Monday, April 24, 2006


We have been talking to our 3 year old daughter the past day or two about having the Binky (pacifier) Fairy come. We told her that if she put her binky under her pillow in the morning she would wake up and something would be under her pillow. I asked her what she wanted the Binky Fairy to bring: a toy, candy, money, or a book. She said she wanted a book. So last night before bed she began to cry "I don't want the Binky Fairy to come!" Well-- as I put her to bed we put it under there(for a second I am sure-- I ran out the down and didn't see but I am quite certain she had it out even before I left the room). When the Binky Fairy came she had to look to see where it her hand under the blankets a little. The Binky Fairy took it anyways and left her a Barbie book! When she woke up this morning she wondered where her Binky went because she told me that she hid it in her bed. Our son convinced her to go find what was under her pillow ( I think he actually got it out) and when I saw her she was on the couch reading her new book. She now has told people about how the Binky Fairy came last night. When she was getting tired before lunch I knew she wanted it back but I offered her a sucker instead and she was happy with that. So far so good. We broke her of this almost a year ago but when baby #3 came she stole all of hers and restarted her habit.

Thanks to my friend Karen for this tip!

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I found this website loaded with great gift baskets. Free shipping and for any occasion! A Hallmark card is included.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I found a great website for manufacturers coupons. Cleaning supplies, medicnce, groceries etc. Easy to use-- very easy and fast sign up and FREE!

I did the coupon baron the top of my computer screen so I remember to check if often.

Monday, April 17, 2006


I love the Olympics!! I started a new tradition a couple years ago. Where ever the host city is I do some research before they start about the food and culture of that city/country. Now as our kids get older I will likely get even more into the culture aspects to where they can learn about it. So when it was hosted in Athens I looked up recipes for authentic Greek food and made the recipes and served them the night of the Opening ceremonies. We take a picture of us all at the table just for fun. Torino was fun to research-- found out that the city Turin is in the NW part of Italy in the region of Piedmont and they have their own food types there. Next will be Beijing (China) in 2008 then Vancouver(British Columbia Canada) in 2010 and London(England) in 2012. I am getting hungry already.


We tried this for the first time 2 days ago. I handed out flyers to the people on our street a few weeks ago so it got on their calender. We had it at 4 pm on a Sat. which seemed to be a very good time of day to do it. They all were asked to bring a dozen filled plastic eggs to our home by 3 pm that day for each participating child. The kids were asked to bring a basket to collect their eggs. We had some extra prizes and each child could have one of those in addition to each being able to find a dozen eggs. We wrote a number on their hand before we started for 2 grand prizes( large stuffed animal bunnies). After the hunt everyone stayed for cupcakes, lemonade, coffee and other snacks. Thankfully it was a beautiful day so everyone stayed for almost a hour and a half. Everyone that had children came! A good kick off to the summer season of being out with your neighbors again.

In Sept we do a block party...the first Sat. after Labor Day. Everyone is home then and the weather is usually still very nice!


We put on the door all the artwork and picture the kids make or bring home from school and when the door is full we take a picture of it...then toss it. Often times we take the picture of the kid who did the work too to know how old they were when they made it. Our daughter is especially proud to get her picture taken by her artwork.

I keep anything like painted handprints or any extra special items but not everything.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Restaurants, auto, home and garden and lots more. Click on the West Michigan city you want to look for coupons.


Found and used Allegiant Air for our most recent trip to Orlando. Flies out of small airports all over the country into Orlando Sanford airport( small airport 30 miles north of Orlando) and into Las Vegas Intl. Only flies to 2 destinations and no perks but just fine for what we needed. I know LOTS of people who have used this airline and I have heard no major complaints and almost all positive comments! BTW: Jet service with 2 seats on one side and 3 on the other and only flies 1 flight daily out on certain days of the week depending on the city you fly out of.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

CONDO 2 Miles from Disney!

We went to Disney in Feb 06 and I found this brand new condo-- cheaper than the hotels! VERY reasonable and beautiful! Best pool area I have ever been to, free movie theatre, gated community, cool kids playground, clubhouse, tennis, basketball and more.

The owner Rick sent me this email when I told him I was mentioning his condo on my blog:

Thanks Kathy!
I really appreciate it. Please give any friends of yours my website directly. I will make sure they and you always get a good deal.

Thanks!Rick Rozman

You deal directly with the owner and it is just great. We loved it and would go back in a heartbeat!

The website is great overall for vacation homes all over the world. VRBO stands for Vacation Rentals By Owner.

Just don't book the week I want! :)


We just got into Geocaching.

You need a GPS and that is about it. There are "treasures" hidden all over the world and the point is to find them. They are in your local parks mostly which makes it a nice outing. You enter the zip code where you will be ( a great thing to do on vacation too) and it will list all the caches in that area. You enter the waypoints into your GPS and try to find it. Clues are usually available if needed by decoding the message.

Once you find the treasure (if it is a traditional cache) you can take a prize out. You should however be ready to leave something as well. It is stuff around the house anyways like MC D's toys, old pins, trinkets, etc...The kids love this part!

There is almost always a log book to sign and it is fun to read. When you get home make sure to post your findings at the site. Once you begin navigating the website you will see all the options.

Have fun!! We love it! It can be frustrating at times when you can't find it but the fun is often times in the search anyways.

By the is totally free!


Sign up online for their Birthday Club and get free ice cream when it is your birthday!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Weight Watchers Recipes

Some of you know I have joined Weight Watchers. After the third kids I realized NOW is the time to lose the baby weight I have gained over the past 5 years. Some people where I live now never saw me how I used to be and those of you who knew me 5 years ago or longer never saw how much weight I gained with these kids. Well when Lauren was born in July I knew I had to lose close to 90 pounds to be where I wanted to be. Thankfully I have lost 80 in less than 9 months. With the help of WW the past 12 weeks I have lost the past 30 of the 80. They gave me the kick I needed.

I sure you too have strugged with your weight only because most people have at one point or another.

Well I have found a website that offers great Weight Watchers recipes for free. I use them weekly. The website offers LOTS more other recipes too but I need WW. Even if you don't do WW these are just very healthy, practical meals. (click on WW recipes)

So my tip to you is this website of great recipes. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

40 day Journey for your church!

I am tooting my own horn here but it's my idea blog so I can! :)

My husband David wrote a book called The Fruitful Life for our church for 2005 and I am now marketing it to churches across North America primarily. There are LOTS of free resources for churches at the books very own website so churches or small groups just need to download them for their own use.

The book is 180 pages long and has a chapter a day. It is based on John 15 -- the Vine. See the website for sample chapters, more info.

There is a DVD too and it is also very well done. 1 10-15 min lesson each week for 6 weeks.

Several churches from all over the country and many different denominations have already gone through this with their whole church already.

SO pass this along to your pastor or small group leader. They are always looking for new material.

We have received many comments that this book is great for long time Christians as well as brand new believers alike and very practical.

You can order at the website...and I will be the one to get them to you! :)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Using all those other coupons

What about everything else? I just figured this one out in the past 6 months. I bought another file like my grocery store files and labeled them as follows and I gave some ideas of what mine might include:

Pizza(Pizza Hut, Marcos, Dominos)
Fast Food (Mc D's, Wendys, Subway)
Dining out(Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Perkins, local restaurants)
Coffee(local coffee coupons)
Home and Garden( Local garden store, Bed bath and Beyond)
Toys(Toys R us)
Clothes(Kohls discounts, Childrens Place)
Misc. (Bath and Body Works)
Golf (local places)
Entertainment (movie popcorn deals, Chuck E Cheese coin deals)

You can add the labels that you collect coupons for. I try to keep this one in the car so I always have it when I am out.

I always buy coupon books too like the Entertaiment book. One idea if you have a hard time remembering what is in that book that you want to use is to cut out the coupons you think you will use then put them in this file where you will look more often.

How I use coupons at the grocery store

I have 3 coupon files that I take to the store with me-- one is the "rest of the store" file including things like diapers, laundry and dishwashing, soaps and deodorants, paper products,plastic products, candy, and in that one I have the"coupons I used" to when I use one I put it in there so I don't forget to give it to the check out person at the end.

My next file are things like baking, canned fruit, soup, canned meat, cereal etc...and that file is the first half of the store.

My third file is the last half of the store with things like drinks, cheese, frozen, refr. meats etc...

I use the flyer in my sunday paper to see what is on sale in the national brand line and often times it seems the coupons that week go together with what is on sale. The aisles at the store have sale prices at the product showcasing that it is on sale and I look for those signs. Now if I have something I need to buy for a recipe or something and it's not on sale or if I don't have a coupon I buy the cheapest (even if I have a coupon I buy the cheapest). I usually never pay more than $2 for a box of cerea land I can't remember the last time I bought store brand of that. Now I am also not picky about getting a certain kind of cereal each week. There are probably 20 kinds of cereal I would buy and I buy the ones of that that we like and that I can get the cheapest. I often can save $15- $25 with the paper coupons I handed the checkout person. I figure that is worth the time it takes-- I don't work outside the home so I have more time than money. (we don't have double coupons where I live but if they have them near you that is REALLY worth the effort!!!)

Bottom line: I almost always use my coupons with the items that are on sale that week.

An Art and Paint Birthday Party

Our daughter just turned 3 and we gave her an art and paint party. I was looking for something other than a character themed party. Here are some ideas of what we did :

We did not sendout invitations but if we did we were going to make a black and white paint palettes and have Karina hand color each of them. We would have done this just on our computer.

We took a piece of cardboard and drew a template of a paint palette and cut it out with a utility knife. ( about 2 feet long). we found 4 little matching bowls from our kitchen and cut out holes where the paint would be to put the bowl. Each bowl held a food item of a different color. In our case we used red ketchup, yellow mustard, green relish, and white onions. I went to the store and bought a package of 3 brightly colored paintbrushes (the bristles were big enough) and used them for the condiments to spread on the hot dogs we ate. The kids loved this! Also on the cardboard I painted on additional colors in paint and threw on some splatters of paint to be authentic looking.

The table was decorated in primary color plates, napkins and cups, all of which I already had at home and did not need to buy. I threw on part of a red plastic tablecloth over the regular tablecloth to make it look like a throw cloth under an easel.

To make the paint palette cake I used 2 cake mixes. I baked each one in a jelly roll pan. It was made into a 2 layer cake. I used one third of each for the 4 individual cakes and the other 2 thirds to use for the palette. I just the kids cakes into small rectangles and prefrosted them. For the palette I frosted the top of the large cake so I could draw where I would want to cut my palette template. Cut it out and frosted it. To make the paint colors I just used my frosting colorings and dabbed some on the cake staight. Swirled it around and it looked more like paint that way.

At the party when the kids arrived they began with different sets of watercolor paints and computer paper. That lasted awhile. Then we got out the finger paints and big newspaper roll paper. You can usually get this from your local newspaper for free or less than a dollar usually. They are end rolls that they don't need anymore.

Then we got out tempura paints and made handprints of the kids-- we did lots knowing many may not turn out well. We now have a great remembrace of the party and they had fun doing it.

Then we had dinner. Hot dogs, french fries, a round veggie tray holder with assorted veggies and fruits all solid colors to look like paint (this was a stretch maybe but it looked cool). Our daughter loves guacamole so we had that too with torilla chips.

Then the gifts. Each theme birthday we give I try to find a lasting gift that ties into the theme. This time I found a thumbprint drawing book on bought her 3 stamp pads to go along with it from the dollar store. She had a ball with that for hours the day after the party already. Then we mark in the book that it was given to her on her 3rd birthday -- her art and paint party.

The kids decorated the cakes and loved it-- we wrapped them and and sent them home. We all then sang and then ate the large cake.

We really enjoyed this party alot. Alot of stuff we already had at home.

Just a reminder to have kids bring aprons or you supply them.

I found some of these ideas originally from

Pastor Retreat Centers and Vacation Spots

Many of you know I like to look for deals for pastors and their families. Here is a website with ALOT ofchoices.

FYI on some:

Whitestone Inn in TN offers 50% discount Sun-Thurs on room only plus $15 fee (see the pics!!!)

Triple Creek Ranch in IL is now in CO (free for entire family). You book this 4 months in advance and you get one prime time week for life I believe (summer/ holiday) but unlimited off season weeks (Sept.-May).

The people at Deer Ridge in IL are great people and have free 5 day retreat and meals included(couples only).

Pastors Retreat Network is Cedarly in WI (marvelous!) and other centers in TX and OH also have free 5 day retreats including meals (couples only). You get to use this once every two years.

Just thought you might want to look through these before the summer vacation plans are made. Many campgrounds and Band B's offer free or discounted rates too.

Have fun!!