Thursday, May 29, 2008

Frugal Friday: Saving $$$ on Travel

1. Check your credit cards or other clubs to see if you have any "travel points" that can be redeemed.
My husband found that we had a good amount of travel points on one of our cards that could be redeemed for about a two night stay. That was good news to help offset the cost of the trip. Now...where to stay???

2. Search online for the best rates, and to narrow down your choices.
I began by searching the major travel sites:, Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity. One thing that I immediately noticed was that all of these sites had basically the same rates for the same hotels ( was slightly better on a few). I also noticed that and Expedia are affiliated, so not only were they giving the same prices but they also had the same promotion, which brings me to my third tip.

3. Look for current deals and promotions that may apply to your stay.
The current promotion on and Expedia is this: Book 3 nights at any hotel, and receive a $50 gift card back in the mail. Use coupon code GAS50 when you are booking (the promotion is automatic on Expedia). Knowing the cost of gas these days, this helped to decide that we really could stay that extra night as we were hoping!

4. Be mindful of the day of the week you book your travel plans.
On Tuesday, the prices were moderate...not too exciting, but not too pricey either. On Wednesday morning, I was shocked to see that many of the hotels I had been watching were around 40% less than what they were the day before. I'm very glad that we ended up booking on Wednesday night because on Thursday morning, the very same hotel (similar room) we had booked was $13 more per night! This tip saved us $39 alone! [Edit: I checked again on Friday morning and the price has gone up another $5 per night on that particular hotel, similar room!]
5. Call the hotel to see if they can give you a better rate.
This didn't work in our case, but I have heard that many times if you ask nicely and tell the reservationist the price you are getting online you can sometimes get an even more discounted price.

6. Make sure to read the site's cancellation/change policy, as well as the individual hotel's policy.
Since the promotion and rates were identical on both Expedia and, we could have booked on either site. However, I noticed that does not charge for cancellations or changes but I did not see that same information on Expedia. Also, has a Price Match Guarantee that if you find the same hotel room online at a better rate than what you booked on their site prior to your stay, they will match the price.

7. Confirm that the hotel has the amenities you want BEFORE you book.
Even if you pay a low rate, it's not a great deal unless you get what you really wanted!

Although I'm far from an expert on frugal travel, a little bit of research went a long way. If you have any ideas you have for this or experiences to share, please do in the comment section. I'd love to hear!

Head back to Biblical Womanhood for more great Frugal Friday tips!

Thanks to for the graphic.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

FREE Organic Coupon Booklets and Printables!

When my dear husband was at Whole Foods yesterday, he snagged me one of the Mambo Sprouts booklets. I used to pick them up frequently there, as I used to work right next to Whole Foods. However, I was so happy to see that if you go to their website, you can request that they mail you the booklets (if you live in certain regions) or you can print the coupons right from the site. Enjoy!

Publix BOGO Deals 5/29 - 6/4

Thomas' English Muffins - The Original, Plain, 12-oz. pkg. (Save up to $2.99)

Welch's Naturals Juice Drinks - Assorted Varieties, 6-pk. 10-oz bot. (Save up to $3.49)

Del Monte Fresh Cut Canned Vegetables - Assorted Varieties. (Save up to $1.15)

La Famiglia DelGrosso Pasta Sauce - 26 oz. jar (Save up to $7.99)

Old El Paso Dinner Kit - Assorted Varieties (Save up to $2.73)

Ken's Steak House Marinade - 16 oz. bottle (Save up to $2.79)

Pompeian Olive Oil - Extra Virgin, 16 oz. bottle (Save up to $6.99)

Post Cereal - Pebbles 13 oz., Honey Bunches of Oats 13 oz. - 18 oz., or Honey-Comb 13.5 oz. or 14.5 oz. box (Save up to $3.89)

Quaker Cereal - Cap'n Crunch 20.7 oz. - 22 oz. box, Life 21 oz. box, or Squares 16 oz. box (Save up to $4.75)

Pillsbury Moist Supreme Cake Mix - Assorted (Save up to $1.69)

Mueller's Pasta - Assorted (Save up to $1.49)

Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink - 12-pk 11 oz. cans (Save up to $5.79)

Orville Redenbacher's Popping Corn - Gourmet Assorted Varieties (Save up to $2.77)

Blue Diamond Almonds - Assorted 6 oz. cans (Save up to $3.19)

Nabisco Honey Maid Grahams - Assorted 9 to 16 oz. boxes (Save up to $4.23)

Hershey's Cookies - Assorted 9 oz. pkg. (Save up to $3.00)

Hershey's Miniatures Candy Bars - Assorted 11 oz. or 12 oz. bags (Save up to $3.39)

Keebler Town House or Club Crackers - Assorted 9 oz. or 16 oz. boxes (Save up to $3.79)

Kellogg's Eggo Waffles - Assorted 9.9 to 12.6 oz. boxes (Surprisingly low price)

Nestle Toll House Refrigerated Cookie Dough - 16 or 16.5 oz. pkg. (Save up to $3.45)

Simply Potatoes Mashed Potatoes - Assorted 24 oz. pkg. (Save up to $2.75)

Purina ONE Cat Food - Assorted 3.3 or 3.5 lb. bags (Save up to $7.37)

Fantastik Cleaner - Assorted 26 oz. or 32 oz. bottles (Save up to $2.93)

Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars - Assorted 6.7 or 10.4 oz. boxes (Save up to $3.79)

Bumble Bee Prime Tuna Fillet - 4 pk. 6 oz. can (Save up to $6.99)

These are the Buy One, Get One deals for the coming week at Publix. Anyone found any coupon match-ups yet? I can think of a few off the top of my head, but I need to find out which inserts they were in. Feel free to leave a comment with your ideas!

Monday, May 26, 2008

CVS Memorial Day Fun!

You can pretty much see what I bought in the picture:
Kotex - $0.99
3 Revlon Nail Polishes - $3.99 each
Cottenelle 12 pack (Double Rolls) - $5.49
2 Sobe Life Waters - $1 each
Coupons used:
$0.75 off Cottenelle (blinkie found at Publix)
$1 off Kotex, found on MSM, but can't find the link now.
BOGO coupon - Life Water, print it here (Thanks MSM!)
$3/$15 CVS Coupon
$14 ECB's
Out of pocket spent: $0.93
ECB's made: $10 ($9 for the Revlon, $1 for the Life Water)
*Note: the Revlon Nail Enamel deal is good only until the end of today (Monday). Hurry in and get ready for a new summer pedicure!
Head on back to Money Saving Mom and The "Cents"ible Sawyer for other CVS Scenarios!

Publix BOGO Sale!

Today I shopped the Publix BOGO Sale and did very well, in my humble opinion!

Here's what I bought:

BOGO items first -

Electrasol Dishwasher Detergents (2 for $4.19)
Glad Lock Storage Bags, 1 quart sized and 1 gallon sized (2 for $3.19, plus had $1 off coupon from Summertime Savings magazine found at Publix)
Gatorades (my hubby needs this after basketball - 2 for $2.50)
Lipton Rice Packs (2 for $1.59, plus had $0.75 off coupon)
1 lb. packs of Baby Cut Carrots (2 for $1.69)
4 cans Bush's Vegetarian Baked Beans (2 for $1.87)
Kraft Barbeque Sauces (2 for $1.19)
Kraft Salad Dressings (2 for $2.89, plus had $0.75 off coupon)

Non-BOGO items -

3 Publix Purified Waters ($0.79 each)
Publix Pretzel Rods ($1.50 for 1 lb.)
Perdue Boneless Chicken Breast (on sale for $2.99/lb.) Saved $4!
Perdue Ground Chicken (Sign said $2.99, scanned $3.29, Publix Promise - Got it FREE)
Publix Frozen Green Beans ($1.29 for 1 lb.)
Publix Frozen Mixed Veggies ($2.29 for 2 lb.)

COUPONS: $2.50
BOGO Savings: $24.98
Advantage Buy Savings: $0.29
Publix Promise Savings: $3.29
Total Paid: $31.57
Total Savings $31.06

Anyone else do the Publix BOGO deals this week? What did you buy?

Thanks Mom for the Glad Storage Bag idea! They are awesome!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My #1 Frugal Shopping Tip!

Are you ready for a great shopping experience? Ok, here's my #1 tip for a wonderful, frugal shopping trip........PRAY!!!

Seriously, I'm not joking; it works! Yes, even in "small" matters such as our weekly shopping trips, God cares!
For example, last week I really needed some new shoes. The ones that I had to wear to work were killing my feet! I had exactly $11 cash left to spend, and thought, "Wow, this is going to be tough." So I prayed. I asked God to help me find a pair of shoes that were not only comfortable, but were stylish and less than $11.

I went in the store fully confident that God would provide...and He did! I found a cute pair of shoes that are very comfortable, but when I looked at the price tag, it read $12.99. I was a little disappointed, but I prayed again.

And that's when I noticed that those exact shoes were on sale for $9.99 that week! So with tax the shoes were $10.64! God provided AND I had change!

Moral of the story: Don't ever think that something is so small that God doesn't care. As our loving Abba, He wants to bless us...all we have to do is ask and believe. His answer may not be in the exact way we thought or exactly WHEN we want it, but He always, always, always provides!

Check out more frugal ideas at Biblical Womanhood.

Graphic courtesy of

Walgreen's: $5/$20 Coupon ONLY for Friday!

Walgreen's just released a new $5/$20 coupon, but it's only good tomorrow, May 23, 2008.

Print yours out here.

See Walgreen's deals for this week at Sisterly Savings.

It's FREE Iced Coffee Day again at Dunkin' Donuts!

Every Thursday between May 15 and June 12, hop into Dunkin' Donuts for your free iced coffee! Don't forget to add a flavor....I got coconut today. Yummy!

I'm not sure if this is working in all areas, so if you have this deal where you live please leave a comment and let me know! It's working in south Florida at least!

Parasha B'chukotai, Leviticus 26:3-27:34

This year we read B'chukotai (Lev. 26:3-27:34) all by itself, as it is a leap year. In regular years we read it along with last week's portion, B'har (Lev. 25:1-26:2). I was so excited as I read both of these portions, as it is simply amazing that we are seeing a prophecy from waaaay back in Leviticus come true before our very eyes! Allow me to explain...

In Leviticus 25:1-5, God commands the people to observe a sabbath for the land, a shmittah year. That means that every seven years, they are to allow the land to rest or lie fallow. Basically, it was a year "off" for everyone once every seven years. God taught them to stockpile their food throughout the other six years so that they have enough to eat not only for the sixth year, but also for the seventh and eighth years (remember, since they would not be planting on the seventh year, they would have to have enough to eat during the eighth year as well - see Lev. 25:20-22).

In Leviticus 26:14-16, God sets before the people blessings for obedience and punishments for disobedience. When you read "punishments," don't read it as God is an angry, vengeful being just sitting up there waiting to slap us when we go astray. He really is much more loving than that! Read it as a loving parent who only wants to teach his children the way of life, and to draw his children closer to himself. Here's one of those "punishments" from Lev. 26:31-33:

I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings. I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it. (NIV)

Therefore, God was saying, "If you don't observe my teachings and way of life, I'm going to disperse you throughout the nations and allow the land to have it's sabbaths." And that is just what He did...evidence for the existence of God! Have the Jewish people not been scattered to the uttermost parts of the earth?

BUT, they were not cast away forever. As He says in Lev. 26:40-44:

But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers—their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees. Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them.
I am the LORD their God.
So now God is saying that the Jewish people will be dispersed to all the other nations, and they will be humbled and repent to Him. He says that He will NEVER break His covenant with them. Interestingly enough, some in the Body of Messiah hold to view that God in fact did break covenant with them, and replaced them with the Church. However, if God did do that, then He does not keep His Word. This "Replacement Theology" is unBiblical, anti-God, and must be "replaced" itself with the Truth of the Word. This is a whole other topic for another day, but just as Sha'ul says in Romans 11 says, believers are not replacing the branches, but are grafted-in among them.
So far we have seen God's commandment to observe the sabbath year for the land, the punishment for disobedience, and God's promise to respond in the event of Israel's repentance. Jeremiah 31:1-5 gives us what happens next:
"At that time," declares the LORD, "I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be my people." This is what the LORD says: "The people who survive the sword will find favor in the desert; I will come to give rest to Israel."
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel.
Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.
Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria;
the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit.
There will be a day when watchmen cry out on the hills of Ephraim,
'Come, let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.' "
This is the really exciting part! God promised to bring the people back to the land...and He did exactly that, in our generations! The modern state of Israel is celebrating her 60th anniversary this year! As we watch God's plan unfold, we must remember that God ALWAYS keeps His Word. To me, the fact of Israel's existence is proof that God is. Without Him, there would be no Israel today. I've heard this story many times, but I love it:
One day in the late 19th Century, Queen Victoria of England reportedly
asked her Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, this question...
"Mr. Prime Minister, what evidence can you give me of the existence of God?"
Disraeli thought for a moment and then replied, "The Jew, your
So now that we have this knowledge, what do we do about it? I think that Isaiah 40:1-2 and 40:9-11 give us our answer:
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins...
You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!" See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
*All Scripture taken from the NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.

**Graphic taken by my husband in Israel, May 2007.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Publix BOGO Deals: 5/22-28

*Some prices may vary by region.

Lays Potato Chips [Assorted Varieties, Made With 100% Pure Sunflower Oil, 11.5 to 13.25-oz bag (Excluding Baked!, Light, and Natural.)]

Oscar Mayer Beef Franks [Regular, Light, No Fillers Bun Length, XXL, or Jumbo, 16-oz pkg.]

Publix Peeled Baby Cut Carrots [Organic or Conventional, 16-oz bag]

Dove Ice Cream Bars or Miniatures [Assorted Varieties, 11.25 or 12-oz pkg.] (save up to $4.49)

Bertolli Skillet Pasta & Sauce [Assorted Varieties, 19.4-oz bag] (save up to $4.99)

Weight Watchers Smart Ones Desserts [Assorted Varieties, 4.9 to 6.6-oz pkg.] (save up to $2.49)

Stouffer's French Bread Pizza [Assorted Varieties, 2-ct. 10.37 to 12.5-oz box] (save up to $3.19)

Bagels, 4-Count [Plain, Egg, Cinnamon Raisin, or Onion, Your Choice of Assorted Flavors, From the Publix Bakery, 12-oz pkg.]

Vlassic Sandwich Stackers [Or Pickles or Spears, Selected Varieties, 16 to 46-oz jar] (save up to $2.69)

Taco Bell Home Originals Dinner [Assorted Varieties, 10.75 to 16.35-oz box] (save up to $2.69)

Del Monte Tomatoes [Assorted Varieties, 14.5-oz can] (save up to $1.27)

Ghirardelli Premium Brownie Mix [Or Cookie or Muffin, Assorted Varieties, 17 to 20-oz box] (save up to $2.79)

Kraft Barbecue Sauce [Assorted Varieties, 16.25 or 18-oz bot.] (save up to $1.19)

A.1. Steak Sauce [Assorted Varieties, 10-oz bot.] (save up to $3.95)

Lipton Sides [Assorted Varieties, 4 to 6.4-oz pkg.] (save up to $1.47

Uncle Ben's Country Inn Rice [Broccoli Au Gratin, Pilaf, Homestyle Chicken & Vegetables, Wild Rice & Chicken or Mexican Fiesta, 6-oz box] (save up to $1.39)

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Snack Crackers [Assorted Varieties, 6.6 to 8-oz pkg.] (save up to $2.19)

Keebler Fudge Shoppe Cookies [Or Dipping Delights or E.L. Fudge, Assorted Varieties, 8.5 to 15-oz bag] (save up to $3.09)

Breyer's Ice Cream [Assorted Varieties, 48 or 56-oz ctn.] (save up to $5.89)*

Kellogg's Cereal [Special K, 12 to 14-oz or Raisin Bran, 25.5-oz box] (save up to $3.99)

Nabisco Chips Ahoy! Cookies [Assorted Varieties, 14 to 15.25-oz pkg.] (save up to $3.45)

Nature Valley Granola Bars [Or Trail Mix Bars, 7 to 8.9-oz box or General Mills Fiber One or Curves Bars, 5.3 or 7-oz box, Assorted Varieties] (save up to $2.85)

Gatorade Thirst Quencher [Assorted Varieties, 64-oz bot.] (save up to $2.50)

Fresh Express Salad Blend [Assorted Varieties, 5 to 12-oz bag] (save up to $3.99)

Bush's Best Baked Beans [Or Grillin' Beans, Assorted Varieties, 22 or 28-oz can] (save up to $1.67)

Kraft or Seven Seas Dressing [Assorted Varieties, 16-oz bot. (Excluding South Beach Living.)] (save up to $2.69)

Kraft Mayonnaise [Or Miracle Whip Dressing, Assorted Varieties, 32-oz jar] (save up to $3.59)

Meow Mix Dry Cat Food [Assorted Varieties, 3 to 3.5-lb pkg.] (save up to $4.49)

GE Energy Smart Bulb [Or Mini Spiral Compact Fluorescent, 10 to 26-Watt, 1-ct. pkg.]

Electrasol Automatic Dishwasher Detergent [Assorted Varieties, 75-oz bot.] (save up to $4.19)

Glad Zipper Freezer or Storage Bags [Assorted Varieties, Gallon or Quart Size, Value Pack, 30 to 50-ct. pkg.]

Chinet Classic White Plates [see add for specific varieties] (save up to $5.79)

*As I was scouring the ads today, I noticed that not only Publix, but also Albertson's, Food Lion AND Winn-Dixie have Breyer's ice cream on BOGO this week! Yay for extra ice cream!

**Remember, if you have them, to use 2 coupons when you buy the BOGO's!!!

***I haven't done the match-ups for coupons yet, but if you see any, please do share in the comments section!

See Cassie's Blog and Fiddledeedee for more Publix deals with coupon match-ups!

Interesting Facts About This Tiny Country

In continuation of the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Modern State of Israel, here are a few amazing facts:

-Israel spends the most per capita of any country in the world on protecting herself.
- Israel has the most university degrees per capita than any other country.

And finally, my favorite:

- These modern conveniences were all invented in Israel: the CELL PHONE, INSTANT MESSAGING, the FIREWALL, and VOICEMAIL.

If you would like to see a short funny video about other things that were invented in Israel, go here.

Thanks to for the picture!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

FREE Jewish Roots of Christianity Videos!

You can sign up to receive one of three different Journey to Zion videos by clicking here and scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking on the DVD title you would like to receive (Limit is 1 per mailing address). I just watched one of the episodes on TV, and it was very informative and well done. I ordered the DVD about the Sabbath. The others are about the Temple/Prophecy and the Feasts.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Frugal Friday: When I'm Not Frugal

If you watched the above video, you've probably figured out that the one thing I'm not frugal about is Shabbat, or the weekly Sabbath. All week long I plan and strive to save pennies on everything from toilet paper to bananas. However, when it comes to items I am purchasing for the Sabbath, I try to buy only the best. Why?

In Exodus 20, God says to "make the Sabbath holy." That can mean many things to different people, but one thing that I'm convinced of is that He wants us to make it special. This is something that my father taught me when I was growing up. I remember him saying, "Every penny you spend in preparation for the Sabbath increases your joy when Shabbat comes." So for Frugal Friday, I'm going to tell you what my family does for the Shabbat meal on Friday evening...however UNfrugal it may be!

1. Woman of the Home Lights the Candles

We buy "special" candles that are only used for Shabbat, and have special candlesticks for this purpose. I light the candles and then I say the traditional blessing, followed by another extemporaneous prayer of thanksgiving to God for providing and sustaining us throughout the week. Also we bless God for sending Yeshua the Messiah, the Light of the World!

2. We sing a song, and then my husband reads (or sings) Proverbs 31 to me.

I have to say that I used to feel embarrassed at this part; I mean, how can I live up to the Proverbs 31 woman? But now, I just bask in it because I feel my husband is speaking words of prophecy over my life, that I am in the process of becoming that "woman of valor." This is also traditionally when the father lays a blessing on the children, but we don't have any to do that for yet...but someday, God willing!

3. We bless God for the wine (or grape juice).

For this, we use special grape juice or sometimes even buy wine, which is a treat in our house! We bless God for Yeshua the Messiah, the True Vine.

4. We bless God for the bread.

In the blessing we are thanking God for His provision of our "daily bread," and also for giving us Yeshua the Messiah, the Bread of Life! Again, we use special challah bread that is not usually a frugal bread to buy or bake. However, this is a tradition that we simply won't do without! It's just not Shabbat in our house without that wonderful challah aroma in the air! By the way, my mother is an amazing challah-baker!

5. We eat! (Surprise, surprise)

This is the really unfrugal part, but it's the most joyful meal of the entire week. Throughout the week we think of ways to make our meal even more special. Usually my husband and I don't eat much meat throughout the week, except for ground chicken and occasionally kosher hot dogs, so on Shabbat we go all out! My husband is an amazing cook, thank God, and he usually makes matzah ball soup and some awesome beef, chicken, or fish. It's my job to do the veggies and the dessert. By the way, the women in my family say the food doesn't have calories on Shabbat, haha!

6. We thank God again.

Did you know in the Bible it's actually a commandment to pray AFTER you eat? I didn't know that until recently, but in Deuteronomy 8:10 God says, "When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you." (NASB)

7. We relax, sing songs, and enjoy each other's presence.

Shabbat is wonderful no matter if you are alone (with God) or with thousands. However, it's best celebrated with family, as portrayed in the above video. There's something awesome that happens when you have a wife praying over her family, a husband praising his wife in front of the children, and then the father pronouncing his blessing over his sons and daughters. I remember when I was 9 years old and my family celebrated our first Shabbat dinner. Right after dinner my sister and I said, "Daddy, can we please do this again next week?"

"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." The mouth of the LORD has spoken." Isaiah 58:13-14 (NIV)

To learn more about celebrating a Shabbat dinner in your home, see this site and this site.

Although we all have different traditions, there's probably at least one thing that each one of us is not frugal about? What about you? What is your "unfrugal" thing?

And for some (actually) frugal ideas, check out Biblical Womanhood.

Another Lunch Break Blessing

Just like yesterday, I listened to yet another wonderful American Center for Law and Justice radio program about Israel during my lunch break today.
After that program was over, I switched to another station that had Focus on the Family on at that time. I was in tears again, as I heard James Dobson and his guests speak about the miracle of Israel, which proves that God not only exists, but that He keeps His promises.
To listen to the broadcast, click here and click on "Listen to Today's Broadcast."
Also, I believe that Mr. Dobson will still be discussing this topic again tomorrow, so be sure to tune in!
Graphic from A Sizeable Apple.

At medaberet ivrit?

Check out the new Hebrew Dictionary on my right hand sidebar. If you see any words on here that you don't know, please ask me to add them. I will continue to add words as they come up on the posts.

Also, if you are interested in learning more of the "Lashon Kodesh" (holy tongue), check out this awesome resource:

Hebrew for Christians.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Watchmen Wednesday: Practical Ways to Stand with Israel

Today on my lunch break I listened to Jay Sekulow, from the American Center for Law and Justice. He gave three practical ways to stand with Israel, and I wanted to share:

1) Sign the ACLJ petition to show the Israelis that there are Americans who love and care about God's Holy Land.
2) Vote for an Israel-supporting candidate when you vote. I don't want to mention any names as I don't like to get "too" political on here, but one candidate was asked about his stance on Israel recently. He said something to the effect that Israel is a "constant wound, a constant sore" that "infects" American foreign policy. Also, Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist group, came out and said this week, "We hope [he] wins the election." Do you really want someone that is endorsed by Hamas to be your President???
3) Stand with Israel...IN Israel! The ACLJ is leaving in about a month to go on an amazing journey to Israel, and you can go with them. Not only will they visit the holy religious sites, but they will take the group participants to the Knesset (Israeli Congress) to meet with Israeli politicians and show our support. If you are interested, you have to sign up this week!

I have to say I always enjoy Mr. Sekulow's program, but these last few days have been even more of a blessing. I have been in tears both yesterday and today as I hear his passion and concern for "the apple of God's eye." Thank you ACLJ for all of the good work that you do!

Graphic from

The Real Estate Agent's Haftarah Portion

Last night as I was reading this week's Haftarah portion (Jeremiah 32:6-27), the scenario jumped right off the pages at me. The story came alive as I was able to really see what was going on for Jeremiah in his day.
The story starts out that God spoke to Jeremiah, and told him that his cousin Hanamel was going to come to Jeremiah to ask him to purchase a field back in his home town of Anatot even though Jeremiah had been living in Jerusalem for quite some time. It is evident from the text that even Jeremiah was surprised by this because after Hanamel does this, Jeremiah says, "Then I was certain that this was the word of HaShem."
The story goes on to describe, in great detail, the real estate transaction. As I am a real estate agent and have worked in a real estate law office, I could not believe how similar the transaction described was to our present day method. They had a purchase contract ("with the terms and conditions") and had two witnesses sign it. Then they had a sealed copy and unsealed copy, which they placed in a clay jar to be preserved for a long time. Amazing!
However, the most surprising thing about this story is the situation surrounding the transaction. Most people in America today are aware that timing is everything when it comes to purchasing and selling real estate, especially down here in Florida. A couple of years ago, prices were soaring and those who had bought a few years before that were happy. Now, however, prices are very low and foreclosures are the rule, instead of the exception. This is what we call a declining real estate market (although I hope ours is not declining anymore!).
You see, Jeremiah was buying that field at Anatot in a MAJORLY declining real estate market. The Babylonians were slowly, but surely hammering their way across Israel and taking captives back to Babylon. Jeremiah, of course, knew what was happening as HaShem was telling him. The inspiring part is that despite what the situation looked like on the outside, Jeremiah trusted God. Even though he knew that most of the Jews were to be taken as captives to Babylon, Jeremiah also knew, in his mind and heart, the promise of God to return them to the Land of Israel.
This is why after the real estate "closing", Jeremiah prays a prayer of thanksgiving to God. After this, God responds,

"Look, I am HaShem, the God of every living creature; is there anything too hard for me?"

This is so important for us to remember in our present day life, that nothing is too difficult for our God! He has made many promises to His people, and not a single one of them has He ever went back on. Maybe your situation doesn't look good today, but like Jeremiah, look at His promises. As the Scripture says, "I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging for bread." God has proven Himself as a "Promise Keeper" 100% of the time, so we really have nothing to worry about. Put your faith in God, and meditate on His promises! Be encouraged today!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oh, that's only rabbinical...

When my family and I first began studying Torah, I would hear the phrase "Oh, that's just rabbinical..." repeated constantly. I really didn't understand what it meant, but after a few years I got the drift that the speaker was trying to discount whatever topic was being discussed due to the fact it was "rabbinical" because it was a talmudic topic.
For those who might need a little introduction, Torah means the first five books of the Bible and the Talmud is a compilation of commentary on the Torah. Basically, in the Talmud the rabbis and sages go through each commandment found in the Torah and discuss what it means and how to apply it to daily life.
For example:
ME: "I was reading that some Jewish people stay up all night on Shavu'ot (Pentecost) to read the Torah. I was thinking of doing that myself..."
SOMEONE ELSE: "Oh, that's only rabbinical."
For the first few years of this, it didn't bother me. I guess I believed that since something was "talmudic" or "rabbinical", it didn't have anything to do with me or my life.
That all changed when I went to Israel for the first time, however. I felt something different as I watched all the yeshiva boys hurrying to their Torah classes and the young modestly-dressed girls walking around with their prayer books. I thought maybe there was something I was missing...
So I bought the Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding the Talmud. It was a wealth of information, and very surprising to me. What I didn't find was the "scary" and "boring" Talmud that I had been warned of, but a surprisingly witty book of proverbial wisdom and interesting logical thoughts.
Now, am I saying that we should follow the Talmud or that it is equal to the Bible? Of course there is no other book like the Bible! The Bible alone is the inerrant, inspired Word of the living God!
However, does the Talmud hold valuable information and traditions worthy of study? I say, "Certainly!" As with anything, we must always, always do the "Scripture litmus test." If something lines up with God's Word, then keep it. If it goes against or detracts from the Scripture, then don't.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a similar post on this subject on Messianic Musings.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hawaiian Tropic Moneymaker at CVS this week!

Yes, you can "make money" simply by purchasing two of the above pictured Sunblock Lip Balms at CVS this week. The weekly ad says, "Buy any 2 Hawaiian Tropic products, receive $10 ECB's." (Limit 1 deal per household) These lip balms worked for me (and others...thanks MoneySavingMom!) and they are $1.99 each. Therefore, I bought 2 of them, payed $4 (well, I only "paid" 46 cents because I bought some other things and used other ECB's that I already had), and received $10 ECB's back to use on anything in the store (except prescriptions)!
I was so giddy when I came out of the store!
One thing to note: it take a little work to find these. At my store, the lip balms were not found with the other sunscreen or even with the other lip balms. The store had a special section in the middle front that had beach umbrellas, pool toys, etc. The lip balms were hanging on a special sun care display there. So worth the extra 5 minutes that it took me to find them!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

We love you Mom!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Shabbat Shalom!

As this week's Torah portion is Emor ("speak") and we read one of my favorite chapters in the whole Bible (Leviticus 23), I couldn't pass up the chance to do a post about Shabbat, the Sabbath.
FAQ's About Shabbat:

When is Shabbat?
Shabbat begins every Friday evening at sundown and ends after the sunset on Saturday.

Why from sundown to sundown?
That's the order God created the days in. "And the evening and the morning was the first day..."
Also, we always go from "darkness" to "light"; never the opposite.

Who is the Sabbath for?
Read Leviticus 23. God says that they are HIS Shabbats, and He is giving them a sign to His people. If you are one of God's people, then you are invited to join in the rest of the Lord!

You talk a lot about Shabbat dinner. How is that any different from a regular dinner?
Honestly, everything is different at Shabbat dinner! We prepare our best and favorite foods, we say prayers of thanksgiving, we read Scripture, we light special candles, we drink special wine or juice, we eat special bread, and we sing special songs as a family. In a way, it's like having Thanksgiving every week! If you have never experienced a Shabbat dinner, I encourage you to find a way to do so.

What do you do on Saturday?
People celebrate Shabbat different ways. My family usually goes to our fellowship in the morning and eat lunch there; then we come home and take a nice long nap or read the Bible together. We avoid work and focus on resting in the Lord. It truly is an island in time!

Well, that's about all I have time for now, but please feel free to ask any other questions! These are simply the ones I get most often.

Shabbat Shalom! (Have a peaceful Sabbath!)

Thanks to for the picture!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Frugal Friday: How I "Roll"

I get this question a lot (and I mean almost everyday, from at least one reader!):

Okay, Jen, it's great that you're getting all these toothbrushes and body wash for free from CVS. But what about the basics...stuff like toilet paper???

Well, my friends, there are many ways to CVS, as I have stated many times. I don't knock the way other people "CVS" but I'd like to share how I do it, which includes stuff like baking soda, thermometers, and yes, toilet paper!

I look at the items that are generating Extra Bucks as my means of buying other things that I am really in need of. The $/$$ coupons plus manufacturer coupons tell me how much that I have to "spend" on the things I "need." (I use most of the FREE items as well, I just might not "need" them at the moment.)

Here's an example. Today I needed a thermometer. I felt very feverish, and am tired of not having one at my house. So I looked at the ECB items and what coupons I had so that I could buy one. I happened to have a $3/$15 and two 50 cent off coupons for the Colgate 360 toothbrushes. That means I have $4 to "spend" right?

Then I remembered that on the Kiss/Broadway nail products deal, I could "make" $1. So now I know that I can get a thermometer that costs around $5, without depleting myself of any ECB's.

And that is what I did. Today I spent 77 cents on a $5 thermometer, two toothbrushes, and two bottles of nail glue...and still have the same amount of ECB's.

That is why I personally don't "grow" my stash of ECB's into large amounts. I generally have between $15 and $25 ECB's at any given time, depending if I have done a CVS Advisor survey recently or if I ended up burning some on something.

Basically, I spend less than $1 every time I buy paper towels and toilet paper...something that has really made a difference in our budget! I used to spend at least $10 -$12 every time I bought the two items.

And that, my friends, is just another reason I am so thankful for CVS!

How do you CVS? Any other ideas for getting the "necessities" of life?

Go back to Biblical Womanhood for other great Frugal Friday ideas!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Israel!

I'm a little under the weather, so this won't be the in-depth post I had planned but I had to say something. Today is the modern state of Israel's 60th birthday!

In all reality, Israel is much, much older than 60 years back thousands of years. However, 60 years ago today was the day that the UN voted for the establishment of the modern state of Israel as the Jewish homeland. From the very first day, the surrounding nations have railed against this tiny nation. But the people of Israel have always prevailed.
Because the God of Israel is stronger, mightier, and more faithful than all the "gods" of the other nations combined!
Am Yisrael Chai! The People of Israel Live...because the God of Israel lives!
For more, read here, here and here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

FREE 8 x 10 photo print at Walgreen's!

Tomorrow ONLY, you can upload a photo and get a FREE 8 x 10 at Walgreen's. Follow this link to do so.

Speaking of Mother's Day, which is this Sunday (May 11), do you have any good frugal ideas on presents for your mom? Please share!

I already got mine, but I can't talk about it on here yet because my mother reads my blog (I love you Mom!). I'll post what I got her later in the week, as I mailed it to her yesterday and she should receive it soon! Hope you like it Momma...hehe!

Monday, May 5, 2008

And I will bring them back...

A few days ago I started, for the fifth time, re-reading Israel My Beloved by Kay Arthur. It is my favorite novel, and probably my second favorite book after the Bible. Although this book reads like a great work of fiction, full of passion and suspense, it is based on reality which makes it all the more relevant!

Using metaphors, Kay Arthur tells the story of history, between God and His people. Although the historical section of the book is amazingly detailed yet interesting, the part that I most treasure is regarding the present. In the book, the main character Sarah (Israel) is promised that although she has been unfaithful to her Husband, with great love He will draw her back.

This is so exciting, as we are seeing this exact thing happen before our very eyes. Actually today was dubbed "International Aliyah Day" because so many new immigrants from all over the world will be landing on Israeli soil today! Baruch HaShem (Praise God)!

Last night, my husband and another friend went to a major music festival in our city. The music artist we were watching was singing, "Jerusalem, if I forget you, let my right hand forget what it's supposed to do," a refrain that comes straight out of the Psalms. As he was singing, I looked around at the hundreds of people that probably don't even consider themselves "religious" mouthing those ancient words. Wow...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Yom HaShoah: Rembering the Holocaust

Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. People all over the globe are coming together, both Jew and non-Jew, to commemorate and honor the 6 million plus men, women and children who lost their lives. The first time that I really observed this day, I thought it was weird and it made me really uncomfortable. Why remember one of the most notorious events in the history of the world? The pictures, the film clips, the prayers that are can be a little overwhelming, to say the least.
However, it's important to remember for a few reasons:
1) They deserve it. In Judaism, we remember a decedent every year by praying a certain prayer (not to them, but of praise to God) on the date of the anniversary of their passing. Many of those who perished in the Holocaust did not even receive a proper burial, and some of them are not even remembered in the database of names. We can remember them en masse on Yom HaShoah.
2) There is some repenting to do. I know a certain pastor who feels very heavy on his heart that the Church, as a whole, has still not repented for being a part of the Holocaust. Of course, there were many Christians who helped the Jews during this time, and there are many Christians now who have repented. Actually, there are countless Christians who were not even born at the time of the Holocaust, so why should they repent? Well, as this pastor says, there is a Biblical concept of "repenting on behalf of your people," and this is of huge importance if we ever are going to see the rift between the Jewish people and the Church close. No, not all of the Church was involved with the Nazi movement, but there was a large contingent that stood idly by while these horrible things were being done right before their eyes. The Holocaust is the pink elephant sitting in the middle of the Church's living room, and HaSatan likes it that way. However, we know that it is not God's will for there to be this huge gap between his flock. Today I pray for the Church, as a whole, to repent and ask forgiveness from both God and man, even if there was no personal involvement in what happened.
3) So that it doesn't happen again! There are those who would LOVE to see the Holocaust happen again, and there are those who are denying it ever happened. There are those who say that Hitler didn't finish the job. We can't think that we are safe just because we live in America, or that because the world is "more civilized" now. There are holocausts going on even now in Sudan, Darfur and many other places.

There are many lessons and stories that I could tell now. For sake of time I will end with this quote by Tzvi Freeman:

You ask me, "Why did G-d* allow it to happen?"
You recognize that everything in this world has purpose and meaning. Examine any aspect of His vast Creation, from the cosmos to the workings of the atom and you will see there must be a plan.
And so you ask, where does this fit into the plan? How could it?
I can only answer, painfully, G-d alone knows.
But what I cannot know, I need not know.
I need not know in order to fulfill that which my Creator has created me to do.
And that is, to change the world so this could never happen again.

*The Name of G-d is not spelled out by many Jews to show how sacred it is. I usually do write it out on here because I doubt that anyone prints out my blog, and also so that people don't become confused.

Shabbat Shalom!
Thanks to my husband for the picture. It was taken at Yad VaShem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Evil Tongue (Lashon Hara)

As we read through this week's Torah portion, Kedoshim ("Holy People" - Leviticus 19:1-20:27), I want to continue to highlight some of the teachings that God gave to His people. On Monday we talked about the concept of leaving the corners of the field for the poor to glean.

Today I want to speak of lashon hara, the "evil tongue." This concept is found in 19:16,

"Do not go around spreading slander among your people, but also don't stand idly by when your neighbor's life is at stake; I am the LORD." (CJB)
Basically, God is saying that speaking evil is a big deal to Him. We humans may take it lightly, thinking "everyone does it" or "sticks and stones may break bones, but names will never hurt them." God doesn't see it that way. He even compares speaking ill of others to murder!
Have you ever noticed when you are about to tell someone something that you shouldn't, your eyes light up and your pulse starts to race a little? It's exciting, and that's why we do it. However, that little chemical in our brain that is giving us a little pleasure for the moment is also mixed with pangs of guilt (i.e., the Holy Spirit) telling us that what we are doing is wrong.
Lashon hara is a powerful force. In the B'rit Chadasha (Renewed Covenant), James says that the tongue is like a little rudder that steers a huge ship. How true! There was a rabbi named Chofetz Chaim (1838-1933) that spent many years of his life studying and writing about lashon hara. In the introduction to Chofetz Chaim: A Lesson A Day, the authors state the following:

"Lashon hara is a weapon manufactured soley from words, yet the Torah considers the harm those words create to be massive. So sharp a wedge does lashon hara drive between a [person] and [God] that it even deprives him of Divine assistance in a time of need...

Lashon hara destroyed the Beis HaMikdash [the Temple] and keeps it in ruins today. The [Temple] was the Shechinah's dwelling place among [God's] chosen people...

Not only does lashon hara deprive a [person] of the fruits of his labors in Torah, it actually causes those [labors] to be exchanged for sins." (Chofetz Chaim: A Lesson A Day, quotes from pg. xxxi-xxxiii)

Try going on a "lashon hara" fast for even a day and see how difficult it is to not speak anything about another person. It is an awesome exercise, and every time I do it I learn to weigh my words very carefully. We should, of course, strive to do this always as we see that God considers it very serious. We don't always see the devastating effects of our words, but it is highly possible that something we say can ruin someone's life.

Be encouraged today that even though we cannot stop this fire of lashon hara in our own strength, but with God's help we can! We can do "all things through Messiah who strengthens us!"

Have a great day and don't forget to get your free drink at Carvel Ice Cream!

Thanks to the New York Times for the picture!