Imagine if you will, you are driving into a paved parking lot.  You find a great space, you turn everything off, get out, lock the car and head into the store.  The manager of the store greets you, offers up a friendly, “Hello” and hands you $12.00 cash and says thanks for coming to our store, please accept this money to help go towards your bill as you check out.

That pretty much happens to me all the time, every time.   Hello, welcome, here is $1.50 to spend while you are here.  Hi there, please accept this $8.50 to spend in our store.  Welcome to the grocery store, please take this $2.45 in cash to help towards your bill. Thank you for shopping with us today.

Well, it doesn’t go quite like that, oh in my mind it does.  Yes, you all know I use coupons.  They have to be clipped or printed on paper for me to count them.  I do not add up all the “store savings” the paper receipt says at the end of my shopping excursion.  I keep track on my calendar by shopping trip, then at the end of the week or month, I tally it up and circle it.  End of December I run the numbers and hopefully will do a little happy dance.  Some months, life takes over and I don’t do a stellar job……May 2012, I saved $15.39.  However, remember if the store manager handed you $15.39 CASH as you walked in the store, you would say a hearty thank you.  We also do not purchase dog food or treats (make our own), laundry soap (again, make our own), do not buy boxed cereal or products, we do not buy frozen boxed food, we do not buy shampoo or conditioner (order sulfate free), we do not purchase bar soap (buy hand-made from www.AromaSoapLab.com).  All of the items I mentioned and then some, offer up tons of coupons, so I really have to work to find the ones that we can use.

No. I am not an extreme couponer.  Sure I will purchase some items for college or military care packages and use coupons.  Yes, we donate to the local food bank twice a year, no I do not have a stock pile “room”.  We have a pantry like everyone else.  This year I  did not put couponing at the top of my to do list.  I spend about 10-15 minutes a week clipping coupons.  We buy one Sunday paper and I order some from eBay.  End of each month and end of the year I have to toss out quite a few expired ones.   DSC08079

So to all the folks who say, “I don’t have the time, I am too busy”, “doesn’t add up enough for me to bother”, “we don’t get the paper”, “not worth my time”………………get a load of these numbers:

2009 – $1,394.94

2010 –  $1,794.67

2011 –  $1,442.82

2012 –  $1,266.28

A Grand Total of $5,878.51, money saved by using coupons over a four-year period.  That my friends is most worthy of a HAPPY DANCE!  Yep, it was worth my time.  WooHOO!!

2012 in review

A heartfelt and sincere thank you to all of you who have read my blog over the last year.  It has been a surprising pleasure to have folks leave comments and such kind words.  I appreciate and value your thoughts.  By following me through this last year, you have most certainly added a sparkle to my joy of writing.  Thank you so much.  Daleen


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

tattoo girl

This is Sunday afternoon and I am still fussing over and swirling words in my brain.  Trying to come up with the one that feels just right for me to embrace in the new year.  Maybe this one, naw, that would be borning………maybe this…..nope, doesn’t make me happy.  I don’t know if I want to live with it for a year.  sigh.

Yesterday, while waiting in a ridiculously long line at the Fabric store, a twenty something girl scooted across.  She was polite and smiled.  She was also pierced, tattooed, was wearing an extremely low-cut t-shirt, had dyed black hair and about 48 bracelets on each wrist.  Splashed across her chest in black ink was a tattoo.  It went from shoulder to shoulder & the word dipped in a graceful semi-circle.  It was one word,   “righteousness” The tatoo was done in 2 inch tall, super, fancy, swirly, curly, girly font.

I know it seems like I am going to judge her for her low-cut top or her piercings or her tattoos…………….. not in a million years. tattoo girl

I instantly thought, how can this twenty something young “girl” have the courage and knowledge to choose just one word that she will have to live with for 70 or more years to come.  How did she make the decision?  What was so inspiring in her life that one word made the cut?  Why did that one word speak to her?

I love that she could make such a strong statement in just one word.  I love her open mind and her courage, her adventurous spirit.  Actually, I am making all that part up………I have no idea if she did it on a dare or may have indulged in an adult beverage or two.  I just like my version.  The beauty of writing your own blog.  You can lift people up to a higher, worthy level even if you know nothing about them.

Adventure is worthwhile in itself  ~amelia  earhart

50 things

mermaid weather vaneThings I like  love about me at the end of 2012:

1. I love my curly hair

2. I love caramel more than chocolate

3. I love reading scripture daily

4. I love vanilla more than chocolate

5. I love to wear jeans

6. I love wearing white blouses with jeans

7. I love to wear too much jewelry

8. I love having my toe nails always painted

9.  I love wearing modest clothing (no matter what the style is)

10. I love having a Golden Retriever named Sweet Liberty

11.  I love my Mr. Right and I love that he is my compass

12. I love to bake.

13.  I love to doodle in color in my cookbooks

14.  I love to put gold star stickers on cook book pages that deserve gold stars

15.  I love having good manners (even though it makes me a square)

16.  I love doing jig saw puzzles and word searches

17.  I love Mermaids and rocks and twigs

18.  I love color tinted concrete counter tops

19.  I love a warm towel after a shower

20.  I love gorgeous lingerie

21.  I love fresh-cut grass

22. I love fresh-baked bread toasted and slathered with real Irish Butter

23.  popcornI love popcorn.  Homemade on the stove popcorn with again real Irish Butter

24.  I love lemonade and ice tea mixed together

25.  I love orange soda once in a while

26.  I love writing lists

27.  I love to vacuum every single day

28.  I love a polished kitchen sink

29.  I love rustic homemade bar soap

30.  I love to make my own laundry soap

31,.  I love Polish Potterypolish pottery

32.  I love to wear high heels to church

33.  I love to make homemade Valentines

34. I love to do research

35.  I love to take factory tours

36.  I love to organized my sewing box

37.  I love to do counted cross stitch

38.  I love that I live in Grace

39.  I love wearing sweaters

40.  I love having grandgirlies

41.  I love reading magazines from the back to the front

42.  I love that I hold my cards in my hand backwards from everyone else

43.  I love that my mind swirls and twirls sometimes

44.  I love to ride my indoor and outdoor bike

45.  I LOVE to swim

46.  I love to dust and rearrange furniture

47.  I love battery operated candles

48.  I love going barefoot in our home

49.  I love to snuggle under my electric throw and look at quilting magazines

50.  I love cement flower planters

We are shaped & fashioned by what we love.  goethe


dream rockThe date on the calendar is about to change and it will be a new beginning,  the month you start fresh, clean and the slate is bare.  I will choose a word for the year.  One year, I chose the word Gather.  For 2012  the word  I chose to focus on was Bloom.  Maybe you think I am crazy & you don’t know what in the world I am talking about ?  Give ‘Word of the Year’ a whirl.   Just choose one word that has the potential to inspire you and create intention in your life, and have fun incorporating it into your thoughts and goals all year-long!  I recently wrote about another blogger friend who chose the word JOY.  I tell you, I couldn’t stop thinking about her every single time I thought about JOY or read the word JOY………..heck on Christmas morning there was an ornament tied to a present and it said JOY!  I instantly thought of my friend on the other side of the country.  Words are powerful.  courage rockThey comfort us and bring us PEACE.  Words can HEAL, or SOOTH.  Words can most assuredly bathe us in GRACE.

loveI live in a world of words.  Mr. Right shares a word of the day.  We love to play Scrabble.  He loves cross word puzzles, I love word search puzzles.  I used to write a word of the day in chalk on our sidewalk.  I would write a word for the day in lipstick on the boys’ bathroom mirror.  It didn’t matter if it was for a spelling lesson or a life lesson………we memorized, used in a sentence, looked up new words, and played word games always.  If you come to our home today and ask to borrow the dictionary, you will find little black dots drawn next to an amazing amount of words.  Every time the boys would look up a word they would draw a dot.

I doodle over a word that catches my heart and soul.  I circle or underline or draw arrows to words in cookbooks.

A friend just now sent me a text, “Take charge of the day my friend!”.  When strung together, pretty powerful words. I have a lovely feeling that sentence will swirl around in my head all day long.  Sort of feels like a warm scarf or lovely blanket wrapped around my shoulders.  strength rock

I have not settled on just one ideal word for 2013.  I have a couple more days to think about it.  I am trying some on for size.  I have written a couple on my chalkboard in the laundry room.  As Mr. Right and I write down and talk about our resolutions for the new year, I will be making my choice of a word.

I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this idea.  Please share a word in the comment section of this blog.  It would be my pleasure to hear the word that will inspire and lift you up in the new year.



Don’t give gifts you would like to receive! Mrs. Claus tip number 473!

I am not what you would classify as a “Christmas girl”.  I am trying to get better.  I am honestly working on being happier and in the moment of the season, making things earlier, planning a perfectly timed Christmas trip and writing down ideas for next year that worked, really worked and made me happy.  I have tons to write about this year.  It was calm and the days felt mostly right.  Once I wrap my brain around all that goodness and grace I will gladly share in the coming weeks.  Boxing day, I LOVE boxing day!  I love being a Boxing Day girl.  I love order and calm, clean up and vacuuming and lists for next year and did I mention order?

Today, I will write about giving gifts that made me (eventually, not while buying or making) hap, hap, happy!

You know that saying “give the gift you would like to receive”?  It does not always apply.  Some of the gifts I gave Mr. Right were down right “boring”.  Black dress socksblack dress socks (he was delighted), Bacon flavored Shaving Cream (he loved it and wanted to use it right away), gray hoodie (he loved it and the Army logo on the front), Aero Bars in his stocking (he was tickled, I don’t care for that candy),  a Bordeaux candy bar from See’s (again he fell in love, I wondered secretly, why would they make such a horrid thing). Black electrical tape, a brown extension cord, a green highlighter, a can of Lima Beans in his stocking (ugh),  a pepper mill, a bbq grill brush, three pairs of work gloves brown, black and black and blue…………….. oh the list goes on and on…………boy, boy, boy gifts.

The DeWalt drill that Mrs. Claus put under the tree even came in a black, boring, ruff and tuff, storage case.  drillHe was thrilled.  So happy in fact, he went out to the garage on Christmas day and was practicing on a piece of wood.  He was one happy camper!

As our little grandgirlie would say nope, I would not want “boy gifts”.  I was really happy that I hit a home run with several of the gifts I had chosen for Mr. Right.  Not every gift is a winner………….I would have to say this year, by the smile &  look on his face,  I did pretty good.
When husband don’t really know what to say because they are over the moon happy….you just have a feeling you “dun good”.

No, you don’t always have to like the gifts you give.  Sometimes, it is quite the opposite.  As you can well imagine, I am very happy that Mr. Right gave gifts he would never in a million years want………..perfume, bath gels, nail polish and pretty things to fasten around one’s neck………………

The Heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious.

Being nice matters and so does truth and Grace.

Time has marched on and yet I still can’t seem to wrap my brain around the horrific acts that happened in Connecticut.  I have prayed for the families.  I have mourned for them.  I have read the names of each victim.  I have lit our prayer candle.  We have prayed and lifted up their names. We have had several discussion about what can be done in the future to prevent such a thing from happening again.  I still have a crack in my heart.  I can’t seem to move forward in a smooth fashion.  I can’t seem to stand up straight, my shoulders stoop.  I can’t seem to clear the fog and see clearly.

I have decided to perform/act out if you will 27 random acts of kindness.  I have decided to keep a list for myself and maybe share a couple here or there.  Maybe nothing huge, maybe not news worthy………just simple acts of being nice.  Nice matters.  I am counting on kindness to heal my broken heart.  I am going to make an effort 27 times.  It has to feel at least 27 times better than it did before I started this venture? I have read on face book of others doing this.  I am going to give it a try.  I am doing this for me.

I have decided to bathe myself in the Grace of Kindness.

1.  I tipped the bikini barista $5.00 for a $4.00 latte.  She has never once judged me.  She is friendly and kind and always gracious.  I told her so.  I appreciate how good the espresso is and how nice she is to me.

2.  I wrote a heartfelt thank you note with pictures included to a great lady blogger who shared a pattern and her ideas for free.  I completed two dolls for Christmas gifts for our grandgirlies.  I wanted to make the effort to say thank you.

3.  Tomorrow, the remaining money in our monthly Charity envelope is going into a Salvation Army kettle.Salvation Army kettle  I am also going to buy the person a cup of hot tea.

3 down 24 acts of kindness to go………………….I don’t like having a broken heart.  I am on a mission to repair it.  I have chosen to be JOYFUL and KIND 27 times over.

In my heart I know He is among us.  Somehow, I have to stand up straight and work this through.  It may take me a bit longer than others, but I am going to make the effort.

Gently I have to remind myself (even if it takes 27 gentle reminders)………….I know He is still here, ruling the world with truth and grace.

It’s Thursday, Say Grace, get out the toaster and pass the butter, yep, real butter.

This year, for Christmas sharing,  I made up baskets that consisted of local Raspberry Jam, Tea and homemade English Muffin Bread.  english-muffin-bread-2-550Some of the baskets of goodness had ginger snap cookies or green and red apples, some had festive napkins and each got a hand full of hard candy or some kisses.  I nestled the treats in cushions of excelsior.  I made all the tags the same…….on a green luggage tag I wrote the words “Tea, a drink with Jam and Bread” and attached a fat plaid ribbon to each.

Here is the recipe for the Bread.  It is easy, quick and works every single time!  This bread makes the BEST TOAST in all the Land.

english muffin bread toasted

English Muffin Bread

5 cups all-purpose flour, divided

2 packages active dry yeast

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups Almond Milk (warm to 110*)

1/2 cup warm water


In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda.

Add warm milk and water; beat on low-speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl occasionally.

Beat on high for 3 minutes.  Stir in remaining flour (batter will be stiff).  Do not knead.

Grease two loaf pans.  Sprinkle pans with cornmeal.  Spoon batter into pans and sprinkle cornmeal on top.

Cover and let rise in a warm place (I set the pans  on a heating pan) until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake 375* for 35 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pans immediately to cool on wire racks.

Let cool a bit.

Get out the toaster, pull out a butter knife, “git” yourself some Irish Butter, and for the love of pure homemade comfort TOAST,  Say GRACE and take that first warm, slightly crunchy, aromatic, golden brown bite.  For heaven’s sake and for the sake of good Karma everywhere, share the other loaf with a neighbor or friend.  Pure Goodness.  Amen!

I choose Joy

Last night, after delivering a few more baskets with bread and jam and tea and goodies ………………the tag I made for each reads: “tea, a drink with Jam and Bread” we went on a mini date.park twinkle lights

Mr. Right stopped and treated to warm cups of cocoa and then we headed to a nearby town to look at a fancy schmancy neighborhood.  All but one or two homes are decorated beyond belief.  Picture this, Christmas tunes playing in the car, a warm cozy fleece blanket covering my legs, I have on a jaunty red scarf, drinking cocoa and oohing and awing over all the outdoor illumination.

Sure it was raining, sure we discussed some grumpy people who fell into our lives yesterday, sure we needed to stop and get gas, sure my knee was swollen and black and blue from a little mishap yesterday………..blah, blah, blah………forget all that stuff, as a friend gently reminded me this morning…………….look for the JOY.    I chose JOY!