Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lead Me to the Cross

My mother in law shared the below poem with me from her devotional is so good that I decided to pass it on.

“Father, sometimes I find it very hard

to take hold of the fact

that I am your beloved.

It’s difficult to grasp,

when I am so very much aware

of all the flaws,

that when You look at me

You simply see

someone that You have chosen

to call your child.

Utterly forgiven.

Totally accepted.

Infinitely loved.

And Father, thank You that I have no need

to try and hide

the way I am deep down;

those thoughts and actions

of which I am ashamed.

For You, dear Father, know me

through and through

and nothing

that I or anybody else

can say about me

will ever catch You unawares.

Only with You

can I know ultimate security

because You know the best

and the worst about me

and love me just the same

Just as I feel the sun, pouring down

out of a summer sky

warming the air

and bringing color to life

to all it touches,

help me to feel and understand

more of the wonder

of this undeserved,




To grasp the fact

that even I can bring You joy,

and most of all

enable me to love you, as I long to,

in return”
The mountains and hills may crumble, but my love for You will never end. Isaiah 54:10

Life changes – our circumstances change – but God never changes. His love endures forever!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lead Me to the Cross

I hope you all are having a fabulous morning! The last two weeks have been insanely busy for me at work, but I was reminded to “ Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.” (Phil 2:14-16) I find it very hard not to complain, when I am tired and exhausted. I really should be counting my blessing rather thinking of all the things that I can complain about. Seriously if we all took our time to think of our blessings, list would be endless. I would like to encourage you today to count your blessing no matter what you are going through in this chapter of your journey. List 5 blessings that thank God for them!!!!

1) Family
2) Health
3) Roof over my head
4) Food
5) Job

Monday, November 15, 2010

Good Bye

Hello friends,

I hope you all are having a fabulous day! Over the past month I have been contemplating if I should continue to blog. Finally I made the decision this week to quite. I know, I am sad as well. The problem that I am encountering with blogging is that it takes up a lot of my time. Because we do not have internet at home, often I have to travel 35 minutes on way to upload posts. If I am out of town or if we have visitors, I feel overwhelmed and stressed out about finding time to type posts and then finding time to actually upload them. So I decided that in order to spend more quality time with my husband, try cooking new recipes, and keeping our home in order, that blogging will have to go.

I want to take this time and thank you for visiting my blog. And for those of you who have blogs, I will continue to visit you.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lead Me to the Cross

On my way to work, I began to pray that God would give me some sort of sign that He is hearing my prayers and knows my broken heart. There are days that I just can’t figure out where He is going with His perfect will, because quite honestly most days it just doesn’t make much sense to me. He has the power to redeem my parents from the pits of hell and He has the power to break my dad’s drinking addiction, yet for many years now my prayers have been answered. I didn’t want to test God, but I just wanted to hear from Him.

The day at work went pretty uneventful until I was headed to class in the afternoon. It was pouring outside and I began to converse with God. “Why is it so easy for me to believe that you divided the sea, yet I am having a hard time believing that You will redeem my parents from the pits of hell?”, I proceed to question God. As our conversation went on, it started to rain harder outside. When I looked up to the sky, I saw God’s answer!!!

I saw a beautiful rainbow (see picture attached), that reminded me that God is faithful to His promises. Even though I still struggles with understanding God’s will, I sure feel comforted in knowing that God never waivers from His Word.

"Be still, and know that I am God." - Psalm 46:10

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tightwad's Savings

Last week we enjoyed vacationing at Hilton Head, so I didn't do any shopping. This week I purchased a good many items without coupons, because I just wanted to try to make crab cakes...and can I just tell you that one bottle of crab meat is so unbelievably expensive?! I also picked up some potato chips because I was starving and ate some on my way home after grocery shopping.

I was excited to score inexpensive meat, because our freezer is running low on meat.

At CVS I picked up 4 toothbrushes, but my only one picture wants to download for some odd reasons. I also picked up 2 packs of gum. My total at CVS was $1.48 and I saved $36.40...woot...woot.

Total spent: $48.19

Total saved: $51.56

Friday, November 12, 2010

Time to recycle

picture source: swagbucks images

I have never made homemade gifts, however after reading Paula Deen's magazine will consider it now. Instead of buys expensive containers, you can use containers from baking soda, corn starch, bread crumbs, cocoa, tea, coffee, oatmeal, cookies, nuts to fill up with homemade recipes like cookies, pies and the list goes on.

You can pill the label off the container and cover the container with wrapping paper or paint. Lids can also be decorated with fabric or stickers.

Gifts from the kitchen will not only make your friend smile, but your wallet will be happy too.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It is time to smile

From time to time I love looking through my old pictures, which brings lots and lots of memories of good times. I can’t look through our engagement pictures without laughing. The day that we decided to take pictures, my husband, then fiancĂ©, didn’t show up. I was so unbelievably upset that I thought that he was protesting against taking pictures. Thankfully his apartment was near the location for engagement pictures, so I stormed to let him know my piece of mind. We I opened the door of his apartment I was relieved to see that my husband was not protesting he was just napping. He decided to take a quick nap before the pictures and forgot to set the alarm. So when he woke up he had a huge line imprinted on his face from his nap.

Thankfully our photographer, Charles Davenport, was very patient with our late start and worked with us to mask the long line on Daniel’s face. We had so much fun taking pictures and were thrilled with the results.

Later on my girlfriends and I decided to have a fun outing before graduating from USC and once again Charles Davenport was able to capture the fun moments. He was snapping fun pictures that we were very pleased with!

If you live in South or North Carolina and looking for affordable, fun and great photographer to capture precious moments, I would highly recommend for you to contact Charles Davenport. I promise you won’t be disappointed with the result!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Four Cheese Macaroni

I hate the taste of cheese, but I enjoy eating cottage cheese and cheesecake! But my hubby loves mac and cheese, so I decided to give a try by using a recipe I found on . When my husband sat down to eat dinner, I couldn’t wait to hear the verdict. My unbelievably picky husband loved my homemade macaroni and cheese. Yay…even though I never tried my creation, I was still a happy camper!


1 tbs vegetable oil
16 ounce package of elbow macaroni
1 stick of butter
2/3 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
2/3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese
2 c. of half-and-half
8 ounces cubed Velveeta cheese
salt to taste

Cook pasta for 8 minutes until al dente. Once pasta is cooked, drain it and return back to the pot.

Melt butter and mix it in pasta

In a separate bowl mix cheese

Add half-and-half and 1 c. cheese mixture to macaroni and mix well.

Transfer pasta mixed with cheese mixture to a well greased casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on the top of pasta and get ready to bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Every 10 minutes take the dish out and stir very well until Velveeta cheese is mixed well with pasta.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's magic

We were blessed with a rent free house. We didn’t have to furnish the house, but we chose to put our own couch and a chair along with other minor decorations. With Pier 1 gift cards we purchased our own kitchen table, but decided to keep it in the box and use the table that the house already had.

One year my husband gave me flowers for my birthday and I displayed them on the kitchen table. Next to the vase I had several papers with my signed name. So you can imagine my surprised face, when I came home and saw a big mess on the table. Apparently the vase couldn’t hold the flowers and it fell over spilling the water all over the signed papers. When I picked up the papers, I noticed that my name was now imprinted on the table.

My heart was beating fast and I was wondering how in the world I am going to get rid of the mess. I remembered that not too long ago I used Magic Eraser to clean up some marks on the door, so I decided to try the Magic Eraser to get rid of the ink on the table. Believe it on now, but in a matter of a minute my name was no longer on the table. I felt relieved!!!

Since that incident I have used Magic Eraser for cleaning white cabinet, doors, sink, you name it. Have you used Magic Eraser?

Monday, November 8, 2010

It is time to declutter

I absolutely hate taking pills! Unless I have excruciating headache, which does not happen too often, I will not take Tylenol for minor headaches. The day that I decided to clean out our cabinet, I was surprised at how many bottles of medicine we had. Well, perhaps we had so many bottles was because I went overboard with free items when I first started to coupon.

If I do decide to take Tylenol, I am on a mission to search through what feels like hundreds of bottle of medicine. When I finally do find the right bottle, my headache by that time usually 10 times worst, because of all the searching that I had to do. So it was time to de-clutter.

I began to look at the expiration date on the bottles and was shocked when I found out that many bottles expired in 2009. Ooops! One by one the bottles began to fill up the trash can. Once I cleaned the shelf with medicine, I decided it was time to move on to spices.

Since I do not use too many spices in my cooking, I needed to clear up the shelf. I had about 10 bottles of spices that have never been opened and were acquired just because they were free. So I figured I can take all 10 bottles to work and share with my co-workers.

In less than 30 minutes both medicine and spice shelves were de-cluttered and I was able to actually see items that I use the most. So my friend, what are you waiting for? The best way to de-clutter is to actually get rid of items that you no longer use.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I am on vacation!

It has been wonderful to not worry about school work this week, however it has been most wonderful to finally go on a vacation and have time off from work and home responsibilities.

This week we are spending time at Hilton Head with my American family. I came up with a brilliant idea to take this week off from blogging and posting money saving tips. It is my hope that you understand my break this week and my desire to spend time with my family.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I love looking for house decorations while enjoying my vacation

We are on vacation right now and it feels wonderful! Beautiful weather, good food and family time have been so relaxing that I really would like to extend our vacation for a month or so. I am sure my boss at work would be keen about my idea.

One of the simplest things that I have been enjoying is TV. OK…I know sounds silly, but because we don’t have TV at our home, it has been fun watching home decorating shows with my American mom. Perhaps my favorite room that I can’t wait to decorate when we have our own house would be kitchen. Maybe I feel this way because I spend a lot of time in there trying to master bread baking techniques along with creating other yummy recipes.

So the decorating shows led me at night to search for different items online…I also must admit that I have really enjoyed having access to internet! I began my search with tables. My husband thinks that when we have our own home we will have two kitchen tables. I am still trying to figure out the theory behind him wanting two tables. But I decided to start searching anyways and came across some beautiful drop leaf tables. Perhaps if I had a million dollars we could then buy all the tables on the website.

Until I have a million dollars, I think we will stick with having only two tables per my husband’s request.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lead Me to the Cross

On Sunday I was traveling to Franklin, NC to speak share my testimony about the OCC. I was looking forward to meeting new people, but was dreading to drive up the curvy mountain. By curvy I mean that you have to drive no faster than 30 mph. My trip started out just fine until I noticed a car was following me way too close for my comfort zone. At that moment I had to make a choice of either continue to drive normally or to pull aside and let the car pass me. I chose the latter one.

Because I chose to pull to the side to let the car pass me, I was blessed by a beautiful view of colorful trees and a reminder how majestic is the God that I serve. Each tree was different; some trees were covered with red leaves, others with yellow, brown and green. Needless to say the view was breath taking. As I attempted to take pictures of God’s beautiful creation, I was reminded that I serve artistic God who crafted you and me to be different. Some people are blessed with gift of teaching, others with gift of compassion and the list goes on and not one person is alike, just like not one tree that I was admiring was alike. But just as each tree radiated true beauty of nature, each human being radiates beauty of God’s perfect creation.

It never seizes to amaze me that I was so special to God that He knew me before I was born. Jeremiah 1:5 says, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose.” God knew and numbered all my days before I was even born, isn’t it amazing? Psalm 139:16 says, “your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

My friend, I hope today you can take comfort in knowing that God carefully crafted you, because He loved you first. He has been plans for you, if you will only yield to His Sovereign will.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tightwad's Savings

I had a pretty good shopping week. We didn’t have to have anything in particular so I shopped at Bi-Lo and Ingles for sales items. I snagged a few boxes of muffins and a few boxes of dessert for $0.25 each. Because I was planning to make my very first dish of mac & cheese, I bought cheese and butter that wasn’t really on sale, but I didn’t care too much that I did not have a coupon for it. I was a little shocked at how much real butter cost nowadays.

Prunes were on sale B1G1 this week and after sales and coupons I paid around $0.25 a bag. We were out of rice so I bought Rice Select brand, which I love sushi rice (makes the best sticky rice). The rice was pricy, but it lasts us for a while. Oh I did also stop by Aldi and bought 2 packs of frozen raspberries. I think next time I will buy vanilla ice cream and mix it up with raspberries. Yum!

Total spent: $26.75

Total saved: $34.31

Friday, October 29, 2010

I am done with school!!!

(all the magazines that I will read on vacation)

It is done. It is over. It is complete.

After I graduated college, I had no plans of continuing my education. However, once Daniel and I got married, the word “masters” began to creep in our every day conversation. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to spend hours on homework all while working full time and being a wife full time. However, my husband encouraged me to consider, especially once we found out that my amazing employer will reimburse 100% if I maintain A average.

I decided to give a try and applied to Southern Wesleyan University located 45 minutes from our home. Class would meet 1 day a week for 4 hours. The idea seemed ok, considering we didn’t have children and my husband was still in school. I I would work 8am to 5 pm and would go to school 1 day a week from 6 pm to 10 pm. Plus we wouldn’t get further in debt with student loans, if I studied hard. So I applied for the program, was accepted and began my class in November 2008.

I have to admit that during the first class I was a bit nervous. On my way to school I wondered if I could juggle school, work and family. I also wondered if I will remember how to study again. But I met some wonderful people in my class and the fear quickly dwindled away. For the next two years I poured sweat and lot of hours into studying business. There were days that I wanted to quit, because I was exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually. There were days that I felt that I made a big mistake by going back to school. There were several days that I cried driving from school, because I had no life outside of studying. But there were also many days that I was grateful that my husband believed in me achieving my goal of finishing MBA program.

So today I am happy to say that this past Tuesday I took my very last MBA class. And I feel like a burden has been lifted off my shoulders. Although my graduation is in December, I am so happy that I will have one month to relax and actually read non school related books. I am thrilled that I can start cooking and spending more time with my husband.

I just wanted to share with you what is going on in our lives.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Organizing and hiding your keys

I do not like when our house gets cluttered. In fact, I feel stressed out when I come home and items are not where they should be. Recently I have been aggravated with the fact that our kitchen counter is always cluttered with house keys and car keys. So I decided to do something about it.

Recently I came across a handy dandy tip that hopefully will help you to be a little bit more organized. I selected a kitchen cabinet that I wanted to be a hiding place for our keys.

Inside of the cabinet I attached 2 hooks.

I then placed all gazillion keys that we have on the hooks.

The beauty of this tip is that I no longer have to spend 30 minutes looking for keys. Plus they are hidden so no one sees them and we no longer have keys cluttering our kitchen counters. You can also hang measuring cups and other kitchen tools.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Steak, rice and gravy

I work with a friend, who always makes brings yummy looking homemade lunches. I noticed that her rice and gravy always looks wonderful, so I decided to ask her for a recipe. When I tried it at home, the results were great because my husband ate every single bite of steak, rice and gravy that I made.

I used 3 Chef Requested round steaks. I coated each steak in flour and fry them on the pan until each side was golden brown. Then I added enough water in the pan to cover the steaks. I cooked until steaks were done and the water was thickened and turned into gravy.

I took the steaks out and cut them up in small pieces. When the steaks were cooling, I added several spoons of flour in a bowl and added enough milk to dilute the flour. Since the steaks were no longer in the pan, but the brown gravy was still cooking, I added milk mixture in the gravy. This created yummy white gravy to go over rice.

I mixed gravy, steak and rice together, which created a delicious and easy dinner.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Swagbucks Prizes

When I first heard about Swagbucks over a year ago, I was very skeptical about making money by doing regular searches online. Thankfully I decided to try it for myself and today I want to report to you that in a period of 1 year I have earned $100 in amazon gift cards.

This week I received several items that I ordered for myself using money in my amazon account.

Since I have been dying to start making artisan bread, I was thrilled to purchase two buckets to mix my dough in. I also bough a timer to make sure that my bread won’t be overcooked or under cooked. The best part is that I didn’t have to pay a penny out of pocket.

What are you waiting for? Go sign up! To get started visit and because you will be going through me (oxinabox1), by signing up you will automatically earn 30 Swagbucks. Then if you refer a friend and they sign up, when they earn a Swagbuck you will automatically earn it too up to 1000 Swagbucks! Each day you can do your normal searches through and earn free point for something that you would normally do anyways. To make things easier you can download a tool bar, but if you don’t want to do that just make sure you sign in when you log on to By simply searching using swagbucks search engine instead of google, you will begin to accumulate swagbucks (points) that you can later redeem for prizes or gift cards.

Have you had much success with using swagbucks?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Can TV really drain your wallet?

Are you in the market for a new flat screen TV? Well, I have a tip for you, my friend! No, I am not going to give you a coupon to help you save money, but I will give you a piece of advice that I hope will help you save money years to come. This week I came across a very interesting article in a magazine that we receive from our energy provider. The article compared watts usage of a big screen TV and a fridge. Ok, so I knew that fridge, washing machine and dryer machine are the most energy sucking devices, however my eyes were opened when I learned that brand new high definition TVs use as much electricity as a refrigerator.

I re-read the article several time just to make sure that I read it correctly the first time. And yes, I was correct. For example, 42 to 65 inch plasma screen TVs consumes 240 to 400 watts, which is at much as a fridge. But LCD screens that are 21 to 49 inches consume approximately 111 watts. So next time you are at the store buying a TV ask a sales representative about watts usage and buy a model with the lowest watts consumption. You will be a happy camper, when you electric bill arrive in the mail.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lead Me to the Cross

Does God care about what seems to us is a small prayer requests? Absolutely! He reassured me of that this past summer. Right after Christmas we decided that my mom will come to the US for another visit during the summer time. We both were so thrilled that we would get to see each other again. As soon as we set the date, I looked at my school calendar to see what class I would be taking during my mom’s visit. And it was international business.

Since I majored in international business undergrad, I wasn’t too concerned with the subject. However, part of me still asked “what if”. What is my teacher would be so difficult, that all I would have time to do is to write papers and read the book during my mom’s visit. So I began to pray starting in January that God would place a teacher who would not overload us with homework. “Lord, I really want to spend my time with my mom and not with international business”, I prayed quietly each night. “Would you please place a teacher in our class that would understand that we all work full time and have families?”

I love that the Word of God says in Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call I will answer, while they are still speaking I will hear.” I continued to pray for the teacher as I was preparing for my mom’s trip. It was Tuesday, the very first international business class. I was nervous when the teacher stepped in to our classroom, yet was quickly relieved when I saw our agenda for the next 6 weeks. Our teacher was a retired pastor, who taught us scripture through devotions at the beginning of each class. Each night that I traveled to school, I couldn’t wait to find out which topic in the Bible our teacher would cover in his devotions. And to be honest with you, I was so uplifted each night when I left to go home, that I was certain that God placed devotion on our teacher’s heart just for me to hear.

One night I recall our teacher shared with us Isaiah 40:31, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” The teacher asked us if we knew significance of why the Bible used eagle as an example. We all remained quite. Our teacher then proceeded to tell us that eagles have sockets that control their wings. When they take off, the bird trusts that the socket would lock the wings in place making eagle glide through the air without any work or effort. Thus eagles never grow weary or tired, when flying. The scripture promises a believer the same thing. That once we rely and place our trust in the Lord, we will never grow tired or weary. He will never let us down and will uplift us, just as the sockets will never let the eagle down allowing them to fry effortlessly.

So here you go. Not only did the Lord answered, what seemed to me a very small prayer request, but He also blessed me with a teacher, who was a constant source of encouragement through God’s Holy Word.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tightwad's Savings

This week I once again traveled out of town to speak about the Operation Christmas Child. Since I didn’t see too many good deals in the stores, I decided to enjoy my weekend writing my final paper, visiting with Daniel’s parents and speaking about OCC.

On Sunday morning I did stop before the church at CVS and purchased two razors. Since I had ECB and coupons, I only ended up paying in $1.40 taxes. I also made a quick stop at Earth Fare and purchased flour to make artisan bread and because I had a coupon for a free fresh pineapple, I ended up paying only $5.99 out of pocket.

Total spent: $7.39

Total saved: $24.75

Friday, October 22, 2010

What to do with extra fruit

Sometimes I struggle to pass a good deal, especially when it comes to apples and bananas. At Ingles near my work, I often find good (almost green) bananas on manager’s special ($1.49 for a bag) and bags of apples for the same price. So I buy apples with hopes of making apple sauce and I buy bananas to make muffins, smoothies and to freeze the rest of later use.

This week I was planning to make apple sauce with several bags of apples that have been collecting dust in the fridge. Unfortunately I got so busy that I never made time for apple sauce this week, but will try again next week.

However, I was inspired to cook, so I used up a few bananas to make muffins for my hubby. He was a happy camper.

I also froze several bananas for later use and make a yummy peanut butter banana smoothie using a recipe that my reader recommended some time ago.

What do you do with cheap produce?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Homemade Biscuits

Daniel often has to get up at 4 am to go to school for PT (Army training stuff), so he enjoys a good breakfast. One breakfast item that he loves is whole wheat biscuits, which I sometimes buy from the grocery store if they are on sale. I was always shy about making homemade biscuits because I thought that it would be time consuming. Since I didn’t want to get up at 3 am to fix a hot breakfast, I let Pillsbury do all the work at 4 am. After awhile I decided that buying biscuits is sort of expensive, so it was time for me to put my armor on and a brave face to conquer my biscuit making fear. And can I just tell you that I was shocked how easy and quick it is to make homemade from scratch biscuits!


1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tbs sugar
¾ tsp salt
¼ cup butter
1 cup milk (I used buttermilk

mix all dry ingredients together and add chunks of butter

add butter milk
start working the dough (knead) so that all ingredients are incorporated until you can form a ball with the dough

Roll out the dough and use a cup to form biscuits

Bake biscuits at 350F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown

I love biscuits with jelly!