Halloween Secret: Flexibility

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Halloween is my favorite Mom-Holiday. The beginning of the holiday season gives me permission to play and be magical. The food is so fun and the decorating and celebration possibilities are endless! It is not a big financial drain and the anticipation is so much of the joy.

After seventeen Halloweens as a parent I have turned out to be such a different mom than I thought I would be. I am flexible. I collect costumes all October and then go with the flow if they change their minds a lot. Often a child will pick different costumes for the neighborhood truck-or-treat, the school party, and then trick-or-treating.

The night of trick-or-treating begins with the all important group shot of all kids. The picture is taken quickly but is really important to me, which I explain to my husband so he can be part of it succeeding. {There’s a tip for you: Don’t keep your expectations a secret.} I am very flexible about the picture if one, everyone is smiling, and two, they just are all there. The picture is important to me because it is a way of marking time as we look back.

One Halloween our town ran out of pumpkins and all my kids were little, so what did we do? We carved cantaloupe and gourds, no joke. We remained flexible. Really, we all know if mommy is happy, everyone is happy. I wish you all happy playing! Have a great Halloween, fellow Misses!

She Will Find What is Lost

Last weekend, I witnessed as a panicked mother held her two-year old who had just suffered some unknown medical emergency. The baby was unconscious. Emergency help was called and professionals dealt quickly and carefully with the situation. I stood nearby with the siblings of the baby, trying my best to explain what was happening and assure them that everyone was doing their best to take care of their sister.

Several days later, I’m still thinking a lot about this experience and hoping everything turned out okay but there is one thing that I think about the most.

Immediately, people were helping and 911 was called. But the mother was also calling for help. She was raising her voice to God to care for her child. She cried to Him to touch her baby. Her first instinct was to go to God.

All of us deal with difficult circumstances and trials. Things frustrate us, cause stress and anxiety, and can shake our hope or faith. Where do you reach for help?

Honestly, I go for my phone. I’m looking for my husband, sisters, or parents to give me answers or some magic fix. Most often they offer sympathy and support, which I appreciate, but I am still left to figure out what to do.

Seeing this mother immediately turn to God to care for her children was a powerful reminder to me.

Psalms 62:8 “Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us.”

I hope to remind you, like I was reminded, that you are never alone. While I have tried to create a community for women to see and share stories of real life to remind all of us that we aren’t alone, it’s not the best answer. Reaching to God is the best answer. Faith and hope in His plan and timing may prove challenging but it is the one best answer for the burdens you carry.


Mrs. Miscellany

4 Apps for Easy Couponing

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I have been asked a couple of times recently about couponing and saving money.  Saving money is one of my hobbies; and I love it!  I am always so excited when I can get things for free! I thought I would just write a quick post about just a couple of things I use to save money.  I use several other means, so maybe I’ll write another post about them another time.  These are the things I use to save the most though.  This will get you the most bang for your time.

First, and probably the easiest, is an app for your phone called Ibotta.  There is zero work before you go shopping!  When you get home, check the app.  If you bought something that is on the app, all you do is scan the item and take a picture of your receipt.  They give you a credit and once you get $20, you can cash out!  They even have savings on produce and dairy products!  I have been using the app for just over a year and have saved just over $100 with it!


Second, and just as easy, is another app for those of you who shop at Walmart.  It is not my go to store, but when I do shop there I am sure to use this app.  Download the Savings Catcher app to your phone.  After you shop, scan the QR code at the bottom.  They then compare the prices you paid to other stores in your area.  If there is a store that has the item for cheaper than you paid, they give you a credit.  You can use your credit at anytime.  (You don’t have to wait for it to build it up to a certain amount.)  I have been using this app for a couple of years and have been given back close to $20 in credit.  (I really don’t shop there very often either!)


Third, before I go shopping I check a website called grocerysmarts.com.  You select your state and the store you are planning on going to.  This website lists all the items that are on sale that week for each store.  On the left side of the column there are stars.  Anything with 5 stars is an awesome price and if it is a product you like/use, you should stock up!  In the middle columns it will tell you what the sale price is, what coupons you need to clip, and what your final price will be.  There is a little bit of lingo you need to know to be able to coupon though.  First of all, there are three different coupon circulars that come out.  SS (SmartSource) and PG (Proctor and Gamble) both come in the Sunday paper.  (I don’t get the Sunday paper and to be honest, I don’t really miss out on that many deals.  If I had a bigger family it might be worth it though.)  Then there is the RP (Red Plum) which comes in the mail; mine comes on Tuesday.  I save ALL coupon circulars until all the coupons in them are expired.  On the outside seam of the coupon book is printed the date.  So if you need a coupon from RP 10/9, I would need to find the Red Plum that came in the mail on April 2, find the coupon I need, and clip it!  Some of the coupons on the website are printable coupons as well.


Fourth, another website I use before I go shopping is thekrazycouponlady.com.  The website always has a few really good deals at the top everyday from various stores.  This is how I most frequently get stuff for free.  Another feature I really like though is their coupon database.  Once I’ve got my grocery list made and have gotten all my coupons figured out, I check the coupon database for items I do not have coupons for yet.  So let’s say I need to buy some deodorant, my husband is a brand snob, so he will only use Degree, degree was not listed on grocerysmarts.com as being on sale this week.  So, I will go to thekrazycouponlady.com and go to the database and type in degree.  This week there is a coupon available for it for $0.50 off in the RP from 10/9.  So I would clip that and at least not have to pay full price for that item!

One more trick that has really helped me frequently save money is keeping a plastic envelope in my purse.  I always check all circulars that come and clip coupons I know I will use.  I also keep coupons for stores I frequently shop at such as Carter’s, Baby’s R Us, Joann’s, etc… so that if I am out and shopping I always have them with me.

I know couponing can seem overwhelming and confusing at first.  If you have questions please feel free to let me know in the comments!  I hope you find this post helpful!

I Hate Pumpkin

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I hate pumpkin-flavored everything.

I’m just throwing that out there so we understand each other. I don’t really like autumn either.

No hard feelings if you decide not to read any further.

As you can see, I’m very particular about my seasons. Spring has always been my favorite. It’s all about life, new beginnings, and opportunity. The smell of rainy days as the world wakes up. Then, summer comes around with its bright stars and warm nights and it’s time for exploring. Winter is rest and recuperation. Books I’ve been waiting to read under a cozy blanket.

Autumn? Well, autumn is all about endings. I have a hard time with that. So many painful endings in my life have happened during this time of year that it’s difficult for me to get excited about anything other than the reduced chance of a third-degree sunburn. Yeah, baby.

Autumn is work. Hoping my leaves drop from my humongous trees so I can rake them up before it snows on them. Usually it snows on them.

Stupid trees.

It’s finding spiders that are coming inside my house before the weather gets cold. How many black widows can you find in one barbeque grill anyway? Believe me when I say that you don’t want to know.

No … close friends, autumn and I are not and will never be. I have accepted that.

And learning acceptance is something this time of year always manages to teach me. There are some things I just can’t change. Things come to an end. Sometimes pain just is. It doesn’t mean it becomes easier to bear or that time heals all wounds. It really doesn’t.

I’ve accepted that, too.

And it’s okay to feel that way, but ultimately I’m left with a choice about how I want to face the future. Do I want to dishonor those endings and the lessons they’ve taught me? After a lot of struggle and failure, anger and grief, the answer I reached was no.

In the end, those experiences helped me choose another path.

So, while autumn will never be my favorite season, there will always be a cozy blanket crocheted by my grandmother for me to huddle under as I read Dracula again for Halloween. It always reminds me that every good book needs a quality ending.

Sometimes, it’s even the best part.

Be Gone, Summer!


I’m probably one of few people in the world who doesn’t do well in the spring or summer. Spring brings allergies and we all know how miserable it is to live with those. Summer I’m hot, uncomfortable and sweaty and quite frankly, more miserable than in the spring.

Then, there’s the saving grace of Fall. Ah, Fall. Autumn. Fall. Whatever you call it, mass-media propaganda has dictated the more earthy colors of brown, burnt yellows and oranges, and sunset-colored reds appear to the mind when you hear the word “Fall.” Probably inspired by the leaves. Fall means (to me) gatherings of friends, preparing for the holiday season, wrapping up of summer events and winterizing the house and garden. I look at it as a reprieve of the boiling heat and an opportunity to dig out my comfy sweaters and other cool-weather clothing articles.

To me, this time of year means getting my projects in order to outlast the winter. I don’t have a set goal of things I do, or what I will do, I just sort of prepare myself to spend many evening hours after work sitting at my sewing machine creating… whatever. Things I have wanted to do over the summer but never found the time to accomplish. So, here I am. Setting out this fall with the goal of making at least one quilt, a few winter skirts, perhaps a summer dress or two for next year and whatever else comes to mind. I have a new sweater pattern I’m going to try as soon as I find the perfect fabric.

I spend hours outside winterizing my gardens, because the air is nicer and fresher and crisp to the lungs and absolutely beautiful to be out in. I also rake leaves, because I have several large trees around.

Should I get tired of dealing with my own leaves, I love to go on road trips where I can photograph other trees and leaves. Driving through the mountains and capturing the brilliant, natural hues of the colder weather is relaxing and quite fun. I recommend New England. Seriously. Upstate New York, Connecticut- you’ll never regret driving through that area this time of year.

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I’m wrapping up the last of my summer canning, which starts about the end of May to mid-June and goes until the apples are done, which is about… now. And really, apples are great fun to can as applesauce, butter, juicing and pie filling. Things couldn’t be better with the copious amounts of cinnamon clogging the nostrils after three days of preserving apples for winter consumption.

Also, pumpkins come out. Who doesn’t love a big fat roly-poly pumpkin to carve, decorate, or otherwise enjoy? In addition, this marvelous squash is edible! I shall sit back with my pumpkin cookies and eat them with relish, and enjoy the fresh cooked pumpkin seeds as a salty alternative.

Then slowly, carefully, the fall season shall end and we’ll be slapped upside the face with winter. But that’s okay. I love winter just as much as fall.

I’m prepared for the season change. Are you?

Editing Tips for Bloggers

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There are nearly one million results when you search “editing tips for bloggers” on Google. One million! I started at the top and went through a few dozen articles that had nice bullet-pointed lists that were easy to read. After publishing over three hundred posts on Misses Miscellany, I’ve seen a few (and made even more) mistakes.

We are all human. Let’s get that out in the open right now. Next, Misses Miscellany is about real women in the real world telling real stories. This is not a community of professional writers. That said, let’s look at five editing tips I found in the majority of the articles I read.

  1. Don’t edit while you’re writing – Once you get going, keep moving forward. Don’t make big editing decisions during the writing process. You’ll lose focus, burn out, and waste time.
  2. Let your post rest before editing – While the writing is fresh in your mind, it’s going to be difficult to be objective and determine what really needs to be edit and what is great the way it is. Leave it, work on something else, and come back to begin the editing.
  3. Make sure you’re focused on the big picture – Cut out what isn’t relevant to the main idea of your post (and cut anything repetitive). Add what readers might need to really understand. Check out the order of paragraphs. Focus on these “big picture” edits before getting into the nitty-gritty.
  4. Spell check AND proof read – Spell-check is not a fail-proof method for examining your writing for errors. Proofreading is necessary to find missing words and look for consistency. {example: E-book, ebook, eBook} Two things that may help you edit are printing it out and reading it out loud.
  5. Don’t be a perfectionist – The great news about blogging is that nothing is ever final! If you publish a post and see an error, you can fix it! So, don’t spend too much time dissecting your writing before publishing.

Did these tips help you? Leave us a comment or share the post with your friends!

Turning Simple Moments into Special Memories


My family has been given a vague prediction of how much longer we have together; it’s vague because they’d be shocked if Travis didn’t make it another year, and surprised if he made it four years. It’s all just a guess based off of statistics and his general health. We hope and pray they are wrong, that there will be scientific advancements, or a miracle. However, we have to accept the harsh reality that he’s dying.

In the last 10 months, since the terminal diagnosis, it has been a roller coaster of emotions. We have felt acceptance, denial, depression, and hope. One thing that has stayed consistent is our continued determination to not only stay focused on the moment, but also on creating our moments to be special memories.

Travis recently likened our memories to a savings account. We are working on depositing enough of a savings so that when he passes, our kids and I will have a lot of memories to withdraw from the memory bank. Until this year, I had never really lived to try and create memories, the memories were something that just happened. However, really actively trying to create memories has changed our perspective and purpose and in many ways allowed us to find joy in simple things because they aren’t just about the moment, they are about the lasting moment, the deposit of that memory.

Our first big deposit was a trip to Disneyland. Someone gave us the trip and planned it all. We just had to show up and enjoy. It was the most perfect week ever. Disneyland is a pretty easy memory to start with, but it was so much more than the incredible hotel, rides, Mickey Mouse, food, etc. Disneyland was all about us spending time together and us laughing. There are literally moments of so much joy, I cry to remember and can’t put the moment into words. We had so much fun waiting in the lines and we found joy in not just the entertainment but the entire journey getting to the ride. I will never forget the way my 6-year-old son sang at the top of his lungs while dancing down the street, my kids facing their fears, the cuddles, and the laughter. I took hundreds of pictures to help us remember and as I look through them I can clearly remember the pure joy we experienced.


As we approach the holidays we are excited for the memories our family can create, and, quite honestly, for the memories we didn’t think we would be able to make. This is the first year I don’t have a little spark of dread as the holidays approach. I typically stress about pleasing everyone, getting the presents, and everything else I have to do. This year I pray Travis will be well enough for me to push him in his wheelchair trick or treating (maybe he will let us decorate it!). I also look forward to Christmas music, wearing Santa hats, leaving treats for Santa, all of the innocence of magic, watching Elf, reading the story of our Savior on Christmas Eve, and focusing on the gift of our forever family. We are focused on creating memories this holiday season as simple as they may need to be and I can hardly wait!

Heading into the holidays we all know traffic is going to get worse, the lines are going to get longer, and the demands on our families are going to increase. Remember to enjoy the journey too. Here are some ways I’ve found to enjoy the moments:

  1. While standing in line I ask my kids silly questions, the sillier the better! It makes the line move quicker and helps the mood.
  2. The car is an excellent place to have discussions where no one can escape! Enjoy the traffic and the moments created to have conversations.
  3. Slow down! One of our greatest blessing is Trav’s speed. It forces us to not drag our kids from place to place but walk with them and enjoy things as we can. Instead of rushing to do it all, we really enjoy the things we are able to do.
  4. Watch the joy in your children’s faces. Nothing makes me happier than to watch their faces light up. Take the time to watch for that.
  5. Try to make every moment special and to create the memories.

Fill up your memory banks with positive moments that you can withdraw on if life is cut shorter than you hope. Actively create memories Today!  Moments spent watching TV, movies, cuddling, storytelling, etc., are all creating memories. My kids will always remember the pain of cancer, but I pray that they will also remember the joy that we created and be able to withdraw all of the memories we actively deposited.