Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Apache Reservation Missions Trip - Day 3

Last evening, in spite of the rain, the Lord gave us the promise of a good day today with a little help from a beautiful sunset and two stunning rainbows! Mind you, it was still RAINING! But this morning, the work started at about 5:30am and the breeze overnight dried most of the building, with a lot of help from the sun this morning.

Check out the double rainbow, with them being mirror images of each other! We were sitting on the porch of the church eating dinner when this beautiful sight appeared right in front of our eyes and spanned the church perfectly! What a neat sign in the heavens for us!

Dinner was tacos, spanish rice, salad and desserts. The gang from Tracy, CA, sure are great at improvising and being creative with what they have to work with! They kept their spirits up and didn't let the rain wash them out.
Some of the guys had to take a break from time to time and be silly. Here they are just showing some of their unique personality.
Some of our fearless leaders: Mike Sorg from Tracy, CA and Darrell Martin from FreedomGate Church in Tempe, AZ. They are heading up most of the construction project and the work is moving along so very well!
The group from West Virginia are building a playground for the kids at Riverside Church.
Here is a shot of the whole gang who were working so hard today on the construction, as well as VBS and the playground.
Lunch was served: Ranch Chicken Wraps, Zucchini and Celery sticks with dip, oranges, chocolate chip bars, pasta salad and more!! A huge thanks to the great folks up in PineTop preparing all of the wonderful meals!! Nothing could be getting done at the sites without the fuel to keep us all going, so THANKS!!!
Aaaahhhhhhh!!! Relief at last!! Those Porta Potties were getting REALLY FULL!!! Thank goodness that they finally came and emptied them!!! You have never seen a group of people so thankful to see this guy as our crew was!!! Now we no longer have "Stinkum Muchum" at the church (and that's a long story:-)
Last night, there were alot more kids at VBS. They had a great time sharing with the children and having fun! Tonight there is a play, so it should be tremendous!! And I am sure even more kids will show up.

Here they are, hard at work first thing this morning up on the roof. Some of the guys and gals from the WV group have come to help get the roof finished, too!

Some folks are still hanging sheetrock inside. These kids have got it down to an art!
So far, a tremendous day! We are praying that the rain will pass over and not fall in East Fork, AZ today!! Great progress has been made on the building today and we don't want to see rain until the roof is completed. These guys and gals are working so hard for SO many long hours today! God will truly bless them for their hard work and serving hearts!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Apache Reservation Missions Trip - Day 2

It has been a great day - until it started RAINING!!! The ONE thing we really didn't need was rain! The roof is wide open on the ends, the tar paper is a mess and they haven't begun to shingle yet! Oh, tomorrow should be VERY interesting!!!
The kids have been having a great time on the roof, as you can see here. They are alot like monkeys! They spent alot of time today chasing bundles of shingles as they slid down the roof! Seems to be a little silly.
Here are "Los Jefes" (The Bosses:-) - at least they think that they are! Supervision is VERY exhausting work - I should know!! And what exactly are they supervising, you may ask??????

The crazy guys hanging the eaves!! They look a little like monkeys in a cage, don't you think? These young guys are learning a TON of stuff from their fearless leaders (I'm serious now).

And here are even more monkeys climbing all over the roof!! Sure wish there were shingles on that roof BEFORE it started pouring down rain!! Pray for good weather tonight and tomorrow, please!
And I bet you were wondering just what new skills our young ladies were learning. Well, here are some of them hanging sheetrock. Mike Sorg is so wonderful about teaching and organizing these young people as they learn to do things they never even tried before!

All in all, it has been a great day! In spite of the rain, they are making good progress and having a great time! Time to take dinner down the mountain for this hard-working crew - Tacos!! Check back tomorrow for more updates (and hopefully I won't be so tired and silly:-)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Apache Reservation Missions Trip - Day 1

We are up in the White Mountains of Arizona on the Apache Reservation. The group from Southwinds Church in Tracy, CA, arrived yesterday afternoon after driving about 17 hours straight! They were very tired, but real troopers! They had to set up camp, move the porta potties, camp out in the sanctuary and unfinished fellowship hall, and rig some electricity to have lights when it got dark.

Today, they are hard at work both on the construction project of the new fellowship hall, and also preparing to begin their Vacation Bible School for the children that begins this evening. Most of them are hard at work doing whatever is presented to them to do. They are a great group with great leaders!!

It has been such a blessing getting to see some of our friends from their trip down to Mexico last year!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Feels Like A Million Muffins!!

The last few days, I have been baking muffins for our upcoming missions trip to the Apache Reservation in the White Mountains of Arizona. I am baking for a total of about 120 people, so it is ALOT of muffins. Add to that the fact that we are making MINI muffins, and you can imagine how many that is!!

I have baked apple muffins, banana muffins and blueberry muffins - about 4 dozen of each - if they were normal sized. I don't even know how many hundreds it came out to, but I would estimate about 400 or more total muffins! Ok, that is ALOT of muffins!! I am very glad I am done and don't want to eat any until at least next week:-)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Great Tasting, Crispy Homemade Potato Chips in Minutes

I just tried this for the first time tonight because I was craving potato chips! I sliced two potatoes on the back of the cheese grater into thin slices. Then I laid them on a paper towel and patted them dry. I sprayed some olive oil on a microwave-safe plate and placed the potato slices on the plate (only one potato worth of slices fit at a time). Then I sprayed the slices with a little more olive oil. I put the plate into the microwave for about 6 1/2 minutes - until the chips started to brown in the middle. I am sure times will very from one microwave to another, so just watch them. I took them out and sprinkled with a little sea salt and ate them - yummy!!!

And then my daughter wanted some, so I just told her how to make them and she made her own, too! I would show you a picture, but I ate them too fast to stop and take photos! I was really craving:-)

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area

This week looks a little better for deals, so we will get to them right away!

Boneless, Skinless chicken breasts $1.67/lb
Petite Sirloin Steaks $2.99/lb
Dozen Large Eggs $0.75 w/in ad coupon (limit 2)
Aquarius Spring Water 24 pk. 2/$5 w/in ad coupon (limit 2)
Donald Duck Orange Juice 64 oz. $1 w/in ad coupon (limit 2)
Brown N Serve Breakfast Sausage $0.77 w/in ad coupon (limit 4)
Oroweat Bread 2/$3 w/in ad coupon (limit 2)
Carolina Smoked Turkey $2.88 w/in ad coupon (limit 2 lbs.)
General Mills or Kellogg's Cereal $1.75 when you buy 4
Blueberries 11 oz. 2/$3
Mangos 2/$1
Grape Tomatoes - dry pint 2/$3
Red Bell Peppers $0.88 each
Blue Bunny Ice Cream or Novelties $2 each when you buy 4
Honeysuckle Turkeys 10-22lbs frozen $0.79/lb

Split Chicken Breasts $0.87/lb
Red Seedless Grapes $0.99/lb
Fresh Green Beans $0.99/lb
Chuck Roast $1.17/lb
Euro Fresh Tomatoes on the Vine $0.99/lb
Large Eggs $0.99/dozen
Milk $1.47/gallon
Donald Duck Orange Juice $1.59 64 oz.
Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna 5 oz. $0.59
Pepsi Products 2 liter $0.98

Food City
Mangos 3/$0.99
Cucumbers 4/$1
Green Chiles 2 lbs/$0.88
Jumex Fruit Nectar 4/$1
Clemente Jacques Whole Jalapenos $0.99 27.5 oz can
Peaches or Nectarines $0.99/lb
Red or Gold Bell Peppers 3/$0.99
Boneless Beef Chuck Steak $1.79/lb
Strawberries 2 lbs./$3
Beef Back Ribs $0.99/lb
Imitation Crab Meat $1.99/lb
Angel Soft Bath Tissue (4 roll) or Brawny Paper Towel $0.99

Fresh & Easy
Hansen's Soda 2/ 6 packs for $4

Gold, Red or Green D'Anjou Pears $1/lb
Mangos 2/$1
Kiwis 3/$0.99
On the Vine Tomatoes $1/lb
Del Monte Gold Pineapple $1 each
Roma Tomatoes $1/lb
Boneless Half Pork Loin $1.97/lb
USDA Choice T-Bone Steak $3.97/lb
Milk $0.88/half gallon
Water 24 pk. 2/$5
80% lean ground beef $1.77/lb

Pro's Ranch Market
Boneless Beef Bottom Round Steak or Roast $1.68/lb
Strawberries $0.89/lb
Oranges 6 lbs/$0.99
Coca Cola products 2 liter $0.77
White Onions 5 lbs/$0.99
Key Limes 3 lbs/$0.99
Nectarines 2 lbs/$0.99
Cilantro 6/$0.99
Kiwis 8 for $0.99
Radishes 4/$0.99
Avocados 4/$0.99
Potatoes 10 lbs/$0.99
Granny Smith Apples 4/$0.99
Cherries $0.99/lb

93% lean ground beef $1.87/lb
Nectarines $0.88/lb
Mix & Match - Buy 10 and get $5 off
Some good deals with this promo
Barilla Pasta $0.89/lb
Kraft BBQ Sauce $0.75

Lettuce, Green, Red or Romaine $0.49 each
Yellow Peaches or Nectarines $0.99/lb
Strawberries (1 lb), Blueberries (6 oz.), Raspberries (6 oz.) 2/$3
Red or Black Plums $0.99/lb
Roasted Almonds $3.99/lb
Cascade Fresh yogurt 32 oz. 2/$4
Mild Cheddar Cheese $1.99/lb
Provolone $2.99/lb
Shamrock Milk $1.99/gallon

So go get the good deals this week!! Happy Shopping!

My First Batch of Homemade Soap!!

I finally did it! I made soap! I have been wanting to do this for months, planning for many weeks, and procrastinating for a few days:-) I was very nervous to do it the first time! I have watched a DVD about making soap, read MANY websites about it, subscribe to a newsletter about it, and finally.....I have made my own soap.

I don't get nervous very often about anything, but even my husband realized how nervous I was about making soap the first time. He kept checking on me and asking how it was going. He is very dear!

I have been using natural, homemade shampoo and body bars for quite a while and it is pretty costly. I LOVE the difference they make on your hair and your skin, so I just knew I had to try to make my own. I found a recipe for Luxury Soap that uses all the best oils that I love, but they are pretty expensive. So I used money I earned via Mystery Shopping over the last couple months to buy the items/oils I needed. I have enough of most of them to make several more batches of soap. I also needed to get the necessary equipment (stainless steel pot, wooden spoon, scale, rubber gloves, etc.) which I acquired from friends and yard sales over the past several months. The last item I needed to find was the lye - it is hard to find 100% lye! But, thanks to some recommendations on soapmaking forums, I found it at Ace Hardware right around the corner from my house.

So then the day came that I was determined to make soap. I actually made shampoo bars because I added Castor Oil to the recipe (and used a soap calculator to figure the proper amounts of everything) because these we can use for hair and body. I had already decided not to add any scent, and I am happy that I made that decision. These soap bars smell so clean and fresh!

I mixed the lye with the water and set it aside. Then I began heating the oils and mixing them all together, including the shea butter and palm kernel flakes. When this was all melted, I checked the temperatures on the lye solution and the oils - both were way too hot to mix! So I let them sit....and sit....and sit....and finally a couple hours later, they were close to 95 degrees so I mixed them together. I used my stick mixer and it only took about 5-8 minutes to "come to trace" (which means it is ready to pour into the mold). I used a Rubbermaid container for the mold and purposely made the bars a little thicker than normal. Then I wrapped the mold up in many towels to keep the heat in so it would cool slowly.

Later that evening, I peeked and saw that the middle had turned a brown color. Fortunately, I had read about that - it is the gel phase! And it is an important phase that the soap should go through, so I was happy. The next morning, I unwrapped my soap and it had a slight tinge of brown still in the center and was a little soft, so I waited until later in the day to unmold it and cut it. It was nice and soft to cut and I was so please with the creamy white color! I cut 8 large bars and then some smaller pieces for samples for many of my friends who want to try it.

Now it is sitting on a rack drying and I have to be patient for 3 more weeks!! The soap/shampoo bars must cure for 3 weeks before the saponfication process is complete and it is mild enough to use. I am just happy to look at my wonderful bars of soap and anticipate the pleasure of washing my hair and body with them! I know, that sounds really weird! But there are some simple pleasures in life that make me happy - like baking bread for my family! I guess that makes me a little "old-fashioned", but I have lived the busy, career life and wouldn't trade my simple life now for any amount of money!!
For more frugal fun, check out the Festival of Frugality over at Stupid Cents.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Oil Cleansing Method for GREAT SKIN!!!

I waited several months before posting about the oil cleansing method because I wanted to make sure it works really well before recommending. Well, not only am I thrilled with it myself, but both my teenage kids and several friends (and their teens) have been using it and loving it, too!

First, I want to say that the reason we have breakouts and blackheads and such on our faces is because we are not cleansing correctly and then we often use harsh chemicals in an attempt to "control" oil. Well, oil is not the problem. Your skin needs oils to function properly and cleanse itself. By stripping your skin of oils, you are causing your skin to produce even more oils which results in "oily skin".

By using this oil cleansing method, you will clear up any acne, moisturize your skin properly and maintain and clean healthy environment on your face. I also use oil to moisturize instead of lotions (either olive oil or kukui nut oil - my favorite!!).

Castor oil is the cleansing oil and how much you use will depend on the type of skin you have. I also add a little sweet almond oil, but mostly use extra virgin olive oil. And I use kukui nut oil to moisturize daily. It is so nice! It leaves no oil residue and it does wonders for your skin, especially if you have dry skin like me. My husband used it on a patch of skin on his side that chronically was so dry and itchy. After just a few days of use, the dry skin disappeared completely!

It took quite a while to convince my kids to use this oil cleansing method regularly, but they are now convinced as to how well it works. A friend of mine's daughter was really struggling with acne. She used this method for two weeks and completely cleared up her face!

I promise that, if you follow the directions for the oil cleansing method, your skin will love you for it!! Check it out and try it for yourself. Not only will your skin love you, but you will save a TON of money, if you use any costly cleansers and moisturizers now.

For more great ideas, check out Works For Me Wednesday hosted by We Are That Family! Deals!!

Do you like to eat out, but don't like the high cost? Well, this is a deal for you!! Starting today, and only for a limited time (and limited number), has an 80% sale going on. That means you can buy a $25 gift certificate to the restaurant of your choice for only $2.00!!! Make sure you read the details, some are good if you purchase $35, some $50. And they usually add 18% gratuity to the bill before discount. But this is a GREAT DEAL!!!

I have used several at places like George's Famous Gyros and other places, and have been very pleased with the deal! All four of us ate our fill (and then another meal the next day, too) for just about $10 (plus the $2 I paid for the g.c.)!!! That's cheaper than fast food or ice cream at DQ, so it works for me! I bought 3 more gift certificates today, including My Big Fat Greek and The Landmark!! Can't wait to have the chance to use these:-) And they are good for a year from the date of purchase, but you can only use one per restaurant per month. There are a few other terms and conditions, but nothing difficult.

Hope you get a chance to take advantage of this deal! And each restaurant only offers a limited amount, so hurry to get yours before they are gone!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area

Well, I'm not very impressed with the deals this week - hope you aren't in need of alot of groceries this week! I am hoping that, like me, you have been stocking up on the great deals each week so you can plan your menus mostly from your pantry and freezer. If not, just buy the bare necessities and wait until next week. There are a few items that are good deals, though. Here they are:

93% lean ground beef $1.87/lb
Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Total Raisin Bran, Kix, Honey Kix or Golden Grahams 3 for $5
Bar-S Jumbo Meat Franks, Bologna or American Cheese Slices 10/$10
Jumbo Cantaloupe $0.99

Strawberries 1 lb pkg $0.99
Blueberries, Blackberries or Raspberries 6 oz 2/$3
Mini Peeled Carrots 16 oz bag $0.88
Red, Gold or Orange Bell Peppers $0.88
Kellogg's Cereal Buy 3, Get 3 Free! Final Price $2 each
Popsicle Frozen Treats 3 for $5
Milk $1.99/gallon

Food City
Bone0In Country Style Pork Ribs $0.89
Roma Tomatoes 2 lbs/$1
Bananas 3 lbs/$0.99
Iceberg Lettuce $0.69
Russet Potatoes 15 lb/$1.99
Chicken Leg Quarters $0.39/lb
73% lean ground beef $0.99/lb
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts $1.69/lb
Bone-in Chuck Steak $1.29/lb
Cucumbers 4/$1
Green Bell Peppers 4/$1
Valencia Oranges 3 lbs/$0.99
Dole Orange Juice 64 oz. $1.79
Peaches or Nectarines $0.99/lb
Avocados 2/$1
Key Limes 3 lbs/$0.99
Green Onions 3/$0.99
Red or Golden Delicious Apples $0.69/lb
Mangos 3/$0.99 THURSDAY ONLY

Fresh & Easy
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts $1.97/lb
Pure Drinking Water 24 btls 16.9 oz. $2.99

Skinless, boneless chicken breasts $1.67/lb
Mangos 2/$1
Artichokes $1 each
Milk $1.99/gallon
Kellogg's Cereal or Pop-Tarts $2.47
Kroger Butter $1.88/lb

Pro's Ranch Market
Roma Tomatoes 3 lbs/$0.99
Iceberg Lettuce 3/$0.99
Bar-S Bologna $0.59
Key Limes 3 lbs./$0.99
Peaches 2 lbs./$0.99
Celery 2 for $0.99
Carrots 1 lb. bags 3/$0.99
Red Onions 3 lbs/$0.99
Cilantro 6 bunches for $0.99
Beef Stew Meat $1.99/lb

Boneless Beef Round Steak $1.48/lb
Raspberries 5.6 oz. $0.99
Bone-in Split Chicken Breasts $0.88/lb
Mix & Match $5 off instantly for every 10 participating items that you buy:
Betty Crocker Cake Mix $0.79
CapriSun Drinks (10 ct) $1.49
Refreshe Water 24 btls. $2.83
Some good deals with this promo.

Dried Cranberries $2.99/lb
Yellow Peaches or Nectarines $0.99
Cherries $1.69/lb
Cantaloupes $0.99 each
Fresh Spinach $0.49/bunch
Fuji & Braeburn Apples $0.99/lb
Hot House Tomatoes $0.99/lb
Granola Breakfast Bonanza - 18 varieties $1.99/lb
Chicken Breast Tenders $1.99/lb
Apricots, Red or Black Plums 2 lbs/$3
Western or Wild West Trail Mix $2.99/lb

So, if you need to buy bottled water or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you can find some good deals this week. Some produce on good sales, too. Don't worry, sales cycle around, so the next week or so will find more good deals, I am sure!

I haven't made it out to the Superstition Ranch Market in a while to know what they have on good deals, so if you have, let us know what you found.

Happy Grocery Shopping!!

Monday, June 01, 2009

FREE Redbox Movie - Today ONLY!!

If you would like to watch a family movie (or any movie) today for FREE, use this code FM63H7 at your nearest Redbox and you can get a movie for free!! This is good TODAY ONLY, Monday, June 1, 2009, so don't miss out! They only have free movies the first Monday of each month now, so they are fewer and farther between.

Now, what to watch????