Category Archives: March 2014


Slippn’ Into God’s Blessings

By Donna Tobin Smith

My oldest son will be 34 this month. I’m supposed to be 34, not my son.

I remember singing along with the Steve Miller Band when I was just a teenager, “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.” I didn’t realize then that in only a few short years that my children would also be “slippin’” into the future.

motherson                In the blink of an eye, this grown son has gone from a young dinosaur loving boy to a real bone doctor. Recently his dad and I and our youngest son made a trip to Erie, Pennsylvania, to help him move into an apartment as he completes a final fellowship in hand surgery before he joins a permanent practice.

We knew it was going to be a trip of buying and toting and arranging for the most part. But with my son’s fellowship beginning in less than a week and only a few weeks until my own summer break from school was ending, we wanted to make sure we squeezed in a few minutes of fun.

We had already decided that Erie probably wouldn’t be the greatest place to visit, especially when compared to our trip to Sydney, Australia, where he just completed a fellowship in elbows and shoulders. In fact, my youngest son was already calling his brother’s new residence “Dreary.” But we just happened to choose the weekend of the Presque Isle State Park Festival. Our son surprised us by booking a helicopter tour of Lake Erie. Unfortunately, or gratefully, I should say, the tour was cancelled due to “mechanical” problems. We went to the festival anyway, and walked on the “beach,” saw a sand castle competition, and watched dozens of colorful kites whip through the wind. We discovered that in the summertime, at least, Erie wasn’t so dreary after all.

Since the helicopter ride was cancelled, my son had another arcadeidea. He had seen a sign advertising an “All You Can Play” arcade. He had originally thought his brother might like to visit the arcade. But with the helicopter tour cancelled, he decided to take dear old Mom and Dad there, too.

For ten dollars, you could play all day. We could only spare an hour, but the tickets were half price for the last hour of the day. We hit the arcade at 8:00 on the dot. It closed at 9:00. We were going to play until they ran us out. And play we did.

We played Skee-Ball, Half Court Hoops, and Evil Knievel Stunt Cycle. Then I challenged my oldest son to a friendly bowling match on Strike Master Shuffle. “Mama, I didn’t know you were so competitive,” he said. How could he have forgotten? We squeezed in a couple of Pitch and Bat baseball and Super Mario games before my youngest son and I closed the place down with a lively game of air hockey. He won. Rats.

Between his fellowships, my son was able to come home for a week this summer. One night we were reminiscing about our boys’ younger days with of friend of my oldest son when I mentioned that at one time, all three of our boys could recite Psalm 1. My son was in the next room. “Their daddy read it to them every night for years,” I added. Suddenly, his friend shouted, “Hey Josh, say Psalm 1.” Without hesitation, he began. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”  I joined in. “He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields it fruit inseason and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” We finished the psalm together.

“Which yields its fruit in season.”

Yes, time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin. But that’s ok. I’m thankful that I have lived long enough to recognize my blessings and to savor every single one.


Penny Pinching – Saving Time and Money

By Stacy Vanzant

Let’s be honest. We’re all trying to save money, and the easiest place to blow your cash is around your home.  The Bible teaches us to be humble in our ways.  Although God will provide for our needs, we should take a closer look at what our needs really are and not be blindsided by our wants.

When you take a look around your house, what do you see?  When I took a deep look around my home I realized that as humans we want to make our lives easier, but at what cost and are there other alternatives?

When I watch infomercials on television or even walk down the aisle at a store, I’m bombarded with items that claim to make my life easier.  Steam vacuums, 3-in-1 dusters, cleaning supplies and even expensive organizational products all tell me they can save me time and effort.  So I took a look at many of the products I use around my house on a weekly basis and started looking for ways to be more frugal.

Here are a few of the keys finds that can save me hundreds of dollars each year and even a little elbow grease.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

On average, a container of store bought laundry detergent will cost anywhere from $10-$18.  This will average around 60-70 loads of laundry.  Here is a great and easy recipe to make your own detergent with very little effort and could save you hundreds of dollars each year.  The average cost per load using this recipe is around .01 per load. Wow!


Bar soap – The most typical type of soap to use is Fels Naptha.  It is an old-fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle.  The other options for soap are Ivory or another brand called Zote.  Any of these will work.   If you use Ivory or your own homemade soap you will need to use the whole bar.

Washing Soda – This is not to be confused with baking soda.  They are not the same thing.  It is a white powder and its purpose is to help remove dirt and odors.   Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is one type that can be found in the laundry section of the grocery store.   If you’re having a hard time finding it, you can order washing soda online through

Borax – Borax is a naturally occurring mineral: Sodium Borate.  It is a white powder.  Its purpose is as a laundry whitener and deodorizer. The brand to look for is 20 Mule Team.  It comes in a 76 oz. box.  You should be able to locate this in the laundry detergent aisle.


1/3 bar Fels Naptha or 1 bar other type of soap, as listed above

½ cup washing soda

½ cup borax powder

You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.   Now add your soap mixture and stir, then add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  Use ½ cup per load.

If you want your soap to have a scent you can add ½ to 1 oz. of essential oil or fragrance oil of your choice.

The finished soap will not be a solid gel.  It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an “egg noodle soup.” The soap is a low sudsing soap, so if you don’t see any suds, that is ok.  Suds are not what does the cleaning; it is the ingredients in the soap.

Replace your Household Cleaners with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide should really be called oxygen water, since it is basically the same chemical make up as water but with an extra oxygen atom (H2O2). Because of this it breaks down quickly and harmlessly into oxygen and water.  It’s non-toxic so it’s versatile and can be used around children, food and many other areas of your home.  No need to invest in the fancy brand name cleaners.

Replace your mouthwash

Use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash to freshen breath. It kills the bacteria that cause halitosis. Use a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water.

Kitchen Cleaner

Clean your cutting board and countertop. Let everything bubble for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse clean. Wipe out your refrigerator and dishwasher. Because it’s non-toxic, hydrogen peroxide is great for cleaning places that store food and dishes.

Remove baked-on crud from pots and pans

Combine hydrogen peroxide with enough baking soda to make a paste, then rub onto the dirty pan and let it sit for a while. Come back later with a scrubby sponge and some warm water, and the baked on stains will lift right off.

Clean the toilet bowl

Pour half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into the toilet bowl, let stand for 20 minutes, then scrub clean.

Toss the bleach

Remove stains from clothing, curtains, and tablecloths. Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a pre-treater for stains — just soak the stain for a little while in 3% hydrogen peroxide before tossing into the laundry. You can also add a cup of peroxide to a regular load of whites to boost brightness. It’s a green alternative to bleach, and works just as well.

Clean kids’ toys and play areas

Hydrogen peroxide is a safe cleaner to use around kids, or anyone with respiratory problems, because it’s not a lung irritant. Spray toys, toy boxes, doorknobs, and anything else your kids touch on a regular basis.

Around the House

Help out your plants. To ward off fungus, add a little hydrogen peroxide to your spray bottle the next time you’re spritzing plants.

Detox in the Bath

According to alternative therapy practitioners, adding half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide to a warm bath can help detoxify the body. Some are skeptical of this claim, but a bath is always a nice way to relax and the addition of hydrogen peroxide will leave you – and the tub – squeaky clean!

Steam Cleaner

Use one pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water to clean humidifiers and steamers.

You can see a more in depth list of ways hydrogen peroxide can help around your home at Here

Toilet Tissue Savings

With a simple smash you can save a lot of money on wasteful toilet tissue runs. Smashing down your tissue rolls it prevents you or those in your family from running off more than they need.  It might sound silly, but just give it a squish and see how it works out for your family.


This might sound like an easy way to save, but it can add up to  savings on  your utility bill.  By simply going around your home and unplugging phone chargers, appliances, computers and even microwaves, you could save big.  Even when not in use, these items pull energy from your home.  By bending over to unplug you could save up to 10% a month on your utility bill.  It might not sound true, but give it a bend and see what happens.