Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blacktops & Flipflops

Aaaaahhhhh....  Old Man Winter has croaked!  LOL  78 Degrees today!  Yeah baby!  Are you ready for this?  Wanna see how I spent my afternoon, OUTSIDE!  My hubby was home today and helped me work in the backyard with the 'girls'.  They needed some sunshine and dirt to dig in.
Some of the girls are getting pretty BIG!
So we made a new chicken run.  We liked to never got them all in there.  I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to corral them all back to the coop tonight.  And right now, not really too worried about it!  :)  The sun is shining and the world is turning, I reckon I might as well grin.  (Old girl scout songs stuck in my head.)
You know the "Chicken Whisperer" learned his techniques from his father, right?

Our favorite cat enjoyed being his lazy self today.  Chickens don't phase him a bit.  He totally lost interest long ago when they became bigger than he is and had to defend his food dish one night to a mob of curious hens.  Does the term 'henpecked' ring any bells?  So he was content just to rub and get under foot while we were trying to work today.
Ahhhh.... do you see that?  FLIPFLOPS!  Today was the first day I dug the trusty flipflops from the closet in the mud room.  Between trying to cat slap my lens cap and getting a good massage Louie was content just to lounge around in the shade.  Yes, I said shade.  It actually got rather warm today if you were doing anything outside.  (Please excuse the pasty white feet.  I don't think my skin has seen daylight in six months!)  lol  :)

Then, just when we were trying to find an excuse to stay outside after our work was done..... we decided to go for a long ride on the 4-wheeler.  The kids were still not home from school and people weren't off work yet so there couldn't be too much traffic.  TRAFFIC!  LOL  Now, that's a funny word (at least where I live).

So, we headed down the road from our house...
I bet you wish this was in your backyard.  ;)  
And we just kept going..... We passed the neighbor's house. 
(which by the way, I have THE best neighbors ever!)
And then we decided we hadn't been gone long enough, so we decided to turn around and go the opposite direction from our house..... we passed our backyard again.  And just kept going....
Yep, that's home.  But why would I want to stop riding when the sun is shining so beautifully and the weather is OH SO PERFECT?!
And we just kept going..... And I thought it would be cool to take our picture together while we were riding.  Yeah, not so great.  It's hard when your hubby is driving and not paying attention because he's gawking every which direction and sometimes you just have to hang on and lean with the curves.  Yes, I know that's what you do on motorcycles, but it works great for 4-wheelers too.  ;o)  
We decided we better head home again.  The kids would be back from school soon.
And then dad would have to take them for rides if we were caught!  Oops.... ;o)
(and yeah.... the boys are getting haircuts tonight)
Surprisingly enough, little britches was stuck inside.  It was his first opportunity in a long time to have first dibs at the play station while his brother was out goofing and his sister wasn't there to torment him.

My favorite photo from the day:
If you're a country girl you've heard this song before!  And yes, this is actually where the blacktop ends.

So, that's how I spent my afternoon.  What do you do to enjoy this fine day?!  I think the only thing that could have made it any better was having the kids home with us to play outside.  (And a few more kids at that....*hint*HINT* If my hubby would ever read my blog.  The adoption application is still sitting on your desk just waiting for your signature.  *wink*) 

Hoping you all had a happy hump day!


Have you lost your Marbles?

Well, the good news is:  here's a chance to get them back!  LOL  This is an awesome little reward system if you have toddlers or young children.  And you can get them for FREE by entering the giveaway on Jody's blog by clicking HERE.  You'll also want to bookmark her site and keep visiting and checking back because she is the giveaway Queen!  Something new all the time!  

Don't ask me how I stumbled upon her blog.  It's the Adult ADD in me that just keeps clicking and clicking and clicking....  ;o)  I'm sure some of you can understand.  

Please remember you must click through and go to Jody's Blogsite to enter and win!  I'd love your comments but they aren't going to work for you here!  Hop on over to Jody's BLOG to enter!  Good luck!  Details below were taken from Jody's blog.  Thanks for the chance to win this awesome Giveaway Jody!!!
Parents with children who have ADHD and also parents with autistic children say they respond very well to the marbles in the jar reward system. - Use your Marbles

If you would like to WIN Use Your Marbles here is what you have to do...

FIRST:  Go to Jody's BLOG! Then follow the instructions as posted below.

Visit Use your Marbles! Tell me what *color* (please do not just put "red" but use the name that they call red) you would choose if you won!
Make sure you leave your e-mail in the post!

Yup, that's it! We are called Mommy Moment for a reason! We know you only have a moment to enter giveaways...not all day!

Of course you are still welcome to follow us, Fan us, Vote for us on Top Mommy Blogs by clicking HERE, tweet this, grab our button etc... but we want our giveaways to be easy and quick to enter and fair to everyone! These other things are just a bonus for us and let us know that you appreciate us!
This giveaway is open to US residents ! 
You have until April 5, 2010 to enter the giveaway. Winner will be chosen  The winner will then have 48 hours to claim their giveaway item by e-mailing If the winner does not claim their prize within their 48 hour period, a new winner will be chosen. *All entries received after the cutoff time will be deleted prior to choosing a winner. Disclosure: Mommy Moment was provided with the use your marble kit at no cost in order to test the products’ abilities and give our own personal opinions on it. The opinions we have given are our own and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided..

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

FREE Coffee!

Yumminess!  Who doesn't love coffee?  And who doesn't love FREE stuff?!!!  That's just crazy!  Combine the two and what'dya got?!  AMY's giveaway!  My bloggy friend Amy at Filled With Praise is giving away all this:
And all you have to do is click on over to her BLOG to see how you can win!  No strings attached, just FREE stuff!!!  I love when my bloggy friends do this!  :)  While you're at her blog, roam around and check out the adventure of her family's adoption journey!  She's still in the waiting game but would love to have your support and prayers!!!  I can't wait to see the Gotcha Video when she travels to pick up her precious baby from Ethiopia!!!

Sending you much ♥ Amy!  Thanks for the opportunity to get some freebies!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Amish Grace

Amish may be all the buzz around the water coolers today (for women that is).  Except I don't have a water cooler to mingle around and visit with my girls!  Most of you live in my computer, in other parts of the country and world!  So, we're gonna talk Amish Grace on the blogs today!
Joy and I have a little blog called Our Journey to the Well and it came as a big surprise to us when the folks at Lifetime Movie Network contacted Joy through an e-mail about promoting this movie on our blog.  Pretty exciting for us country girls from nowhere.  We talked about it with one another for days!  That there must be a big message there that God wants us to hear, as well as many others.  After watching the movie last night..... well, WOW.  MANY lessons there.  What an incredible story that came from such a tragedy.

Without trying to give too much away (for those who haven't gotten to see it yet!) I was amazed at the lessons that kept coming at me.  Not just the overall point of forgiveness.  I saw many things in this movie.

You see, my husband and I talk about Amish life sometimes.  How wonderful it must be to have things so simple.  We live 10 minutes from one of the biggest Amish communities in our state.  Amish culture is something you are witness to on a daily basis.  It's always a blessing to do my shopping when I go to the bulk store to get flour and such.  Or taking my son to the cheese factory on field trips and days that we want to get out, just because.  Him getting to meet the other children, getting to see the lifestyle makes our kids stop and think a bit about our lives.

The things that stand out in my mind about the movie, I'm sure were different for everyone.  Examining the life of the shooter's family, you could tell he was withdrawn because of his grief but you never once saw him angry or abusive with his family.  His wife attended Bible study regularly and when the Amish elders came to visit her as they mentioned how and why they must forgive she cited the scripture reference to them.

This was a family that became as broken as the Amish families that lost their loved ones.  Is it more/less/same shock from a family experiencing a tragic event and losing their child/ren than a woman who not only lost her husband but had to deal with the grief and guilt of not really knowing who/what he was in the long run?  The Amish perspective made you think about her grief as well.  Not to just be angry with someone for the violent act they commit but to feel the pain and suffering that must be inside their heart to have brought them to such a dark place.

The strength of the Amish community and people to stop and pray--there's a lesson we can all learn.  Sure, we tell people we are praying for them, or we need to pray for this or I'll put you on the prayer list.  But when someone asks you to pray for them, how often do you REALLY stop what you are doing to pray?  This is something I have been pushing myself to do in the last few months.  Our prayers are heard by God if we are His children.  Why would I not want to talk to Him?

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
--Matthew 21:22

When the elders went to the widow's house you expected what they were going to say.  After all, it's what the movie was about.  Forgiveness.  You expected them to say they forgive the shooter.  (It was a preview after all.)  What you didn't expect was them telling the widow that if there was anything they could do for her or her family to please tell them.  They wanted to help her in any way they could.  Wow....  going beyond forgiveness.  The second greatest command....

The entire law is summed up in a single command: 
"Love your neighbor as yourself."
--Galatians 5:14

How do you tell someone who is the wife of the person that just murdered your daughter you would do whatever you could to serve them?  ONLY with God....and I believe I would struggle.  Terribly.

Another part of the movie that took me a while to grasp was the shunning.  Ida's sister had been shunned yet she missed her so.  Kept contact through her letters and photos she sent, which was wrong.  I ask my husband how they could shun someone if they have such a strong faith and such a willingness to serve and love everyone?  Then it dawned on me....

We've been discussing the same thing (basically) in Sunday school.  Church discipline.  You don't discipline (or shun) someone without doing it in love.  It is done in hopes that it will turn the persons heart to come back to what is right.  To what God wants for them.  To not live as a worldly person, but as a Godly person.  (which might I point out we all fail at most days...  some days miserably!).  Shunning is no different in this sense.  Lessons to learn and study on.

I think I would have reacted in much the same way Ida did.  Wanting to run from a people who didn't seem to understand my grief.  Wanting to harbor hate and pain for the person who shattered my world.  And then the bombshell....  her daughter lived with her heart in line with just what they had taught her.  There's one I won't spoil for you.  You'll have to watch the movie.  Her words so profound that it's like grabbing her mother and shaking her silly.  Back to what she knows to be true.  Forgiveness.

One woman's words to the grief counselor was how she starts everyday in sorrow and anger and has to offer it up to God to get it out of her heart so it doesn't consume her.  And continues to do so....  sometimes every few minutes, every hour.  Showing us it's definitely NOT the easy way.  But it is THE way.


When the widow is broken and standing at the grave of her husband...  The man she knew to be so good.  A good husband, a good provider, a good father.   ...she stands alone with few friends and family to rally around her.  To comfort her.  A woman from a big church, full of 'Christians'.  A group of Christians that could learn a lesson from the Amish community who came to her side at the burial of her husband.  Wow.....  it just kept getting better.

First forgiveness.

Then support and offering help to the widow.

Then surrounding her with love at the funeral of her husband.

How amazing.  I would like to think I could do the same in such a situation.  To forgive someone who could do me such harm and wrong.  Yet, I remind myself there are people who have hurt me much less, in much more insignificant ways and I've struggled with how to forgive them.  Boy oh boy I have a lot to work on.

It becomes much easier when your walk with God becomes stronger.  When you learn to put God above ALL else in your life.  He shows you how to live, you strive to live in a way that pleases him.  But we also fall very short of what he expects most days.   I'm sure there was much more to the actual events than could be portrayed in the movie.  Besides the graphic nature of the whole incident, the anger and bitterness that had to be present even among other members of the community these people lived in.  I imagine this was a very controversial issue for this town for quite some time.

We could all learn a few lessons from Amish Grace.  I hope if you missed it last night that you can find a chance to watch it again.  For those that missed the "Amish Grace" premiere, here are the dates/times for re-play.
Thursday, April 1, 8 pm/et

Friday, April 2, 12 am/et
Check with your cable provider for the correct channel and times for your area.  Please note this is on Lifetime Movie Network and NOT Lifetime channel!

Also, for you book lovers (who doesn't love a good book?!), the books are always better than movies!  You can read an excerpt from Amish Grace by clicking HERE
You can find the book here on Amazon.  There's also another book about this tragedy from Rebecca Sue's perspective (one of the children at the school).  It's called The Happening - Nickel Mines School Tragedy and can be purchased HERE.  

I purchased this one at the book store in our Amish community and have yet to read it.  I just knew the events and the story and thought it would be an interesting read.  Definitely, now I have to dive into it!

Also, if you are wanting more information on the movie event, photos, casting, even real photos from the community in Nickel Mines you can check out the Lifetime Movie Network site for all the details and even a discussion forum for those who have watched the movie.  Great stuff Lifetime!  As always. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dressed for HOPE

I LOVE wearing adoption shirts.  Anything to advocate for the orphan!  We're getting ready to make some new ones ourselves, but you MUST check out Kim's new fundraiser for their adoption!  You seriously cannot pass this one up!  Check out her blog HERE and I'd like to tell you not to enter so I can win, but hey.....  it's for the greatest cause I can think of!  Creating bigger families through adoption!  Bringing orphans home to forever families!  So buy as many entries as you can afford!

If you win, you get ALL of this!

Incredible!!!  Even if I don't win this sweet giveaway I can't wait to see who does!  Congratulations Kim on the coolest fundraiser I've seen to date!  You rock girlfriend!  


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Growing & Graduating

How did it happen?  That my babies are growing up?  My little girl will graduate this year from high school and parents can purchase a tribute in the yearbook for their child.  Of course, being the photographer's kid I couldn't just send snapshots....  I had to design one myself.  My little chubby, 9 lb baby has grown into a beautiful young woman whom I am so VERY proud of.
I don't know how all these years flew by in the blink of an eye.

Watching her learn to use her spoon.  She was always the MESSIEST child. :)

Watching her learn to read, now that was amazing.  She wasn't even 4.

Seeing her daddy teaching her to ride her first 'big girl' bike.

Feeling my heart sink deep into the pit of my stomach the first time she was thrown from her horse.... and bounced off the ground face first.

Praying as I taught her how to drive.

Looking into her eyes the first time she rode an airplane and her nerves settled.

Marveling at her amazing spirit and heart when she learned what loving like Christ is all about.... in Haiti.

And now.... now I'm expected to let go of her.  Watch her become the woman we have raised her to be.  The hardest and most rewarding part of all.


I'm so thankful that God allowed me to raise his precious girl.  Because after all, she doesn't belong to me, I was just blessed to be her mother.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

JHAM & My Little Preacher Man

So, it's been a long and crazy week already!  Busy, busy everywhere we turn!  Had to share the funnies my little Tanner man has come up with this past week.  I've decided he's going to be my little preacher man.  Daddy got some tracts in the mail that he ordered that caught Tanner's attention.
Of course it caught his attention!  He's six and it's a big red stop sign!  :)  When he saw them sitting on the table he ask me what they were.  The following conversation ensued...

Tanner:  Mom, what's this?

Me:  They're little books about Jesus.

Tanner:  Can I have one?

Me:  Sure, dad won't care if you have one.

Tanner:  Hmmm.....  (silence for a moment)
             Can I have 14 of them?

Me:  I don't think you need to have that many do you? (thinking they're going to end up in the toy box)  Why don't you ask dad when he gets home.  Why do you need 14?

Tanner:  Well, I wanna take it to school but the teacher says we can't bring anything unless we bring enough to share and I need to have one for everybody in my class.  And I think Mrs. S needs one too.

Well, you know this momma is not about to tell her little man that he can't take a book to school to tell his friends about Jesus.  But in the back of my mind of course I'm thinking he may end up in trouble.  Separation of church and state right?  Don't want to 'offend' anyone!  Heaven forbid.  (get off the soapbox and finish the story Renea.....)

So I called Mrs. S and explained what my Tanner wanted to do.  I told her I didn't want other parents or children complaining but I wasn't about to tell him he couldn't bring them to share so I was leaving it up to her as to how she handled it.

Well, let me tell boy came home from school and I ask how his day was.  Fine.  Always his usual one-word answers to everything.  So did you pass out your books?  Yes.

Ugh... one-word answers.  Did you share them with everyone?  Yep, I gave one to everyone in class and gave one to Mrs. S too cuz I thought she'd like to know about Jesus too.

Oh my sweet sweet boy.  ♥

And I've share his funny words before.  This week we've been attending the local revival so our nights have been as busy as our days.  But when he came home tonight and ask where 'rebible' was he caught me off guard.  "I think you left your bible in the car."    "No, mom.  reBIBLE.  Are we going to reBIBLE tonight?"  Said with his most disgusted tone that I couldn't understand him to begin with.  "No, Tanner reVIVal is over." "Well darn."  And away he went to play.

Oh my sweet sweet boy.  ♥

So, onto JHAM.  Some of you may have visited our blog on JHAM (Joint Heirs Adoption Ministry).  It explains who we are and what we're all about.  Long story short....advocating for the orphan and the 'least of these'.  Encouraging and educating others on adoption as well as orphan care and sponsorships, etc.  (excuse the crazy way the blog looks.... I'm having design issues!  If someone is fluent in html I'm open to suggestions and help!  I can't figure out what went wrong with it!  It's awful!)

Melinda has had a few setbacks and we've been 'on hold' (for lack of a better term) for a few months, but we're back in full swing!  The girls and I got together today to plan our latest event!  We're going to be sponsoring a shoe drive in conjunction with Soles 4 Souls and shipping the shoes to a distribution center through their organization.  Hoping we can help those in Haiti or an area in Africa.  We're so excited to get details ironed out and working together again today felt so good.
Melinda & Joy (my girls ♥)

These two girls make my heart happy.  And the work we do together, well, quite frankly is amazing!  We decided long ago our start was fully orchestrated by God alone because we blend so well and our ideas bounce from one mind to the next and each thought is complimented by another.  Alone we struggle.  Together we are unstoppable!  It's awesome to watch it all unfold so simply when we are together.
Me & Melinda burnin' up the phone lines!

Since we are working through Soles 4 Soles they already have some major nationwide benefits.  We are involving the Girl Scout Clubs in our area as they can earn merit badges by helping us with this project! (awesomeness), and much to our surprise the local shoe store was already a participating location/store for S4S's and when folks drop off their shoes and make their contribution they will receive a coupon good for $20 off a pair of new shoes!  Holy Wow!  (more awesomeness) ;o)  We're giving presentations in our local schools for the students to understand about abject poverty and the need for other children/adults to have shoes and putting a drop box in their schools for donations for one week.

All this shoe goodness will lead into our next big event which will be a 5K walk/run!  Use those new shoes you just saved $20 on to walk for water!  We'll be raising funds for Clean Water for Haiti which is the organization our missionary friends Leslie & Chris run in country.  They are still providing water filters for residents of Port au Prince and other areas around Haiti which is an even greater need after the disaster than before.  Lots of work to do and we want to support them any way we can!  (you may want to read their blog as they just received word today that IBESR finally signed off on their adoption and O is going to officially be their little girl!!!  Merci Jezi!)

Needless to say we are really excited about getting this big ball rolling and I'll keep you posted on how everything went.  I encourage you to check out the S4S's website and consider doing a shoe drive in your community.

And the big bonus to us getting together (besides our advocacy and doing God's work of course...) coffee and CHOCOLATE!!!  Joy hosted us today and treated us to her brownie/chocolate pudding/whipped cream ooey gooey goodness!  (see that big bowl in the background of their picture!?  I wasn't really taking a picture of them, I just didn't want it to be so obvious that I was snapping a pic of the chocolate to save for later! LOL)  Happy Wednesday y'all!

 A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I'll never grow tired of hearing this song.  It always makes me cry.   But in a good way!   It's a beautiful gospel song... so even if you don't like country music and aren't a fan of Dolly's you can listen anyway.  I know you'll be blessed!!!!


Monday, March 22, 2010

World Water Day

Today is World Water Day!  March 22, 2010.  You can 'celebrate' with me and get one of these:
When you buy a water bottle, 15 Africans get clean water. That means fewer women in Africa will have to walk six kilometers to collect water. And because of this, they won’t be carrying the 44 pounds of water that they normally carry on their heads that whole way. Think of what they could do with all the time and energy saved.

That’s not the bottle’s whole impact, though. Now, you can use your “Ripple Effect” water bottle instead of having to buy bottled water. You save money, and fewer plastic bottles end up in landfills, where they can take 1000 years to decompose.  By refilling your water bottle from the tap, you save the energy and resources that otherwise would have been used to manufacture, ship, and dispose of plastic water bottles. With over 50 billion bottles of water being consumed yearly, that’s a lot of energy!

Now consider this: the amount of water used in one flush of a toilet is the same amount as an average person in Africa uses all day for washing, cleaning, cooking, and drinking.

In fact, 311 million Africans lack access to clean drinking water. That’s roughly 45% of the population.Some of you might be thinking this is because there is no water in Africa, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Only 4% of the total renewable water available in Africa is used yearly due to a lack of wells, pumps, reservoirs, and other irrigation systems.  Shocking statistic, isn’t it?

We started a group with the Mocha Club just a few short days ago supporting orphans and widows in Africa.  You can join Mocha Club today, for World Water Day, and support a cause providing water to families in Africa.  You get the water bottle for free if you join Mocha Club!  I received my free t-shirt in the mail today for the support of our group we started last week.  It's awesome!  Can't wait to wear it tonight to revival!  :)  And I think maybe this spring/summer when we do our walk for water I'll be sporting my new shirt and carrying my new water bottle!

I can't exactly explain why or how God has placed Africa on my heart.  But it's incredible and I go through everyday wondering what I can do to help my brother's and sister's in Christ in that beautiful country.  One day I will meet some of them.  One day soon I hope.  :)  Now... head on over to Mocha Club to find out more about their awesome organization and what you can do to help!  Happy Monday friends!

The information and statistics above regarding World Water Day were taken from the Mocha Club website.  Please visit to start your own organization, join as an individual or make a one-time contribution to a cause of your choice!  Thank you for checking out Mocha Club!


Friday, March 19, 2010


Being the local photographer sometimes the kids ask for help with school projects.  Levi Silkwood took this AMAZING photo for a class at the high school and he wanted some help and instruction with some photoshop techniques.  We did very little to this photo but I just had to share it with everyone because I think it's one of the most beautiful photos I've seen in a long time.

He made the crown of thorns and waited for the sun to set.  This huge cross sits just outside of town on the edge of the highway.  It's about three stories tall and everyone knows where it is.  I've used it for family portraits for my clients several times.  I just think Levi has an eye for art and a heart for the Lord and I couldn't keep this to myself!!!  Enjoy!  Happy Friday to everyone!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Everyone Needs an ALICE!

Seriously!  Everyone needs Alice!  Remember (okay some of you may not remember but work with me here), remember watching the Brady Bunch on tv?  Alice was the maid.  The glue that held them together.  She did everything.  Ran to the butcher (like she didn't have ulterior motives there! ;) SAM!), she did the grocery shopping, the laundry, the cooking, the tutoring of the kids with their homework probably.  How easy life was with Alice.

Well, after some surfing I found Alice! And let me tell you, she is amazing!  This is my big secret I was anxious to share with you all!  Alice is the latest and greatest thing for moms and their shopping!  You pick out anything and everything you need, fill your cart (lots of items have coupons available even!), and check out.  There is NO SHIPPING charges with Alice.  Everything ships for FREE!  There are household items for every room of the house.  As long as it's a non-perishable, it's available!  At a lot less than shopping cost!  And did I mention it ships for FREE!!!!

On Sunday evening I decided to give Alice a try.  I didn't want to go overboard not knowing what to expect so I just ordered seven items we needed.  Sunday evening!  My order shipped Monday morning via UPS and by Wednesday afternoon this is what I had on my patio
I wanted to check out every aspect of Alice before sharing her and let you see all the details of this experience (plus, it's just fun to take pictures!) lol.   So, 5 stars for attractive packaging.

I opened my box to find that it was packed with some awesome bubble wrap to keep my items from shifting, busting, etc.
My son always thinks every package that comes should be something for him and of course had to stick his nose (and Doritoes face) in my photos
All of my liquid items were sealed with tape across the tops so they wouldn't pop open and leak, plus they were inside a ziploc bag in case they did (can you say recycle! I love ziploc bags).
(please excuse the mess on my dining room table.  I'm sure mine is not the only one that becomes a catch-all at the end of the day).

Now.... Alice is looking pretty good.  Great packaging, name brand items (which was my daughter's first concern since part of it was hair products for her), and did I mention FREE shipping?!  Plus, three of my items had coupons available so my coupon savings was $1.60.  Not too shabby.  Sometimes I buy items just because I have a coupon or they are on sale.  Hence the Dial soap.  Cuz I'm not a Dial fan, but it was on sale.

So, then I decided that if I'm really going to make sure Alice gets the credit she deserves I needed to do some comparison shopping.  I went to three stores in my town.  Hy-Vee, Pamida, and Dollar General.  I can hear some of you now saying, why not Wal Mart?  Hello!  I would LOVE to have a Wal Mart where we live, but unfortunately it's a one hour round trip to get to the nearest Wal Mart.  Another reason Alice gets my vote.  I'm saving time, gas and extra money I would spend impulse shopping for things I DO NOT NEED when I step into the $100 store Wal Mart.  We call it the $100 store because you can't go in and come back out without spending at least $100 everytime.  I do not need that!

I know the store clerks thought I was nuts so I made up a little fib that I was working on a project and had to do some comparison shopping, could I pick up seven items, have them ring them up and provide me with a receipt.  "What class is this for?"  Ummm....  an economics class!  Yeah, that's it!  HOME economics!  LOL

I wanted you all to know for sure that I got exactly the same items, so I took more pictures!  Yes, I'm the nut you saw in the store taking pictures in the deodorant aisle!  :)

So, here's my breakdown:

Dial Round the Clock Gold (3 bars)       $2.12  $0.35 off = $1.77
Dawn Dish Liquid (10 oz)                      $1.49  $0.25 off = $1.24
Degree Summer Rain Deodorant                                         $2.96
Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp                 $4.93  $1.00 off = $3.93
Herbal Essence Smoothing Cream                                       $3.69
Herbal Essence Shampoo                                                    $3.45
Reach Toothbrush                                                               $0.90
       TAX                                                                            $1.40
Making my grand TOTAL (w/FREE SHIPPING!)            $19.34

Less than $20 bucks folks!  I was a bit impressed.  Then I went shopping.... and was thoroughly blown away!

PAMIDA (Our version of Wal Mart in our podunk town)
Dial Gold (3 bars)                                                              $3.49
Dawn Dish soap (they didn't have same size so I got           $3.49
the cheapest available Dawn)
Degree                                                                              $3.49
Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp                                             $6.49
Herbal Essence Cream (NOT AVAILABLE!)                   OUCH
Herbal Essence Shampoo                                                  $4.29
Reach toothbrush                                                               $3.29
     TAX                                                                             $1.90
Making my grand TOTAL (MISSING ONE ITEM)         $26.44
     That's $7.10 MORE than Alice!

HY-VEE was next (I don't usually shop for these things at the grocery store but hey...)
Dial Gold (3 bars)                                $2.19 $0.20 off = $1.99
Dawn                                                                               $1.97
Degree (didn't have the 'scent' we use)                              $3.12
Head & Shoulders                                                            $5.78
Herbal Essence cream (NOT AVAILABLE)                    OUCH
Herbal Essence Shampoo (different kind)                         $3.83
reach toothbrush (didn't have, got cheapest brand)            $1.88
    TAX (we figured approximate due to voided receipt)    $1.43
Making my grand TOTAL (MISSING ONE ITEM)       $20.00
     That's only $0.66 more than Alice but we didn't get what we wanted and items we use weren't even available!

Now, Dollar General was my last shot.  I've shopped there.  I knew there might be skeptics that would say, well you need a dollar store!  NOT!  Most of those stores charge you more because they sell in dollar increments and people don't even realize they are spending more.  But, I knew it was worth the look see!

Dial Soap (3 bars - wrong scent)                                      $2.10
Dawn dish soap                                                                $1.45
Degree (wrong scent again-hey teenagers are picky!)        $2.50
Head & Shoulders                                                            $5.00
Herbal Essence Cream (NOT AVAILABLE....AGAIN)
Herbal Essence Shampoo                                                $3.25
Toothbrush (different brand - cheapest kind)                    $1.75

All the other hair cream frizz static products were averaging $3.00
     TAX                                                                          $1.47
Making the grand TOTAL                                             $20.52
     That's $0.18 more than Alice.  Not bad.
Now, the only downfall I can see to Alice is if you're an instant gratification kind of person.  Waiting that two days to do your shopping could put some people in a bit of a predicament if you are out of toilet paper or something!  lol  :)

So, I'm going to become a 'planner' and do my shopping with Alice.  Not only does she save me money (heck the trip to Wal Mart would have cost me $10 in gas alone!)...

I can shop while the kids are in bed asleep.

I don't have to get out and drive through this
Yeah, I know... looks real busy huh?!  I live in the middle of nowhere people!

and this....(the road to the middle of nowhere from my house)

or pay for this....

and I can enjoy a whole lot more of this...
(that's sunshine folks!!!  It's been rare in these parts!)
and a whole lot more of THIS....

So check it out!!! 

You'll be glad you did!