Thursday, March 31, 2011

Boycott Update...See Below

Response from Pepsico,
Dear Debra,
Thank you for contacting us to share your sincere concerns. Please know that we take very seriously the issues you raised. PepsiCo has a strong set of defined values we strive to live up to.
Unfortunately, there is some misinformation being circulated related to research techniques that have been used for decades by universities, hospitals, government agencies, and private companies around the world. These claims are meant to suggest that human fetal tissue is somehow used in our research. That is both inaccurate and something we would never do or even consider.
It also is inaccurate to suggest that tissue or cells somehow are being used as product ingredients. That’s dangerous, unethical and against the law. Every ingredient in every one of our products is reviewed and approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
We hope this information is helpful and reassuring. Thank you again for reaching out to us and allowing us to clarify the situation.
Sol Moledo
Senior Consumer Relations Representative
Although this seems like good news, Solae is still listed in Senomyx's site as a keep those emails going!
Ok, so I posted yesterday about a boycott from several companies who use a taste developement company to test their products using aborted fetal taste receptors. Campbells soup has discontinued their assosiation and I received this letter from Jennifer Starkey at Solae. It really does help to email the companies and ask them politely to stop their involvement. Follow this link to email the remaining companies which include, Nestle, Kraft, and Pepsico.


Thank you for contacting Solae with your concerns on this issue. Solae does not currently have an active relationship with Senomyx nor do we have any future plans for one at this time.

Our recent recognition by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the “World’s Most Ethical” companies for the second year in a row signifies how seriously we take ethical business practices both at Solae and with our collaborative partners. While we cannot speak to what Senomyx may or may not be doing to test food flavor enhancers, we can confirm that we are not involved in this for our products.

We live by four core values at Solae which include ethical behavior, respect for people, safety and health and environmental stewardship. We take all of these very seriously, and expect the same out of our innovation partners.

At Solae, we provide quality, nutritious soy-based ingredients for food and beverage companies to create healthy, great-tasting products.

Jennifer Starkey

Solae, LLC

Global Communications

Although this seems like good news, Solae is still listed in Senomyx's site as a keep those emails going!

Response from Nestle:

Dear Ms. Rohr,
Thank you for contacting Nestlé®.
We appreciate your comments and will report your concerns.
We appreciate your interest and hope you will visit our website often for the latest information on our products and promotions.
Tiffany Smith
Consumer Response Representative
Ref: N18604770

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Last night was the night. We went to Wal-Mart and picked up a box for $3.38 and hurried home to try them. There are only 3 in the box. I was VERY disappointed, the marketing definitely won me over, but I won't be buying the Double Caramel again. The chocolate does have a very nice taste, smooth, and rich but not too rich. The caramel however, was icy and disappointing, one nice feature was that the caramel was surrounded on both sides by chocolate. The ice cream was nothing special. Häagen-Dazs and Dove are MUCH my opinion. I just felt overall the quality was lacking. Also, they didn't look anything like the above pic. I will try the white chocolate ones next, those look good and are different. On a scale of 1-5, 5 being the best, I would rate these a 3.

Children of God for Life Calls for a Boycott



Pro-life watchdog group, Children of God for Life (CGL), has called upon the public to target the major corporations in a boycott, unless the company ceases to use aborted fetal cell lines in their product testing.
Pepsico, Kraft Foods,  Solae and Nestlé are among the corporations partnered with a biotech company found using aborted fetal cell lines to test food flavor enhancers.
Read the full article Here


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Don's Words of Wisdom

Growing up, I had a cross-stitch in my room that read, "A face without freckles, is like a sky without stars." A few of my kids also have freckles and so I tell this to them often. Don is a mole man. The kids have inherited his moles as well, so he made up his own little mole motto, "A face without moles, is like a golf course without holes."  Maybe this will take off and maybe someday people will be cross-stitching that little uplifting motto;)

The Best Dentist

Dr. Twietmeyer & Dr. Lashley

Today, the kids all had their 6 month check up with their favorite dentist, Dr. Lashley. Don was off today, so it was so nice to have him there to help wrangle Charlie and Benny. It was time for me to go back to visit with the dentist about the needs of the kids. Only a few minutes went by and I saw Don with a panicked look on his face as he said very anxiously, "Debi, get over here." He never uses my first name, he always calls me sweetie or honey, so I was surprised and he is always the "calm" one and I knew something wasn't right. He ushered me quickly into the bathroom where Charlie was crying with blood running down the back of his head onto his jacket. I asked what happened and Don told me that Benny and Charlie had been fighting so he took them out to the car and Charlie pulled away from Don throwing himself down on the blacktop cutting his head. I folded up a paper towel and applied pressure to slow the bleeding, I then took Charlie back and explained that I needed to take him to the emergency room. Dr. Lashley said, "Let me look at him." He cleaned the wound, and applied dermabond to seal the edges...all better!! I was so relieved and thankful. They even sent me home with some for future use...which I hope we won't be needing. Dr. Lashley totally saved us from a trip to the ER. Charlie was such a good boy, he held very still and really didn't cry very much. God is so very very good...and if you are looking for a great dentist......

Guess What We Did??

     Dear Visa, we don't want to be your slave any longer, we can live without you, our family is more important than having what we can't afford, we will change our lives, we will change our family tree, and we will learn how to say, "NO" to ourselves. We have to start somewhere, so we are ending our relationship with you...forever.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Envelope System

I am sharing one the coolest tools Don and I are using from FPU.(Dave Ramsey) It's called the envelope system, when you take the class you get a smaller version of this for free. Or you can make your own using envelopes. That's what we did before we took FPU. Basically, after you make your budget together for the pay period, you just divide up the cash into different categories like, groceries, blow money, gas, eating out, entertainment...etc. We use 4 envelopes.
  • Gas...but we actually use a debit card so we can pay at the pump, but I write down each gas purchase on the envelope.
  • Groceries
  • Pizza(1 X per week we eat pizza out)
  • Don's cash..our blow money 
                              What happens when the money runs out?? That's it, your done until payday. It's too easy to spend money you don't cards...even debit cards(that's why we only put a set $ on it for 1 category..if we mess this up, we're going back to cash on this one too!) It's crazy how hard it is to put down cash for something vrs plastic or paper(checks)...I mean I really think about it before I part with my cash, I rarely did that with the other options!! Anyway, this's hard to argue with each other when we decide on a budget together and it's easy to see what's left, and you don't have the issue of forgetting to write it doesn't matter! Because once it's gone, it's gone. Simple, huh?? I love it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chocolate Cravings

I am having a major chocolate craving after looking at these!! I am a big fan of  Häagen-Dazs and Dove ice cream bars, so I will HAVE to try these...soon...not today...but soon....don't they look yummy?? Have you tried them???
  Every single flavor looks delectable!! Part of the budget plan for Financial Peace University is setting aside some blow money each week...I know where mine is going!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Catholic Art Saturday/ Madonna of the Chair

Madonna of the Chair by Raphael Sanzio 1518

The young child behind Mary and Jesus is St. John the Baptist.
A priest on EWTN said that St. John received a special grace at the time when he leapt in his mother's womb at the meeting of Jesus in Mary's womb, that removed his original sin that he was conceived with, thus making him the greatest man ever born. Of course Jesus was greater but he was both God and man. Jesus said in the bible, "Truly I say to you, among those born of women, there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist." Matthew 11:11
Maria Montessori said this about the work, “The children, of course, cannot comprehend the symbolic significance of the "Madonna of the Chair", but they will see something more beautiful than that which they feel in more ordinary pictures, in which they see mother, father, and children. And the constant companionship with this picture will awaken in their heart a religious impression.”

Friday, March 25, 2011

Boy Genius to Disprove Big Bang

Jake Barnett~12 Years Old

Jake was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and has an IQ higher than Einstein. He is working on expanding Einstein's theory of relativity.

Another project he is working on is disproving the Big Bang theory.... Here is part of an interview with the Indianapolis Star, “There are two different types of when stars end. When the little stars die, it’s just like a small poof. They just turn into a planetary nebula. But the big ones, above 1.4 solar masses, blow up in one giant explosion, a supernova,” Jake said. “What it does, is, in larger stars there is a larger mass, and it can fuse higher elements because it’s more dense.”
OK . . . trying to follow you.
“So you get all the elements, all the different materials, from those bigger stars. The little stars, they just make hydrogen and helium, and when they blow up, all the carbon that remains in them is just in the white dwarf; it never really comes off.
“So, um, in the big-bang theory, what they do is, there is this big explosion and there is all this temperature going off and the temperature decreases really rapidly because it’s really big. The other day I calculated, they have this period where they suppose the hydrogen and helium were created, and, um, I don’t care about the hydrogen and helium, but I thought, wouldn’t there have to be some sort of carbon?”
He could go on and on.
And he did.
“Otherwise, the carbon would have to be coming out of the stars and hence the Earth, made mostly of carbon, we wouldn’t be here. So I calculated, the time it would take to create 2 percent of the carbon in the universe, it would actually have to be several micro-seconds. Or a couple of nano-seconds, or something like that. An extremely small period of time. Like faster than a snap. That isn’t gonna happen.”
“Because of that,” he continued, “that means that the world would have never been created because none of the carbon would have been given 7 billion years to fuse together. We’d have to be 21 billion years old . . . and that would just screw everything up.”

Very very cool!!

Self Taught

Charlie has been independently potty training...except when he asks for help wiping...toilet seats??...who needs em, when you can sit on the dirty ice cold rim??

Call me ungrateful, but I planned on waiting until later in the Spring to potty train him. I still have a full size box of diapers to use up and it's easier when the weather is warmer...he can just wear a t-shirt and underwear to keep things simple. Oh well, it's best just to go with the flow...literally!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Take 3

Sleep of Angels...why can't he sleep like this at night??

Don's dresser..I know the pic set on the right isn't the same scale as the other worries, I plan on stacking the laundry on that side of the dresser to even it out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Garage Sale

This garage sale is a fundraiser for the Alvarez Family, missionaries stationed in the Phillipines, they were in the Catholic Advance a few weeks ago.
127 Evergreen in Wichita. Evergreen is the second street east of Tyler and Maple. If you are heading east turn left(north) onto Evergreen, the Patterson's home is around the corner on the left. You can't miss it! There has been SOOO much donated for this sale including childrens, men's & women's clothing & shoes, toys, books of all kinds, furniture, seasonal decorations, kitchen items, misc. electronics along with other items to numerous to mention!
Pass it on! The sale will go from 7am-6pm on Thursday March 24 - Sat. March 26

The Alvarez Family consists of Stacie & Odilio and their 6 beautiful children Maddie, Meredith, Abram, Samuel, Vincent and Julian. A little over a year ago they heard God calling them to become missionaries. They said YES and got to the Philippines two weeks ago. Friends and family have organized this garage sale to raise money for them since they rely solely on donations. It is estimated that it will take $700 a month to support their family of eight as they do our Lord's work. Please be generous and if you feel led to make further donations on their behalf you may do so by going to the Family Missions Company website below and designating the donation be for them.
Check this out!
The first blog is written by the 2 Alvarez girls and the second one is written by the dad Odilio, in case you are interested and wanting to be inspired!

For the Love of Daddy

Hannah made this the other day..Don's favorite part was the word "almost".

It's been so endearing to watch the beautiful relationship that is blossoming between Hannah and her Daddy. She is always making notes, pictures, and crafts for him. When we sit down in the evening for family prayer time, she likes to snuggle up next to him and he's the first person she wants to show an accomplishment to. It's so comforting being close to Don and seeing him throughout the day, we all feel like we are never truly seperated and it certainly helps the sweet relationships like these, to grow stronger.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Salvage Redo/Backyard Project

After Redo

Before Redo
I think this will do. I was worried before that too much black might pull the light out of the room, but I think it actually helps unify it. Erika inspired me to add a few love birds and I changed the font style and size of the letters. What do you like better, Before or After?

When we first went to look at our house when it was on the market, I had no idea it had a pool, or I would have never looked at it in the first place. The house, however, was perfect for us and listed for the exact price we could afford within our means. At first, we didn't know what to think, do, or plan for the pool. We thought very hard and with great hope about keeping it...we imagined lounging by the pool in the summer and heck maybe even in the spring and early fall, having pool parties and barbeques. The first thing we did was to call a few pool companies to come over and give us estimates and look over the damage done by neglect. We learned it needed both a new liner and cover and some other improvements. The total bill would run close to $10,000. We simply didn't have the money to keep it. Also, the more we thought about it, the more we realized how big a project it would be each year to maintain it. So we sadly said goodbye to our hopes and jumped in with both feet back to reality. Filling it in, is a quite a project itself. All in all after renting a jack hammer to break up the concrete and removing the liner, cover and metal...still need to remove some more, and it will require 5 loads of fill sand and about 2 loads of topsoil, it will cost @ $800-$1,000, it would be more if we had to rent a bobcat. My WONDERFUL Aunt and Uncle and cousins were generous enough to bring their bobcat over and they helped get 20 tons of sand into the pool.
Our deadline to fill it in is in May, based on the permit. The kids can't wait to be able to play in the backyard. I will post a final update after it's been completed...just didn't want to leave ya hangin' til then;) case you missed it on the rear

Unpooluting the Backyard

Monday, March 21, 2011

Master in Art~ Salvage

I have been pining away for one of those cute vinyl quote kits, you know the ones that cost $30? I was very tempted to buy one, but learning from last week's clock fiasco, I resisted. Today, my friend and neighbor told me she was throwing away a picture because the glass was broken and she kindly offered it to me. The wheels began a turnin' and I thought, "How hard could it be to make one of those quote thingys?" Don pulled out the broken glass for me, I painted the frame and mat..I think it's maybe a little too pink...I might be toning that down a bit, and I printed out the quote 4 letters at a time on cardstock, cut them out and glued them to the back of the print. This was a total freebie. Ok, well it took me quite a long time because, about 1/100th of the way through my printer ran out of black I pulled out the sharpies and colored them in. I wanted something large in scale and I'm somewhat happy about the way it turned out...except maybe with a little less pink.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Kibosh on Gossip

It starts out easy enough..."I just wanted to ask you to pray for "so n so" because of this "reason"...and then before you know it...."it's probably because of this n that or the other thing" and then it becomes full-fledged unabashed slander. Webster defines gossip as, "idle talk of rumor, esp. about the private affairs of others." Although the catechism never uses the word gossip, it does say “2477: Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause (someone) unjust injury."  When I read guides for examinations of conscience, it lists gossip under commandment #5..."Thou shall not kill."....ouch! Is it like murder to ruin someone's character based on judgemental thoughts?  The bible says,"Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure."  Psalm 101:5  I can't count the times I've slipped down this slope...much to the detriment of my soul. I realize that if I really want to go to Heaven, I have got to start doing what is necessary...why do I slip?? Often, it's because, when I talk about someone else's "issues", it makes me feel like a better person....I can say that when I gossip, it usually stems from jealousy or envy...or both and my own feelings of inadequacy. I heard someone once ask, "Could you still say what you were going to say if that person were standing there?"  How many conversations that I have had, could I say yes about??? " We are called to love each other and to protect each others' names and honor.  "He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends."  Proverbs 17:9  I guess it all boils down to loving. "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope.Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life." Amen.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Master in Art~Cherry Blossoms

Don was giddy over the blue walls. I'm more of a pinkish sort of we compromised. I get to use plenty of pink accents. The wall panels are functional, because they are actually sound absorbing. Our room has funky acoustics, we figure it's because there are no windows, just a patio door that leads to a deck. Anyway, it has major echo issues that drive us both crazy. We found an online video of how to make them. It's very simple, just take a 1X3 cut it into 18"X30" segments and screw together, insert foam, and cover with fabric. This was another frugal project. We had a few dollars left on our Sutherlands store credit bonus, so we were able to buy the 1X3s, they are only $1.69. The foam we had leftover from the dining room bench project a few years back. The material is actually a shower curtain that we had. It's from the same Shabby Chic collection at Target as our bedding. We even had enough fabric leftover to recover the bench seat and dresser lamp. We have a few other projects in the works for decorating the rest of the room. Did I mention that I LOVE cherry blossoms???? I used to live in the burbs of D.C. after securing a job following graduation. It was amazing to watch the cherry blossoms bloom and transform the city into an ethereal pink nirvana. I imagine Heaven will be filled with cherry blossoms.
We couldn't function without
our staple gun!

Cherry Blossoms along the Potomac river.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Frugal Master Bedroom Makeover

Dresser After

Before Dresser and Bedroom Before
This has probably been one of the most rewarding projects because it was so easy and we paid next to nothing. The furniture distressed antique paint kit was $5 and it was enough to do all the furniture with a little left to spare. I am so happy with how the furniture turned out and since it's a distressed finish, if it gets a little dinged up...just means it's got more character. I also spray painted the hardware in a silver metallic. The wall paint I purchased with our Friends and Family credit at Sutherlands(a really great program, where you earn 5% back on all purchases in store credit!) and the trim we had from months ago we purchased at Jabara's Damaged Freight for $2 a stick. I don't have very many before pics of the room except for the Dresser Before pic...outdated green, gold and red wallpaper. We are still working on the artwork and decor. The paint color is a steel blue, a custom color I had matched to the bedding, but it turned out a little more grey than the bedding, but I like it better that a happy oops. The clock, I will use to store my jewelry instead of the old dresser top box.

Infamous Grocery Budget Buster Clock

Before Headboard at our old house


After Headboard

Close up of wall color

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Self Pity

The menu thing has been going very very well. The kids have been excited to help choose the meals, they are comforted to know what is going to be on the table, and we have saved lots of $$. The benefits far outweigh the minimal amount of time and effort invested in planning and preparing it. Yesterday I went a little paint crazy and neglected the dinner prep. I was also doing some serious bedroom design dreaming and feeling sorry for myself at our lack of niceties, so I went shopping online at Craigslist and found an irresistable clock that was perfect for the master bedroom, so on a whim, we went to look at it and bought it. Well, it was getting late, so then we decided to get fast food. We brought it home much to the dismay of the kids. They complained, "What are going to eat tomorrow for dinner?" I said, "We'll just eat tomorrow what we were going to eat today." They said, "If we do that what about Friday?? It's Lent, if we eat Thursday's meal on Friday, that won't work because it has meat in it! Mom, it's all just messed up now." They were right...I messed up, I spent money on something we didn't need, and after looking at the budget afterward, I realized I spent the grocery money on that clock! And, I took a break I didn't deserve. Self pity is a dangerous thing, it threw the whole universe out of orbit at our house, and it just wasn't worth it. This dying to self stuff is hard!
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2   It may not seem like a big deal, but it all starts with the little seemingly insignificant departures. I apologized to the family and we made a deal, they agreed to chip in and help out with dinner....and most importantly, TALK ME DOWN. So now, I have to totally redo the menu based on what food we have on hand.....all this hassle for a stupid whim! Don and I used to have a 24 hour policy, if we wanted something that we felt we couldn't live without, we waited 24 hours and then redecided, about 75% of the time, we realized we could live with out it...go figure! We are reinstating that policy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Paint Craze


$5 Treasure Box

Don and I have never had a matching bedroom set. That is about to change all because of a little $5 box. I can't believe how far this stuff stretches! There is plenty of paint to finish the headboard, my dresser and mirror and this nightstand, not to mention the bench in the previous post. I am so excited about this redo, it's going to be oh so cheap, but oh so rewarding. The cool thing is, we already have most everything we need. There is just not enough time in a day!