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Mom, Zoe and I spent about 3 hours today clipping and organizing my coupons into categorized envelopes. I have baseball card sheets, labels, clear zipper pockets, a pink pair of scissors, and a paper trimmer, so I will begin putting together my binder as soon as I’m finished posting here. I’m excited about all the potential savings on items I’ll get for pennies on the dollar, if not totally free. And I’m excited about sharing the goods with my friends and family. BUT, I don’t think I’ll ever take this seriously enough that you’ll be calling me “extreme.”

It helps that I also have a knack for being in the right place at the right time when it comes to clearance sales. For instance, today we were at Wal-Mart and I found some treasures on the clearance shelves right by the check-out. I got a few notebooks for the kids (regularly $2.97), several clear zipper pockets for my coupon binder (regularly .99), and a few other small items, all for .25 each. I have learned to buy in bulk when I find a great deal. Imagine being able to pair those bargains with a coupon? I get chills just thinking about it. hehehe

My mom and I are canning pear and pumpkin butters this weekend, and I found 2 cases of pint jars for $5 each. I’m planning on making peach jam (Benny’s favorite) next week, and I found packets of freezer jam pectin for .25 each – regularly.99. I bought the peaches in a 25 lb. bulk box for $2. I love a great deal! It gives me such a rush! I could go on and on, but I have a coupon binder to organize.

I had said on Facebook that I’d post my pumpkin butter recipe here today, but it’s still in the crock pot and I’m tweaking it. I was trying to avoid white sugar and only use honey as a sweetener, and well…it’s just not sweet enough yet. I’ll be up late tonight canning it, and I’ll get the recipe up tomorrow, IF it turns out well.

So how about you? Are you a coupon person? What’s the best bargain you’ve found lately? Got any fancy tips for me as I kick my couponing up a notch? Just think, this could be me:

“After all of the coupons we owe her $104”

 

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I was sick all last week, and now my October Challenge partner is sick. Since I’m in Colorado and he’s in France, I can’t make him (and his pregnant wife who is also sick) homemade chicken soup, I thought I’d do the next best thing. Who couldn’t use a good laugh when they feel crappy? Unless it causes a painful coughing fit….I hope not, but I apologize if it happens! Here’s to finding something to chuckle about, and I hope Don and Ami heal quickly!

(All of these pictures were found while on StumbleUpon. Are you stumbling yet?)

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Sick Day #2

Ugh. This stinks. I am NOT going to miss a single day of posting something, but I’m still down today – sleeping a lot and not thinking straight. I’m reminding myself that fever is good and my body is fighting the infection like it’s supposed to, so I should be on the mend soon. I have an appointment tomorrow whether I’m feeling well or not, so I’m off to bed. See you back here tomorrow sometime.

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I’m not wimping out on the challenge, I’m barely functioning today. My brain is so fuzzy I can’t even concentrate on the book I’m reading. I’m fighting an infection from a bad tooth and it’s kicking my butt. I’ll be back tomorrow with the conclusion to the insomnia posts. The only good thing coming from this is the forced sleep and rest I’m getting. Oh the irony! Good night, friends. I’m off to make some more of this:

 

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I’ve been on a dystopian fiction kick for a few months now and I’ve decided to track down the books that will be made into movies in the next few years. I like to be ahead of the game, which is a great segue into writing about The Hunger Games Trilogy, my current favorite in the genre, but that will have to wait a few more days. This past week I read 2 novels by Lauren Oliver, both have been picked up by studios already.

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.


Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love–the deliria–blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: she falls in love.

Delirium was much better than Before I Fall. I think it was because I get tired of bitchy high school girls. One can only take so many “mean girls” scenarios. I kind of like Lauren’s style, I’m just hoping she doesn’t become the Nicholas Sparks of dystopian fiction. I hate that someone always has to die, especially someone you’re rooting for.

I like the questions that dystopian books ask, and pondering how things might be in the future. I like “the system” being challenged and abuses being exposed. Some of my favorites in the genre are: Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Children of Men by P.D. James, and Jeanne DuPrau’s The City of Ember series, which is geared for middle readers. LOVED IT!

Next up for me is Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Uglies (a series) by Scott Westerfield. Also due out in November is Ally Condie’s Crossed, a sequel to her book Matched, which I also enjoyed.

Other than reminding me I’m not 13 anymore, care to share your opinions on this genre? 🙂

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2011 is my de-cluttering year. While I face a new challenge each month, I’ll be working on body clutter all year-long. This month I shed about 200 lbs. It was all books and movies that were taking up space in my house. A few weeks ago I was slowly spinning in my office chair, taking in my surroundings and feeling stifled by my space when it hit me.

I have WAY too many books.

Books are my thing. They have always been my thing, so my epiphany came as quite a shock. Like any good book hoarder in denial, I mentally listed the reasons I keep shelves and shelves and shelves of books, most of which I have already read and will probably never read again. The shortness of the list was equally shocking.

1.      I love books. I blogged about it here.

2.      They were quite literally my friends through a tough childhood.

3.      Um…

Yes, that’s it. 2 reasons. Time for epiphany #2…

I don’t NEED books like I used to.

I realized that I was using books as a buffer, a protective layer of sorts. They were a security blanket, a built-in escape, and something to call my own. There are worse things to collect, right? Well, I tend to have one of those all or nothing personalities, so in my state of dazed awareness regarding my book hoarding, I made a decision. Everything goes. Thankfully, my family and I were on the same page. A little book humor for you. 😉

Being the proud owner of library cards in 4 different districts in the Denver Metro area probably makes me an overachiever, but I can find what I want. I can borrow from my book hoarding friends. I have several of those. I am still a member of paperbackswap.com for those out of print books that I can’t seem to find anywhere else. What more could I need? Oh yeah, a little monetary gain for my sacrifice.

I spent a day making an excel spreadsheet of all of the books and movies we own and then put the word out that I was holding a sale. (Hooray for Facebook) The money would benefit SEVENS and help us cover some of our monthly expenses, which it did. I promised the kids they could have the money for any of their items sold, and they had it mentally spent even before bringing me their arm loads of stuff. Apparently they take after me.

Over a 2 week period, I sold 400+ books and movies to people in 5 states. I delivered boxes and bags of books all over Denver and Boulder, and at the end of the sale, donated everything that was left (about 200 books) to our school and my favorite library for their bi-annual book sale. One of my friends bought all of my empty bookcases and hauled them away.

I have one small, 3-shelf bookcase left with the titles that would be hard for me to find again, some of my very favorites, and my writing reference books. That’s it. It was my biggest de-cluttering challenge to date, and I did it. I am victorious. I feel FREE!

I’m once again sitting in my now spacious and mostly de-cluttered office/school room, wondering what should go next, and daydreaming about owning one of these…

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Well, sometimes. Lack of sleep makes most people cranky. Those of us who can live on a little less sleep than the norm for days on end consider the “extra” hours in a day a blessing. Except when we’re also moms. Homeschooling moms. With a ministry to run. And laundry and dishes to do. And a little boy who likes to jump in our bed for cuddle time before the sun wakes up. And a whining little girl with a sore throat who keeps sleep walking (and talking) into the room while I’m trying to write. Poor thing. She has no idea what she’s saying. The big kid? He’s a sleeper. I think his body is preparing for graduation from tweendom to teendom. Yes, I’m the only insomniac in this house.

Tonight I accomplished a huge feat; I wrote our new support letter for SEVENS. The truth is that I co-wrote it, and Benny did most of the work. Still, I was writing and that counts. I also updated the SEVENS website the best I could while Mr. Sleepyhead was sawing logs in the next room. I am NOT an all-knowing, web tech geek, and we sorely need one on our team. Are you interested? It’s sort of like mothering. You answer to people who need your attention immediately, analyze the problem, come up with the best solution for everyone involved, then have a snack, all while working to make your place look good so you can have people over. There might be a few more steps involved, but who’s counting, right?

The problem with insomnia and writing late at night is that my fingers get cold. I need a hot drink to warm them, but then I worry incessantly that I might knock the darn thing over onto my precious…I mean laptop. Where’s my pink travel mug? The one with the skull on it? That should do the trick.

While I’m up writing tonight, I’m thinking about all of my friends who are participating in National Novel Writing Month or  NaNoWriMo. 50,000+ words in 30 days. Too bad I can’t type as fast as I talk. 😉 I wonder how they do it? Are they insomniacs too? Do they manage their time better than I do? Do they ignore their families like I do when I’m writing or reading a really great novel?  That’s the case I plead for being a night owl; I can get a lot done when nobody is awake to need me. What good am I doing while I sleep? My grandmother used to say you can sleep when you’re dead. Maybe that’s where the phrase “dead tired” comes from; all of those people who took my grandmother’s advice. Crazy people. Enough rambling. It’s after 2 a.m. and my inner monologue is starting to sound like Dory from Finding Nemo. This insomniac is going to bed. Good night friends!

 

 

 

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