Today I ventured out of my comfort zone and tapped into my adventurous side....."Black Friday Shopping!"
This is the first time in my life I recall braving the swarm of shoppers during the busiest shopping day of the year. I'm not a big fan of shopping, so this hasn't appealled to me in the past. However, there have been a few items on my "to buy" list and I admit that I've been intrigued by my friends tips/plans for this shopping day.
This experience proved to be very valuable by helping save money and make wiser purchases. Plus, it was a great time for me to spend with my oldest daughters as we set out just after sunrise with determination, a reasonable cash budget and modest list of potential purchases.
Here are my top 3 BEST money savers from the day:
#1 WINTER COATS
"Old Navy"regular price $39.50 each, Deal of the day $15 each
This was a great purchase since our average temps for the week have been 20-25 degrees and our winter boxes are patiently waiting in the shed down south (BTW, while we're "enjoying" the snow here...would you believe it's 70degrees back home??)
"Bed Bath & Beyond": regular price $49.99 each, Deal of the day $9.99 + 20% off entire purchase
I've been looking forward to slowly adding a little decor to our Family Room, so once I saw thie ecinnamon colored curtains at such a discount, I couldn't resist
#3 WINTER WEAR
"Goodwill": regular price varies, Deal of the day was 1/2 off everthing (over $60savings)
I bought 7 bags of clothing, shoes, etc for less than $70! This really helped build up our winter wardrobe!
Overall, I think I may be a Black Friday Shopping convert. Not because I have an insatiable desire to shop, but it is a wise way to knock some items off my "to buy" list and save a few bucks at the same time!
(BTW, for the record, don't look for me camping out at the store at 3am just to run wild with the masses...lol)
Do you have any good shopping deals to share? (I'd love to rejoice with you!!)
The forecast for the next 24hours:
- Temps drop to negative six degrees (-6)
- Five to Ten inches of snow (5-10")
- Potential power outages
Need I say more??
Well, "We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto!"
Living in the North has certainly been an adventure, especially when we awoke to snow...........
(sorry for the poor picture quality)
It looks like we're in for an exciting winter, so the children & I are going to take our preparations up a notch and getting serious. We all started doing inventory of clothes yesterday so we could invest in some coats, leggings, etc. I also need to research more winter soups and healthy meals so I can do some bulk shopping. We have a pretty decent emergency kit prepared in the event of a power outage, but I'd like to get more family centered books to read around the fire & candles to have on standby.
Here is a little article I received in my inbox. Before you read it, I'm appealling to all you Northerners once again, ANY PREPARATION TIPS FOR THIS SOUTHERN GIRL???
PREPARING FOR WINTER TRAVEL
Motorists must prepare for winter storms.
The National Weather Service has stated that the first cold storm of the
season will reach our area this weekend. If you must travel during winter
storms, be prepared and use caution as well as common sense.
Make sure your vehicle is in good working condition. In particular:
When traveling through snow country, motorists should carry tire chains that are the proper type and size, and are in good condition. Chains must be installed on the drive wheels, so
- check the antifreeze
- tire pressure and tread
- windshield wipers
- exhaust system.
make sure you know if your vehicle is front or rear wheel drive. Other useful items:
“A prepared motorist is a safer motorist to themselves, other
- a flashlight,
- chain repair links
- ice scraper
- spray deicer
- a shovel
- warm blankets
- extra clothing will make you more comfortable if you experience a lengthy
- And before you leave, put an extra vehicle door key in your pocket; a
number of motorists have locked themselves out of their cars when putting
travelers, and our highway workers,” said Charlie Fielder, Caltrans
District 1 Director.
Don’t be rushed;
Before traveling and during your trip, be sure to check current road conditions.
- get an early start to allow more time to reach your
- Let someone know your travel plans, (the route you plan to take & when you expect to arrive, and update them if things change)
- Keep your fuel tank full in case it’s necessary to change routes
or you get caught in a traffic delay.
- And above all, be more observant and slow down.
- A highway speed of 55 or 65 miles an hour may be safe in dry
weather, but is an invitation for trouble on snow or ice.
- Snow and ice make stopping distances much longer, so leave more distance between your vehicle
and the vehicle ahead.
- Bridge decks and shady spots can be icy when other
areas are not.
- Avoid sudden stops and quick direction changes.
The official start of winter is right around the corner & we're exploring more ways to stay healthy this season. Maintaining good health is really important, yet we are sometimes exposed to viruses that may compromise our immune system. Aside from cleaning door handles, purifying the air and getting some daily sun exposure (vitamin D has been proved to help the immune system) here are a few other things that have helped us combat sickness:GARLIC-We ike to eat "garlic pops" (oiled and heated garlic bulbs), but recently my friend gave me a quart of pickled/fermented garlic & it works very well
PURE ESSENTIAL OILS- Eucalyptus mixed with some carrier oil or even vaseline on the chest, back & under nose. Peppermint oil also helps open up passages and enourages deep breathing
VITAMIN C-Oranges/Juice & definately Rose Hips (in a syrup or an infused honey)
GINGER DROPS-This is one of my favorites! Super easy to make and very appealling to the children---Here's my older post about how to make them: http://www.joyfuljunction.com/1/post/2010/07/boosting-our-immune-system.html
Marlon had an interesting health encounter last month. Without divulging "tmi", you can sum it up by saying "we're not spring chickens anymore." In other words, we can't take our youthfulness for granted. Let's be honest, we're not getting any younger, so it's time to make our health an even bigger priority.
Aside from a strict diet and herbal regime, Marlon has also been encouraged by a friend to begin cycling. He's done two 10mile rides and I'm so glad he's found this outlet. As for me, I plan to schedule more outdoor walking and to maintain my exercise schedule on Wii-Fit. Here's a great article about the benefits of cycling which includes stronger immune system, stress reduction, weight loss and cardiovascular health: ( http://www.essortment.com/hobbies/cycling_ttgw.htm
I'm writing this post to simply encourage you to pray and ponder your current relationship within modern financial institutions. It is not for the purpose of promoting radical ideas or instilling fear. Instead, it my true hope that our family's recent experiences with the financial banking institution will be an eye-opener to the few who take the time to read this..
Thankfully, Marlon & I have recently been blessed with consistent construction projects that help provide for the needs of our family. We are also praying regularly for wisdom and direction on how we manage the operations of the company. To date, we have over 30 active clients and approximately a dozen people working within our company to help it run like a well oiled machine. But as you know, sometimes we must change the oil in order things to run smoothly. Here's our most recent discovery of change:
On 3 recent occasions we have had significant challenges concerning our business banking account. On one occasion the banking system made an error by overcharging us several thousand dollars which took 5 days to resolve their error. On 2 separate occasions, we deposited a significant amount of money from our clients into our checking account which posted/cleared fine, then we recieved a "debit memo" and our deposit was reversed the very next day! WHY? There is no justifiable reason for these errors, yet I see them as a warning about our dependence on the banking institution.
These errors virtually handicapped us from ordering materials and paying subcontractors. They were completely out of our control and we were at the mercy of the bank (so to speak.) Now, I'm wondering how they have the power to reverse a completely valid deposit at their discretion? What other powers do they possess concerning our hard earned resource? And what if the economic crash predictions are right? We will have limited control of our resource and be at the mercy (once again) of the institution. Something isn't adding up for me.
This experience brought to mind another lesson we learned this summer while traveling out west. We were in western Arizona trying to fill up our gas tank, when we received an "invalid card" response from our ATM card. Apparently, our debit card was flagged by our bank and put on hold due to their "Fraud Prevention" policy. It occurred after we purchased our theme park tickets 3 states away from our home bank. The banking system tagged and froze our card until later investigation. Since that experience I really take to heart my dad's advice, 'Don't leave the house without cash.'
Anyway, I'm not trying to be controversial or try to influence the way in which you function. I do realize that this may even seem insignificant to some, (especially since I'm not revealing exact dollar amounts due to privacy purposes.) However, the impact of these errors on our family was MAJOR and I wanted to offer our experience to hopefully encourage you to examine your relationship with the current systems that we've grown to depend on.
Finally, can anyone think of any SCRIPTURES that jump out at you based on this post??
Today we took advantage of the "free Friday" special at the Discovery Center. Although it was VERY crowded, we still managed to enjoy about 2 hours of hands on activities (see pictures below)
As part of my homeschooling goals this session, I planned to implement regular field trips. The Discovery Center fit well in line with my goal. Now that we're approaching winter, I'm planning LOTS of museum visits to avoid the cold outdoor weather. I just found out today that there are approximately 15 museums less than 30 minutes from our house!
If you have any winter ideas or field trip suggestions, please share....
This last picture was Macie on a "bed of nails"....OUCH! (No, it really doesn't hurt...seemed kinda therapeutic to me by hitting those pressure points)
Video Conferencing isn't necessarily a new invvention, yet many families still don't take advantage of how WONDERFUL this feature can be. This week, for the first time I was able to "video call" my sister, nieces and mom using a FREE video conferencing system. Although my family is over 600 miles away, it was almost like we were in the same room, communicating "real time," face-to-face. It was FANTASTIC!
For those with loved ones in distant places, check out this FREE service: http://www.skype.com/
BTW, I'm also able to communicate with my friend in another country at absolutely NO COST!! --- But don't take my word for it....check out Skype, assess the "privacy" risks and consider using this system. (For the record, Marlon has been using Skype over 3 years and hasn't had ANY issues with privacy or hackers.)
Last week, we pinched our pennies and invested in a long-term family companion....A Gravity Fed Water Filtration System, also known as a "Berkey Light!" After a little research on our options, purchasing a Berkey Light has been a goal of ours for almost a year. Not only is it good for home use, it's also recommended for outdoors, travel and emergency use.
Our Berkey really became necessary after spending about $5 week on purified store bought water for our family. This equals over $260 per year, which more than pays for this filtration system that can purify over 6,000 gallons of water per set of filters. In addition, we're saving lots of waste from our previous used plastic water bottles that started piling up in the garage.
If you're interested in learning more, you can check out this 2+ minute video:
This week I had a VERY full load. We got back into full swing of our lessons, lots of work for the business, plus everyday household responsibilities. Yesterday, I needed some relief in the cooking department, so I ventured out and ordered pizza. Now this may seem like no big deal, but for me I took the "risk" of completely relying on our handy computer technology...
Those who know me well realize that I'm not into the newest technological trends. I like to keep things simple and fairly "old school." Well, I stepped out of my comfort zone and searched the net for a pizza delivery service. Boy was I AMAZED! Dominos has an extremely convienent system of building your own pizza & sandwich, then tracking the order from start to finish. Their system was SO efficient that it told me the time our pizza began preparations and the name of the preparer. I could even see when it was baking, going through quality check, and finally when it was in route for delivery.
Needless to say, I'm super shocked by this "futuristic" experience. I know for some it's not that major, but for a simple country-loving girl, I felt like I ventured out into a new realm of existence (okay maybe a little dramatic, lol.)
Anyway, I don't plan to making this a regular method for feeding our family, but I can sum up my experience in one word....AMAZING!!