From the Mind of Mesilla

Mommy, Mate, Me!

Medicine for the Soul January 12, 2011

Filed under: Books — mesillam @ 5:11 pm

“Medicine for the Soul” is inscribed over the door at the Library at Thebes and for me, that is so true.  I go through phases where I will read and read  and read everything I can get my hands on.  Then I will either come to a book that looses my interest or get really busy with life and somehow stop reading.  Sometimes months will go by and I won’t have cracked anything except my Bible.  But then when I finally sit down with a good book it completely refreshes my soul.  This year, I am determined to not let that happen.  The only official New Years resolution I made is that I will read at least two books a month. Sometimes it takes a little bit for me to get into a book, but usually half way through, I can’t put it down, so I usually finish books in two to three days.  So, I hope to read more than two books a month, but I am not going to push myself.

I adore fiction.  I love getting transported to a new world full of another person’s hope, dreams, accomplishments and trials.  It is a wonderful escape for me.  You can get a taste of that in TV and movies, but with books, you can get inside the character’s heads and have the freedom to create the visual elements yourself instead of being shown everything. Not that I don’t watch TV, I do, too much, in fact, but I am hoping this resolution will make me turn off the TV and read more instead. So, I know at least one of my books each month will be fiction.

I buy non-fiction books a lot more than I read them.  Recently, I have read lots of parenting books, but not a lot else.  I have several books for Christian women that I need to read and some marriage ones I am looking forward to.  It just takes me longer because they aren’t as “gripping” as a suspenseful plot in story.  But I am going to try to read at least one non-fiction book each month.  However, if I end up reading two fiction books, I am still going to call my goal met.

I have already read two books in January!  (I did make this goal before I read them, so I didn’t cheat when making my goal, I just hadn’t blogged about it, yet. :-) )  Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop and I read any time I got the chance for about four days, although Little Man didn’t let me spend as much time with my books as I wanted, but he’s allowed to be needy right now!  Anyway, I read Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks and Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss.  Yes, they are both fiction books, so I am going to read a non-fiction book next.  The month is still young.  But back to the books I already read.  Safe Haven was a classic Nicholas Sparks love story.  The main character is very likable, as is her love interest, so I cared about them and their stories.  Sparks unveils those stories gradually, drawing you in and making you want to know more and more, so it is very gripping.  It was fairly obvious to see how it was going to end, from the very beginning, but there was a huge twist that was totally unexpected.

Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana was another somewhat predictable one, but it was very enjoyable to watch as it all unfolded with, its various plot twists and turns.  I do have to admit that the old west speech that the gold miner character uses did get a little old, but probably made it more authentic as it is set in Montana in the late 1800’s.  Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana is Christian fiction with a great message, although definitely not too “preachy” like some Christian fiction books can get.  The message is woven very well into the rest of the story.  It has a very sweet love story, or really, several love stories.  Both of these books are light reading, great for a rainy weekend when you just want to unplug. I think the non-fiction I am going to tackle will be Seeing Through the Lies (the subtitle is Unmasking the Myths Women Believe and looking through the chapter titles, seems like it will be very applicable) by Vonda Skelton.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.  If you have any suggestions for fiction or non-fiction, please leave a comment and I will see if I can fit that one in sometime this year.  Or if you have read either of these books and would like to leave your review, I would love to hear it!

 

Blogroll January 9, 2011

Filed under: Miscellaneous — mesillam @ 11:17 pm

I love to read blogs. Some of them are almost like soap operas, but it’s real life!  They are also a great source of encouragement and have great tips.  In case you are looking for some new blogs to read (I figure if you read mine, you might read or want to read others) here are some of my favorites in alphabetical order by blog title.  I’m not playing favorites!  (It seems like a lot, but most of them don’t post every day, so I don’t spend that much time every day reading blogs.)

Before the Morning She is the mommy of Jonah, who has Epidermolysis Bullosa.  I started reading her blog right after he was born and it has been so much fun watching Jonah grow over these past few years.

Big Mama A Texas Christian mommy, but her focus is not usually on her kid, although she does share some hilarious stories about her.  She writes a fashion column every Friday and other great posts almost every day so there is always something new.

Bring the Rain Angie is a pretty well know blogger.  I think she started her blog when she was pregnant and given a fatal diagnosis for her unborn daughter Audrey. She has now become a speaker and author.

A Faithful Mommy This is the blog of a sweet girl I spent a summer working with.  She now has two adorable kids and gives great book recommendations, activities to do with kids and other tips for Christian mommies.

The Herrin Family This is my cousin’s wife’s blog.  She is an awesome photographer and they have an adorable little boy a little older than Little Man.  You have to check out the pictures at towards the end of her post from when her son was 5 months old.

Homeschooling in Kerrville Another Christian mommy blogger (do you see a theme here?).  She homeschooles her five kids and writes awesome posts about Christian living.  She also writes a great cloth diapering blog.  AllAboutClothDiapers.com

Kelly’s Korner I started reading Kelly’s blog when her daughter was in the NICU.  She is pregnant with her second little girl and seems to have the sweetest personality.  (I won an electric can opener on her blog in December!)

A Kenyan-Texan Family This is one of my roommates from college and mommy to Nate.  She is married to a man from Kenya and right now is doing a series of posts on cross-cultural marriage.  Even though mine is not, it is fascinating for me to read about it.

Life as a Baylor Girl See, I don’t just read mommy blogs!  This is my sister C’s blog.  She did got her undergrad and graduate degrees from Baylor and just got a job there.  She is just starting up her blog again after taking a break after grad school.

MckMama This is a very popular  mommy blogger.  She  is a great photographer, loves color and has five kids including miracle baby Stellan and her newest addition, Lachlan, who is exactly a month younger than Little Man.

My Little Corner of the World This is one of my favorite people in the whole entire world.  She was my roommate for three semesters in college and is still one of my best friends.

To Bring Him Glory This woman lost her 8  month old daughter, weeks later found out she was pregnant with and when she was seven months pregnant, found out her husband had a brain tumor.  She has an amazing faith and is expecting  baby number 3!

What’s Mine is Yours I also went to college with Bethany, who has two adorable kids and is a fantastic decorator.  Her husband posts recipes and helpful “Cooking with Paul” videos.  In his tomato sauce video, he shows an awesome way to chop an onion.

Words from the Wise This is written by another sweet college friend (I love that the internet let’s me keep up with all these old friends!).  She has a cute baby boy and her family just moved to work with a new church plant.

I am super super sorry if you have a blog that I read that is not on the list.  It is highly possible that I missed one of my very favorite blogs, so please do not take it’s omission from this list as a slight.  I have a lot on my list in Google Reader and could have easily accidentally skipped it when I was typing this list.  There are also some that I read when they post links on Facebook and if they aren’t in my Google Reader, I definitely don’t have them in this list.  Also if you have or read a blog that you would like to share, please leave a comment with the link.  I am always looking for great new blogs to read.

 

New Blog Title!

Filed under: Miscellaneous — mesillam @ 4:55 pm

So I finally came up with a title for my blog that I can live with, I think.  This is now “From the Mind of Mesilla”.  I have had that nickname for as long as I can remember.  So, since I am tired of “Insert Creative Blog Title Here”, I’m going with this one.

 

In which I show off my mad couponing skills January 3, 2011

Filed under: Miscellaneous — mesillam @ 12:51 am

I am new to using coupons.  My sister, M, is a fantastic couponer.  (WordPress says couponing and couponer aren’t words, but I’m going to pretend that they are.) When I decided not to go back to work after Little Man was born, I decided that I should do what I could to lower our expenses.  I was visiting M and she taught me how to shop with coupons.  It doesn’t sound like something that needs to be taught, but there is much more to it than just clipping a few coupons when you go to the grocery store.  (You can of course do that and save a little, but you can save A LOT if you take a little more time and learn the tricks.)  Where I live, we have one grocery store that doubles coupons, but they are a smaller store and don’t stock a lot of brands.  Also, their prices tend to be higher than my regular grocery store, HEB, and certainly higher than Walmart.  So, I shop there some, if I have the right coupons, but not a lot.  That is one thing that prevents me from saving as much on groceries than other good couponers.  Where I really save is at the drug stores.

 

If you have a Rite Aid, I’m jealous.  They have awesome deals, so if you have one, definitely look into their deals.  In my little town, we have CVS and Walgreens.  Before couponing, I rarely shopped at CVS.  Their prices are much higher than the other stores, but now that I am watching the sales, I have done very well shopping there.  For instance, tonight, I spent $3.93 and saved $38.95.  Plus, I have $12 in Extra Care Bucks (ECBs) I can use like cash on a future trip.  The trick at CVS is to combine the items they are offering with ECBs and coupons.  For instance, the Reach toothbrushes were on sale for $3 each and if you spent more than $10 on Reach toothbrushes, you got $5 back in ECBs.  I used two buy one get one free (B1G1) coupons and two $1 off coupons.  So, for 4 toothbrushes, that should have been $12, I spent $4 (I’ll tell you later how I spent less than $4 out of pocket) and got $5 in ECBs.  So, I actually made money (in the form of ECBs) by buying toothbrushes.  Once you start couponing, you will never pay for toothbrushes or toothpaste again.

Another other deal I did was buying Revlon nail files and clippers, I got $7 ECBs and only spent $6.70 on them, so I made 30 cents (before tax, after tax I spent about .25 on them.  I wanted to get two clippers which would have been 30 cents cheaper than the files, but they only had one set and I needed files, anyway).  Lastly, the olive oil, usually $8.50, was B1G1 plus I had two $1 off coupons (when items are B1G1, you can use coupons on the free items!), so I got both for $6.50.  All of these deals are good through 1/8, so if you have good coupons, you can do them, too!

So, with just the coupons and sales, I would have spent $17.20, plus tax, but I had more!  I got an e-mail from CVS with a coupon to get $5 off when you spend $25 (They use the total before coupons.).  Then I had $8.50 in ECBs from a previous shopping trip.  In our state, you only pay sales tax on the after sale and coupon prices, even ECBs, so I save on the taxes by using coupons, etc., too!  So that is the long version of how I spent $3.93  and saved $38.95. (Plus $12 got ECBs for next time!)

 

I didn’t do nearly as well at Walgreens today.  I spent $17.32 and saved $22.31, plus I got $11 in Register Rewards (Walgreen’s version of ECBs).  I consider it a success if I save more than 50%, but one of my coupons wasn’t scanning right, so they wouldn’t let me use it and that cost me $5 (I still made $2 on that item, but I was expecting to make $7 on it after RR).  I got a package of diapers, three cans of tomato sauce, three lip glosses, deodorant, medicine and a newspaper (for the coupons!).

There are several websites I use when I start to make my shopping lists.  The best is Southern Savers.  You can even check off the items in her posts to make shopping lists, which is helpful.  I also like Money Saving Mom.  Both blogs post deals all day for lots of stores.  They can both teach you a lot more about couponing than I can.  They are masters.  After I check their sites, I go to the ads from the newspaper for each store.  Sometimes there are variations or I notice something in the add that I didn’t see online.  Then I look to see if I have coupons I can combine with the sales and ECBs or RRs.  I’m still figuring some things out, but I’m having a great time saving as I learn!