pass on the same spirit of love of life to our children and their children.

May God, in Jesus' name, give us all grieving family and friends a peace beyond our understanding and the strength to carry on.
With love,

Rebecca

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