Here's what I bought today:
Fantastik Antibacterial Multipurpose Cleaner
4 Palmolive Dish Soap
3 Clean and Clear Facial Cleansers
4 Lady Speed Stick 24/7 Deordant
Biore Pore Minimizing Strips
Biore Warming Facial Scrub
7 Assorted Essence of Beauty Products (including the gift bag!)
2 packs of Tic Tacs
1 Bag of Peanut M&M's...for my cashier!
Total out of pocket: 79 cents plus $3 ECB's! Today was so much fun!
Check your e-mail! CVS e-mailed our quarterly ECB's this morning!
I got 2 ECB's...I wish it was 2% of your YTD savings, not quarterly spending haha!
If you're new to CVS, go here.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Here's what I bought today:
If you have any of the following brand of ink jet printers:
You can get a free (black or color) refill on Wednesday, April 2nd at Walgreens.
All you have to do is print out the coupon here and bring your empty cartridge with you! Enjoy!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
My mother and I went to 4 CVS stores this morning, and one of our favorite deals of this week was the "Buy 3 Essence of Beauty Products, get 5 ECB's."
This includes the bath products and make-up tools, as well as the body gels and sprays.
Since Essence of Beauty is a CVS trademark name, you can use up some of those $3/$10's you've been receiving!
Here's a scenario for you:
Buy 9 Essence of Beauty tools at 1.99
(there are a few things that are $1.49 if you can find those!)
Use a $5/$15 and then a $3/$10 CVS brand purchase coupon.
Receive: 15 ECB's!
*This deal is limit 5, so you can buy up to 15 items total this week to receive 25 ECB's.
Edit: I just found out that there are 99 cent toe separators (for pedicures) working on this deal, so that makes it even sweeter!
Also, the gift bags that are on the display with all the body washes/sprays are also working for this deal and they are only $1.49, and include some matching tissue paper inside. Easy to make-up some nice gifts!
Yay for a moneymaker! I love my new gel eye mask ($2.99)!
Plus, my mother had the wonderful idea of pairing some of these items with some of the body washes that are FREE this week, and you have a perfect gift for a friend!
This is supposedly a monthly deal, so it should be good until the last day of April. Am I correct?
Friday, March 28, 2008
These days as people read through the Bible, Leviticus is on the top of the list of "Books of the Bible Most Likely to be a Sleep-Inducer" (it actually is just shy of first place, with Numbers leading the pack). When I hear people complain about this book, though, I have to admit it kind of bothers me. Why should our awesome, indescribable Father's words be boring? Is there something missing?
Well, one of the reasons that Leviticus is decidedly unexciting to us, is that half of the book relates to laws that only had to do with the Temple (or tabernacle), so they are commandments that we can't possibly live out today. The other half are laws that can be applied today, but most people would rather not do them or are taught that they don't apply. I'm sorry if that sounds mean or harsh; I'm only stating my observations. Please don't take offense, just bear with me for a few minutes.
However, on a very good note, in recent generations, our Heavenly Abba has breathed new life into the pages of the "testament before the new one" as slowly, but surely He is drawing the hearts of His people nearer to His, an actual real revival - not in the charismatic sense, but as a return to the Scriptures. This is going on in every area of the world, in every aspect of life. I will talk more about this after we discuss this week's portion, Shemini ("Eighth" - Leviticus 9:1-11:47).
Contained in this week's portion is the story of Aaron, the High Priest, and his sons, Nadab and Abihu. You see, Nadab and Abihu thought it would be cool to offer up some fire to God in their own way. I guess you could call it "creative worship." However, God didn't see it that way; in fact, fire came out and consumed Nadab and Abihu in front of all the Israelites. The Holy One was sending a very clear (and costly!) message that is echoed from this point to Revelation - "to obey is better than sacrifice."
The next part of this portion talks about a very interesting, much misunderstood and much debated topic. I even had qualms about talking about it on here, because I really dislike controversy; as my Dad always said - "HE said it, I didn't say it." The topic is that of the "holy diet" or the laws concerning which animals are given the Heavenly stamp of approval for human consumption. Before you click away from this blog right now, let me tell you that I have learned something over the course of the past ten years that may give you a new perspective...if not, I hope it's at least mildly entertaining.
"Yeah, I know, God told the Jews not to eat pork or shellfish (what! no lobster or Alaskan snow crab legs?) or a bunch of other animals that no one here in America eats anyway (well, actually I have heard tales of squirrel stew). If that is your current attitude, please bear with me for a few more minutes; I promise I'll explain what changed my own thinking.
What was the reason for these obscure laws? Why does God care about what His people eat? There are at least two theories about this.
1) God wanted His people to be healthy.
The health reason is probably the most popular reason, and is made more widely known by Jordan Rubin's book, The Maker's Diet. You will most often hear this reason today - "I'm eating Biblically for my health." It is actually said to be the reason that the Jews in Europe were not as harmed by the Bubonic Plague (and then were blamed for causing it). I agree - I do believe that our Creator knows what is good for our bodies, and what is not. However, there is another less-commonly spoken of reason for following the holy diet.
2) God said it.
That's it? That's the reason? Yes, I believe that that, in itself, is sufficient reason for His people to follow the holy diet. Look, I'm no nutritionist, so I can't get into all the chemical molecules and digestive systems of those "unclean" animals (well, maybe I do know a little) as to why they are "unclean." But there's a whole lot more to this "clean" and "unclean" thing (tahor and tamei in Hebrew, respectively) than we give credit to God for. You see, in this context, those words are actually not referring to the physical essence of something, but the spiritual. In other words, the Israelites of this time knew something that their children would forget; that is, that something can be physically "clean", but spiritually "unclean." This is exactly what Yeshua (Jesus' Hebrew name) was talking about when he was telling the Pharisees to wash the inside of the cup, and then the outer part.
But what about Peter's vision?!!!
I know there are so many Scriptures from the newer testament going off in your head right now that you could scream! I don't have room or time to address every single one of them today, but perhaps on later posts. Simply put, if you read the context of those verses, they are either talking about one of two things:
1) Allowing Gentiles to come into the faith.
2) Food sacrificed to idols. That is, meat (pork was not even considered "food" at the time of these writings) that was sold in the market that could or could not have been offered to idols.
Probably half of you are denouncing me as a heretic at this moment and are never going to read Tavita's Purse again. The rest of you, if you would like more information on the holy diet, I have a few suggestions:
1) Pray - definitely ask God for continued wisdom and guidance.
2) Read this portion of Scripture, and re-read those portions in the newer testament to really discover the context.
3) Read some books. As I said, the Maker's Diet talks about this, as well as Holy Cow! Does God Care About What We Eat?.
4) REMEMBER - this is NOT a salvation issue. For it is "by grace you have been saved, so no man can boast." But also remember, there are blessings for obedience! That has been my personal experience, for sure!
My family slowly started adopting the Biblical diet when I was about 10 years old. I can't say that I was terribly disappointed, even though I had enjoyed lobster when we went to Canada in the summer or that I grew up in North Carolina, the home of the "best" pork barbecue. My younger sister and I really were excited to be able to read about something in the Bible and then actually do it...just like the Israelites! It was so fun as we began to celebrate the Feasts of the Lord (Leviticus 23), and see the pages of the Bible spring to life!
For those of you that feel like you are not part of this because you have no Jewish background, take a look at Ephesians 2:11-22. Throughout the books of the older testament as well, this phrase is repeated "this law shall be the same for you as for the sojourner (or foreigner) dwelling with you." Everyone's invited! This is an equal employment opportunity!
Have any questions or comments? Please feel free to leave them, just remember to be nice!
Thank you to Chic-fil-A for the above picture!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
There is a Jewish proverb that says, "Words from the heart enter the heart." Well, this must-read post by Crystal is exactly that. I thought it was so beautiful that it brought me to tears. Please read it and let me know your thoughts!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I know, I said was taking a break from CVS this week. When I saw this deal I just had to do it, because Aquafresh is my husband's favorite toothpaste. Oh, well...I still only spent 6 cents out of pocket, and got a bunch of other household items!
Here's the deal:
Aquafresh Toothpaste (not all varieties, I believe it is the "Cavity Protection" and "Triple Protection" kinds) are on sale at CVS for 88 cents (usually $1.99 each).
There are 75 cents off coupons here.
(If you click on the two bottom boxes, you can end up printing out 4 coupons total).
The funniest thing was my two favorite cashiers were asking me where I've been all week. I told them I would not be back until next week!
A Diaspora 'Supporter of Israel'
by Mark Gold
But what does "supporting Israel" really mean?
Israel has no shortage of avowed detractors. It also has many genuine avid supporters. Even more people and institutions claim to "support Israel." But what does "supporting Israel" really mean?
Sadly, and insidiously, in many cases, it means very little. It is the proverbial "talking the talk" without the willingness to "walk the walk." Certainly, the climate in some circles, notably academia and the media, is apt to make the malleable fall on the denigrate-Israel team. But given the circles in which some others travel, it evidently is more comfortable to claim status as a supporter of Israel, rather than not.
A recent poll commissioned by the Israel Project illustrates that point. Eighty-two percent of the American Jews who took part in the survey said they support Israel, with most of them characterizing themselves as "strong supporters." Yet, when asked if they engage in conversation about Israel or defend Israel while talking to non-Jews, most of the participants replied negatively. Thus, it appears that the majority of American Jews claim they "support Israel," yet they are not even willing to "talk the talk," much less "walk the walk."
In life generally, it is important to know who your real allies are, and who are on the team or are friends in name only -- whom you can count on and who will dilute the effort; who will help and who will not. And you want to know whether your contributions to an ostensibly pro-Israel organization are likely to help Israel’s cause or be used in the service of another agenda.
While recognizing there are many ways to support Israel, here are some guidelines to judge whether one is a genuine supporter:
What does the individual or organization actually do to support Israel, beyond claiming to be a supporter? If the answer is little or nothing, the verdict is self-evident. A discussion of specific types of activities follows.
What does the individual or organization actually say beyond that he "supports Israel"? Something like, "I support Israel but not its government," or "I support Israel but not the occupation," or "I support Israel but I want it to change"?
That is not support. It is in the realm of the double-standard applied to Israel. These "supporters" insist on virtual perfection for Israel (and, of course, only Israel). In this mindset, Israel and only Israel can be considered supported with a reservation, if not downright opposition appended in the same sentence. It makes as much sense as "I love that restaurant, but the food is terrible."
"I support Israel but not its policies" is a common refrain, but most of these "supporters" have been repeating this mantra of every Israeli government for decades.
Contributions and Membership
What organizations does the individual support with contributions and membership? Any pro-Israel organizations - groups that actually work on behalf of Israel? A few that come to mind include AIPAC, CAMERA, Zionist Organization of America and Friends of the IDF. Or are these groups disdained and scorned as "extremist" or otherwise just considered unworthy of support?
And certainly, support of Israeli organizations that don’t seek to "change" or tear down the state is also a mark of a true "supporter of Israel." There are, of course, innumerable such organizations, such as Magen David Adom, One Family Fund and Palestinian Media Watch.
Or does the "supporter" find that non-Israel causes always have a higher priority? Or, even worse, is the individual more comfortable with, and thus a contributor to, organizations with an anti-Israel agenda, such as Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, and too many others of a similar bent?
Many organizations that do promote themselves as "supporters of Israel" or "Israel advocates" in fact operate more as neutral forums for Israel-related programs. They apparently feel compelled to provide a balance of speakers providing some obligatory bashing of Israel to offset pro-Israel aspects of their programs. Apparently, for these groups, it is too politically incorrect to include only pro-Israel voices. What does the individual or organization actually say beyond that he "supports Israel"?
Somehow, contrasted to these "Israel advocacy" organizations, "advocates" of other entities are not as often compelled to gratuitously invite speakers to bash the subject of their advocacy. Do other "advocates," perhaps your college's alumni association or chamber of commerce, invite even lukewarm speakers? Not likely.
Then there is the case of America's largest synagogue movement, the Union for Reform Judaism. It criticized Congress "for passing one-sided pro-Israel resolutions." Maybe the Union for Reform Judaism (erroneously) thinks that it supports Israel and that action is an example of doing so. But, probably, most of the Union’s members did not even know of that action. And while undoubtedly some would have approved, others would not have. Did any ostensibly pro-Israel member congregations that were aware of the Union’s action repudiate it (much less withdraw from the Union)? Did any congregants press their congregations to do so?
In fact, many non-Orthodox Jewish congregations appear to have a minimal concern for Israel, at most. That logically mirrors their congregants’ attitudes as revealed by the Israel Project’s poll. Action to support Israel just doesn’t cut it along with feel-good activities such as "nights" and other more "liberal" social action projects.
It goes without saying that "ethnic cleansing" in Darfur is protested, but "ethnic cleansing" in Gaza is one of the few areas where these congregations did "support Israel."
A number of congregations offer Israel token support, yet consider that support as generous. They may keep their Israeli flag in the sanctuary along with the US flag, but this is often a holdover from years past when supporting Israel was less controversial.
Where does the "supporter of Israel" get his news? The mainstream media, such as most major newspapers, the BBC or CNN? It is very hard to be a true supporter of Israel while relying on these sources, as they relentlessly vilify and inculcate a subliminal or overt "Israel is bad" message.
A true supporter of Israel is apt to rely on niche sources of news and commentary that are more likely to present Israel in a fair, or even favorable, light.
Does the "supporter of Israel" accept or demonize Israel’s friends, such as are often found among conservatives and conservative Christians? Does the "supporter of Israel" support the war against Islamofascism? Or does the "supporter of Israel" cast his lot with anti-war groups laden with Israel-vilification and anti-Semitism?
Does the "supporter of Israel" seek Israeli products when shopping? For example, many supermarkets in areas with a significant Jewish population carry a number of products made in Israel that supporters may purchase. In contrast, I recall an instance of a Jewish Federation distributing giveaways made in China. When queried about the possibility of sourcing trinkets from Israel rather than China, Federation headquarters personnel reacted as if the question were from an alien.
Does the traveling "supporter of Israel" ever go to Israel or is everywhere else a higher priority?
Is the "supporter of Israel" financially invested in Israel?
Investing in Israel could not be easier. Beyond the well-known Israel Bonds, which are available in denominations as low as $100, there are many Israeli companies traded on US markets, with readily available information. American mutual funds of Israeli securities are also available.
These are some factors that tend to indicate whether an individual or organization actually "supports Israel" or just pays it lip service. If their consideration spurs anyone to realize that he can do more to genuinely support Israel, all the better.
Reposted from Israel National News.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I read it here, but I'll repost it so it's easier.
by Rabbi Aron Moss
Why does Judaism command women to keep their bodies covered? Is there something shameful or evil about a woman's body? If men can't control their urges, then it's their problem, not women's. Why should a woman have to hide herself just so others shouldn't be tempted?
The Jewish way of modest dress is not so much about how other people view women, but more about how women view themselves.
You are assuming that the only reason for modest dress is to avoid temptation. While this may be the case in other religions, for Judaism this is not true. The Jewish way of modest dress is not so much about how other people view women, but more about how women view themselves.
Covering something doesn't always mean being ashamed of it. Have you ever noticed how we treat a Torah scroll? We never leave it lying around open. It is hidden behind many layers. The Torah is kept inside a synagogue, in the Ark, behind a curtain, wrapped in a mantle, held tightly closed with a belt. It is only ever taken out when it is to be used for its holy purpose, to be read during the prayer service. For those special times, we carefully draw the curtain, open the doors of the ark, bring out the Torah, uncover it and unwrap it. As soon as we have finished, we immediately wrap it up again and put it away.
Why do we do all this? Why do we go to such trouble to conceal the Torah? Are we ashamed of it? Is there something to hide? Is there something ugly about the Torah?
Of course not. The opposite is true.
Because the Torah is our holiest object, because it is so sacred and special and precious, we never leave it exposed unnecessarily. We keep it under wraps because we don't want to treat it lightly, we don't want to become too casual with it. Were the Torah to be always open and visible, it may become too familiar and its sanctity minimised. By keeping it away from sight and only bringing it out for the appropriate times, we maintain our reverence and respect for the Torah.
The same is true with our bodies. The body is the holy creation of G-d. It is the sacred house of the soul. The way we maintain our respect for the body is by keeping it covered. Not because it is shameful, but because it is so beautiful and precious. This is true for men's bodies, too.
This is true for men's bodies, too, and modest dress applies to them, as well. But it is even more so for women. The feminine body has a beauty and a power that far surpasses the masculine. The Kabbalists teach that a woman's body has a deeper beauty because her soul comes from a higher place. For this reason her body must be kept discretely covered.
In a world where the woman's body has been reduced to a cheap advertising gimmick, we need no proof for the truth of this wisdom. Where all is exposed, nothing is sacred. But that which is truly precious to us, we keep under wraps.
*The above picture is supposed to be humorous, but I think it reflects how our society's concept of modesty has changed drastically.
Wah! A week with no CVSing. Yeah, you heard me. I'm taking the week off. Someone said it's officially CVS Spring Break this week, as there are no good ECB deals. So in honor of our favorite store, I thought I would repost Nichole's "You Might Be Addicted to CVS If...."
-You shop at CVS even in your dreams, every night
-You only carry pocket change to shop at CVS.
-When you are checking out with a cart full of stuff & have to pay *gasp!* $5!!!! The cashier was shocked and said, "I've never seen you pay that much. Are you feeling ok?"
-You have 1-800-SHOP-CVS on your cell phone's speed dial. Then press 3, wait for the first sentence of the message, and press 2 and then 4 without waiting. LOL
-When you have enough toothpaste, shampoo, soap, toilet paper, household cleaners, hair color and medication to last 3 years!
-You MAKE lots of money off CVS!
-Your CVS manager at your closest store knows you by name.
-When you check out the cashier cheerfully says "So what coupon do we have for today and lets see how much you end up spending!!!
-You walk thru the store and people ask you where things are cause you look like you know everything!
-The girl at CVS asks your best friend, who you taught how to CVS, "Gosh do those binders really work??? I see several ladies come in with them!" And she responds " Oh yah they do... and thats probably my friends and her sisinlaw!!!!"
-You know what store carries which things and usually when they run out of it during the week!
-You know every CVS on the way home from ANY location!
-You hold your ECB's priceless because you KNOW how much they are worth!!!
-Your husband wants to know when CVS is going out of business.....
And I wanted to add a few...
- When you go to the regular grocery store and have to pay $19, you feel like you've just spent a fortune!
- You're not worried about any natural disaster because you know you have enough medicine, beauty supplies, and toothpaste to last you until 2058.
- Your favorite CVS cashier knows most of your life story! (Mine's Jose!)
- Even the dollar store seems way over-priced!
- When you have a week off of CVS, you spend it planning next week's CVS shopping!
Got any more to add??? Got a good CVS story! Tell me about it! I want to know!!!
*Thanks to Advanced Electric Inc. for the picture of this lonely CVS.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Today I decided to participate in Frugal Fridays, sponsored by Biblical Womahood. Actually the funny thing is I have been feeling a little un-creative because I keep seeing that the frugal things I do are already written by others, which is great, but I was trying to think of something original. Last night I did something, and then I thought about it and said to myself, "I've never read that anywhere before!" So that will be the first idea below; the others are things that I do for frugality, but are not original ideas. Hope it helps someone somewhere!
1. Use the back side of your used Swiffer wet pads (or Lysol wipes, which I get for free at CVS anyway!) to clean your trash can. Our kitchen trash can is white, which means everything shows! So when I am finished mopping, I just pull off the pad and wipe my trash can until it shines. An added bonus....it smells great!
2. Use coupons....but only when the item goes on sale. Manufacturer's use coupons as a way to advertise their product, and that's fine. But the real savings comes in when you clip that coupon and WAIT. I did this with some Swiffer coupons I had recently, and ended up getting those expensive pads for free! In Florida, we have a great grocery store called Publix that has tons of BOGO's every week. I try to match my coupons up with the BOGO's (and use 2 coupons) to double the savings!
3. Use reusable plastic (or glass) for food storage. This saves money for you, and is good for the environment. I have always done this with leftovers, but only recently have I begun doing it with other things like sandwiches, snacks, etc. Since I was reusing my Ziploc bags anyway (bringing them home and washing them), I might as well just use my Rubbermaid containers, which are so much easier to clean. Yay for frugality and being green on this one!
4. Teach your family about the Bible the frugal way! I have to give thanks to my hubby for this one. He taught me to shop for the Biblical holidays AFTER the holiday. So after each holiday, we wait about a week or so and then go buy the same things for at least 75% off! For example, after Chanukah this year (John 10:22), we went to Bed Bath & Beyond (make sure to use your 20% off coupon that comes in the mail almost every other day, haha!) and bought those expensive silver hand-dipped candles for about $1 (usually are about $10-$15). He also started a tradition of buying me a new holiday tablecloth after the holiday (they also mark-down the Sabbath table cloths after the holiday as well). Awww thank you honey!
*Today is the festival of Purim (from the book of Esther). Try making some special Purim cookies with your children, which I posted here. Your children will love the cookies (you will too!), and you can tell them about Queen Esther as you make them.
Well, those are my ideas for the day. Head over to Biblical Womanhood and Crissie's post for more ideas! If you want, leave a comment with your idea here. I sure could use some more help with this!
Now I need your help! We got married over a year and a half ago, and I still haven't gotten my wedding dress preserved. It runs about $150-$200 around here, which is about what I paid for the dress. Any ideas on how to preserve a wedding gown frugally?
Purim Sameach! Happy Purim!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Thanks to my mom and Money Saving Mom for telling me about the FREE (or almost free) Glade Wisp Flameless Candles at CVS. I just got my first one today and I love it! It smells so good, and I don't have to worry about blowing it out.
Here's how to do it:
They are on sale for $7.99 this week.
There is a $5 off coupon here.
You get $2 ECB's back (March monthly deal).
Here's a deal idea (I believe the Glade website lets you print off 2 coupons; if not, there were $3 off coupons in this week's newspaper insert):
Buy 2 Glade Wisps at $7.99 each
Use a $5/$15 coupon (if you still have it)
Use 2 $5 off Glade coupons
Get $4 ECB's back!
As I said in Friday's post, the Fast of Esther is observed tomorrow, March 20th, this year. This lines up perfectly with Watchmen on the Walls Wednesday, as Hadassah (Esther's Hebrew name) was the epitome of a Biblical watchman (or woman!). The above picture is from the movie One Night with the King, particularly the part where Hadassah is having her second dinner with King Ahashuerus and Haman, pleading with the king to spare her and her people's lives.
I received this picture in my e-mail yesterday, and thought it was very appropriate for today's post.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Crystal wrote another wonderful post about ways to work from home...
This is great for anyone, and I know a lot of young women (like me!) out there that dream of staying at home with the kids at some point!
A few people have been telling me to get another CVS card ("for my husband") so that I would be able to get more of the Limit 1 items for free. I really didn't feel right about it, and was even wondering if I would be able to keep track of more than one card. Well, thanks to Jeannie at What's a "Girl" to Do?, we now have a definite answer from CVS Corporate. Thanks Jeannie!
Monday, March 17, 2008
Let's play my favorite game...look at the picture and guess how much I spent?
1 Maybelline Colorstay Lipgloss (not pictured)
1 Oral-B Cross Action Toothbrush
1 Always Clean
4 Glade Air-Freshener Sprays
2 Dove Shampoos
2 Dove Conditioners
2 Dove Deodorants
2 Listerine Smart Rinse Anticavity
1 Clean and Clear Spot Treatment
1 Clean and Clear Astringent
1 Clean and Clear Moisturizer
2 Boxes Hershey’s Pot of Gold Chocolate
2 Packs Tic-Tacs
Twix bar and 2 packs of M&M's (for my cashiers!)
Total OOP (drumroll please!): $1.04 plus $9 in ECB’s
(I messed up and did the Dove and the Clean and Clear in one transaction…Oh well, I still have $29 ECB’s to play with!)
PLUS...there's a rebate form beside the Listerine "Try Me Free" so hopefully I will be getting $2.99 back in the mail!
*There are many Dove coupons in yesterday's newspaper inserts (plus a BOGO Glade spray one) so if you can get one, make sure to pick up a Sunday paper!
Also, as for the Be Fine single serve packets that I showed on this post, I am hearing from others that they are no longer working so I wouldn't bother with that!
To learn how to do this go here.
To see this week's deals and deal ideas (along with coupon links) go here.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Last night I made my first batch of hamentashen! They're not too bad either! Yay!
If you've never heard about hamentashen, let me tell you about them.
What are Hamentashen?
They are little triangular cookies that contain some kind of sweet filling, such as the ever-popular poppyseed, the fruity apricot and raspberry, or the new-style chocolate chips. Mine were made with orange marmalade and strawberry preserves. They are eaten during the festival of Purim (see the story of Esther from the Bible) to remember when Haman plotted to kill God's people. As with most Judaic celebrations, the motto is "they tried to kill us, God saved us....LET'S EAT!"
The History of Hamentashen
The origin of the name is unclear and there are various theories. Some people say that Haman wore a three-cornered hat, and that is why the pocket of dough is triangular. Others refer to the midrash (story) that relates that when Haman entered the King's treasury, he was bent over, covered with shame, and humiliated (literally with clipped ears). I believe in Yiddish it literally means "pockets of Haman."
Since we had already cut a little into our weekly grocery budget and I was out or almost out of much needed baking items (sugar, vanilla, butter - none of which were on a really good sale), I decided to look for an easier and cheaper recipe. I am so glad that I did because I found this one on Allrecipes.com, and they turned out very good for being so easy (and cheap in my case!). The recipe for the dough consists of four ingredients - flour, eggs, water, and yellow cake mix. When I saw that (having read the Publix ad early that morning), I was so excited because I saw that Duncan Hines moist cake mixes are on BOGO this week. Since I was doubling the recipe, this would be perfect! So instead of having to buy sugar (we only buy the natural cane sugar, which is pretty expensive), vanilla, and butter, I only spent an extra $1.77 (sadly I didn't have any coupons for this, and I know there were some out there) for the dough part! Baruch HaShem (Praise God)! (A few words of advice if you use this recipe: You may need to add a little water to the dough, as mine was very crumbly at first and I had to knead it a little to make a nice ball of dough, and make sure to pinch the corners of the hamentashen together very tightly so that they don't open up in the oven.)
My Take on Hamentashen
As I was making these delightful little pastries last night, I thought of another reason why we eat hamentashen during this holiday. I was thinking about the book of Esther. She was a young Jewish girl born as Hadassah ("myrtle" in Hebrew), but as most Jews living in exile she had a Persian name, Esther, which in that language most likely means "star." But Esther in Hebrew can also be seen to be a derivative of the word for "hidden." Of course, there are many hidden details in this story - Hadassah hides her true identity for a time in the palace, Haman hides his plot, etc. However, the most notable hidden element in this story is God Himself; in fact, His Name does not appear in the book at all! Doesn't that seem a little odd? Well, of course, as we read this book we see God's hand throughout; He's there, but hidden. So as I was making the hamentashen last night, folding the edges up so as to hide the sweet surprise inside, I was thinking how hamentashen are a metaphor for the story of Esther, and actually for life itself. Sure, the triangular cookie part is good and it's interesting, but the more you bite into it, the more you'll find the hidden sweetness! God Himself is that sweetness. Some people think that God created the world and then left us to ourselves, but the more you really connect the dots in your life, you'll see the "hidden" Father in the middle of it all. Ask Him to reveal His "sweetness" to you, and that is definitely a prayer He will answer!
Purim and the Fast of Esther are next week - March 20th (Fast) and March 21 (Purim). Stay tuned for more on this holiday!
Thanks again to my husband for taking the picture!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Today I was thinking about how much bottled spring water we buy, and if it really would be considered "frugal." We buy and use (for two adults) about 3 gallons of store-brand bottled spring water to drink weekly at 79 cents each, or $2.37 weekly, ($123.24 a year!). Our city (tap) water is ok for using for cooking and making tea and coffee, but we really can't stand the taste for drinking it straight. When I was in college in the same city we currently live in, I had a Brita water pitcher for the refrigerator that I would refill. It didn't taste a whole lot better than drinking straight tap water, and those cartridges do get expensive! So...I need your input! If you have any ideas on saving on water, please let me know!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Today I made money shopping at CVS, plus I got all the stuff in the picture (plus a Hershey bar and a pack of M&M's for my two cashiers!).
I don't have the receipt for the first transaction, but I know that I spent 54 cents OOP.
5 - Befine Food Skin Care single serve packs 0.34 fl oz. for $1.99 each
1 - Tresemme Mousse for $4.29 (I bought 3 Tresemmes in first transaction)
1 - Tresemme Hair Spray for $4.79
1 - Doublemint Twins mints for $0.79 and a bag of M&M's for the cashier $0.79 (needed some fillers)
Paid OOP: 24 cents!
Coupons used: $5/15 and $14.99 in ECB's
ECB's made: $20 (15 for the Befine and 5 for the Tresemme)
So, I made $5 for shopping there today!
Grand total for everything in the picture: 78 cents out-of-my-pocket! Plus, I made 5 ECB's over what I had!
*The man referred to as Paul in English, also had a Hebrew name "Shaul." He used these names interchangeably throughout his life, just as I also have an English name and a Hebrew name. I prefer to use his Hebrew name simply because I believe it refers more to who he was. This is not saying that to call him by his English name (or Greek name) would be wrong! Just my preference...
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Last night before I went to sleep I was thinking about being frugal and taking time to save money. I was thinking about how much I have been talking about CVS on here, and that you might start to wonder what the point of all this is. Is it just my hobby? Something I enjoy doing? Or, maybe more of you are thinking, is this girl crazy? Why does she feel the need to do research before she goes shopping and all that coupon-clipping?
Well, although a few of you might still think I'm a little weird, I do enjoy saving money for my husband and I; however, that is not the main reason we are doing this. The ultimate reason for this season of a simpler lifestyle is L-O-V-E.
Let me explain. If I use the money (or any other resources for that matter) that God has blessed me with thought and wisdom, then I will have more resources to show love to others with. However, this is a fairly new concept for me. I always gave money and time to my local community, but as far as the other 90 or so percent, that went solely to the here and now (I am referring to the time before I got married). I bought clothes every other day, ate out at least once a day, bought 2 coffee drinks a day, etc. Most of it was focused on one thing: ME!
Now I am almost the opposite, in some aspects. I know that there are many of you out there that read my blog and think of ways that I could be a lot more frugal, and that would be true (I welcome those comments by the way - as long as you say it nicely!). However, what I was thinking about last night was that frugality can also be a "god" if not done for the right reasons. I could get so wrapped up in saving money for my own personal ends, that I wouldn't see the needs of those around me. Today I felt that someone that always hears me talking about CVSing could use a little sunshine, so I looked in my purse and found one of those FREE Lumene Body Aktiva tubes that I bought last night, and I gave it to her. I know she's not considered a "needy" person, but in some ways we all are. Not only will the "other" people around us benefit from our frugality, but first we must take care of another group - our families. If we are frugal, God-willing, we should be able to provide not only for the here and now but even put some aside for our future children and to take care of our parents in their latter days. That's why the Bible says that the Proverbs 31 woman can "look smilingly toward the future, and laugh at the days to come" and "she has no fear for her household."
We all could use a little more love in our lives. And that, my friends, is the purpose of being frugal.
I will end with the most masterful piece of literature, poetry, and Scripture on LOVE ever written (in my humble opinion):
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.(NIV)
Monday, March 10, 2008
2 - Garnier Fructis Shampoos for $2.99 each
2 - St. Ive's Body Lotion for $5.29 each
$5/$15 purchase, 2 $0.50 off St. Ive's lotion (peelie found on both bottles), and $8.49 in ECB's.
Made in ECB's: $9 (5 for St. Ive's, and 2 each on the Garnier)
Update (8:56 PM):
To see more deals and deal ideas for this week at CVS go here.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Come with me my little child
The grandmother softly said
I have a present that I have been saving for a little girl just like you
She opened a worn battered suitcase that witnessed all the tears she had cried
She held up so gently with hands old and shaking
A gift she'd received as a bride
Please light these candlesticks before every Shabbos
No matter how hard it may be
The flame that you light will ignite generations with the message of eternity
Behind curtains drawn ever so tightly
Lest escape a ray of light
The young woman prays, by candles burning, in the cold hostile night
Generations in attics and forests, in caves and in camps of death
Mother to daughter one soul to another
Kept the flame burning, the message alive
Please light these candlesticks before every Shabbos
No matter how hard it may be
The flame that you light will ignite generations with the message of eternity
Hey Mom, whose candlesticks are these?
Jennifer I don't know, perhaps they were Grandma's
The ones she would light every week
Just an old Jewish custom, gone with ghettos and winds
I would say it's o.k., why not just put them away?
Lai lai lai, lai lai lai, lai lai la lai lai lai lai
Jennifer took those old candlesticks and brought them to small lonely room
The candlesticks caught those last rays of light on this Friday afternoon
Placing a candle in each candlestick and a match that lept into a flame
Now two little fires lit up the night and she heard someone calling her name
Jennifer my dear child, it's Grandma so near, yes, it's my voice that you hear
The treasure is yours, so priceless and true
You're the next generation; it's all up to you.
Yes I will light these candlesticks before every Shabbos
No matter how hard it will be
The flame that I light will ignite generations with the message of eternity.
***In Memory of the young students who perished on March 6th in Jerusalem while studying at Yeshivat Harav: Yohai Livshitz (18), Neria Cohen (15), Yonatan Yitzhak Eldar (16), Yonadav Haim Hirschfeld (19), Segev Peniel Avihail (15), Avraham David Moses (16), Ro'i Roth (18), Maharta Taruno (26). May their names be remembered for a blessing.***
I know there was a reason I felt prompted to listen to the CD that was in my car as I drove to work this morning. It is a teaching by Rabbi Akiva Tatz. He was talking about the binding of Isaac, and how this story is a paradigm of sorts for the Jewish people. Of course, we know how this relates to God’s plan of redemption. However, it goes a little deeper than I had thought of before. He was saying that in mysticism, the name Yitzchak (Isaac) means “from death comes life.”
Now we know that the concept of names in the Hebrew mindset is not the same as in the Western world. In Western thought my name has nothing to do with who I am. “Jennifer” is a nice name that my parents gave me and that people call me by, but it has very little, if anything, to do with my person (in Western theory). Hebrew thought is almost the polar opposite. So much importance is given to the name of anything – God (we even call Him HaShem, the Name), creatures, cities, and, of course, human beings. (It is interesting that I am going to a baby naming this weekend for a baby girl that has the same Hebrew name as me - Rivkah or Rebekah). In Hebrew thought, the parents actually have the chance to lay a prophetic blessing on their child by the name that they give him or her. The name of Isaac is no different; actually, his name carries much more importance than that of most people because of Whom his name is attached to. Think about it – we say, “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Those must be three pretty important names if you ask me! (I won’t go into the importance of the other two names in this post, but maybe another time.)
So back to Isaac, “from death comes life.” Hasn’t this kind of been the picture of the Jewish people (including those who have joined from the nations) for the last five thousand plus years? From the exiles, to the Crusades, to pogroms, to the Holocaust, to the Intifadas most recently – there seems to be this theme running throughout history. There’s this cycle of suffering and rebirth. These are all physical, however. Think about the Spiritual side – the Suffering Servant, Messiah, (Isaiah 53) had to take this upon himself so that there would be (spiritual) life! Just as he taught, the seed has to “die” before it sprouts to life!
Bringing this all back to the reason I had to listen to that CD this morning, when I came into work I checked my e-mail. The first thing in my inbox was the Israel National News story (thanks Ellen!) describing the attack in Jerusalem yesterday. As I looked as those graphic pictures (be warned if you decide to click on the link above), I started getting this deep sadness….but then, I started remembering Isaac – “from death comes life!” Yes, we will remember the lives of those 8 young men that died yesterday. We will mourn for them and share in the grief with those families. I was thinking this morning as I was making my final Shabbat preparations in my house…”Wow, there’s going to be 8 empty seats tonight in Israel at the Shabbat table.” Eight mothers (or perhaps a wife for one) are going to have to look at the seat where their son (or husband) was sitting the week before.
All this strife and killing in the last few weeks, months, years…where does it end? Baruch HaShem (Praise be to God), it will end when Moshiach (Messiah) comes to dispel the enemies of Israel once and for all and the “sword will be beaten into plowshares.” There will be peace forever with King Moshiach reigning from Jerusalem, and it will be Shabbat for the rest of eternity!
From Death comes Life! Am Yisrael Chai! The People of Israel Live!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
ECB - Extra Care Bucks. They print out after your receipt after you buy certain items. They can be used like cash on your next transaction, except that you can't get change back (so you have to make your total a little larger than your ECB).
OOP - Out-of-pocket. This is money that you actually pay. Does not include ECB's that you use to pay for items.
"Rolling" ECB's - Using ECB's to purchase items that will generate just as many or even more ECB's that you paid with.
Extra Care Card - Card given by CVS free to anyone as their version of a customer loyalty program. You must have one of these to get and use ECB's. 1 per customer allowed.
Money-maker - A product that will generate more ECB's than you spend (usually after using coupons).
$/$$ coupon - X amount of dollars off X amount of dollars purchase at CVS (ex. $5/$15 means "$5 off any purchase of $15")
Card-Scanner - Scanner in front of CVS store that usually faces the cash register. When you enter the store swipe your Extra Care Card and it will print out some coupons. Also is a "price-checker" for items.
P&G - You may see this on blogs referring to the Proctor and Gamble coupon insert that comes in the Sunday newspaper. Others you may see (also referring to coupon inserts in the paper) are Valassis, Smart Source, and Red Plum.
Each week (and monthly as well) CVS comes out with a new advertisement. You usually find these in your Sunday newspaper, but they are also available online at CVS.com. In each ad, there are items that are generating ECB's. You will usually see the ECB-generating items with yellow. The yellow "tag" usually shows how many ECB's will come with a purchase of that product. Keep in mind, not everything in the weekly ad generates ECB's. Some items are FREE automatically after ECB's (meaning you receive as many ECB's as you paid for the item ) . For example, right now you can get Crest Pro Health Rinse (250 ml) for $3.49. It is also generating $3.49 ECB's. Therefore, we would say, that item is "free" after ECB's.
Also, there are many items that are "free" after coupons and ECB's. Recently, this has been different razors. It seems like the ads and the coupon inserts in the newspapers are in-sync. The Gillette Venus Razor has been on sale for $9.99, and has been generating $6 ECB's (for many weeks in a row). There has also been $4 off coupons in the newspaper coupon inserts as well, making this item "free" after ECB's and coupons (well, you're gaining a penny). There are usually, in my estimate, somewhere around 7-10 ECB weekly deals (and then there's a whole monthly book as well).
Money-makers are my favorite. I did one this week with the CVS brand Vitamin C. They are $2.99 a bottle, and I bought 4. So the total was $11.96. But then I had a $3/$10 (CVS brand purchase), so the total was only $8.96. However, they still generated $11.96 worth of ECB's, so I "made" $3!
1. Go to CVS and purchase a few ECB-generating products. Try to stick with ones that are "free" or close to "free" after ECB's. I recommend having between $10 -$20 in ECB's to play with. Some people like to "bank up" more, but it's just easier for me to play with less.
2. Pay out-of-pocket for these items. We CVSers call this "initial investment."
3. Your ECB's will print after your receipt.
4. Start using these ECB's to buy more products that will be free or money-makers.
Things to remember:
1. ECB's usually expire after 30 days. The expiration is plainly printed on the ECB. Don't forget (and lose money)!
2. The ECB deals have a limit of how many you can get per week or month (depending on which type of deal it is). The standard limit is 5, but some of the "better" deals may be only 1 or 2. The ad will tell you what the limit is on that particular product.
3. Try to keep each transaction to near the amount of ECB's you have, so that you are not paying a lot OOP. You can split things up into multiple transactions to do this, and use the ECB's from the first transaction to pay for the second, etc.
4. The most important thing to remember is to not just go in there thinking you will buy things you are actually "in need" of at that moment or that you will purchase a certain brand. Just go ahead and get the free things and money-makers. You may at some point need that item, but if not, it's a perfect way to give to charity. For example, I got a glucose monitor for free last month that I am donating to a crisis pregnancy center (pregnant women can get gestational diabetes).
5. There are many blogs (like mine!) on the web where people actually take the time to type out deal ideas and what they got so you don't have to do all the hard work. I actually use this blog every week to plan what I am going to buy (and I modify her ideas some).
6. If you are using "transaction based" coupons (such as $5/$15, $4/$20, etc.) make sure and give those to the cashier FIRST, before all other coupons or else your total might not be high enough to use it. I know this seems obvious, but I learned this the HARD WAY!
7. Have fun! Don't get discouraged. It usually takes a few weeks or months to really get the hang of it, and I'm still learning! We all make mistakes, but the fun part is that we know it will pay off and help your family save some money!
Let me know how your CVSing is going. If you want, tell me what you want to buy and how many ECB's you have (if any), and I will make up a transaction for you. Please let me know if you have ANY questions (I sure did when I started), and if anything in this post needs more clarification.
CVS 101 and Making CVS Work For You by MoneySavingMom
The "Cent"sible Sawyer
*Thanks to CVS.com for the Extra Care Program!
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Gillette Mach 3 razors - 3 pack $7.99
Here's what I paid: $0.46
Here's what I got back: $10 in ECB's
Here's the coupons I used: $3/1 Gillette Mach 3 (3/2 P&G insert), $3/1 Febreeze Noticeables Starter Kit (3/2 P&G), $1/1 Febreeze Noticeables Dual Refill (2/10 P&G), $5/$15 CVS coupon (see yesterday's post), and $11 ECB's.
Since you asked...look for my Thrifty Thursday post - "How to CVS" tomorrow!
Upon the hills of time
To hear the voices of the city as bells of evening chime
The Shofar sounding from the temple to call the world to prayer
The Shepherd pauses in the valley
"Pray for the well being of Jerusalem;
may those who love you be at peace.
May there be well being within your ramparts,
peace in yours palaces.
For the sake of my kin and friends,
I pray for your well being;
for the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I seek your good."
(Psalm 112, JPS)
*I must give credit to my talented husband, who took all these pictures when we were in Israel!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Thank you CVS for giving out ECB's on the Swiffer stuff! I was in desperate need, and have been waiting for this for a month now! Here's what I got today:
1 Dawn Botanical 11 oz. Dish Liquid (not an ECB deal, but on sale and I had a coupon) $0.97
1 Swiffer Dry Cloths Refill 32 ct. $5.99
1 Swiffer Wet Cloths Refill 24 ct. $5.99
1 Gillette Venus Embrace Razor $9.99
1 Crest Pro Health Mouth Rinse (250 ml) $3.49
1 Bag Gold Emblem Peppermint Candy $0.99
Coupons used: 0.25 off Dawn (in 3/2 P&G), FREE CVS candy coupon (printed on scanner when I entered the store), $1/2 Swiffer refills (from 2/10 P&G insert), $4/1 Venus Razor (3/2 insert), $5/$15 CVS coupon (available by signing up here), and $14.95 in ECB's from yesterday's deal.
Total OOP (out-of-pocket): $1.66
Made in ECB's: $14.49
Has anyone else been to CVS this week? I know you have, mom!
Monday, March 3, 2008
Ok, so CVS just paid me $3 to take a bunch of stuff out of their store!
Here's what I bought:
4 bottles of CVS Vitamin C 500 mg (110 ct) for $2.99 each
1 bag of CVS (Gold Emblem) Candy for 99 cents
1 Colgate Total Advanced toothpaste for $2.99
1 - Free bag of CVS candy (printed at card scanner when I walked in the store)
1 - $3/$10 CVS Brand (also printed at card scanner)
Made $14.95 in ECB's and I am definitely going back this week. Yay for a good deal week!
See all of this week's (and monthly!) deals here.
*And yes, for those that eat Biblically or vegetarian, the Vitamin C says "suitable for vegetarians" and the ingredients do not include gelatin.
What about you? What deals did you get this week?