Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cooking Extravaganza

For our November Gabby Moms project, we are reviewing Lorrie Flem's new bundle Cooking Extravaganza.

This product group contains 7 e-books and 1 "real" book. 

The real book is What's for Dinner Mom?.  I reviewed that earlier this year so you can read that HERE.  This bundle will include a SIGNED copy!

Today I'm going to tell you a little bit about the other 7 booklets this bundle contains. 

1. Bulk Cooking Tips and Tricks contains all the "how-to's" of bulk cooking.  No recipes, just tips and tricks.  Wonderful information that you will want to have before beginning a bulk cooking adventure.

2. Fill Em Up is a booklet that all moms of boys should read.  Can teenage boys eat!  And eat, and eat, and eat.  Included are a couple of recipes but mostly this is another book of tips, tricks and ideas to fill those tummies!

3. Healthy Sanity Saving Breakfasts is a little booklet filled with recipes and ideas to get your day started. 

4. Lorrie's Favorite Recipes from 2011 are just that - Lorrie's top 10 recipes in 2011.  This is stuff that is relatively easy, pantry friendly and approved by her large family.  Meat dishes, soups, stews, casseroles....there's a little bit of everything in here. 

5. Pizza Primer - starting with crust and ending with spices, this booklet covers everything - including the scientific "stuff" about how to make the best pizza dough.  I will never wrestle with pizza dough again.  There is a from scratch pizza sauce recipe and ideas for interesting toppings.  I'd kinda given up making pizza from scratch but I think I'm going to start again!

6. Sensational Salads I think that this is my favorite booklet.  You can't go wrong with salads and I am always looking for ideas. 

7. The Secrets of Chocolate Chip Cookies This starts with the basic recipe and then gives you various ideas, add-ins, tips and tricks to make the perfect cookie for your family.

This bundle will be available beginning tomorrow, Nov. 19th for $19.97.  If you are thinking of purchasing this is a Christmas gift (It would be a GREAT gift) then be sure to order it by Dec. 12 in order to ensure delivery before Christmas (remember What's For Dinner Mom? is a printed book!).

You may get this bundle from Eternal Encouragement at

ALSO, Lorrie will be giving away a copy of this bundle to one luck winner on her blog..... 

I received this product as part of the Gabby Moms review program in exchange for a fair review :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Month of Thankfullness Day 13

I'm thankful that we are a healthy family.  I know that is subject to change so I try to never take a moment of it for granted. 

I am praying for those families that are struck by illness. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Month of Thankfulness Day 12

I should have done this post yesterday but didn't want it to get lost in my list since I was behind.  Today I am thankful for all the veterans and those active duty members that are serving.  I am so thankful that you are willing to be out there on the front lines defending freedom.

Abby was being bullheaded today while I was getting ready to take her and Bear up to our local Veteran's Day ceremony.  She insisted that she wear a white bridesmaids dress someone had handed down to her.  It  had a FULL skirt and was a little long for her (we had to hold it up so she could walk).  I decided that the veterans probably wouldn't mind a little girl over-dressed for the occassion, so I put her in pants and a shirt, dress over the top, her cowgirl boots and a nice jacket.  Black knit gloves and her Hello Kitty stocking hat completed the look.  We got some looks but most were smiles. 

Our local town has a wonderful ceremony for the veterans.  They ask that the families of the deceased veteran's bring their flags in and they have them displayed around the courthouse lawn.  The Newton Marching Eagles played several patriotic songs, a local girl sang the National Anthem, a local minister led the prayer (Nate Hagen), the Boy Scouts led us in the Pledge of Alleigence and then a local Naval Reserve Lietenant (RoxAnn Dhom) gave the speech.  It was beautiful.

Thanks again for all that have served, and are serving our country. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Month of Thanksgiving Days 8, 9, 10 and 11

I got behind.  Sorry about that.  I've been knitting a lot, finishing projects and starting projects.  Staying busy as usual.

Anyway, I committed to do this so I'm going to try to catch up.  Might not be as much commentary as usual :)

#7 I'm thankful that we have the freedom to go to the polls and vote.  I didn't like the outcome and I worry about the future, but I am thankful that I had the option to go and voice my opinion.

#8 I'm thankful for good friends that keep me in the loop, encourage me and help me any way that they can.

#9  I'm thankful for good, strong, responsible boys.  Lee and Greg are growing up to be such wonderful young men.  I'm so so grateful that God gave them to me. 

#10  I'm thankful that we can be a place for the kids to hang out.  I love having a houseful of kids/teenagers.  There have been several here already this weekend and I expect more to drop in since there isn't school tomorrow. 

#11  I'm thankful that my husband works so hard to support us.  There are so many mothers that struggle through life alone and I am grateful that by the grace of God I am not one of them.

More tomorrow :)  Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A Month of Thanksgiving Day 7

Good morning!

The reason that I am doing these posts on my blog rather than on facebook is because I have a lot to say about many of the things that I mention here.  Today may be one of those days.  lol

Today I am thankful for the ability to stay home with my children and still contribute to our finances via homebased businesses.

In case you haven't seen the writing on the wall, here goes.  In the last 4 years my dh has taken a pay cut in increased insurance premiums (copays went up as well while coverage went way, way down) and his pension isn't a guaranteed thing.  With the "yes" votes for the amendment last night he will be lucky to have  a pension at all and may have to work until he is 70 to get it.  My husband is a correctional officer.  He works in overcrowded, dangerous situations every day.  We have watched the state make promises and jerk them away (plus some) for several years now.  Give a little, then take, take, take some more.  Give a tiny bit, then take, take, take.  Keep them just happy enough that they have to keep working.  Make it so they don't have many other options.  I mean, really, lets face it....where is a 37 year old man going to get another job in this point in time?  One that might actually pay the bills and put food on the table?  Yeah.  So he keeps plugging along and we pray every day that he doesn't get hurt or nobody gets seriously sick. 

I work away from home 1 day a week.  I definatley am not getting rich but sometimes my work each week is what pays for the groceries.  I also run an AVON business from my home.  If you've been reading my other posts then you know that this is not eating bonbons.  If you want to build a business, you work your butt off.  You work at inconvenient times.  You work when you would rather be sleeping.  But in sales, the economy matters.  So in these times, it doesn't always matter how hard I work....if my customers don't have any extra money, then they aren't buying things from me.  I also do custom knitting and sewing from home.  I have to tell you that at Christmas I can make some decent money doing this, but the rest of the year, not so much.  It is what it is.  And the economy still applies.

Knowing what I know and facing the future, I find it imperative to work, work, work and build, build build.  I am thankful that I have the ability to do this.  I know that in some parts of the world it isn't a possibility.  Thank you God for giving me the opportunity to use the skills and talents that you have given me to help support my family.  Thank you for letting me spend 90% of my time with my children while still working.  Thank you for always loving me. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A Month of Thankfulness Day 6

I am thankful for my God, who always loves me, protects me and sustains me.  He made a wonderful creation, He gave me a strong, loving husband, He gave me 4 beautiful children.  Most importantly He sent His Son, Jesus, to wipe away my sins, to take away my punishment and allow me to be with Him in Heaven. 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Sex, Drugs and Bomb Threats

I still remember high school....its only been 20 years ago :)  I remember a lot of stuff about high school:  parties, dances, tornado drills, earthquake drills, a "blizzard" (forcing my parents to come get me from school).  I even remember some enthusiastic Chemistry students setting off an aluminum foil bomb in a trash can near the gym. 

The one thing I don't remember is anyone threatening us while we were at school.  Nobody walked into the bus garage one spring day and threatened the students.  Nobody called the school one fall afternoon and said a bomb was set to explode at 2 p.m.

My parents never had to get that phone call, that I was on lock down, that I couldn't leave.  My dad never waited outside the high school with a bunch of other fathers to get me out of school.  My mother never went to St. Thomas and encountered all of Wade Township's fire department protecting the students in the Parish center. 

I realize that I've had a bad day.  My family lost one of the best today.  I will always love and miss you Corky, always.  I am hoping that his loss is one of the reasons I cried when I encountered Newton's finest fire department at a school as I went to pick up my son.  I drove down that road and cried.  I knew my son was safe.  I knew that he wasn't in harm.  But as a mother, something inside of you breaks when you see all those firefighters protecting that school. (Honestly I don't know if they were protecting or crowd control, but either way....) 

Jasper County school district obviously had a plan for such a thing.  I don't know how you come up with such a plan.  The logistics involved in gathering buses and drivers and moving - 500???? - students from one school to another in the quickest way possible.  As far as I can tell, the plan went off without a hitch.  I walked up to the Parish center and got my son.  Signed a piece of paper saying that he was mine and took him home.  And cried when we got back here.  I cried for the loss of a good man today.  I cried for the loss of innocence that keeps these kids from feeling safe in their own schools.  I cried because a mother should never have to hear the "there has been an incident at your student's school" reverse 911 call.  Twice in 6 months.  In a small community.  In my hometown. 

A big thank you to the Wade Township Fire Department, Jasper County Ambulance service, Newton City Police, Jasper County Sheriff's Department and IL State Police, the teachers and staff at JCJH and NCHS and the bus drivers and bus garage staff for doing everything possible to keep those kids safe.  Thank you to Oblong Fire Department that came over to sit at our fire station so Wade Township could stay at the school.  Thank you God for keeping our children safe. 

A Month of Thankfulness: Day 5

I'm thankful for the good health of my children.

October was pediatric cancer awareness month.  One of Greg's friends is a survivor of pediatric cancer and the daughter of our minister is also.  Cancer scares me.  Bad.  The thought of one of my children getting cancer terrifies me. 

Cancer isn't the only thing that attacks our children.  There are a host of childhood disease, birth defects and other things that can make our children, my children, so very sick.  I am so thankful that my children have been given good health (I say that as Lee is upstairs sick with the stomach bug - again).  I hate to see my kids sick with a cold or stomach flu.  I hate to see them hurt mainly because I know that I can't "really" do anything to make them better or heal their hurt....time is the main healer.  I can't imagine having a child with a life threatening illness and knowing that "really" there isn't anything that I could do to make them better.

Today is a "hug and kiss" your kids day today.  Love 'em bunches, I know I will mine :)

Sunday, November 04, 2012

A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 4

I'm very thankful for my church family.  They have been right there for us when we needed them, never asking anything in return.  They support us, laugh with us, cry with us.....they accept my past mistakes, they accept my quirks.  Unconditional that expects nothing in return, love that forgives and forgets.  I never knew that kind of love until I met Norman and I always thought that he would be the only one, but this whole group of people love just the same.  Their love isn't dependent on my behavior, my acquisitions, I don't have to prove how good I am with them.  They just love me, and I love them as well.  Love is a beautiful thing :)

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Month of Thanksgiving - Day #3

Today I am thankful for:

A husband that supports me no matter what, holds me when I cry and encourages me to keep keeping on.  Yesterday was a terrible business day.  Terrible with a capital T.  When I finally got home last night I cried and Norman was there to hold me while I got it all out. 

He truly is a blessing from God.

Today we are going to Chuck E Cheese in Evansville as part of Bear's birthday surprise.  Greg is playing basketball in Flora and won't be able to join us :(   We will miss him but that is part of growing up I guess.  Bear and Abby have never been to CEC....but they have seen the commercials so I can't wait to see their faces when we get there.  And Lee is driving with Norman riding shotgun so I get to knit the whole way there and back :)  It's gonna be a good day!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Days of Thanksgiving #2

Today, as I sit here munching on the most wonderful grapes, I am thankful for the food that we have to eat.  In this country, the variety of food is amazing.  We can get so many things that are exotic or out of season.  We don't have to travel far and wide to find these things, they are available right here in my little town of 3100 people.  That is amazing!

I know I complain a lot about the cost of groceries, and I will admit it is very difficult to manage a grocery budget of $300 a month in a family of 6 (with 2 teenage boys!).  BUT we could be eating beans and rice all the time - we aren't - so I consider us very lucky and blessed indeed (we would be blessed if we had only beans and rice but we are more blessed with a variety).

I've begun to plan our Thanksgiving meal.  What will be on your Thanksgiving table this year?  No matter what your meal, how fancy or plain, remember to be thankful for it and the people that will partake of it.....those that love, respect and care for you.  In the end, they are the most important thing :)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Help Wanted????

I know that it is the time of the year for all of us when the money goes out quicker than it goes in.  Are you looking to earn a little extra money for the holidays?  Or all the time? 

I would love to have you join my AVON team.  AVON is a great company to work with.  For the $10 start-up fee you get selling resources, in-person training and online training.  I have made so many friends selling AVON.  It really is whatever you want to make of it.  Would you like to give it a go?  Here is my erep site (you will get one also - for free - after you get signed up), my leadership code is carieshinn  If you are local, let me know and I will get you signed up in person (you will immediately get your selling materials that way). 

Do you like the rythm of data entry?  You can truly set your own hours with this place (like work in the middle of the night hours).....  Online Jobs Free

I also do tutoring (like beginning reader type stuff) at my home.  I've taught 2 children how to read all by myself and helped some others before this so I feel confident in my abilities in this area.

Are you creative?  I do custom knitting and sewing projects also....hats, scarves, blankets, cowls.  If I see something that is cute I will make it up, place it on my business facebook page and see what happens.  Sometimes orders come in, sometimes not.  These are things that I can do while watching TV with my family so I feel that it is just bonus time spent for me.  I will tell you that some people don't want to pay a fair price for hand-made items.  Stay firm with your price.  Your time is worth some money.

I hope that these ideas are helpful to you. 

A Month of Thankfulness - Day 1

It is November!  The month of gratitude.  I fully believe we should be thankful always, but in November it seems a little easier to remember.  lol  So this month, I am going to try to post at least 1 thing every day that I am thankful for.

Tonight's entry is:

Tonight I thankful for a husband that fixes supper so I don't have to after work and a son that helps so when I get home after 9.5 hours working I can just sit down and have supper.

My husband is great.  Such a blessing to me.  I don't know what I would do without him.  After the craziness started I got a job working 1 day a week, sometimes up to 10 hours on that day.  My job isn't strenuous, but it makes a long day, and I'd been out of the workforce for over 10 years before that.  Now I am also balancing the operation of 2 home businesses in addition to part-time tutoring.  It's a juggling act every single day to get even part of my very lengthy to-do list done.  Remember, we have 4 children.  Every day of the week (excluding Sundays) I do 3-5 loads of laundry.  2 of our children are small so there are still messes to clean up and toys to corral.  2 of my children are teenagers so there are practices/games/meetings/social appointments to coordinate and drive to.  I have to keep up with their social calender as well as mine (wait, I don't have time for a social calendar).  My wonderful husband works overtime every chance he gets and is also starting his own business.  We are basically starting over financially so every single penny counts at this point and there are some weeks when the money goes out faster than it goes in. 

For the most part, my husband never complains about my odd business hours, or watching the kids, again, while I am gone for the evening.  He is great about picking up the slack, even though he wishes I didn't feel like I needed to contribute to our financial resources.  We have  a long road to go to get back to where we were but I am so glad that I have my best friend with me for the ride.  I love you baby!