Friday, July 2, 2010

And the Winner is...


Carol said, "HOPE.. that is a wonderful word. My word for the year is COMPASSION.. I pray to be more compassionate each day. As I look around me, I see there are people that still show compassion to others. I know God is working in so many lives... I can see it... and this gives me HOPE!!!"

Thanks for participating and I hope to do a few more of these with other books I have or will review!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Book Review: Scars and Stilettos and GIVEAWAY!!!

This is the first time I have participated in a blog tour! This tour was for Scars and Stilettos: The transformation of an exotic dancer, by Harmony Dust.

Book Discription from litFUSE
Fear of being abandoned keeps nineteen-year-old Harmony Dust trapped in an abusive and cruel relationship. She thinks she has hit bottom-tens of thousands of dollars in debt, struggling to get by, and so controlled by her boyfriend that she doesn't protest when he begins openly sleeping around. Things can't get worse . . . until someone tells her how much money she can make as an exotic dancer. For the next three years, Harmony lives a double life as Monique, a dancer in a fully-nude strip club.Scars and Stilettos is Harmony's stark, honest, and ultimately hopeful story of how God found her in that dark, noisy place and led her out. She has since married, completed an MA in social welfare, and now leads Treasures, an organization helping women in the sex trade discover their true worth."Harmony wrote her story so that you and your friends may get help out of whatever dark tunnel you find yourself in. . . . once you start this book, you will not be able to put it down and you will want to get a copy for every person you know." -Holly Wagner, from the preface.

About the Author
Harmony Dust is founder of Treasures, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles that reaches out to women in the sex industry to show them they are loved, valued, and purposed. Find out more about Treasures, Harmony, and her book at or Check out Harmony's Press Page for magazine articles and videos about her work with women in the sex-trade industry.

My Review:
I was pulled into this book from the first chapter. As a LSW I see so many aspects of the authors development that could have possibly triggered her dependence on an abusive boyfriend and a profession that left her feeling alone and worthless...but as a Christian, I see how God used her strengths to pull her out of the desparation she was in and into a place of leadership to help others. The book was very well written and honest. As I was reading, I found it hard to put the book down. I knew from the beginning how the book would end. After all, the subtitle is The transformation of an exotic dancer, so I just couldn't wait to see God scoop her up in his arms and show her that she was truely valued, loved and worth more than rubies or pearls. Harmony is inspiring and I am in awe of the courage it took for her not only to stop stripping, but to turn to God, admit her faults, accept His grace and go a step further and share her story so that others would feel the same hope and love that she feels. AMAZING!

I do feel as if I need to ad the content of the book is mature and includes topics such as child abuse, rape, sexual content, and some foul language. I would recommend this book to adults only with the rare exception to teens who have been abused and/or are considering working in the sexual explotation industry in any aspect.

A very special thank you to LitFUSE Publishing for a free copy of this book to review and a free copy to give away!

That's right! To be entered in this giveaway, just leave a comment below sharing what gives you HOPE! I decided in January that my words for 2010 were HOPE and HEALTH. One thing that gives me HOPE is watching others turn their disappointment into God's appointment and use their skills to lead other to Him! I will have my son randomly choose a name on Friday, July 2 at Noon to determine the winner. Please leave your email address so I can contact the winner!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Book Review: The Six-Liter Club

The Six-Liter Club

By: Harry Kraus


Dr. Camille Weller is the first African American female attending in the trauma surgical department at the Medical College of Virginia (where Kraus earned his M.D.). On her first day, she joins the Six-Liter Club - a reference to an elite group of doctors who have saved a patient after the patient loses six-liters of blood. Exhilarated, she decides to do something about the antiquated "doctors" and "nurses" signs on the locker room doors and changes clothes with the "doctors." She'll also blow their prejudices about skin color out of the water. Yet Camille has far more to overcome than preconceived notions about her skin color or sex...she's having nightmares about her childhood in the Congo , a dark closet, whispered words, and strong arms holding her back.


It took me a while to really be drawn into this book, but by the half-way point, I couldn't put it down. It was really not my usual read, but it did eventually interest me and I began to feel a part of the book. The story line flowed well and the characters felt real. I don't usually read or watch much secular entertainment and some of the topics were in the secular realm but it made the Christian outreach to the main character more real. Overall it was a good read and opened my eyes to how far women have come in the last 20 years in the medical field.

I was given this book as an agreement with Glass Road Blogger and the opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Book Review: God's Promises for Boys

Book Description

An easy way to help young boys see God’s promises and how they can rely on His love in their daily lives.

The promise verses in this book are selected from the bestselling International Children’s Bible® to offer comfort and encouragement when a boy is feeling afraid, lonely, worried, angry, dissatisfied, discouraged, sad, rebellious, impatient, or sick . . . and when they need reassurance of God’s protection, love, forgiveness, help . . . and that He listens when they pray. It’s a great way for children to hide God’s Word in their hearts.

Sample text: Sometimes it’s hard to tell the truth when you feel like you have something to hide. But remember—when it’s hard to be honest: God promises to reward Truth—not Lies!

"You must do these things to enjoy life and have many happy days. You must not say evil things. You must not tell lies." Psalms 34:12-13


God's Promises for Boys By Jack Countryman & Amy Parker is a wonderful book for young boys and is packed with scripture from front to back. My son is too young to really understand these words on his own, but it is never too soon to start reading these scriptures and planting the seeds of the Word. The illustrations are adorable and the quotes at the beginning of each scripture are fitting and understandable for young ones. With kid-friendly topics like, "God's Promises When...You Want to Be Cool", "God's Promises About...The Man You'll Grow Up to Be", and "God Wants You To...Influence Your World", this book will be a go-to for topical scripture searches for our son. Love it!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book Reviw: If I Could Ask God Anything

Book Description

Awesome Bible answers for curious kids!

If I Could Ask God Anything is a unique kid-friendly book jam-packed with clear, fresh answers to important questions about God, faith, prayer, and Christianity in language that children can understand. Using kid-friendly language, established author Kathryn Slattery tackles "toughies" such as:

If God is invisible, how do I know He is real? Did Jesus live on Earth before or after the dinosaurs? Why should I go to church? When I die, do I become an angel with a halo and wings? How can the Holy Spirit help me? Does God stop loving me when I sin? This book will help young readers establish a closer relationship with God as well as help parents nurture their child's mind and spirit with this well-rounded, Scripture-based guide.


If I Could Ask God Anything: Awesome Bible Answers for Curious Kids by Kathryn Slattery is a really wonderful book and a great resource for parents. In this book, the author supports answers to every question with scripture. The book answers questions about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Church, The Bible, Christianity, Christian Holidays, the Hard Questions, Being a Chrisan here and now and Being a Christian Forever.

While my own child is too young to ask most of these questions, I know this book will be a handy guide as he grows in his understanding of the Lord. While parents may know the answers to these questions, this book has answers in the language that speaks to kids...not at them. I even learned some things while reading answers about Christian Holidays.

I would recommend this book to any parent or child looking to have answers regarding the Christian faith and life. Two thumbs up!

Thank you to the Thomas Nelson Book Sneeze Club for providing me a copy of this book for review. I was not paid for my review and the opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Review: Saint Patrick Christian Encounters Series

“Saint Patrick’s Day” probably conjures up images of leprechauns, four leafed clovers and a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But March 17 is declared a holiday for more reasons than just wearing green to avoid being pinched.

Jonathan Rogers separates fact from fiction about the legendary saint in his biography that is part of the Christian Encounters Series by Thomas Nelson Publishers. I have to admit, before reading this book, I knew relatively nothing of Saint Patrick. So I was glad to learn about the Saint we celebrate in March. He was kidnapped as a teenager and escaped home as a young adult only to return to the home of his captures to preach God’s words and baptize the people of that nation. He was probably the first foreign missionary.

This book was a quick read and I was surprised by how much I could learn in such few pages. The inclusions of the writings of Saint Patrick himself were especially interesting.

Book Description Given by
Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.
At age 14, he was captured from his homeland of Scotland by Irish marauders and taken as a slave to Ireland , where he lived for six years tending his master's flocks. In his early twenties, he fled over 200 miles and escaped by ship, returning to his family. By the eighth century, he had come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland . What did he experience during his years of slavery that proved invaluable to this man who became a revered missionary who “baptised thousands of people,” converted sons of kings, and led wealthy women to become nuns? Learn about the sustaining faith of St. Patrick in this Christian Encounters biography.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, February 25, 2010

T-Shirt Scarf

This scarf is made from a t-shirt I rarely ever used, but now, I know I will be using it more! Love the color, love the ruffles!

I am really loving to re-purpose things and recycle right now!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Love, Actually

Valentines Day is just 14 days away! If you are looking for creative ways to show romance (and not spend much cash) check out for some great ideas!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bath Poof Re-purpose

I just found a great way to re-purpose a bath poof! Check out to see how to recycle bath poofs (ok, I really don't know what these things are called, but know what I mean, right?

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Head over to Keeping the Kingdom First to see some great Freebies! Including a free download from Shaun Groves and some great samples!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Here's my 52 cents!

I just have to share! Yesterday, we stopped by a local media/entertainment store that is going out of business in a few days. I was looking for something specifically, but noticed some big plastic bins and just had to look.

I found a iPod home speaker dock in the tub and thought that since hubby and I both have a shuffle, it would be nice to have a dock for each (and for 70% off, it was going to be about 2 bucks). As I was checking out, the total was a lot less than I expected, so I looked through the reciept and found that I paid a whopping 52 cents for that speaker!

You know the thrill you get when you save a few bucks...yeah...I got it.

Monday, January 11, 2010


My new best friend :-)

Homemade Dishwasher Soap

Here is a recipe to try if you like powder dishwasher soap.

In a plastic container with a firmly fitting lid, mix:

1 cup borax (20-Mule-Team Borax, available in any supermarket)

1 cup baking soda

1/4 cup salt

1/4 cup citric acid OR use two packets of Lemonade-Flavored Kool-Aid (ONLY lemon, or you'll dye your dishwasher!) and ONLY unsweetened Kool-Aid

Mix well and store in a plastic or glass container with a lid. Use about 1 TBS per load.

Use white vinegar in the rinse agent compartment to prevent residue.


If you like liquid dishwashing soap, try this one:

1 part borax

1 part baking soda

1 part water

1 drop lemon oil or essential oil per cup of detergent.

Store in a sealable jug and use 2 TBS per load.

Again, everything I read says to make sure and use vinegar as the rinse agent.

Homemade Static Remover

If you have made the homemade fabric softener and have some of the store bought stuff lying around, you could make some homemade static remover.

All you need to do is mix one part fabric softener with ten parts water in a fine mist bottle. Spray this just like you would Stat.ic Guard.

Homemade Oxyclean

1 cup hot water

1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide

1/2 cup baking soda

Mix ingredients.

To use on clothes, soak the clothing in it for 20 minutes to overnight; then wash as usual. You can, also, put 1/2 cup each of peroxide and baking soda directly into the washer, along with your regular detergent, then wash as usual. OR you can make a paste of baking soda and peroxide and apply directly to the stain, wait a few minutes, then launder along with the rest of the load.

Reusable Fabric Sheet

You will need a washcloth that is different from the rest (so you know which is your fabric softening sheet) and some cheap hair conditioner.

Mix one part conditioner with one part water in a container (baby wipes container works well).

Dip your washcloth into the mixture and wring out. Throw this in the dryer.

You can use this again a few times before re-wetting.

Homemade Liquid Fabric Softener

2 cups baking soda

2 cups white vinegar

4 cups water

Put the baking soda in a plastic container and slowly add the vinegar. I do mean slowly...remember the volcano that you made in 5th grade science class...that happened by mixing baking soda and vinegar.

Next just add water and mix (I just used a gallon container with a lid and just shook it up).

Use 1/4 cup per load during final rinse cycle (or 1/3 cup if you have hard water).

Homemade Laundry Soap

Here is the recipe I am currently using for my laundry soap. Well, I actually cut this recipe in half so I could store it in a gallon size container. It's so easy!

You will need:

1 bar of soap

2 gallons of hot water

2 cups of Baking Soda (not washing soda)

Step one:

Grate the soap with your cheese grater.

Next, cover the grated soap with water and heat on low until most of the soap is dissolved.

Put the hot water in a container and add the melted soap.
Stir well.
Add the Baking Soda, stir again.

And your done! That's it!

You will need 1/2 cup per regular load and 1 cup for heavily soiled laundry.

Over time, your laundry soap will separate and become kind of goopy. All you need to do is stir before use. Or you can store the homemade soap in an old detergent container and shake before use. Those even have the handy little measuring caps!

How this all got started.

Last weekend, I was reading this really great blog ( and was looking at some of her DIY tutorials. My favorite was the rain gutter me...they are awesome! Then I saw a tutorial for homemade laundry soap. I thought to myself, "It must be nice to have the time to make your own cleaning products."

Then I decided to read the recipe.

I was taken quite by surprise! It was so simple! I told hubby that I had to try it and at first he just gave me this, "okay" look and really probably did not give it a second thought. Then I showed him how cheap it was going to be...

We normally would spend about $14 for the amount I was making which was costing...

get this...

About $1.30!

He was sold! Later that day I also found a recipe for fabric softener and gave it a try too.

This began my facination and addiction to making my own cleaning products!

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Sunday, January 10, 2010


After I wrote the below post, I realized how long it was and that maybe not everyone wants to know this much about me...

So with that in mind, here is the abbreviated version.

First and foremost, we are followers of Christ. We wish to honor him in our marriage, family and finances. Hubby and I have been married four years and are parents to an amazing little boy (E) who will be three in May and a baby girl born to Heaven in September 2009. I am currently working full time as a school social worker and while I am extremely thankful for my job, my heart is at home. We are on the road to be debt free in 2010 and living a frugal life is part of that. Hubby and I both agree that we see me staying at home with E sometime in the near future and being debt free is a large step in that direction.


Below is the longer, more detailed version. Read if you like.


I've never been really good at talking about myself. So writing in the "about" section of the blog is always kind of difficult for me. While working on my BSW, I was once asked to list things about myself. Of course, I did what everyone else in the class did. I listed my roles.
Wife. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Student. And so on.
Then I was told that was wrong. I was told that I am more than the roles that are placed in my life. Roles can be changed, titles changed.
A wife can becom a widow.
A mother can suddenly have empty arms.
A daughter can be turned an orphan.

A sister may "survive" her sibling.
A student will be a graduate.
I was told your roles do not define you. I struggled with this at first. Without these, who was I? My whole life I was defined by these roles. I took a long hard look at myself and I wondered how I would define my life. I knew what was needed to be at the top of my list. It's not a title or a hat I wear.
I am a follower of Christ. A Christian.

No matter what happened in my life, I did not (and do not) plan on this changing. Some of you may think that is easy to say, I haven't lived the life you have. And no, I haven't. But I have had trials.

I'll spare you the details. But my life has had it's ups and downs. I mean, I'm no Job, but life happens. And it happened to me.

I know divorce. Despite statistics, this did not "break" my childhood home.
I know low income.
I know working. Hard.
I know illness. And surgery...uninsured...
I know WIC and Medical Card.
I know death. Sister. Grandfather. Daughter. In three years.
I know grief. Deeply.

Yes, Life did happen.

I know family.
I know friends.
I know grace.
I know blessings.
I know college
I know love.
I know marriage.
I know pregnancy.
I know accomplishments.
I know faith.

God has blessed my life.

(This is probably more than you wished to learn about me, huh?)

Anyway. I feel that placing the word "about" above a blank space is a bit too open-ended for me. How much is too much? Well, I have probably already answered that question as I look back over this post.

What you really wanted to know is probably why did I start a frugal living blog. Well, I guess I should answer that question too.

Hubby and I have been married for 4 years and our parent to an amazing little boy who will be three in May and a beautiful little girl who was born to Heaven in September of 2009.

We have been blessed by so many wonderful family and friends. Some of these friends introduced us to Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace shortly after we were married. It made sense. Get out of debt. Have no payments. Give, save, invest. We could do this. We were sold. At that time, I was enrolled full time in a BSW program and working as a substitute teacher on days that I did not have class. Hubby was working his first post-graduate job...we were not rolling in the cash, but we were living below our means and it really didn't take much to feed a family of two. 9 months after getting married, we discovered we were expecting our first child. We moved out of the duplex we were renting and to a little rental house that was a little more than half what the duplex was costing us a month.

After I graduated with my BSW in May of 2008, I began looking for work and the day before my first interview, I ended up in the ER with terrible side and back pains. Diagnosis: Gallstones...and lots of them. It would have to come out. The next day, as I was driving to my interview, I glanced in the visor mirror to make sure I didn't look as bad as I felt and noticed the whites of my eyes and skin had a yellow tint. After the interview, I called the Dr and he said I needed to come to the ER as soon as I could. Diagnosis: Jaundice. (As well as a mild case of anxiety over the 2 ER bills about to come my way). I would have to see a specialist and possibly have an ERCP done before they could remove my gallbladder.

Oh, yeah, did I mention this was during the three month period that I was completely uninsured?

So I met with the specialist who was concerned, but thought that this problem could go away with time. He was so concerned about my lack of insurance that he did not want to prematurely do another $6000 procedure. So we waited three days and tested again...the ERCP would not be needed and the gallbladder could be taken at any time! God answers prayers!

I was finally getting the surgery...and all the bills that followed.
We added this to our (previously small) debt snowball and began to really hit our debt hard.

By the way...
I got the job! And insurance followed.

So as of August 2008, we had around $24000 of debt. We had no credit cards or car payments.

Since then, we have been using my income to pay on the debt and build (and rebuild) our emergency fund. I can't tell you what a blessing the emergency fund has been. If our van suddenly needs work, we use the emergency fund. If the toilet breaks...emergency fund.

When our baby girl died during the last trimester of pregnancy, the bills were the last thing that we wanted to think about. But they still came, whether we wanted them or not. The lady from the billing department actually came to me, the day after my c-section with a big smile on her face and asked, "So, How's the baby?" After the shock of what she said was gone, I told her that she had been stillborn and I know the lady wanted nothing more than to just leave my room. But I told her to go ahead. She had to talk about the bill. Because of the emergency fund, we were able to pay the hospital before I was discharged and never see a bill come to our home as a reminder of what we did not have. We did however recieve a check refunding almost half of our payment...they charged us for nursery services...

(After all the tests were ran, we have found that I am a carrier for a genetic Factor V Leiden blood clotting disorder that was most likely the cause of our precious daughters death. We are seeing a specialist and have learned that something as simple as aspirin/bloodthinners could be all we need in future pregnancies.)

Again, this is probably WAY more than anyone wanted to know about me, but to leave any of this out, would be omitting part of why I am the way I am.

I do still work outside the home, but someday, I hope to stay at home with my little boy and future babies. My husband is fully supportive of this. I'm in the second year of a three year grant cycle and if the grant is not renewed, I would not be very dissappointed. My heart is at home. Part of bringing the rest of me home is finding ways to cut the Wal.mart strings. I love the idea of not having to go there! I began looking up recipes for laundry soap and fabric softener and my eyes were opened to a world of home made things. I love crafty things and making things with my hands, now I can put that knowledge to use and make products that save my family money! You gotta love that right?

If you are still reading, sorry, I can't keep it simple when asked "about".

I hope that you find great tips, deals, freebies and other frugal things in my blog that help you to live (or be moving towards) a debt free life and being able to owe nothing but love!