Monday, May 31, 2010

Addicted to Saving!!

Well, hello everyone!

I haven't written in a while, because frankly, there hasn't been much to say. I haven't had any witty musings or anything exciting going on in my life.... so, I had nothing to share.

Except... one activity that I have been doing on a regular basis is shopping and saving TONS of money. You say, "What? That is an oxymoron, how can you shop and save tons of money?" But I have been, honest.

I told you in my last post, many moons ago, about a new way of shopping that I have been trying out. I call it Extreme Couponing and it basically means that I only buy stuff when it's on a really good sale and I have coupons to go with it. I mentioned in my last post that I got this information from a couple of friends at church and I have been amazed. My family has been amazed.

In fact, if you were to come to my house right now it would look as if we were hoarding certain items: toothpaste, toilet paper, deodorant, body wash, cereal, razors, facial moisturizers, and I could go on and on. We're not hoarding, I mean I'm not expecting any big national or international crisis, but I tell you, if we had one, I'd be ready in some areas.

I could go on and on about explaining this. But, if you are interested and live near Athens we are going to offer a small group through our church on this. And we are going to share all of it with anyone who is interested.

Anyway, I have to brag a little today. Today was Memorial Day and we should've been out picnicking with friends or something,  but my hubby is sick with a sinus infection so I decided I would make my "run" of stuff this week.

Here's what I ended up with and how much I spent.  This first picture is what I purchased at Target.

I bought items that totaled $36.50 pre-tax.  I used coupons totaling $19.50 which left me owing $17.00.  BUT I got (3) $5.00 gift cards for specific items that I bought; so, in the long run, I only ended up owing $2.00 for all of this stuff!  That is pretty amazing to me!  This is a 82 percent savings!  WOW!

My next stop was Walgreens:  There were a few items there that they were out of, but I didn't do too bad.  I ended up spending $8.77 for the below items, BUT I got back $12.00 in Register Rewards (this is like free money that you can use next shopping trip.)  So I really made money on this deal!!  Woo hoo!

And then I went to CVS.  They were also out of several things but here's what I ended up with:  I purchased $20.73 cents worth of products BUT with coupons I ended up paying $1.90 AND I have $9.00 in Extra Care Bucks to use on a future trip.  So, I really made $7.10!  Pretty neat, huh??

I really am enjoying this new way of shopping.  It is not only totally scratching that "frugal" itch that I have, it is also quite fun.  Thanks for reading!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Grocery Shopping Just Got FUN!!!

Well, it's been a while. Haven't had much to say and I knew you wouldn't want to hear my rant about what's going on with our government and all that craziness; I mean, why would you want to hear my opinion, when all you have to do is turn on the TV and hear a million other opinions? So, I've been off doing bigger and better things, well maybe not bigger, but certainly BETTER (in my opinion).

Let me preface this by saying that I don't like grocery shopping. I don't know why, my kids are all grown up, I don't have to carry them in the basket and listen as they shout "Mommy, can we buy this or Mommy, I want that" anymore. Maybe that's WHY I don't like it anymore; it used to be exciting, but lately it's been BORING.

Sorry to have to admit that for as many years as I can remember, grocery shopping has been: make the list, go to the store and buy the stuff on the list, come home with the stuff from the list and put it all away. Pretty boring, right?

And, on those few occasions, when I would take time to clip a coupon, I really felt saving a buck or two was a big thing and I was oh, so proud of myself.

You see, I really am a cheapskate and I really LOVE sales and hate to spend a ton of money on anything. But, I didn't want to invest the time and effort it took to clip the coupons and then many times I felt I could buy the store brands for even cheaper than the brand items even with the coupons. So, all that said, it didn't accomplish much and I continued in the "no-brainer" pattern for many years.

Enter the Grocery Game and then Southern Savers. Wow! Thanks to my friend, Debbie, for explaining the Grocery Game to me and helping me through those first few initial lists and all the explanations. Then, another friend, Jessi, helped me out by sharing Southern Savers with me.

What in the world am I talking about anyway? Well, these are both websites where you can go and compile a grocery list. The great thing is, that these sites show you what items are on sale at specific stores and what coupons you can get from newspapers, internet, mailers, etc.... The fun begins when you start buying items that are on sale and then adding the coupon on top of that and saving a bundle of money. Remember, I LOVE saving money.

Anyway, the first thing you need to do is start getting the Sunday paper and keep the coupon sections. Don't clip the coupons, just keep the whole section, cuz you won't know what coupons you need until you read the list for your particular store and the particular items you need to buy.

I know it sounds confusing, but it's really not. It does take a bit of time to get used to it all.

Debbie and Jessi both have racked up quite a bit of stuff and savings over the past few weeks. I'm not nearly as adept or savvy as they are, but I'm learning and it's FUN.

This week I went to two grocery stores: Kroger and Ingles. At Kroger I spent $70.58; but my total savings with coupons and store deals was $62.82. Woo Hoo!!

At Ingles I spent $69.82; and a total savings with coupons and store deals of $58.76.

I didn't buy anything that we will not use.

I am finding that we are accumulating quite a stockpile of some items. My daughter had to organize and clean out the pantry the other day to make room for stuff. The reason behind this is because most items come on sale about every 6 to 8 weeks. So, if they are on sale and you have several coupons you need to go ahead and buy all that you can until they come on sale again, so you won't run out and have to pay full price.

Okay, I'll stop here. I could go on and on about this and I guess you can see that I am a bit pumped. But, you gotta admit, it beats politics, healthcare and the whole gamut of dramatic emotion related to that!!

Don't get me started on that one....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lucy Throws Pie At Bill Holden

One of my favorites. Lucy, Ethel and Fred at the Brown Derby in Hollywood, spotting one of their first movie stars.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hard Thoughts About God in Parenting

This is a powerful post put out by Tony Reinke, Sovereign Grace Ministries. He was quoting from C.J. Mahaney's thoughts on Jude and how sometimes, as Christians, we have inaccurate views of God in relation to His Fathering of us. There are a lot of great insights here for all of us who are parents or who plan to become parents.

"In his recent sermons on Jude, C.J. spoke about the tendency of Christians to have an inaccurate view of God the Father and to have “hard thoughts about God.”

In the first message C.J. said, “I have interacted with many Christians over the years who are not certain of God’s love for them. They can be reluctant to admit it, but they aren’t convinced in their heart and mind that God loves them. In light of their sin and the holiness of God they wonder whether God does indeed love them.”

After the message C.J. received an email from a father who fears that he is unintentionally introducing to his children these hard thoughts about God. He wants to know what to do to model the grace and love of God to his children. Here is the email exchange between C.J. and John (not his real name).


Hi, C.J.—

Thanks for your message from Jude on Sunday. It is always a privilege to hear God's Word through you. I am reminded of His grace to me through the truths preached by you over decades now.

When you noted how we often have hard thoughts of God and fail to appreciate His initiating love, I immediately thought of my example and communication about God to my kids. And when you asked at the end, "What are you most worried about?", I think it is that I will hinder my children from knowing that God not only rightly expects their obedience and submission—a bar they cannot possibly reach—but also that he loves them as a Father so deeply that He sent His son for them.

I am afraid they do have hard thoughts of God and that’s largely because of my own sinfulness (anger, impatience, anxiety), which I am eager to continue killing by the Spirit. But apart from that, the question I have is, how do we as parents insist that our children obey us in the Lord without cultivating hard thoughts of Him?

Grateful for any thoughts you would have on this.




This a great question that I can’t possibly cover fully in one email. But here are a few thoughts that I hope are helpful.
  • You have the privilege of introducing them to God the Father and describing the ways in which he is different from you, different from all sinful fathers, and how in any way you are like him it’s only because of grace that you reflect him. See Luke 11:11–13.
  • Your honest confession of your sin to your children will protect them from having hard thoughts about you or God.
  • Communicating your affection for them—and joy when you are with them—promotes both good and accurate thoughts about God.
  • Initiate time with them at both planned and spontaneous times. Don’t leave them with the impression that they get most of your attention when they disobey. Let them know you are so grateful for them and love being with them as much as possible.
  • Bless your children with many gifts in many forms! See Luke 11 again. Study your children in order to discern what gifts would genuinely bless them and then purpose to surprise them as often as possible.
  • Requiring appropriate obedience does not promote hard thoughts about God. This only happens when we do so in self-righteousness or anger. See point 2 again.
  • Frequently preach the gospel to them (and not at them). Reveal to your children just how far God has gone to show his love for sinners like us.
My friend, if you follow the example of our gracious God, your children will not have hard thoughts about him. They will have accurate thoughts about him—and a deep love for you.

I hope these brief thoughts help, John.


Friday, February 26, 2010

You've Come a Long Way, Baby

At 10 years old, our son got his first insulin pump. This was a huge benefit in helping to regulate and control his blood sugars. Although the learning curve was great in the beginning, having the pump, has been such a blessing in so many ways.

Insulin pumps replace the need for periodic injections by delivering rapid-acting insulin continuously throughout the day using a catheter. Insulin is stored in a small plastic reservoir (about 200 units) which is enough for 2 to 3 days worth of use. The user must change the infusion site every 2 to 3 days to prevent blockage and high blood sugars. The body begins to attack that little cannula after a few days just like it does a splinter or any other foreign object.

The usage of an insulin pump has several “advantages.” The first advantage of pump use was tighter blood glucose control, one of the most important reasons. Another advantage of pump use was being able to sleep in the morning and not having to follow such a rigid schedule based upon the peaks of insulin taken with daily injections. A third popular reason for using a pump was the ability to not be caught without your insulin and the ability to vary the insulin dose based upon activity, meals and other factors.

I have posted a picture of the first insulin pump. It was approximately the size of a small microwave. All I can say is that I sure am glad they continued to perfect this technology.

Modern pumps use a special small syringe, which resides in the pump and is connected to the wearer via a small cannula (like an IV needle/catheter). The cannula sits up under the skin in the fatty tissue layer and deposits the insulin in bolus and basal intervals. Basal insulin is the continuous insulin that the pump gives in small increments all day and night long to keep blood sugars stable. Finding this right amount is tricky, especially going through puberty, as these demands are constantly in a state of flux. As our son matures, his insulin needs will become more stable. Bolus amounts are delivered after eating meals and are determined by the number of carbohydrates consumed. The pump configures the amount to deliver based on what the user enters.

There are no restrictions on the activities of pump users today. Watertight cases are available to allow for swimming. People on pumps have done everything from running or biking across America to hiking up Mt. McKinley. In addition, many professionals, such as 1999’s Miss America, use pumps without anyone ever knowing. People using a pump today perform all types of jobs and participate in any activity they desire--the pump never holds the user back!

In the works right now is a closed-loop system pump, which would act like an external pancreas. It would monitor the blood sugars without the person having to do finger-pricks, continually inputting this information into the system and knowing exactly how much insulin to deliver.

None of these advances in technology are perfect; far from it, but they sure do make diabetes much easier for the patient and caregivers. Nothing can replace a cure but we are so thankful for this technology.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Insulin, Our Friend

Insulin. What a brilliant invention! Where on earth would diabetics be without it? Stuck in the middle ages most likely, on their death beds with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Nice. But we owe this wonderful invention to three men: Frederick G Banting, Charles H Best and J J R Macleod. And this year, insulin is 88 years old.

On 11th January 1922, insulin was used on diabetic patients for the first time. Before this, life expectancy for those with type 1 diabetes was a year or two.The following is copied from the diabetes UK article on this:

"On January 11, 1922, Leonard Thompson, a 14-year-old boy with diabetes, who lay dying at the Toronto General Hospital, was given the first injection of insulin. However, the extract was so impure that Thompson suffered a severe allergic reaction, and further injections were cancelled.

Over the next 12 days, James Collip worked day and night to improve the ox-pancreas extract, and a second dose was injected on the 23 January. This was completely successful, not only in having no obvious side-effects, but in completely eliminating the glycosuria sign of diabetes.

Children dying from diabetic ketoacidosis were kept in large wards, often with 50 or more patients in a ward, mostly comatose. Grieving family members were often in attendance, awaiting the (until then, inevitable) death.

In one of medicine's more dramatic moments Banting, Best, and Collip went from bed to bed, injecting an entire ward with the new purified extract. Before they had reached the last dying child, the first few were awakening from their coma, to the joyous exclamations of their families."

Amazing isn't it, to think that insulin is still so young. What a brilliant breakthrough in medical science, too. It really makes me realize how fortunate we are in this day and age to be able to use insulin, and all thanks to those three brilliant men.

I would love to go back in time, and give Banting a high five and tell him that his work has saved thousands of lives. How his work and research has given hope to so many who had no hope.

I sometimes think I wish my son had never gotten diabetes. But then, I think, it could be worse, much worse. There are many suffering with diseases for which there are no treatments. At least, I think, we have insulin and it's not a cure, but it sure will suffice until we find one. That's my next hope. That we find a cure! Until then, I am so thankful for insulin; this strange smelling liquid that keeps my son alive and able to live a fairly normal life. Thank you Mr. Banting. Thank you, Insulin, Thank you, God!

Insulin is a diabetic's friend. We met someone several years ago that struggled with type one diabetes that shared that thought with us. We always wish that our children, loved ones, family members didn't have to take insulin. We wish or we really want to deny the disease. But we can't. And, therefore, we must see insulin as our friend instead of our enemy.

So happy birthday old friend. Thanks so much for all of your help!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Diabetes 101

Well, I hope that you will continue to "humor" me.

Since I'm on the rant about diabetes I thought I might educate you a bit.

I met a lady the other day that used to work at one of the area hospitals. She was the diabetes educator and I was telling her our story and we were commenting on how amazed we were that people really don't understand or know what diabetes is or what it isn't.

So, I decided I would spend a few posts talking about this, since it is something that has touched our family, something we have become well educated on (not because we wanted to but because we had to) and something that I feel really needs to be more understood.

I will start by explaining what diabetes is and then talk about some common myths.

Diabetes: The word "diabetes" is borrowed from the Greek word meaning "a siphon." The 2nd-century A.D. Greek physician, Aretus the Cappadocian, named the condition "diabetes." He explained that patients with it had polyuria (a lot of peeing) and "passed water like a siphon." When the word "diabetes" is used alone, it refers to diabetes mellitus. The word "mellitus" means "sweet". There's a lot of interesting facts here, but one I found fascinating is many years ago before they had meters to test blood sugars or even dip sticks to test the sugar in urine, they discovered that the urine of diabetic persons would attract ants. I guess because of the excess sugar. Interesting...

Anyway, there are two main types of diabetes mellitus -- insulin-requiring type 1 diabetes and adult-onset type 2 diabetes. These two conditions are distinct and different diseases in themselves. There is also a gestational diabetes which occurs during pregnancy but this would still fall under the category of type 2 diabetes.

Okay, so what are the differences between these two diseases? First off, Diabetes Mellitus is a disease that affects that body’s ability to produce insulin and/or the body’s ability to use it. Insulin is a hormone that is made by the pancreas which helps the body store energy (glucose) for later use. Like all hormones, our body needs to keep these levels balanced to prevent damage to other organs. Current acceptable blood glucose levels should be between 80 and 120 before meals. Unfortunately with untreated diabetes, these levels can get extremely high and become life-threatening.

The difference between the two - Type 1 diabetes is where the body no longer produces insulin at all. For some reason, (doctors and scientists do not know why) the pancreas does not make insulin at all. This can be caused by a number of factors which are unknown, but there are theories. The most popular theory is that there is a virus that attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas (called the islets of Langerhans) and destroys them - an autoimmune process. But for whatever reason, the pancreas does not produce anymore insulin, therefore blood sugars rise to dangerous levels. There are many things I find interesting here: many juvenile diabetics (another term for Type 1 diabetes - because many who are diagnosed are young) are diagnosed at around 6 or 7 years old. Why is this? I have wondered if it's related to immunizations. Is something causing the body to attack itself? Oh well, that's another topic altogether, isn't it??

I'm not going to bore you with all the details of this process and what happens to the sugar in the body and how the cells can't function, etc...; it really is quite fascinating how it all works. But suffice it to say, Type 1 diabetics do not make insulin, period. This is what Kendall, our son, has. Type 1 diabetes is not curable.

Type 2 diabetes is altogether different. Type 2 diabetics do not make enough insulin to support the body. Usually the reason is being overweight. Their bodies just do not produce enough insulin to be able to circulate throughout their system and keep the blood sugars normal. While still a dangerous condition if left untreated, it is curable. Type 2 diabetics can usually take medication to make their pancreas produce enough insulin; and if they lose the excess weight, they can become non-diabetic again.

One more comment here: Why do diabetics pee so much and get so thirsty? Well, it's because their bodies are not able to use the sugar they've taken in and so it passes right out through the kidneys. And because the kidneys are working so hard to get rid of all those toxins the excess sugar produces, they are working extra hard and wanting more fluids to flush it all out. Makes sense! Our bodies really are amazing!

Now the myths:

1. We've gotten this question a lot - especially when Kendall was younger. Will your son grow out of this (kind of like asthma)? NO! Remember, I said that this disease is not curable; once the pancreas stops producing insulin, it can never recover. Unless God heals him.

2. So, Kendall cannot eat any sugar, right? No, that's not true either. Because if Kendall couldn't eat sugar, well, he couldn't eat much at all. This is an area that I would like for people to understand better. Much of what you and I eat turns to sugar once it enters our bloodstream. All starches and carbs turn into sugar, even healthy stuff. Breads, vegetables like corn, peas, legumes, carrots. All fruits turn into sugar. The key is converting these sugars into energy that the body can use. That's why God created insulin.

3. Kendall got diabetes because he ate too many sweets, right? No. That's not right at all. In fact, what he ate had nothing to do with his developing diabetes. They don't know why some people develop it and why their bodies attack their insulin-producing cells. (Interesting thing, there are infants who are born with Type 1 diabetes - figure that one out!)

4. When Kendall is feeling a "low" (low blood sugar) you need to give more insulin, right? This is a common misconception. NO, please don't give the person more insulin. When a person is experiencing a low blood sugar, it means, for some reason that they have too much insulin circulating in their bodies. The best remedy for this is to give a high sugar snack or fruit juice to raise their glucose levels and counteract the insulin. If not, they can go into a diabetic coma and die.

It's a very touchy balancing system. We've had a couple of these low sugar episodes where we had to take Kendall to the emergency room to get glucose in an IV. Very scary, indeed!

5. Diabetes is genetic. It can be, but not always. My dad had type 2 diabetes, because he was overweight and did not take care of himself, but we have no Type 1 diabetics in our family. I have become acquainted with many Type 1 diabetics who had no diabetes in their family.

Okay, well that's enough for this time. Hope it wasn't a total bore!