Friday, November 30, 2007

God is So Good

I'm a big proponent for stay-at-home moms! After all, I AM one and was raised by one. Some people look down on me or give me the impression they think I'm either lazy, unmotivated, or just plain spoiled (I've gotten, "I wish I had the luxury of staying home!") I know women who have no choice to work, either because their husbands push it or it's the only way that they can keep their kids fed and my heart goes out to them. I also have many friends who CHOOSE to work and I don't always know their motivations and therefore shouldn't judge them. It's their choice and their family and I love them even if they are doing something different from me.

However, back to my main point: Because I believe that being a stay-home mommy is the best choice for one's kids and God's original plan for the family, I believe that God BLESSES it abundantly when a mother makes that choice in a world where almost no one stays home anymore. I'm not making an across-the-board statement that all stay-at-home moms are wonderful because there are some who are lazy, resentful, bored, or selfish with their kids. I'm also not saying that you will never be blessed if you are a working mother. A dual-income family will often have more financial resources to pay down debt, spend more, go on nicer vacations, etc. I'm not saying I never make money either because I have done things to bring in a little extra income (writing articles for Associated Content, raking leaves, babysitting, cleaning for my mom, etc.) What I am saying is this: When you follow God's design, He is faithful.

My mom always used to explain to me that it was because of God's provision that she was able to be at home for us. Almost everything she needed at the grocery store each week "just happened" to be on sale. The Lord provided meat for us through my Dad's elk hunting and trading local ranchers the furniture he builds for a beef. My mom gardened and canned. She was frugal! Staying home meant that both of my parents sacrificed and worked toward that goal as of primary importance in their family life.

Since becoming a stay-at-home mom myself I have watched in awe as God has opened the storehouses of heaven for us. This is not to say we have no lack of funds or wants. We've lived in small apartments most of our married life and can't eat out very often. We drive older vehicles and our vacations consist of cross-country trips to visit family. But we've always been taken care of and all of our needs have been met. With each child God has given us King Jo has received a raise or a higher-paying job when we wondered how we could possibly make ends meet for another family member. God led us to the option of homebirth before we had full maternity coverage and He gave me the strength through it, saving us $10,000! I actually prefer it to hospital birth!

Just today at the grocery store God again confirmed for me that I am exactly where He wants me to be and I love my "job" and would never trade it for any other. Thanks to a tip at Money Saving Mom I ran to Safeway this morning and got paid 55 cents to buy 12 large boxes of Cheese Nips! Unbelievable! I used a 55 cent Nabisco coupon and they were on a sale for $1 a box and if you buy 6 you get $6 off. I also decided to splurge and get some Organic Pretzels which were on clearance and some organic frozen veggies that were on sale. (I'm making an effort to eat more organic, especially produce and milk). It turns out they rang up even cheaper than I had originally thought! I also snagged an adorable teddy bear marked 75% off ($1.75) to throw in my gift bag for a baby shower gift. Everything pictured here (plus two more bananas which my kids were eating when I took this photo) for $7.76! Maybe this seems goofy to you, and I'm sure some snicker at the fact that I take pictures of my groceries but whenever these "little things" happen for me, I see the hand of my Father at work, reminding me that He is taking care of us. Even though the price of groceries continually skyrockets and my kids seem to do nothing but eat, ALL THE TIME, He is faithful! To top it all off, my dad swung by my house and saw all the crackers and was so amazed, he offered to buy two boxes for $1 since he likes them too. So, I got paid $1.55 on this deal and got 10 boxes of crackers! Keep your eyes peeled for great deals, they are out there!

To answer those critics of at-home mommies:

Lazy? I've NEVER worked a harder job in my life! There are few if any breaks for years on end and the task is of infinite importance. Mommies are shaping and training immortal souls!

Unmotivated or wasting my brain? I've NEVER been as inspired and challenged in my creativity as I am now! I've never enjoyed a job so much!

Suppressed? I've NEVER had so much freedom to order my days according to the tasks/activities I want to accomplish with my kids.

Not reaching out enough? I can think of several people I've shared the Gospel with this month through my words and actions, have you? There is no end to the opportunities I have with my neighbors and non-Christian mom friends to be a light.

Spoiled? Our family lives on less income than most of our friends. We are technically considered "poverty level" if you look at the numbers. We survived on one income back when King Jo only made $9 (before taxes) an hour. When the time comes for us to buy or build a home, I'm sure God will provide for us then too. We sacrifice many of the things people take for granted so that I can stay at home. We don't eat out often, we don't have cell phones, cable TV (or any TV channels), high speed internet, and don't pay for professional hair-cuts. Coming into the marriage with the goal of staying home in mind, we made careful choices. It didn't just happen; it takes lots of effort. We aren't just "rolling in money!" *l*

This post isn't intended to be a debate on working or staying home. It's not intended to offend those who choose to work. It's a personal testimony of how I see God at work in our lives, taking care of our needs. I'd rather not start a big debate because I already know where I stand on this issue!
*Just when you thought our pantry couldn't possibly hold any more crackers Jesse! (He teased me about the last couple of cracker deals where I got 20 boxes of Simple Socials for $4 and 6 boxes of Wheat Thins for $2!)*

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Frugal Friday--An Adorable Ornament Gift

Looking for a cute gift for grandparents or a fun project to do with your kids? Every year at our annual Cousin Cookie Party and ornament exchange my aunt does a craft ornament with the kids. Last year's was so cute! You take a canning jar lid and glue a photo to the lid. Add pom-poms or foam cut-outs for a Christmas-y frame. Punch a hole through the lid ring and pull a string through, using a little jingle bell underneath to keep the hanging ribbon from coming through the hole. Be sure to put the child's name and date on the back in permanent marker! It's so fun to look back on my childhood collection of various photo-ornaments that bring back good memories. These ornaments are by far the favorites to hang on the tree!

Variations on the jar-lid ornament: use pinecones and satin ribbons, glue a fabric circle to the back of the lid, glue gift-wrapping bows around the entire ring on the outside, use felt or fabric shapes, spray paint the lid different colors or use glitter or cottonballs, etc.

For more frugal tips than you can handle, go here every Friday!

Frugal Friday--Cheap and Practical Gift

Here is a cute gift idea for those of you who get tons of free medicines at Walgreens or CVS with couponing. I put together this "Get Well Soon" kit for a gift for my husband's family's random Christmas gift exchange coming up. I wasn't sure what to get and I realized that almost anyone, man or woman, can use the items in this care package. Or it can be given to a special friend who is sick.

It includes: Chicken noodle soup, Theraflu, Fortifense immunity booster, kleenex, Advil PM, hand sanitizer and cough drops. I paid no more than $2 for all of this! That's a frugal gift!

The Names You Always Wanted...

For those of you who were once little girls who elaborately named your doll collection and had lists and lists of names picked out for your future children: This post is dedicated to you. For, once a girl marries, she often hits the hard truth of realizing that you have to actually agree with another human being on naming your child, and often that other human being is very opinated and dislikes 99.9% of your favorite names. Now, there are some pretty laid-back guys out there who don't give naming much thought and leave it mostly up to their wives. My dad was like this. To this day, he still lets us pick out names for his horses sometimes. It's hard not to be envious of husbands like that because my husband wants to be 100% involved in EVERY aspect of the naming process and is very stubborn and opinionated at times (hey, we're a great match!) I guess I should be thankful that my husband is a very hands-on parent who seeks to find the best name he can for his kids according to its' meaning and his own tastes.

So, this post is to declare the names you WOULD have chosen if you had complete free reign in naming the kids.

So, without further ado, here is my list of what our kids would be named and how these names would be spelled if we had 6 girls and 6 boys.


Justice Colter (after my brother Colter)
Shea (pronounced shay) Elijah
Abraham James
Judah Honor
Asher Jonathan
Ephraim James

Other cool boys' names: Leeland, Clay, Creed, Markios, Matthias, Shadrach, McCall, Christian, Stefan


Alaythea Joy (our daughter is Alathia Joy, Alathia is the Greek word for truth)
Karis Faith (Karis is the Greek word for Grace)
Evangeline Hope
Delaney Rose
Julianna Lindsey
Susanna Laine

Other pretty girls' names: Jubilee, Mercy, Bethany, Priscilla (Prisca), Savannah, Kristianna, Katarina or Ekatarina, Alyssa, Kari, Liberty, Fidelia

Maybe after reading these you'll be glad my husband didn't okay these names! Please leave your own lists in the comments section!

New Idea for Serving Cookies

I'm tired of my green Moose plates! I was so excited to get them about 6 years ago when I had my first apartment with roomies in college and I was majorly into the Moose/Northwoods theme. But now I wish I had some plain, ivory-colored Corell. Since that's not in the budget right now and I would rather spend extra money on books, I have to think of other ways to serve food.

Instead of serving cookies on a same-old, same-old plate or on a blah paper plate, I decided to use a tip I got off someone's blog (probably Like Merchant Ships) and use an upside down vase under a plate to get an elevated serving tray. A Christmasy cloth napkin hid the plate and Voila! Much more festive for entertaining!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thrift Store Finds

Don't you just love when the thrift store does a sale: Everything You Can Stuff in a Paper Sack for $2? It's a dream come true for me! I got some exceptional deals yesterday; the most exciting of which was some leather dress boots, which I've been needing. I often wear dresses, even in the winter, and I usually just wear my normal Crocs or sandals around anyway. This usually works in WY unless we're in the mountains, but is crazy when we visit the arctic world of MN. So, I've been wanting to get some warmer shoes for winter that aren't snow boots (I have those) but aren't sandals either. I was browsing a local department store and thinking, "I just can't swing a $30 pair of shoes right now." I wasn't sure what I was going to do about it, but God provided! Not only did I get a pair of leather boots in my bag deal, which were clean and hardly used and not stinky (and yes, I washed them in the washer with lots of soap to make sure they are VERY clean), but I also got a pretty, thick dress for Ali for next year, jammies and overalls for Jer, receiving blankets to make diapers out of, a zippered purse toy for Ali, some brand new (with tags on them) baby gloves for a baby shower gift, thick socks for Jer, new baby socks for my gift bag, nice snow boots for my nephew, and a shirt for one of my friends' children. If you have children, this is the way to shop people! Some of you will remember that a few weeks ago I found a cute pair of hardly-used Mountain Sprout polar fleece overalls for Jer at this same thrift shop. I checked the price online and that same pair costs $56 not including shipping! Who pays that for kid's clothing? I love that I got them for a quarter!

Turkey Melts

We still have about 11 pounds of turkey to go to use up around here, so last night I made something a little bit different with it. I chopped/shredded some white turkey meat into tiny pieces and sauteed it in butter with lots of chopped green onions. I sprinkled cajun seasoning (one of our favorite spices) all over it. Then I toasted a jalapeno cheddar bagel. The turkey/onions went into the bagel with some sliced mozzarella and a generous dollop of mustard and we had simple, but tasty sandwiches and used up some leftovers!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Smorgasboard of Good Posts

My friends and favorite bloggers have really been out-doing themselves this week. Consequently, I recommend you check out these posts:

*Get Lyndi's tips on how to beware of getting ripped off when you do your Walgreens bargain shopping

*Learn how to make a fun, homemade spa gift (sugar scrub) by Meredith of Like Merchant Ships (which I have to say is one of the coolest blogs out there!)

*Find out what foods are best to buy organic and why from Laura's careful research

*Get a free $30 flash drive (free shipping too) by following Becky's tip posted on Money Saving Mom (I can't wait to get mine in the mail! We need one and you just can't beat a 1 G flash drive for absolutely NOTHING!)

*Learn how to do a Princess Anne braid or use rag curlers from the lovely ladies at The Joy of Home

Home-made Fuzzi Bunz are GREAT!

I had to do another diaper review to let you all know that after a few weeks of using the diapers I made, I LOVE THEM! I hope to never go back to disposables! These diapers are so easy, spoken from someone who had tried cloth before and found it previously to be gross and time-consuming! These diapers don't need to be changed any more than disposables, are as easy to put on and take off, and never leak! I even tried using them overnight on baby, with two soaker pads inserted instead of one and he didn't leak at all! They are nice and soft on his tiny tooshie and I rinse them out carefully so I can wash them with the regular clothes (but no dishtowels) and always have them on hand since I still have only made 6. So, really, I'm not doing any extra laundry (3-4 diapers a day washed with loads I would have already done isn't extra) and I'm not doing extra diaper changes. The few minutes spent emptying a diaper and rinsing in the sink is worth it considering I don't have to take out a stinky trash as much or smell a poopy diaper that's stinking up the house all day. Every time I use a Fuzzi Bunz diaper on baby Jer, I'm saving our family at least 15 cents! That may not sound like much, but that's $15 a month that I'd rather spend on books or going out to eat! I have a big stash of overnight pull-ups for Ali to use up that I got nearly free on a Walgreens close-out sale, but once they are used up I plan to make some large-sized Fuzzi Bunz-style diapers for her to use during the night. If the Lord gives us more children (like blog reader Tracy, who has 7, 3 in diapers!) we will be saving so much by using these diapers instead of disposables!

If you missed my post on making diapers, find it under my Sewing Projects link on my blog!

More Great Thoughts from Doug Wilson's Book

I can't recommend the book Reforming Marriage enough. Buy it if you can and if you can't, ask me if you can borrow a copy! It is such a short, concise book and yet PACKED with wisdom and Biblical teaching on marriage, much of which I never saw demonstrated or was taught about as a child.

You can buy it on Amazon, used for as low as $2. Here's the link:

Here is a quote that I really enjoyed from the chapter, "The Marriage Bed is Honorable."

"When a new family is formed, it is formed around a sexual relationship. The Bible teaches us that this marriage relationship portrays Christ and the church. Just as the husband and wife are physically united as one, so Christ and the church are spiritually one. When a husband and wife have a physical union along with spiritual harmony, then it provides a good picture of Christ and the church. A couple who have this physical union, but who are constantly fighting, are constantly lying about Christ and the church.

A husband and wife do not have the option of saying nothing about Christ and the church. If the husband and wife are driving down the street, and some woman who is almost wearing a dress walks by, and he almost drives off the road, then the whole world knows that his wife has been insulted. But the world does not really know why. The husband is saying that, even though Jesus singled out a people for Himself, and then shed His blood for His elect, He is still willing to gawk at strangers. The lie says that Christ is unfaithful to His elect. So mental or physical infidelity is telling a lie about the spiritual faithfulness of Jesus to His people. Christian couples must protect their sexual and spiritual harmony, keeping that unity free from all disruptions. Otherwise, we lie to the world about Christ and the church. When the lie is present, the children in the home usually have the front row seats...." Page 108-109. (bold type is my emphasis)

As one of those kids who had front row seats, I really appreciate the godly teaching in this book!

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Turkey Deal!

I forgot to mention in my Thanksgiving post how the Lord provided a BUNCH of meat for us for hardly anything. One of the two grocery stores in town has a promotional where you spend a certain amount you get reduced price or free turkeys. They punch your card throughout the month of Nov. You need to spend $400 to get a free turkey. That seems unreal for me because of the fact that I only shop sales at that store since it's more expensive than driving to another town to shop cheaper stores. But, the good news is my mom spent a ton on holiday groceries and gave me her card to combine with mine. I took them in and instead of getting one free one and paying some on the other one, I took both at the reduced prices and was able to use a $1 off coupon on each that was in the weekly sale flyer. So, I got a grand total of 20# of turkey (2 turkeys) for $2.64! I gave my mom one, of course, in thanks for her card. I'm so excited that I can freeze all that meat for turkey enchiladas/turkey soup, etc. Need a great recipe for getting rid of turkey?

My Mom's Turkey Enchiladas:

10-20 small corn tortillas
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups chopped turkey (or 2 cans chunk chicken or diced, cooked chicken breasts)
1 can of mild chilis (use hot if you like)
1 8 oz. carton of sour cream
Onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper
Cheddar cheese

Dip corn shells in hot oil for 3 or 4 seconds until soft. Drain on paper towels. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl, seasoning to preference. Spoon filling into each tortilla and roll up and stick in a 9X13 pan. Spoon any extra filling over the top of the enchiladas and top with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Yummy!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Must-See Movie

I apologize to those of you who saw this movie months ago in the theatre! Cut me some slack since I live in Hickville and it never came to our town and so I was excited to watch it this week when it came out on DVD.

Amazing Grace.

Wow, what a movie! I love seeing a quality film that teaches a lesson and glorifies God! I was so inspired by the story of William Wilberforce, which I'm sure I studied in High School but hadn't remembered. The main lessons I take with me from this film:

*Following God down a hard path that involves suffering for His sake.

*Standing up for righteousness even when you are alone.

*Fighting injustice with everything that's in you and not growing complacent.


*God can and will use young people to fulfill seemingly impossible tasks.

*The influence an excellent woman can have on her husband. The joy of supporting one's husband in great endeavors.

*The power of God to save depraved and sinful men.

*The responsibility that comes with knowledge.

*A model for us today of a zealous man of God who was used of God to change his world.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dead Fish

For those of you who read my post the other day on Fish-Sitting, here's a sad update. Ali, Lindsey, Jeremiah, and Fernonda the fish have all been flushed. One died Sunday night, one Thursday night, one Friday night and one today. How do you explain in Spanish that it wasn't your fault? A friend of mine suggested buying some replacements...and I'm really considering it. Of course I won't lie, I'll tell them the sad story, but the replacement fish will ease the shock for 5 year old Fernie. For one thing, these fish were purchased at Wal-Mart (enough said, right?) and for another, I think Lupe used tap water in their bowl. Whatever the case, I've decided I'm not a fish person. I used to have some as a kid, but now they kinda gross me out and I'm not interested in having to clean their bowls all the time. If our kids want a puppy someday, great! But please no goldfish!

Photos on the New Cam

My first day of taking photos and I already notice a huge difference in clarity and quality! Here are some of the first photos I took on it!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday Deals!

First of all, I have to thank Lesley for getting me the watch from Target! I owe you big time! If you won't accept cash for it, I'll be sending you a nice Christmas package girl! I'm so excited that I can know what time it is again soon!

I decided to do Black Friday this year because my amazing hubby gave in to my desperate pleas for a newer, nicer camera that was on a GREAT sale today. I've been wanting an upgrade for a year, but my little Fujifilm camera has done well especially considering the thousands of pics I take. I was willing to do WHATEVER it took to earn extra money on the side to buy this camera but King Jo decided to give me most of the money we earned from the landlord's raking leaves throughout October here. So, even though I never thought he'd O.K. the camera thing, he won the "Husband of The Year" award from me by telling me to go and get it! I was soooo excited! Having never done Black Friday before, I was a bit nervous, but I dutifully got up at 3:30a.m. after ZERO sleep due to a fussing child, picked up my buddy Amy, and we headed out on the 30 minute drive. We hit Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Walgreens. There were more people than I've ever seen there and I was thankful not to have a cart due to the jams of carts and people everywhere, but everyone was so courteous and laid-back and not fighting over things. We even checked out way faster than we do on a normal day in Wal-Mart. They had so many checkers we got through the lines instantly. I was so bummed because they first told us they couldn't find the cameras in their warehouse and that we'd have to skip the deal or substitute for a camera with half the perks as a replacement. I had given up hope of them finding the cameras and finally went looking for Amy and happened upon a stack of them further down the aisles that the Photo Center Employees didn't even know about! Yeah! Bet you can't guess what I've been doing today!

Walgreens had some COOl deals today! I spent $70 total, but about $35 was on gift cards and I'll be getting at least $20 back in rebates. My ticket said I saved $69! I got paid a buck or two to buy a few things and a few other things were free! Everything else I bought was on a really good sale and will be perfect for Christmas gifts for our families. Amy and I, along with many other women we knew who were shopping Walgreens, hit up the Patriot candles deal, since we've heard they are comparable to Yankee candles, but are about half the price! 3 very large, high-quality candles for $7.99! We also took advantage of the $1.99 Tide (which was way less with my coupons).

Hopefully you'll all be seeing better photos on my blog in the future as I experiment with my fun new toy! Thank you Husband for a dream come true!

P.S. If you're a shopper and love great deals, like I do, Black Friday is so much fun! At least out here in hick-ville, anyway! I'm going to have to go every year now!

Anyone else got a Black Friday story?

Giving Thanks!

A meal fit for a king!

Grammy reads the kiddies a Thanksgiving story

Jer discovers that funny thing on Grandpa called a moustache and enjoys pinching Grandpa's nose!

After dessert my cousins decided to teach us all a difficult Irish jig that they know well from having attended the Ball in Billings at least 6 times (We attended one a couple of years ago and it was so fun! It's an elaborate ball hosted by The Rocky Presbyterian Church in Billings for homeschoolers, Christian teens and adults and their families! It's so fun to learn old-fashioned dances and dress up and see the beauty of three hundred people dancing in unison together!)


We had a nice Thanksgiving at our family's cabin in the mountains. I enjoyed visiting with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins, who are all really neat Christian people. We had a sumptious feast that took TONS of work on all of us ladies' part to prepare, but it was so worth it. Hanging out by the fire and just relaxing was fun too. However, it majorly grossed us out when we found "evidence" of a huge packrat all over our room and we weren't too sad to leave after one night knowing that critters were lurking around at night! Yicky!

I'm so thankful for God's many blessings in my life! Sometimes He blesses me with rest and plenty, sometimes with seemingly endless trials and lessons to learn which drive me back to the most important things in life. But He always blesses me; I owe the fact that I'm breathing right now to His grace. Thank you God!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Need a Favor From a MN Person!

For any of you who know me personally or know my husband's family and live in the town in MN they live in and are planning to shop Black Friday sales.....I need a favor!

Target has Timex watches on sale for Black Friday for $12.99 (or so the online sneak-preview site says). I really need a watch and Timex watches last a long time and are high quality. The nearest Target is over 2 hours away and I'm not going that far to do my BF shopping. So, if you are planning to hit the Target sales early and would be willing to grab me a simple Women's Timex watch, I would GREATLY appreciate it. You can give the watch to my sis-in-law and when she notifies me that she got it, I will send a check for the full amount to the person who purchased it for me. Don't buy it if it's over $13 and any of the following styles is fine depending on what they have:
Women's Sleek Ironman (any color)
Easy Reader Women's (Gold with brown straps)
Quick date dress watch in gold

I'm not picky; just need a watch badly! I got so desperate I was actually wearing a children's CareBear watch from Family Dollar for a while (yep, I'm that cheap!). If you want to be my hero, let me know in the comments section. The first person to respond gets the job!

Black Friday deals I hope to get at Walgreens this year:

Tide-$2 use a coupon and get it for $1
Cover Girl Lipstick-$3, use a coupon and get it for $2
Gillette Venus Breeze razor-free with rebate, use a coupon and make $2!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Cup Of Water...

"Lensee, can I have some water?"

I hear these words all too often. Most of the time, I roll my eyes and say, "Can't you go home to get a glass of water?" In my mind I'm thinking, "I just did dishes! Can't my home stay clean for 5 seconds? They live one apartment down and have had all afternoon to get a drink from their own mom. Why must they always drink here?

But a quiet nudge always gets me and God brings to mind the verse:

Matthew 10:42 "And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward."

And so, I pull out a glass, sometimes the fancy "Princess goblet" and give them a drink, realizing that I might be the only Christian they will ever know well due to the fact that they are going back to Mexico in a year. I give them a drink hoping that my service and consistency in doing little things for them will cause their memories of me to be joyful ones. What good is it if I'm teaching them Bible songs, hymns, and John 3:16 if I have not love? What good does it do if I loan them our Christian videos, read to them from the Spanish Bible and give them Christian literature in Spanish if the one example they have of a Christian is selfish and easily irritated or continually busy?

No, it's not fun when they continually run through the house when I'm trying to make dinner. It's not fun that they sometimes hurt my baby in trying to play with him or that they drip a trail of blue popsicle throughout my house on cream-colored carpet. There is a lot of extra work in serving and it's not glamorous. is rewarding!'re probably wondering why there is a picture of fish with this post. The neighbors had to leave for a week on a family emergency and so I get to "fish-sit." I find it comical that the fish are named "Lindsey, Ali, Jer, and Fernonda." (Fernanda is the owner of the fish.) Just a tiny example of how much influence we have on these little ones! It's going to be an interesting week trying to keep Ali out of the fish bowl. I've already caught her spitting in it! And one fish isn't looking so hot today......there may be a flushing when hubby gets home from work.......

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Dirty Dozen

Also sent to me by friend Heather was a list of produce that you should always buy organic.

Quote from the Harmony Natural Food's newsletter:

According to the Environmental Working Group's analysis of data from over 43,000 tests on pesticides in conventional produce, over 90% of ingestion of pesticides in foods can be eliminated by avoiding the most contaminated foods. "Federal produce tests tell us that some fruits and vegetables are so likely to be contaminated with pesticides that you should always buy them organic. Others are so consistently clean that you can eat them with less concern, " says EWG Senior Vice President Richard Wiles.

So, what are the DIRTY DOZEN?

peaches (97% tested positive for residue)
apples (92% tested positive)
sweet bell peppers
imported grapes

The Consistently Clean

onions (90% tested negative)
avocados (90%)
sweet corn* (90%)
sweet peas

*may contain GMOs

Source: The Organic Consumer's Association website at

Anyone have any thoughts on washing fruit off well and on how pesticides in our produce affect us?

Gifts from a Friend

The little white box was tied with a red satin ribbon. The little tag on the ribbon said, "For Little Lady Alathia." Inside was a lovely little red-feathered hair barrette, hand-made, of course, by Heather! Remember my post on sock crafts recently? Heather is my crafting inspiration and she's at it again. Not only did she send Ali a hair pretty and Jer a little box of animal crackers (boys just don't have crafty accessories ya know), but she sent me a cut of light pink leather (I've never had pink leather before) and (picture me jumping up and down).............. ....LOTS of coupons! Lots of coupons! I still can't get over how many coupons! The Minneapolis paper had good ones this week so she bought me a whole paper and just mailed the coupon flyers. When you are used to 1/5 that amount in the papers here, it's EXCITING!

So, I definitely have some clipping to do this weekend, hurray! My coupon organizer is already packed to the gills so I may have to start keeping some in a shoebox in envelopes or something.

Thanks again Heather! You are so talented and generous! You live on a tighter budget than anyone else I know personally and yet you never fail to share your beautiful hand-made crafts. If you ever start a home-based craft business I'll promote it here! And I want a lesson in barrett making next time I visit!

Update: Spoil King Jo Week

Remember how I mentioned a few posts back how I'm doing Spoil King Jo Week? Well, he couldn't stand by and see me doing all this extra cooking without buying me a pretty flower as a surprise! He buys me flowers about 10 different times throughout the year and always tries to vary them or have a special meaning behind the colors. This week it was a creamy rose (for purity) and some interesting pine-looking branches with little yellow flowers instead of baby's breath (anyone who knows their plants/flowers can clue me in as to what these are called!)

When we serve others we often find ourselves blessed in the process!

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Deals this Week

Thanks to Carrie's post this week on Safeway deals I got 6 boxes of Wheat Thins for $2. I wish our store would double or that I would have had another couple coupons on hand so I could have gotten them free or made money on them like she did! They are on a $1.66 a box on sale, there's one flyer coupon you can use to get $1.30 off, and I used one 55 cents coupon off Nabisco crackers. Then at the register, it automatically knocks $6 off for a Nabisco promo that's been running for a month now.

Because I've been really interested in buying Basic H at Crystal's recommendation or Bio-Kleen at Kimi's recommendation, I decided to check out a new place in town that carries organic and "green" stuff. My new neighbor next door is the crunchiest person I've ever met and she tipped me off to the fact that JB's Smokehouse in town is also a mini-health food store too. Who would have thunk it? So, I found this stuff that is biodegradable, non-toxic, natural scents (real spruce oil/fir oil) and REVEALS it's ingredients unlike some of the other natural cleaners out there. It was a little under $10 a bottle, which is very frugal since 1.5 TEASPOONS makes a gallon of cleaner. It's too late at night to do the math, but I'm sure I will get about 40-50 gallons of cleaner out of this bottle! I scrubbed the floor today with it and LOVE IT! An all-purpose cleaner that can be used for dish washing and laundry soap if needed (though I plan to ration it and use it for basic cleaning around the house) and it was cheaper to go this route than buy the other brands of cleaners online and have to pay the same price or more PLUS shipping. The cashier threw in this free cloth grocery bag as a community awareness project they are doing so I have a neat new tote bag now!

This cute hooded boy's sweater was a quarter or less (I never pay attention to the cost because my large pile of stuff usually ends up costing $1.50 or less) at the local thrift shop and is in great condition! Our little guy has long limbs and can always use clothing, especially warm winter clothes! And sweaters like this have proved me wrong that boys' clothes just aren't as cute or stylin' as the girly clothes.

A silky, satiny white dress for Ali was only 35 cents at the thrift store this week. It's long, which is hard to find in a dress nowadays and it's very lacey and feminine. She has TONS of clothes, but something I didn't realize in planning her fall wardrobe out is that at this age she is INDEPENDANT and wants to choose her outfits daily. She always wants to wear frilly dresses! So, even though we have a hundred outfits for her, she wears the same 2 or3 dresses everywhere and people are always asking us if we've just had her pictures taken! Her outfits are often very interesting as I will insist on tights or legging pants under her dress on a cold day and she will often wear cowboy boots or snowboots with her dress and a mismatched hat and jacket!

At 35 cents I won't worry about a 2 year old owning this color if it makes her feel like a princess!

Walgreens deals weren't so hot this week. I was all pumped up to get French's Fried Onions for 50 cents so I could make green bean casserole, but our Walgreens didn't have them in stock! I did get a couple more hand sanitizers for free and some yummy Hershey's kisses swirled with candy canes for Christmas gifts at a very decent price. I also took advantage of the vitamin deal because my daughter takes Flinstones daily and will be out soon (and since I've caught King Jo eating her vitamins I snagged some Men's Vitamins for him too!)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Frugal Friday--Lovely Little Girl's Socks

What a beautiful Christmas, Birthday, or Baby gift for a sweet little girl.......

Bead socks are simple. Thread about 40 beads (in whatever color scheme order you choose) onto the end of a ball of crocheting yarn. Chain 8 and then slide a bead onto the link and then crochet the end into the sock. Chain 8 and then slip another bead on and hook into the sock, etc. etc.

Ribbon socks are simple too. Turn a new pair of socks inside out and lay the ribbon right side down around the cuff. Stretch the cuff out as you sew around the sock so that when you are done the ribbon is ruffled and gathered. Sew the ends neatly together (tucked under).

Fuzzy Socks are adorable and the easiest yet! Crochet around the top of socks using a tiny crochet hook and some fun fur or eyelash yarn. I usually do 3 times around the cuff and then tie off and I'm done! Note: These socks shouldn't be dried in a dryer as they looked matted and icky afterward.

Thanks to my lovely friend Heather for being my "craft rival" and inspiring me in all things crafty. She taught me to do the ribbon and bead socks!

For more frugal tips go to

Frugal Friday--Frugal Birthday Party

My husband teased me because I saved the party decorations from our first child's first birthday for 2 years (starting before we were even preggo with #2) in order to not have to buy much for kid #2's first party! He discovered them in the panty a few months ago and was read the riot act for trying to use one of the Elmo plates after my carefully guarding them for over a year!

You see, before I had kids I thought buying them party decorations was silly and over-done. But once I was staring at my own little angel, bursting with pride, I just knew I couldn't help myself from throwing a FUN party, even if only for the grandparents and the memories in the scrapbook. So, I bought the party stuff as cheaply as I could. Most of this can be found at the Dollar Store. Since it was just grandparents at our daughter's party we were able to save half the party blowers, re-use almost all of the hats, and wipe down the "disposable" tablecloth and re-use it. I even had half the napkins, plates and utensils left, as well as streamers and balloons. Two parties for the price of one! The only thing I needed to buy for my son was a cake mix and frosting, cups, and those little candy letters for decoration. Since my son was having more guests at his party, I stocked up on some Bubble Tape bubblegum when they went on clearance for 25 cents each for party favors. If my husband hadn't vetoed hanging on to the same party stuff for another couple of years and if I hadn't become sick of Elmo, I might have squeezed THREE parties out of this party stuff!

Total cost estimate for party #1: $10. Which means around $5 per party not counting food! Not bad!

Memories of a celebration that my daughter declared was "SOOOOOOOO FUN!": Priceless

Men Responsible for ALL Problems???

I'm sure this title got your attention! I'm reading an amazing book right now, called "Reforming Marriage" by Douglas Wilson. Here is a paragraph on responsibility:

"While it is true that the feminist movement is represented by female spokesmen, they are really nothing more than shills, fronting for a male lie. At the foundation, feminism is the handiwork of two kinds of men--destructive, overbearing men on the one hand and wimps on the other. Because of how God made the world, men are always responsible for everything that happens in the feminine world--whether they want that responsibility or not, and whether or not women want to acknowledge it. Consequently, feminism is not the work of dissatisfied women; it is the work of ungodly men.

When a couple comes for marriage counseling, my operating assumption is always that he man is completely responsible for all the problems. Some may be inclined to react to this, but it is important to note that responsibility is not the same thing as guilt. If a woman has been unfaithful to her husband, of course she bears the guilt of adultery. But at the same time, he is responsible for it. To illustrate, suppose a young sailor disobeys his orders and runs a ship aground in the middle of the night. The captain and the navigator were both asleep and had nothing to do with his irresponsible actions. Who is finally responsible? The captain and navigator are responsible for the incident. They are career officers, and their careers are ruined. The young sailor will be getting out of the Navy in six months anyway. It may strike many as being unfair, but is is indisputably the way God made the world. The sailor is guilty; the captain is responsible.

Without this understanding of responsibility, authority becomes meaningless and tyrannical. Husbands are responsible for their wives. They are the head of their wives as Christ is the head of the church. Taking a covenant oath to become a husband involves assuming responsibility for that home. This means that men, whether through tyranny or abdication, are responsible for any problems in the home. If Christian men loved their wives as Christ loved the church, if they had given direction to their wives, if husbands had accepted their wives' necessary help with their God-ordained vocation, there never would have been room for any kind of feminist thinking within the church. Christian men who abdicate their God-given authority, or who feel embarassed about it, are leaving their wives unprotected."

Pages 32-33.

Before you women jump for joy at these statements, realize that Wilson also writes on Inescapable Headship (meaning that men just aren't supposed to be the head of their wives, they ARE the head by default because that is the created order. Whether they are good or bad heads, they are the head) and the fact that Eve was created for Adam. I highly recommend this excellent book!

Many of you who have read over my blog for a while may feel that at times I am inconsistent or confused with some of these issues! That's because I am! I wish I had everything all figured out and always acted upon what I know is right and true at all times. But, I'm not perfect and I'm ALWAYS learning and growing in my understanding of the Bible and it's applications to daily life. I think of myself as a wrestler, always grappling with one issue or another, trying to understand it and get it "pinned down." I enjoy being challenged and so much of what I have come to believe is different from how I was raised, even though I was raised in a Christian home. So, bear with me on my quest to discover a Biblical model for marriage, family, womanhood, etc.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You Know You're Becoming a Coupon Addict/Ultra Tightwad When..

1. You stand in line at customer service for 10 minutes to complain that you were overcharged a buck or two.

2. You find yourself salivating a bit when someone mentions coupons or a good sale!

3. You get an adrenaline rush when you get the paper (new coupons and new sales flyers!)

4. You know exactly when the paper comes and grab it seconds after it lands!

5. You have done very embarrassing and downright silly things for coupons. Like beg the teen cashier at Burger King if you could have the coupons out of the Sunday paper sitting out for patrons to read, digging papers out of the laundry room garbage that people in your apartment building have thrown away, chased down neighbor kids who have stolen your stolen paper, etc. etc. (to clarify, our "stolen" papers are just papers that get delivered to apartment buildings where people have moved out and they are empty. These papers end up in the garbage. So, to avoid digging them OUT of the garbage, I take them when they arrive. It's a great way to get free news and free coupons).

6. You have actually PURCHASED coupons! (Don't knock it until you've tried it! While this may seem silly, it makes sense to me since I paid about $1.25 for some coupons. With those coupons I got 1 free shampoo, 1 free conditioner, and 5 free bottles of hand sanitizer foam, which I was able to make 30 cents overage on per bottle so.....I actually made a quarter and got free stuff for buying coupons!) Go to The Coupon Clippers site.

7. You are infamous at the local grocery stores. You can't decide if cashiers admire you or hate you for using a bazillion coupons.

8. You internally scream when you have to buy something at full price. You cringe and do mental calculations and try to find substitutions in your recipe, all to avoid having to pay TWICE the price as Wal-Mart for an ingredient you need.

9. You have asked neighbors if you can have the coupons out of their papers. You also clip all the coupons out of your mom's magazines.

10. Your children love coupons too because they love what you love right? Your 2 year old has her own play coupon organizer and likes to shuffle through outdated ones you've given her to play with!

11. You love going on trips so you can pass through bigger cities and get tons more coupons out of the big city Sunday papers!

12. You've got a game going in your head of trying to see how little you can spend on Christmas/birthday gifts this year. You've caught yourself thinking stuff like, "Not only did I get my little nephew twice the presents this year, but I spent a grand total of 60 cents on his 3 gifts and card!"

13. People have called you a walking commercial for Walgreens.

14. Your friends mail you coupons. Also, your friends have become coupon crazy too, calling you or e-mailing about the deals this week and the hot sales in town.

15. You can't imagine how you lived before The Coupon Bar.

16. You have even dreamed about clipping coupons. Not kidding!

17. You get irritated when you actually have to pay for something since you get so many things free with coupons.

18. Yard saling and thrift store shopping aren't just hobbies, they are a SPORT for you that you compete in regularly!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Spoil King Jo Week

Every now and then I have a Spoil King Jo Week where I make a concerted effort to make one of King Jo's favorite meals or desserts or both every night for a whole week. I know some of you think I ought to be doing this EVERY week without fail, but that would be tough on our budget and tough on our waistlines too! In all honesty, when asked what foods he's been craving this week, my hubby told me he's happy with the meals I make and it took him a long while to come up with 2 suggestions. We both like most of the same foods and have our favorites often. So, it's not like he's an unhappy and underpriviledged husband when it's NOT his special week to be spoiled. Having the special week idea in mind just helps to remind me to look for little ways to bless him daily with food that's a bit nicer than our normal fare and since guys seem to LOVE food, this is a great start!

His two suggestions for things we haven't had in a while were: hamburgers and subs. It just so happened that really high-quality hamburgers were on manager's special last night so I snatched them up! Last night we had buffalo chicken tenders and fried potatoes with onions, which are two of his favorites. Tonight we will have Chow Mein on rice and possibly an apple pie and the remaining days will include: hamburgers, subs, coconut peanut butter cookies, cheesecake (if I can swing it in the budget), chicken alfredo, and hashbrowns.

Try this sometime with your own husband! If you are still living at home or are single and living with roommates it might be fun to have a Spoil Someone night every night of the week as a way to bless them in a small way!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Encouragment for Moms

If Ever You Worshiped
Words and music by Danny Oertli
It wasn't that long ago
You were a girl all alone
There was no way to know
How soon you'd have kids of your own
Now you're the first one awake
The last one asleep
Cleaning and making your plans
And there are days when it feels
Like there's no time to pray
You wonder if God understands
But if ever you worshiped it's now
If ever you kept your vow
You may not understand how
But if ever you worshiped it's now
The memory of leaves in the fall
Walking through the canyons so tall
God was so close in it all
Now your chance to worship seems small
You're the first one to taste
But the last one to eat
When everyone goes their own way
And it's your name that's called
In the deep of the night
One more hour of sleep floats away
Every shirt that you fold
Every nose that you blow
Is a gift to the Father above
Every lunch that is made
Every game that is played
Is an offering of love
Writing the words doesn't convey how pretty this song is when you hear it sung by Danny Oertli. It's a great reminder for me that in the mist of the nitty-gritty stuff I do every day, I can worship God and do even the little things for His glory.

The Biggest Tear-Jerker Ever!

My mom went to a conference in Denver recently and heard Danny Oertli sing and speak. She got his book for me and his CD for herself. I just found some time to read it this weekend. In fact, it's a good thing it's only a 2.5-3 hour read because it is a book you CANNOT put down. My husband chuckled at me all evening because I would be laughing hysterically for several minutes and then sobbing the next moment. My eyes were bloodshot and puffy and red when it was all done. I have never read a book that made me laugh more or cry more. It is a beautiful love story of a young Christian couple, their fight against cancer, and how God is faithful through tragedy and loss. It is a testimony to the greatness of our God in the face of unspeakable hurt and grief.

To quote Tim Challies, a well-known Reformed blogger,

This book encouraged me, even as one who has never experienced so painful and significant a loss. I have little doubt it will be used to touch and to heal many hurting hearts and to prepare others for the pain that is always so nearby in this fallen world. To echo the words of Jerry Bridges in his endorsement, “Mommy Paints the Sky will draw you closer to God.”

Danny's music is also poetic and beautiful. The words are so moving. In my next post I will feature the lyrics to one of his songs that really touched me.

You can buy this book on Amazon, it's VERY cheap to get a used copy, or you can borrow it from me! It will inspire you to live for eternity and to not take a single moment for granted!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Walgreens Deals of the Week

All this, plus one pound of butter, which isn't pictured because it's in the fridge, for $6.06 out of pocket! And I'll get $2.20 back in rebates! How is that possible? Well, as I discovered on the drive home, my cashier goofed on one coupon. My printed internet coupons never scan so she manually typed it in. She typed in $7.60 instead of the 76 cents she was supposed to. I will, of course, mention this on my next trip and offer to pay back the $6 something. However, if they have a policy like some stores, mistakes go to the customer. But even for the $10 ($12 total -$2 Rebate on candles) this actually would have cost me, it's still a LOT of stuff. 3 rolls of Hallmark giftwrap, 4 rolls of ribbon, 2 Glade candles (they smell up the house so well!), a thing of raisins, 3 handsanitizers, 2 gums, 2 Theraflu medicines, 1 Fortifense immunity booster, 1 Vive Pro shampoo and 1 Vive Pro conditioner, and butter.

Last Saturday night Crystal posted about the coming deals for the following day at Walgreens. I'm tired of our local paper not having all of the good coupons she gets. So, I got on and ordered a few Purell coupons and the Buy One Get One Free Vive Pro Nutrigloss coupon. They cost just 10-25 cents each. You had to buy a minimum of $3 and then pay one or two stamps shipping. Because I had to buy $3 worth of coupons, I got some battery coupons (we go through tons of those) and diaper coupons and Silk soymilk coupons. All stuff I will buy, so it's totally worth the cost. It took about 5 days for them to come in the mail, with 2 days to spare on the weekly sales!

Had I bought these items on sale or with coupons at Wal-Mart, I would have spent $32. Total saved at Walgreens today: $50.

What did I actually pay for? If the cashier hadn't made her mistake I would have paid $2 for the raisins, $2 for the pound of butter, $2 for the 3 rolls of wrapping paper, $1 for the 3 medicines, $1 for the ribbon, $3 on the candles (but with a $2 rebate to come) and tax. The shampoo/conditioner, gum and sanitizers were totally free. The great thing is that I actually made $1 by buying the 3 handsanitizers! That dollar more than pays for the coupons I had to buy to get these deals!

P.S. The reason I didn't really catch the cashier's mistake is because I was shopping with my husband and son and didn't have time to add up the total cost of it in my head and was in a hurry so the people behind me could get through the line.

For more stories of Great Deals Found go to Money Saving Mom.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Dear Mrs. Jo......

I decided to copy Crystal at in doing a Q and A post since it's a great idea for finding out what your blogreaders want to know. I love finding out more about others and questions spark great topics and discussions. I don't pretend to have all the answers and I don't want to set myself up as a know-it-all. But, I do read a lot, have many friends who have lots of interesting experiences, and I love to research. So, if you want to ask me a question, ask away!

I'll do my best to answer them, whether silly or serious, random or related to homemaking, personal (as long as they are appropriate) or general. And if I don't have a clue how to answer them, I'll be honest and admit it!'s one light-hearted question for you all, to get the ball rolling.....

What is the goofiest pick-up line someone has used on you?

Here's 3 of mine (by the way, I decided not to wait until 10 comments because no one is online this weekend or if they are, they aren't commenting!)

#3. "I've got room on my motorcycle if you want to go to Sturgis with me." Spoken by a very drunk guy who sat down with me at the picnic table in front of the grocery store where I worked and was taking a lunch break.
Note* I've also been asked out by another drunk guy when I was working a the deli in the grocery store. He asked multiple times so I finally started saying, "Jesus Loves You" to him over and over. Then cops came and handcuffed him and arrested him right in front of me. I guess he had also been offering drugs to the bag boys!

#2. "Howdy M'am." Now, upon first appearance, this might not seem so creepy. But, in context it is! Picture a guy who is lovesick, to the point of being a borderline stalker. Keep in mind that I was the only girl at college from the West and the only one who ever wore cowboy hat and boots around sometimes. You don't see a lot of real cowboys in MN. So, when a guy approaches you in a hat, boots, and western attire, dressed up just for you, and specifically tips his hat at you with a lovesick grin and says, "Howdy M'am" it's just plain creepy! He also had a rabbit fur hat he specifically wore because I wore one on the really cold days. Consequently this guy was upset when I started dating King Jo and then called me up after our engagement and told me it wasn't gonna last and that I could always fall back on him if things didn't work out!

Drumroll please.......The All-Time, Number One, Will-Forever-Make-Me-Groan Pick-Up Line.....(and no, it was not King Jo who used it....)

#1. "I could see myself becoming a Calvinist for you!"

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Hummus

Here it is folks! Thanks for the recipe, blogreader Tracey! Good stuff! Now, if only I had time to do homemade pita bread!
1 Tbsp. Cumin
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 C. Tahini
1/4 C. sesame oil (from top of tahini) or olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (more if you like garlic!)
Juice of 1 lemonabout
1/2 C. water
Blend in blender!

Happy Birthday Bear-Bear

Jeremiah David, a few days old

Now, a sweet and cuddly one-year old!

One year ago a little guy entered my life. It was a lovely morning and I finally decided it must be time to go to the hospital after laboring for about 8 hours at home and through the night. I was expecting my midwife to say I was still in early labor because the contractions wouldn't get more than 7 minutes apart. When we got there I was at an 8 or 9! She broke my water (probably saving me another 8 hours of labor) and after another hour, I had one really hard, long contraction in which Jeremiah decided to shoot out within 10 seconds! One of the three people who was supposed to be ready to catch him actually did. I took one look at him and thought, "A little clone of my husband!" Even though I had a rough time with hemorraging and nearly passing out afterward and feeling weak, I loved cuddling my sweet boy that first night and getting to know him. Having a baby is like having a million Christmases and birthdays all rolled into one moment! No matter how much incredible pain (and there was plenty with his rapid, natural birth!) it entails, it is so amazing to see the life and the human being God has knit together in your own body out of miniscule cells. If I could go back, I would still puke my guts out for 3 months, deal with all the misery of being enormously pregnant, go through the pain of labor, go through the torturous first year of little sleep, all for the little miracle in my life. I can't imagine life without our Jeremiah David, affectionately known as Jer-Bear, Jeremias (Hare-uh-mee-us), Geronimo, Bear-Bear, Care-bear (by sister), Little Joel (my dad calls him this since he looks like his other grandpa Joel).

Happy Birthday Sweetie! I pray that God guides you and grows you and that you are a man after His own heart!

Yummy Pumpkin Seeds

I just tried the best pumpkin seed recipe! I'm trying not to eat all of them as I sit here blogging since my hubby might enjoy a taste when he gets home! We got this recipe from his cousin Rachel. Clean the pumpkin seeds and soak them in a brine overnight (1 cup water with 2 T. salt). In the morning, drain the saltwater off of them and bake them on a cookie sheet for 1 hour at 200 degrees. They are so good! If you want them a bit less salty, don't put quite as much in the brine!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pumpkin Ideas

Have lots of pumpkins but don't know how to cook them? Go to Mrs. T's blog, this link, for some pumpkin-cooking advice. Also, check out her main site here and scan through it to find several pumpkin recipes she's posted. This afternoon will find me roasting pumpkins in the oven!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Interesting Things my Toddler has Done

Gotten into my lipstick and put it in the wrong area of her face....

Gotten stuck in more objects than I could have ever thought possible!

Aren't you all thankful for Magic Eraser?

Learning to get both legs go in the same hole?

Calling to tell Grammy she went potty in her potty chair! Funny thing is the undies ended up around her shoulder instead of where are supposed to go!

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