I have not totally abandoned my readers, but I have been praying and thinking a lot about either cutting back some from this blog or simply stopping it all together. I have realized that it is taking up way more of my time then I should let it take up. I have been trying to work out a schedule so that I am only allowing myself certain times of the day to work on it. 

I have been receiving comments and emails from readers telling me that they like what they are seeing and have been able to benefit some from reading. I will try to continue the Dillons deals on Wednesdays and a few of the best deals I find throughout the week as well as some encouraging words, but the time I have spent in the past will have to be cut back some so that I am able to fulfill my job as wife and mother first. I hope you will all understand. 

In the meantime here is a great link to a Christmas ornament project that a reader sent me. 
Thanks Sarah!
I am working on getting feed burner on my blog. I am not sure what I am doing so I would love to know how many of you have subscribed to this blog?

I am also wondering what topics you would like me to research and post about? Is there anything I used to do that you miss or anything different that I have yet to touch on? What keeps you coming back? I would like to make sure and post about things that are helpful and interesting to you. Thanks for the help.

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believed in him should not perish but have everlasting life."

This is the only thing we should remember about Christmas. It is so hard to remember through all the other holiday events we have planned. Try to remember the true reason we celebrate.

If you have been looking for a way to work from home for any length of time I am sure that you have at least looked into transcription in some form or another. I have worked as a medical transcriptionist myself so I can tell you that this is something that can be done. The only problem seems to be that most of the time when you think of transcription you think about medical transcription and you probably do not feel like you have the qualifications it would take to get started in this field. 

There is hope for you if you have no formal medical training. Have you ever considered working as a legal or general transcriptionist? If you are able to type at a reasonable rate and you have a good grasp of grammar and punctuation this may be something that you could consider, but there is still the problem of needing some training and how to find your first job. 

I have discovered that the blog Transcription Talks offers a down loadable training course called Transcription 101, that is significantly cheaper then any other training course I have seen. Believe me when I say that I have researched this subject. The rates I found usually ranged in the $1000's and you still had no guarantee of a job. I myself paid a local woman about $400 to train me. I ended up working as a medical transcriptionist for her until her business folded. I loved it and I earned back my start up cost very quickly. 

Normally I would not advocate paying anyone for an at home job opportunity, but this is more like an investment in your education. I cannot guarantee that you will find a job after you have finished, but you will at least have the no how and it may work to your advantage. The cost of Transcription 101 is only $30! I wish I had known about this when I first started. You can go here to read more about it. Right now you can email the author and she will send you the first chapter for free so you can check it out and decided what you think.

You can also try Violet's College Fund.  She has a ton of ideas on how to get started in this field and what companies are hiring. 
I went with Madison's class on a field trip to see the play The Gingerbread man this morning. When we got home we decided to make some real gingerbread men. After I got them in the oven I had to take a phone call. When I came back into the kitchen this is what I found. 
She had the spoon and the bowl on the floor just helping herself. I guess it's a good thing her brother was napping or he would have been right in there with her. 
Today we made cranberry wreaths and cornucopias. I am hopeful that by the end of the week we will have the tree up and decorated. It has been such a busy week that we have not had a free evening with my husband home to put it up. 

To make this cornucopia you will need some brown paper or a paper bag. Trace a 12"-14 " bowl and cut out the circle. You will then cut the circle in half. Each half circle is then folded into a cone and taped or stapled. I then cut a small hole in either side and attached a piece of raffia for a handle. I would have preferred twine, but raffia is what I found. I then placed a holiday pick inside. This is not quite as nice as I had hoped, but it will still look OK on the tree. You can cut a scallop edge on each one if you like. I am planning to make about a dozen for the tree. 

These cranberry wreaths are very easy. Just string some cranberries on a piece of thread and tie off at the end. I am also planning to use these on the tree.

Tomorrow we will be stringing popcorn. I may not post pictures because we all have seen this done before. 

Are you wondering why I decided to go for all homemade and mostly edible tree ornaments this year? Cost was one factor, but the biggest one was my 13 month old, Jack. I figured if he got them off of the tree and destroyed them he will not be ruining my nice ornaments. They will be at the top of the tree. 

I will let you know how the homemade star topper goes when we have a chance to get it made. 

Unfortunately there are not too many great deals at Dillons this week. Please someone let me know if there are any that I did not see. I am doing this while I am rather tired so I may have missed some. 


There are numerous 10/$10 items, but most of them are Kroger brand so there are not any coupons to use with them. Here is what I was able to match up...

M&M's 14 oz $1.68
-$1/1 from 11/16 RP
Final $.68

Nestle Jingles 12 oz $1.68
-$1/2 Here
Final $2.36 for 2 or $1.18 each

Healthy Choice Canned Soup 10/$10
-$1/3 from 10/26 SS
Final $2 for 3 or $.67 each


Tyson Boneless Skinless Chicken BOGO

Kroger Cheese 33% off
There was a shortcuts coupon

Honey Nut Cheerios $2.99
-$1/1 here
Final $1.99

Cottonelle 4 pk $.99
-$.50/1 here and here
Final $.49

There were a few other items that had coupon match ups, but they were still not great deals. Hopefully next week will look better.

I managed to get 2 more ornament projects finished today. We are going for mostly homemade ornaments this year. I have no idea if it will all turn out the way I want it to. Today I dried orange slices in the oven and made cinnamon ornaments.

To make the orange slices you lay cut slices on a cookies sheet. (Cut them much thinner then I did) You then dry them for 4 hours on your ovens lowest setting, around 170 degrees. After 4 hours you flip them over and then check them every hour. They are finished when they are still slightly moist. This way they will retain their orange color. They will finish drying as they cool

To make the cinnamon ornaments you will need to combine 1 cup of cinnamon and 3/4 cup of store bought applesauce (homemade is to watery). The dough will be stiff. Roll it out between wax paper to about 1/4" thickness. You can then cut them into your desired shape and lay them out to dry for several days. Make sure to put a hole in them so you can hang them. I found that a straw makes a great tool for this. After they have dried you can decorate them or leave them plain.

Another tip about the cinnamon ornaments-Make sure your children know not to eat the dough, and make sure they keep their fingers away from their eyes. I had to constantly remind my daughter today.

Tomorrow I am hoping to show you the cornucopias we are working on. I thought they would be finished today, but who would have thought it would be so hard to find fake holly this time of the year. I have plans to try one more store tomorrow.

If you are interested in seeing where I have been getting some of my ideas you can go here for some inspiration of your own. I am also planning to have Madison help me string popcorn and make mini cranberry wreaths for the tree. I think I will see if my husband can make a star for the top using some sticks from the yard and then paint it gold.

If you go here you can send 3 of your friends a $10 Restaurant.com gift certificate. You can send it to 3 friends everyday between now and December 25. This is a great promotion and really easy to do. Do you have anyone on your Christmas list who might enjoy this?
I have been considering lately starting an emergency stockpile of food. You can never predict what is going to happen in the future. Hopefully this is something I will never need, but it never hurts to be prepared. If you missed the guest post at Money Saving Mom yesterday about this subject I would highly recommend you read it. It is much better written and more detailed then I could give you.
I did not get quite as much accomplished today as I had hoped. Jack was very cranky and cried most of the day. I thought I would show you the few things I managed to get done. Tomorrow I am hoping to give you some web sites and recipes for tons of do it yourself Christmas decor as well as some examples of what we are planning. I also hope to get some cleaning supply recipes posted.
I found these out in the garden today. I planted them last April!

Dinner on a budget. Pot roast, broccoli, homemade bread, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

This is a really cheap and elegant way to decorate. The tangerines cost about $1.69, the cloves were $2.00 (only used 1/2 container), free branches, and a pretty bowl.

***Update-This deal works for anyone. I had it shipped to my house and I got 75 prints plus 30 Christmas cards for about $2.50.***

This is a great deal. If you go to this link
here from Money Saving Methods you can learn how to get 30 free holiday picture cards shipped to CVS for at grand total of $.48! I wish I had a CVS near me. I think I will have to see if I can find a way to get this to work anyway.

Stay tuned later today as I post about my adventures in making my own laundry soap. I have also started making some of my Christmas decorations. 
Right now you can go here and sign up for a free Schick Quatrro Titanium razor. I saw this on another blog yesterday and then on another one today. So I decided I needed to pass it along. Razors are my favorite freebie.

Save Up to 50% -- $5 Flat-Rate Shipping!
I thought I would pass this on to anyone who would like to buy any Christmas gifts from the Vision Forum. I know that I have many of their books and cds on my Amazon wish list. Maybe I should pass this on to my family as well. They are also offering a $5 flat rate shipping for any order.

I went grocery shopping today knowing that I needed to only buy essentials and the things I needed for making laundry soap (I still need washing soda) and decorating for Christmas. I went to Aldi's, Target, and Dillons. I am hoping to do a post on our homemade Christmas decorations soon.

The produce I bought is not organic, but sometimes you just have to take what you can get.


Gallon Organic Milk $6.19
-$.55 coupon
Total $5.19

Whole Cloves $2.02

Cottonelle 4pk $.99
Cellfire coupon $.50
Total $.49

Fels Naptha Soap $1.29

Total spent $9.62


3lb Gala apples $2.69

3lb Granny Smith Apples $1.99

8oz Mushrooms $.99 

3lb Tangerines $1.69

3lb Oranges $1.99

Total Spent $9.94


Borax $2.99

Broccoli $2.29
-$1 coupon
Total $1.29

Marshmellows $.89 (Splurge for a treat for a family get together tonight)

Plain whole milk organic yogurt $3.39
-$1 coupon
Total $2.29

Box of organic tube yogurts $3.19
-$1 coupon
Total $2.19

Total minus tax $9.65  (I had some things for my mother on the same receipt) 

Total for the day $29.21

I went into Walgreens last night to pick up a couple of things for my mother to use as Christmas gifts. I hit the jackpot on Glade scented oil candles and flamless candles. Both of these items are on sale for $3.99 this week. 

Scented oil candles $3.99 x 2
Used BOGO coupon
-$2/1 coupon
Total for 2 $2 or $1 each

Flamless Candle $3.99
-$3/1 coupon from recent insert
Send in for $2 ES rebate
Total- I made $1 after rebate!

Since I do not have a reader Q&A planned for this Monday I thought I would let you in on my experiment of making my own cleaning supplies and personal care items such as shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant. 

Why would I even bother with this? Well for two reasons-price and health. Most cleaning supplies, shampoos and other toiletries are very expensive. Even when I can get them free I feel uneasy using them due to all the man made chemicals in them. I have been doing a lot of research this last year and many of the chemicals in our shampoo and body washes are carcinogens. I read in a book recently that baby shampoo used a chemical to numb a babies eyes and that is why it is considered tear free. They can no longer feel the chemicals burning their little eyes! I don't know about you, but that is not something I want to use on my children. Their tiny bodies can not handle the amount of chemical residue that is left behind. A lot of the diseases and hyperactivity that has become so common today has been linked to some of these chemicals. I will try to find some of these articles and link to them when I have more time. 

I think that anyone wanting to save money and quit their jobs to stay at home with their kids may be interested in learning how to do some of these things simply because it is cheaper. I recently read a post on Common Sense With Money about homemade laundry soap and how it only cost $.01 per load to use. That is much cheaper and safer then even the cheapest premade soap you can get. 

Here is a list of what I plan to make in the next week or so. I will keep you updated...
Laundry soap
Fabric softener
Liquid soap
Tooth paste
Facial cleanser
All purpose cleaner
Glass cleaner
Furniture polish

I have a lot of food that I have stockpiled from all of the sales the past several weeks. My husband and I decided that it is time we started to use most of it and not buy as many groceries the next couple of weeks. I started this last week and only had to buy a couple of things such as milk, eggs, and cheese. This week I should only need to buy a little bit of fruit and milk. 

We have also decided that I have let my couponing and deal hunting get in the way of our whole food diet. I am going to try and see if I can continue to eat whole and/or organic with coupons and still remain within budget. I will let you know how things go. I am learning how important it is to eat with the seasons not only for nutrition, but also for budgeting.

Breakfast-Soaked oatmeal, fruit
Lunch-Millet,boiled eggs, corn
Dinner-Beef roast, sweet potatoes, homemade rolls

Breakfast-Homemade toast, eggs
Lunch-Beef roast, rolls, broccoli
Dinner-Crock pot chicken, acorn squash, pasta

Breakfast-Toast, plain whole milk yogurt with honey, fruit
Lunch-Home canned applesauce, chicken strips, veggie
Dinner-Bean and chicken burritos with homemade tortillas, veggie

Breakfast-Soaked oatmeal, fruit
Lunch-Organic french fries, beef roast, fruit 
Dinner-Chicken and bean soup, veggie, and rolls

Breakfast-Moms group
Lunch-Tuna salad, fruit
Dinner-Pumpkin pancakes, eggs, fruit

Breakfast-French toast or dutch pancake, fruit
Lunch-Chicken strips, egg noodles, veggie
Dinner-Soup and rolls

Breakfast-Cereal and fruit
Lunch-Family lunch
Dinner-Chicken, rice, and veggie
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