Friday, December 31, 2010

Kroger Savings 12-31-10

Thank goodness I remembered today was 12-31-2010. My coupon organizer was full of Cs that expired today, and when I realized I needed to scan through to see if there were any that matched up with my Kroger ad, well, it was actually last night around 11 p.m. I got to bed at 1:30 after going through a couple hundred Cs, then loading several eCoupons onto my Kroger card.

I got to Kroger this morning earlier than I usually do, and there were only about 10 people in the entire store! Yeah for me! No distractions, no crowd = fun shopping experience (if there is such a thing).

I went in with a plan to only purchase non-grocery consumables that were on sale this week. I had coupons for everything on my list, as well as two coupons for free items. Above is the photo of this trip and here's the breakdown and what I paid (after coupons):

12 double rolls Charmin Ultra Soft - $2.49
Bounty 8 roll pack - $4.49
Duracell batteries 8 pack - $2.49
Pampers 70 count - $16.99
Pampers Thick Care wipes - FREE (with purchase of Pampers)
Febreeze Air Effects - they paid me .21 cents to take this so it was better than free
Dawn - .19 cents
Bounce dryer sheets 120 count - $2.99
Always liners 100 count - $2.49
Tampax 50 count - $2.49
Olay body wash - .99 cents
Olay hand lotion - FREE (with purchase of Olay wash)
Secret - .29 cents
Crest 6 ounce with Scope - .50 cents
4 Old Spice deoderent - $3.16

I somehow paid $4.00 less on my total than I expected and the only thing I can figure out is I must have had a few eCoupons loaded that I didn't factor in.
My grand total was $35.05 plus tax!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Studio

Who needs a formal living room anyway? I'd rather have a place to sew, and that's what I got when we moved into our home five years ago. Here's where I go to dream, play and create. My little oasis.

My worktable was inspired by a friend's window treatment worktable. Hubby found a huge, solid wood table at a hardware store that was heading for the storage shed. He thought of me and my love of all tables big, and asked if they would sell it. A few days later we loaded it on the trailer and brought it home. This photo may be a little deceiving as this table is 5 feet wide by 8 feet long! It almost didn't fit in our front door. We actually had to saw quite a bit off the legs to get it in! It's over waist high, which is just the perfect height. I can reach more than half-way across, so I can use every inch of it. I ordered commercial grade, worktable padding and canvas for the top, and added an inch of black insulation board to the layers so I can pin directly into the table. Talk about a dream. It makes any project more fun. Plus there's lots and lots of storage underneath. Pardon my wrinkly yellow fabric on the sides... it was the biggest piece of yardage I had on hand that I was willing to staple around the table. It's just intended to hide the mess underneath! I'll show you that later...

Here's my new Brother Duetta sewing and embroidery machine! I've spent the last two days getting to know her, and I'm not the least bit disappointed. Amazing machine!

My crazy big collection of sewing and quilting books in on the left. Patterns, etc., are across the room....

My goal is to fit every single piece of fabric I own into this room. I have the two bookcases on the right filled to capacity, 1/2 of the two bookcases on the left filled (the top half of those bookcases is filled with notions and patterns), and I still have, lets just say, quite a few more yards downstairs. I would actually love to fit anything and everything that I own craft-wise in this room at some point. I will admit that I have too much.

Until a few weeks ago, this room contained a large train table. If you have young sons or grandsons, you likely know what this is. I finally managed to wrangle it downstairs into the extra bedroom, which my grandsons now call their "toy room". Yeah for Granny!

Here's a peek under the big table... notice there's still a little free space on the right... I try not to get too excited about this as I know it will not last for long.

My studio spills over into my dining room - - thank goodness we can eat in our kitchen. In the five years we've lived here, I've used the dining room for eating twice. It is generally the home for my serger, and my Quilt-Cut (another of my favorite things), and they really do get more use if they stay out in the open. Storing a serger just isn't any fun at all.

Now I know you're wondering if my studio stays this neat all the time. While I'd like to say "oh, sure!", you probably know that isn't true :-) If there's a mess in there, it means I am actually getting to sew!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Today's Trip To CVS!

Sorry I didn't get a pic of the results of today's shopping trip to CVS, but here's a summary:

What I bought -
6 two-liters of Diet Coke
12 pack Charmin Basic
13 ounce Tone body wash
32 loads Tide
Mega large Aussie hairspray
Dawn dish washing liquid

Here's what I paid - $7.24 (and that includes tax!!)
Every item I purchased was on sale this week, and I had coupons for every item except the Diet Coke. My coupons totaled $4.25. I then used $14.00 ECBs and paid $7.24 out of pocket! Then the nice register printed out $5 worth of ECBs for my next purchase!

Nice deals this week! I noticed my receipt says the quarterly ECBs start printing January 1, so it will be interesting to see how all that works. I've only been CVSing for a couple of months now and I am still learning. I can see a huge difference in how I shop there, and my savings are always good. I encourage anyone trying to save $ on their household consumables to give it a try! I am not getting many good grocery deals at CVS, but I know there are others who do. I spend time each week with the Kroger sale flyer, and that's where I am saving big on my groceries.

Here's where I started learning about CVS shopping:

Even if you're not interested in being a die-hard CVSer, their sale on Charmin Basic is great this week (12 double rolls for $4.99 plus you get $1 ECB) and Coke products (.88 cent for a 2 liter, limit 6). You will need a CVS card to get these deals.

Happy Shopping!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Embroidery Anyone?

Well, what do you think? Sleek, sexy, super marvelous! She's my new combo sewing/embroidery machine that I hope to bring home tomorrow!

I've wanted one for a while now... and frankly, I'd gotten sick of dealing with assorted dealers... so I went to the Internet and just starting researching on my own again... reading reviews and "talking" to people who own different machines. I concluded, pretty much on my own, that the Brother Duetta 4500D was the machine for me. True, I was initially drawn to the Brother Quattro, but it was just out of my price range.

So what will my new machine be able to do? Embroidery for starters! I've never had an embroidery machine and I'm still not sure why I am drawn to the thought of embroidery, but yes, I want one. This machine will also be the ultimate in piecing quilts (which I do as often as possible) and with gazillions of decorative stitches - there's just no telling what I might create!

My sweet hubby is off work tomorrow (thank you UPS) and he's driving me to pick my new machine up. He actually made this statement earlier - - "Karen, we are not driving to Lexington only to come home without this machine!" He knows how much I really want a new machine, but he also knows my tendency to talk myself right out of purchases for self. More often than not (actually I should say pretty much 99% of the time) I will decide not to spent money on me. So we'll see...

It will be hard to sleep tonight :-)))

Monday, December 13, 2010

Saturday, Dec. 11 CVS Shopping

My shopping trips just never look as awesome in a photo as they do in person.

Here's what I got at CVS Saturday:

Tide 96 loads
Dial soap, 6 bars
Edge Shaving Gel
Turtles, 2 boxes
King size candy bars (Reese's, Heath, Kit Kat), 10 total
Renpure Organics Shampoo, 2 of these
Playtex Tampons, 2 boxes
Gain dish detergent
Venus razor

Paid out of pocket (including tax): $28.32
This is more than I usually spend in one trip at CVS, but I got $109.62 worth of stuff (keep in mind that's CVS regular prices and their regular prices are not bargains). I used rain checks on the shampoo and candy bars and got all those items free after ECBs. I had coupons for up to $1.00 off each of the other items, and I (of course) used several ECBs. After paying, the nice register printed me another $23 in ECBs for future purchases. And oh, I made these purchases in three separate transactions. That's another key to paying less out of pocket cash when you are using ECBs.

Hope (one of the managers at my CVS) is so wonderful. I just love shopping when she's working. She's patient with us crazy coupon ladies, and she always teaches me something new. The CVS employees can make your bargain shopping experience either great OR something you don't want to waste time doing. The girls at our local CVS are always top-notch and I am so glad they are here!

This week's CVS deals don't much appeal to me, so I think I'll wait to see what next week's bargains are. I am guessing the clearance deals might be good through the end of the year. I wish I had time to visit CVS a few times a week!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saving Money At Kroger & CVS - Lessons Learned!

I haven't missed one week of thrifty shopping since I started using coupons at Kroger and CVS. It seems like each week I learn something new, usually from making a mistake that reverses a little of my savings. In the last couple of weeks since I last blogged, I've saved never less than 50% off my grocery bill (often much more).

Black Friday at CVS was awesome, and I missed out on some of the great deals only because some of the items were out of stock (and still are - yep, I am learning to ask for rain checks now). CVS had many items that were FREE after Extra Care Bucks. I am learning that it's usually beneficial to buy anything FREE after ECBs as long as you can use it or donate it. And of course only if you plan to use those ECBs in the month (they expire one month after you get them).

Anyway, I am learning the hard way that you DO have to pay attention to your transactions, and to the items you are purchasing that are supposed to be either on sale, or an ECB deal. There are times at my local CVS that some merchandise is not labeled on the shelf as to which is actually on sale or an ECB deal. One example recently was a laundry detergent that was one sale in the ad, but no sign was present on the shelf to identify that it was. After studying the sale ad (I hate to keep asking the nice cashiers at our store too many questions) I was lucky enough to select the right product and got the sale price. Another example was another sale item (Mentos gum) that was advertised in the ad. I chose three varieties of the on-sale gum because I had three coupons for that gum that would have made them free. CVS was busy that day, and I was distracted at the cash register and didn't pay attention to the prices as the items were scanned. I knew my total was a few bucks more than I expected, but I paid and left the store. I noticed (when I got home) that I got the sale price on one gum, but paid full price for the other two. CVS regular prices are not usually prices I'd ever pay, so I was very disappointed.

The same thing happened to me at Kroger recently. I spend a while looking at the Kroger sale ad (I pick up a new one each week on Sunday after church) and I always go in to shop with a plan. One particular sale that Kroger has often is a "buy 10 items" and get a certain amount reduction (like $5.00 off). In order to get those sale prices (or the $5.00 off your total) you must buy 10 items (which can be mixed and matched among the sale items). If you buy less than 10 you will pay the price before discount. If you buy 11, you will get the discount for 10 items, but pay the non-discount price for the 11th item. In other words, when you see these sales, you must buy in multiples of 10.

I love the buy 10 sales. Yesterday I purchased 10 packets of Bumble Bee tuna that normally sell for $1.49 each for only .49 cents each. I got this price using only my Kroger card, no coupons. Hard to beat those kind of sales. I also got 4 boxes of Cheerios for $1.25 each (sale price plus 2 coupons), Wesson canola oil for .80 cents (sale price plus coupon), and 5 boxes of Kleenex for .60 cents each (sale price plus coupons). If you combine coupons with Kroger sale prices, you can save big. You've just got to pay attention to the sale ad, and even ask a Kroger employee to explain it to you if something is not clear. I've only encountered one unfriendly and non-helpful Kroger employee where I shop. Everyone else has been very helpful. One young lady was working the register last week when I went in for batteries that were on sale that I had coupons for. She got so excited when I got 6 packages of Duracell batteries for .25-.50 each! She thought that was so cool!

CVS shopping makes me a little nuts some weeks. I always go in there with a plan too, and never, ever has my shopping gone as planned. Seems that something is always out of stock, which will throw off your plan if you're trying to reach a certain $ amount in order to use a $4 off $20 coupon (which I get from CVS frequently). You can use those coupons as soon as your subtotal reaches the $20 amount (before other coupons, or offers, or ECBs). I try to always use those coupons as it's essentially 20% off, and I usually have plenty of coupons and ECBs to cover all or most of the balance.

When planning your shopping trip at CVS, scan the sale ad and look at all the FREE after ECBs offers (sometimes there are not any). Then look for items that are priced good (with or without ECBs). There are some rip-offs in every sale ad (sorry CVS but it's true). For instance, last week there was a deal for $2 ECBs when you buy Ban roll on deodorant. No price was listed in the sale ad - only the ECB deal. These are usually not good deals. I had a coupon for Ban for .50 cents off so I thought I'd do that deal. When I got to the store and saw that that product was priced at $5.99, even with the $2 ECB and my coupon, I would still be paying $3.49 plus tax for Ban deodorant (a brand that I don't usually even use). I do not consider this a good deal - so I passed on that one.

Rolling Extra Care Bucks is neat. I am still not proficient enough to teach someone the details of this, but I am starting to catch on. Rolling your bucks will help you pay little out of pocket cash (use your ECBs) when you purchase items that offer ECBs. You basically just roll them over and over. In order to get good at this, you need to plan to shop at CVS weekly, and never miss the good ECB deals. is a great place to learn about CVS shopping.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday CVS Bargains!!

Wow! I can hardly believe how well I did at CVS today! I really need to be sitting at my sewing machine right now, but I just HAD to share my excitement first!

I try to do my CVS shopping on Sunday afternoons since that's the first day of their sale each week (they run Sunday-Saturday). I'd studied this week's sale flyer for about a hour already (earlier in the week since our CVS will give you the sale flyer in advance if you ask) and spent another 20 minutes or so right before I went to CVS today (since my sweet neighbor who gives me all her coupons brought some over right after church!). It's a good thing I did as there were many coupons in today's paper that made this shopping trip very, very good!

I started todays shopping with $4 in ECBs (Extra Care Bucks) from my last visit, PLUS I also had a $5 off $25 CVS coupon that was e-mailed to me this week. My $5 coupon expired today so I wanted to use it without buying $25 worth of stuff I didn't need or wasn't on sale. Actually, I never do that anyway. Coupons are always tempting, but the money you save is actually wasted if you buy something you may never use just because you have a coupon for it. So I planned a little extra so I would make smart decisions - - and it paid off today! Here's the summary of what I bought (see photo above) and what I paid:

Oral B Vitality rechargeable toothbrush (on sale for $23 this week)
2 Lipton tea bags
3 Skippy peanut butter
Right Guard deodorant
Dry Idea deodorant
2 Mentos gum
Medicated Blistex lip ointment
Aussie volumizing shampoo

I did two transactions for these purchases, and using my CVS coupon, manufacturer coupons, my $4 Extra Care Bucks, and $13 ECBs from my first transaction today. I paid a total of $6.92 plus tax for ALL of it! To sweeten the deal, I left CVS with $7 in additional ECBs! My savings today was $68.56! I am sure there are some hard-core CVSers out there who did even better than me, but I'll take these kind of savings any day! Well worth the few hours a week I spend planning and snipping coupons!

If you're new to CVS shopping and want to learn more, go to for some great info!

Addicted to Coupons?

It's official. I've become one of those crazy coupon ladies. A friend of mine innocently mentioned how much she saves on her groceries (and all the other stuff we need to run a household) and I was immediately in awe of her savvy ways. I consider myself a conservative when it comes to money and spending (and most other things). I tried couponing many years ago and frankly, I just wasn't at the point in my life where I was willing to devote the few hours a week necessary to really learning the art... BUT now I am!

The website was the first source shared with me (also by my thrifty friend) that describes detailed information about saving money at CVS. From there, I found many other websites with coupon and thrifty shopping information. I'll blog about some of those when I have time as well (and as I learn more).

I am still new to the whole concept, but I've already saved hundreds of dollars in the last couple of months on groceries and other items we all use on a daily basis. Never again will I pay full retail price on most of the consumable stuff that comes into my home! It does require some homework throughout the week, but the more I do it, the faster and better I get.

I have grown to love shopping at CVS, and although their regular prices are usually not bargains by any means, their sale prices on the other hand, combined with coupons and the Extra Buck program can save you lots of money on many consumables. The CVS Extra Care Card is required for these savings, so if you haven't got one - run to your local CVS and sign up! will educate you on everything you need to know to get the best deals possible at CVS.

Just yesterday I shopped at both Wal-Mart and Kroger and wanted to share an example of what coupons and a little planning can do to make your wallet happier. Neither one of these trips produced HUGE savings, and I have done much better in previous weeks, but some weeks are certainly more fruitful than others. Speaking of uber bargains, make sure to get your CVS card before Black Friday (and read the website) to see all the FREE stuff you can get with a little planning and some coupons. Also start collecting coupons from the Sunday paper, and sign up on coupon websites so your coupon stash can be growing. OK, here's the info from my two little shopping trips this weekend (see pics above):

Kroger shopping on Saturday, November 13, 2010

Items I purchased:
4 - Campbell's Select Harvest soup
2 - Kroger peach halves
4 - Campbell's condensed soup
1 - Zesta whole wheat crackers
2 - Energizer batteries (4 packs)
1 - Nestle Toll House cookie dough
1 - pound of Kroger brand butter
Price paid (using sale information and coupons) - $10.34 Saved - $24.87

Wal-Mart Shopping on Saturday, November 13, 2010

Items I purchased:
1 - Black Flag spider killer spray (ick! This is the main reason I even went to Wal-Mart)
1 - Sun laundry detergent
1 - Sun fabric softner
6 - Hunts diced tomatoes
1 - Super jumbo pack of Huggies wipes
1 - Velveeta

I had coupons for the Sun products and the Huggies. Total paid $19.78

The Kroger savings are almost always better than Wal-Mart and I am so glad I finally caught on to this! Kroger always doubles manufacturer coupons (that have a face value of .50 or less) which can really make a difference. Kroger will also send you great coupons in the mail from time-to-time, and they have super great sales too. I'll blog more about Kroger in the coming weeks... I hear they have some great sales coming up for the holidays!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dream Vacation

Did you ever stop and think about the perfect vacation? I mean the vacation that would make YOU happy - not anyone else?

30 days minimum
Well, my sewing machine can come
Beach or mountains (depending on the time of year)
Nah, beach
Unlimited fabric - yummy fabric
No clocks
NO phone
Frozen coffee without calories
Lots of good food that I don't have to cook (with matching wine)
Four good books
Superb sheets and the most awesome bed ever
Good, live music just around the corner
NO traffic
NO phone
Magnificent sunrises and sunsets daily
Unlimited fresh fruit
NO phone
Fresh, new sketch pad and pencils
Creative inspiration
WIFI (since I don't have a phone with me)

I am going to call a travel agent right now and see if I can book this trip... priceless.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nursing and Trees

There's kind of a charting rule in nursing. Redundant documentation is a waste of time. There's absolutely no good reason to duplicate information in your documentation, especially when it's written over and over again. Let me explain: I am a home health nurse. We are essentially "allotted" a certain amount of time to perform an assessment on a patient, provide the indicated care and treatments, and document everything in writing. Our assessment and care for a patient admitted to home health is documented on some 15+, printed back and front, stapled together pages. Then add to that another 8+ pages of assorted documents, and add that up... A LOT OF PAPER, and a lot of writing.

OK, so I am certainly not complaining about required documentation. That's necessary for obvious reasons. Nurses are used to it - it's just part of the job we come to accept. What I AM complaining about however, is all the DUPLICATE documentation. I am finding it harder and harder to tolerate the waste of time (and it can add up to a lot of time over the course of a day... a week...) that writing things like a medical record number, or patient's name, or their pharmacy... over and over and over again... well, you probably get the point.

OK so after the nurses document this "book" on every patient (extensive documentation is done every two months, yes, every TWO months) and add to that all the notes from "regular" visits... OK, so I got off track here and created a run-on sentence, but it's my blog and I am on a roll.... I digress... so after we write this book, our office staff takes the time to input ALL this data into a computer. Hmmmm, does this make ONE BIT OF SENSE to anyone? I don't even own the company, and I get paid on an hourly basis, but I still care that this many trees are being wasted through the shredder at my work each day. And I care that my time is being wasted this way too!

Take the money you save on paper and buy a cheap laptop for all the nurses and therapists. Invest in some smart (NO redundant charting allowed) software. Let me chart on the computer when I am with the patient. I can place my laptop on a docking station at the office where the data is uploaded to the master mega computer... then the office gals can do whatever they need to do with the information from there, and NONE of us ever have to do this crazy duplicate, time-wasting, manual documentation ever again. And guess what? We'll have more time to spend taking care of our patients, which is what it's all about anyway.

I've had a difficult few days at work, and this charting is just the icing on the freaking cake for me. My attitude about this is ugly and I am sorry it's showing right now. I love, love, love patient care - as much as any nurse on the planet - but wasting my time with senseless, antiquated methods of documentation really pushes my buttons. And since this is my blog and no one reads it I feel very safe venting here! LOL!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Slow Roasted Chicken & Strawberry Cobbler

It's Sunday. I didn't intend to cook today. But when my kitchen calls, I have a hard time ignoring.

Geez, I just realized this is the third day in a row that I've blogged.

I've been wanting to try cooking a whole chicken on the grill. You know, the method where you put a whole bird over a can of something (Dr. Pepper, Coke, beer), so I Googled and found a few ideas. I decided to use Dr. Pepper with a little fresh rosemary since I really love rosemary and I happen to have some growing in my tiny herb garden outside my kitchen. I used a prepared rub (one that we like that is actually a pork rub) and let it sit in the frig for about an hour. Then I inverted this rather large roasting chicken over the opened can of Dr. P (with several sprigs of rosemary dropped in) and hubby cooked it on the grill for a little over an hour. So now it's sitting in my kitchen in all its yummy glory, tempting me, and testing my patience while we wait for Taylor to get home from work. It's smells divine.

While the chicken was on the grill I made a large dish of baked beans and a strawberry cobbler. Both of these dishes rate a 10 on hubby's food perfection scale. Both are simple recipes that I make regularly.

Taylor's home so it's time to eat. Wonder if there will be any leftovers?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Disaster Team Training & Sewing Machine Dreams

I got up WAY too early today, but it was for a worthy cause. I had a disaster team training session at the KY Baptist Convention office in Louisville. The class was on Disaster Grief Counseling and it lasted until almost 2 p.m. It was a nice class, and I got to see a few of the medical team members that went to Haiti with me in March, but the best part of the class was meeting a new friend, Tina. She is a nurse too, and she spends many weeks each year doing medical mission and humanitarian work in other countries. I was thrilled to meet her. She's a nurse educator at the University of Cincinatti, and she actually takes students on most of her international mission trips! How cool is that?!?! Coy at the KBC mentioned that we might have the opportunity to go on a humanitarian trip to AFRICA next summer!

I don't make it to Louisville on a regular basis but since I was there today, and since it was only 2 in the afternoon, and since I was only 10 miles from the closest Viking dealer, I had to drive over to The Smocking Shoppe and test drive a fancy sewing machine I've been drooling over. Husqvarna Viking (yes, the same Husqvarna that makes chainsaws and the like) makes sewing machines that are among the best in the world. I bought a simple Viking machine a few years ago and have wanted one of their top-of-the-line models ever since.

I went into the Shoppe thinking I'd inquire about the Sapphire - the model I thought I wanted - but was informed by the wise, wise staff (or should I say clever saleslady) that what I REALLY wanted was the Topaz model. Well, she was probably right, even though I didn't even know the Topaz model existed until she showed it to me. Well, an hour long test drive confirmed my worst fears. I indeed DID want a Topaz, and the price difference was only about a thousand bucks. Notice I said the price DIFFERENCE. Yes, they are expensive machines.

I work hard. I work hard and make my own money. I deserve to spend a little on me, right? This is what I told myself over and over in that Shoppe, and I was within moments - mere seconds - of yelling "SOLD", paying the lady, grabbing all the goods, and burning up I65 toward home so I could stay up all night playing with my new toy. My heart was racing, and my head was spinning with visions of everything I would create with my new mega-machine.... when the clever saleslady said ONE WRONG THING that ruined it all - and lost her a sale. My blood went cold in an instant, and I was out of that Shoppe within minutes. Oh, I was nice. But I think she got the point.

Maybe it was a blessing in disguise (I just love it when that happens) because when I got home I did some research and found that the lowest price she quoted me was probably a few hundred more than I could get it somewhere else for, PLUS the reviews on that particular model were mixed. A few too many negative reviews for my liking. I am thrilled with my decision to leave that Shoppe without paying the lady.

I recently put the purchase of a longarm quilting machine on hold due to the fact our home is for sale and a longarm machine setup isn't something you want to be moving from house to house. It literally requires a room of its own. I really can't afford to own both a longarm AND new sewing/embroidery machine, so I might have to flip a coin to see which one I will try to get. The sensible me says I don't need either one, and the sensible me usually wins. In fact, I sense that my husband will likely get a new boat before I get a new machine...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Time To Blog? Maybe When I Sell My House!

I'm not one to wish time away. In fact, I really would like my life to be a little more simple... okay, a lot more simple! I know I share this desire with a lot of you, and I think about it every single day. I dream of simplifying my life with a smaller house and less stuff to clean and clean around. I can't believe how many hours each week it takes to keep a house in order, and I am one of those people who loves having my home clean and comfy and organized. My home is nice and I am thankful, but I am ready to move on to something smaller and simpler. A sweet family with lots of kids needs my house, and I need a little cabin in the country.

So what's the best way to sell a house when it seems no one else wants a big house either? So I wait...

I've been reading several blogs lately (a few minutes here and there most weeks) and it's really gotten me interested in trying to make time to blog. I've tried a few times and not been too successful. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to get on here and try again. Maybe, when I sell my house...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Haiti Bound

This time tomorrow I will be meeting the rest of the Haiti Medical Mission team in Louisville. After a briefing, and packing party (medical supplies) we'll likely all sleep very little before heading to the airport at 4 a.m. Thursday morning. Our flight from Louisville to Chicago (yes, we have a connection in Chicago) will leave at 6 a.m. From Chicago we'll fly to Miami, then on to Port-au-Prince Haiti. I think we're due to arrive around 3 in the afternoon. Haiti is on Eastern time too, and they also recognise daylight savings, so we'll get to have an extra hour of sun starting this weekend. Nice timing on that :-)

The word is that we'll still be working within an hour or so of Port-au-Prince, but I don't think we will be staying there now. Plans have changed several times in the last month, and we've been told they may change again before we get there.

Medical teams take everything they will use during their time there, as there's really no secure place to store equipment and supplies. Our team of 24 will take at least 48 checked pieces of luggage full of supplies and equipment for use during our stay. Nurses and other medical volunteers usually take some of their own personal equipment as well (stethescopes, BP cuffs, etc.) Those items are packed in our carry-on, which will also include the clothing we will need for the 9 days we are in Haiti. Needless to say we'll be re-wearing things! We should be able to do "laundry" while we are there. No warm water, no washing machine. We'll do laundry just like the Haitians do laundry. In a bucket. That alone will be eye opening.

Tommy will pick me up at the airport on Friday, March 19 around midnight. He may want to drop me off for a shower before driving me home! We've been told that we should have access to shower facilities of some kind, but that water in Haiti is very scarce and our cold showers have to be short, short, short. The team will also have some warm meals provided by a church or mission house, and will be local cuisine like beans and rice with onion and tomato (those are four of my favorite foods!)

I am so excited about going on this trip and serving the Lord and the people of Haiti. I know it will be a humbling and life-changing experience. Thanks to all my friends and family for the prayers and kind words of encouragement. Love to all of you and I will share pics and stories when I get home!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Haiti Trip Is One Week! Needed Supplies!

Team members got a list of currently needed supplies last night for the Haiti Mission Trip next week. I promised to post a listing here for all of you who are reading the blog. I will list non-prescription items, and only a partial listing of things I think would be simple to round up. All items must be new and in-date (nothing expired). Let me know right away if you will be bringing things to me for the trip. I will be packing items over the weekend, so it will be helpful to have any items before Monday (March 8).

Here ya go - these are the supplies we need a lot of:

Lubricant eye drops
Liquid and pill form motrin and tylenol (generic is fine)
Vitamin drops (infant), chewables, prenatal and adult vitamins (need lots and lots)
Pedialyte powder (smallest containers preferably)
Sippy cups, bottles (great need for these, but unsure how many we will be able to pack)
Battery powered nebulizer
OTC antihistamines (benadryl, etc)
OTC hydrocortisone cream

Much of the rest of the list are prescription meds. If you're one of my medical friends and have access to broad-spectrum antibiotics, anti-fungals, H2 blockers... let me know.

Any supplies that end up being excess for this trip will be stored at the KY Baptist Convention in Louisville and taken on subsequent trips. I encourage anyone that would like to help with supplies to do so! There's a huge need, and anything you contribute will definitely be used.

Contact me if you need additional info... blessings to all, and I'll hopefully have time to post again before we leave!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bassmaster Classic 2010

This just seems like such an insignificant topic right now, but I just had to mention that Tommy and I spent the weekend in Birmingham, AL at the Bassmaster Classic. Attendance has become an annual tradition when the Classic is close enough to home that we can drive to and fro over a weekend.

The weather was phenomenal, but I hear it was pretty awesome at home too. We both just love Birmingham and we had a great time. Two of our friends (Ben & Betty Hamilton) went this year too. It was the first Classic for them, but I think they might go again! Betty took the picture you see (she's a great photographer). That's Tommy and I with a friend who fished in the Classic this year. His name is Mark Menendez and he's a professional angler from Kentucky - and a wonderful person to boot.

I was rooting for my fav angler, Michael Iaconelli, but he didn't win. Snif, snif. He had a very honorable finish though - 4th place. I was also cheering big for the only female angler in the field, Pam Martin-Wells, and she really blew many of the guys away with a nice top 20 finish. Pam is a super nice lady and super talented competitive angler. She bragged about how supportive her husband is of her fishing job, and I pretended that was me for a minute - - up on that stage thanking my husband for sitting around at the ramp all day, doing the laundry and grocery shopping, restocking my tackle and cleaning my boat... while I fish tournaments for a living... but I will digress now, since he'd probably never, ever do that for me!

I was very fortunate to fish the ESPN Women's Bassmaster tournament on Lake Guntersville (that's in Alabama) a few years ago (that's where I first met Pam). I remember the incredible feeling of fishing in a huge tournament with only women. That's just something you will RARELY see, anywhere. It was beyond a WOW moment that I will never forget.

Our first local tournament this year is in March (less than 2 weeks after I return from Haiti). I am looking forward to it so much. I have fishing withdrawal over the winter since I am not a winter angler. I just hope the weather is above freezing in March! This is KY so you never know about that!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Three Weeks From Today!

I'll be going to the KY Baptist Convention in Louisville on March 10 (three weeks from today) for our pre-trip mission team meeting, then it's off to Haiti early the next morning.

Here's another blessing to report: A few of my amazing family members have donated the funds for my airfare to Haiti as of today! Thanks to each of you, and thank you Jesus! If you've already sent a check to KBCDR on my behalf, don't worry, your donation will still help fund the trip.

I am still waiting for a detailed list of supplies, so there's still an opportunity to contribute is some way if you'd like to help. All team members will also take funds with them to be converted into Haitian currency for the purchase of supplies while we are there. The last medical team was able to buy infant formula and Pedialyte while they were in Haiti, so cash contributions will be accepted as well. I will accept donations for the next three weeks (even small ones are welcomed) and a list of those will be provided to the KBC for documentation purposes. Any funds not used will be left with the mission house we are working through in Haiti. None of the contributions will be used for administrative costs or otherwise - all of it will go straight to relief efforts in Haiti.

The last update I received on the most frequently seen medical needs that we will be treating are: infected or untreated wounds, infected fractures, profoundly dehydrated infants and children (vomiting, diarrhea, and inadequate hydration and diet), emotional decomposition, undiagnosed and untreated pathology (most Haitians do not receive health care under normal circumstances), breathing disorders and violence related wounds. Our team was reminded that health concerns are continuing to change as the response continues. Missionaries from KY Baptist Disaster Relief expect to have response teams going to Haiti for a long time. Make sure to let me know if you're a baptist interested in going to Haiti on a disaster relief team (medical AND non-medical volunteers are needed).

I've spent today gathering scrubs at Goodwill, and searching for a few large suitcases that can be left in Haiti. Let me know if you've got an extra laying around. The larger the better, as these will be used to pack supplies in.

I am now off to play with Ethan, and Thomas The Train!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mission To Haiti - How You Can Help

Haiti Medical Mission Trip confirmed dates - March 11-19, 2010

Many of my friends and family have contacted me asking how they can help to support local efforts to send aid to Haiti. So for any of you interested... and this might be a long post... and I will update it as needed... here's the scoop.

Most folks who go on a mission trip (medical or otherwise) are required to pay or raise funds for (at least) their air-fare for the trip. This is true in my case. My air-fare to Haiti is nearly $1,100. The KY Baptist Disaster Relief organization will be helping to cover most of my in-Haiti expenses (can be over $100 per day) since I will be traveling and working with Southern Baptist relief operations. We will also be gathering supplies to take with us to use in the medical clinic while we are working there.

There are MANY ways you can support this medical mission trip to Haiti! The MOST important way is to pray for the people of Haiti, and pray for our team members! The devastation is beyond belief, and there's so much help needed. Just pray that we can do much good in Jesus' name with the scant resources available. And pray that the people of Haiti will be receptive to the message of our LIVING and LOVING LORD. If you'd like to read more about the last KBC medical mission trip to Haiti, please go to You might have to scroll down a few posts but there's some interesting and detailed information on there from the last teams.

If you're interested in helping financially, you can contribute to the cost of my trip by making a check payable to Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief (KBDR for short), and putting my name and Haiti trip in the memo section. The funds you contribute will go directly toward my expenses, and if there's any extra, they will help cover one of the other missionaries' expenses. You can mail contributions to me, or directly to the KBC (addresses below at the end of this post). KBC will provide a contribution receipt to you for tax purposes.

We will be receiving a detailed list of needed supplies in another week or so. I will post those details as soon as I have them. In the meantime, here's a list of general medical/supplies that we've already been told to bring:

BP cuffs & stethoscopes
Small battery powered flashlights
Wound care products (we should get a detailed list soon)
Medical gloves
Antibiotic ointment (and the like)
Hand sanitizer (must be at least 60% alcohol)
PPE (disposable gowns, shoe covers, masks, etc.)
Mosquito repellent

Keep in mind that we leave any and all extra supplies and equipment in Haiti! Donations of equipment/supplies that we do not have room for on this trip will be sent on subsequent mission trips.

Contact me if you have questions, or would like to donate in any way. Thanks to all of you for contacting me to ask how you can help. And thanks for your prayers!

Karen Hall, RN
P.O. Box 567
Campbellsville, KY 42719
270-465-0332 (home)
270-403-4409 (cell)

KY Baptist Disaster Relief
Attn: Cindy Henderson
P.O. Box 43433
Louisville, KY 40253-0433
Phone: 502-489-3401

Friday, February 12, 2010

Shots Anyone?

Thank goodness I was up to date on most of my immunizations... but I still needed a couple of shots in preparation for Haiti. Thanks to Ruthie (our famous public health nurse here) I now have two band-aids that verify I have current protection against Tetanus and Hepatitis A. She's such a good shot-giver (and a sweetie to boot).

I still have to go to the doc for a script for the Typhoid vaccine, plus scripts for some other meds that I have to take with me to Haiti (in case of certain bacterial infections like Malaria, ewww). So hopefully I can squeeze in a visit next week...

My mind is full of planning, and I am making lists of course. OCD comes in handy when you're trying to get a trip like this organized. OCD also comes in handy when you're a quilter. Well, maybe not always. I've found that being quite obsessive about details does actually PREVENT action sometimes, especially when quilting. It's weird, and if you lean toward being a little obsessive yourself, well, you understand.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm Going To Haiti!

It's been so long since I posted (I had good intentions, really I did)... and a lot of water has run under my bridge since last summer when I started this blog... but I wanted to try my hand at blogging again... so here I am!

I've been interested in mission work all my life, and last summer I attended a disaster team training session hosted by my church (Campbellsville Baptist Church) so I'd be ready for the call when it came. And it came. Today. I am going to Haiti to help on a medical mission team with the KY Baptist Convention. We're tenatively scheduled for March 11-19, and we'll be serving in Port Au Prince. Although I've been a nurse for over 18 years (has it really been THAT long?), this will be the first official mission trip I've ever been on. I am feeling pretty blessed right about now.

The next couple of days will be filled with trying to get the needed vaccines, and some more basic information so I can properly prepare... so more to come when I have more info! In the meantime, all prayers are welcomed!