Friday, June 24, 2011


Which are NOTHING like The Happening. Recently my 9 year old has made a rash of comments about wanting to learn to sew clothes for herself this summer. She is known to be somewhat of a klutz and always rushes into things with exuberance and her interest starts to fizzle out somewhere mid-project. Before long you will find her holed up somewhere with a book or wandering around in the woods behind our home looking for slender trees, "like the rope at school" that she can climb. Oh, those poor, tender saplings.

During lunch she ventured into conversation about sewing again and I had an "Aha!" moment. In light of the patriotic holiday that looms on the horizon I drafted a simple 6.5" X 9.75" paper piecing pattern in the the shape of the American flag. It's all straight lines and nothing fancy so ::fingers crossed:: it'll be a quick enough project that she won't lose interest. We have busy weekend before us but more (yes, more) rain is expected next week so I expect that we'll get cracking on it and likely finish it up Monday or Tuesday. I have to go raid my fabric stash and hopefully we can find some reds. I LOVE red but I just nearly never find myself sewing with it. Fortunately this is a small project--think mug rug--so even if I only find the smallest of scraps we should be golden.

Who knows, maybe action shots and even a pattern could be in the works. DH might need to assist on that one; my computer savvy has up and skipped out on me since I had children and abandoned any interest I ever had in the digital world save checking my email and surfing the web from time to time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

And then the rain came

I suppose that my post earlier this week has been a long time coming. I've been struggling to get back into blogging but things just never seemed right. To be quite honest, getting out of bed every day has been a struggle, let alone taking care of four children and myself--forget the house and the chores entailed in keeping it running smoothly. I've soldiered along with a "fake it till you make it" attitude, barely keeping my head above water. Sure, some days are better than others. In reality though, I feel hollow far more often than I feel anything that vaguely resembles happiness.

If I look back over the course of my life, I am sure that I have struggled with depression for... gosh... probably 9 years. Maybe longer. I've never admitted it. I'm a strong person. I scorn weakness and people who seem to *choose* to live in pitiable situations. Not people who have no say in the matter, but people who just refuse to work to make their life situation better. Complainers annoy me. They get under my skin. When I listen to people going on about a troubling situation I think to myself that if they would take half the time they spend telling others about how badly off they are and just use that time to work on making things better the world would be a better place. Or at least we'd only have to listen to their sad story half as much, either way, it's a small victory for mankind. I jest. In part.

I suppose I have struggled with looking at myself and saying, "I'm depressed." because that's just not something that *Christians* do. Christians don't get depressed. They have an awesome God that has redeemed their soul. They have a promise of an eternity in paradise. Depression is looked at like a spiritual condition that evidences a person's lack of faith and prayer.

I haven't gone to see a doctor. Up to this point in my life, I would have deemed it an absolute lack of faith in the God to turn to a man for help. I don't know if there is a person who has wanted a cloud of darkness to be lifted from them so badly. I've prayed. I have fasted. I have tried to fake being happy until I felt it. At this point, I do not believe that my state of mind it just that, a state of mind. I firmly believe there is a physical diagnosis that contributes to why I feel the way I do. Or rather, for why I feel almost nothing most days.

In light of my person confession, I have another one to make: I still know that God is good. His hand in my life is undeniable. I feel His presence, hear Him speak and KNOW that He is guiding me to a better place. Even though I feel like I am walking through the darkest valley the psalmist wrote of, I know that God is with me. I am hid in Christ.

I am sure that I am not alone in my personal struggle. There are others out there who may feel guilty that depression is a cross that weighs heavily on their shoulders. To admit that you struggle with dark days, months or even, as in my case, dark years is not to deny the power that lies in the cross that Christ bore for us. In this search for personal healing, on our journey to become whole, God is always faithful.

There is a song that has spoken volumes to me and become a personal anthem of sorts to me. On brighter days Brian Doerksen's "Your Faithfulness" is a song of thanks. In my darkest days it has been a song of hope and encouragement. Always a reminder that God will never leave or forsake me. He is always here.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Taking Resposibility... or Maybe it's Time to Give it Away?

I guess I have always been somewhat possessive of my "things". Don't get me wrong, I'm a sharer--and I would like to think that I am selfless and giving. I try to encourage my children to be generous. My husband and I are naturally givers. I do feel though that when I am really invested in something, I take full ownership. You know the old saying, "If you want something done right, do it yourself"? Well, I guess I take that to heart. Probably a little too much. Ironically, I often feel as though there is very little that I DO get done right, even when I do it myself.

When it comes to raising my children I am certain that I am doing them an incredible disservice some days. I know the line about a village raising a child. I agree with the concept. I love that there are people in our community that will impact my children's lives for the good and teach them lessons that I never could. When it comes to watching my children though, I feel guilty at the thought of asking someone else for help. I am not the mom that would EVER in a million years get a sitter so I could go shopping or do something that was optional. Heck, I took my 3 year old daughter to every single one of my OB/GYN appointments when I was pregnant with my third child. She was playing with her stuffed animals behind the examining table while my feet were in the stirrups.

I have seen mothers that call for a babysitter on a whim so they can go tanning or take a bubble bath. They ask a trusted neighbor, a relative or a friend to watch their child/children so they can shop for groceries. The concept of leaving my children with someone else is just absolutely foreign to me. There was a brief period of time that it was necessary for me to go back to work in between having my 2nd and 3rd daughters and they did spend a considerable amount of time with a daycare provider. My four children are not ALL with me ALL day long; my two oldest children ride the bus to school and are away from me for 7 1/2 hours 5 days a week. Homeschoolers aside, that's a pretty mainstream norm though. My kids don't go on playdates without me. And I don't go on playdates without them.

Before my husband and I got married we never went on a single date. We were in a long distance relationship and had ***very*** little face time before the big day. After the wedding bells rang we were just too poor to go on dates. I joke around now that we have too many kids to go on dates. Part of me feels irresponsible for dumping my kids with a sitter just so I can go "have fun". Part of me feels guilty asking someone to watch my FOUR kids. This is probably why I can count the number of "dates" my husband and I have gone on in the past 9 years on one hand.

Truth be told, I suspect the reason I don't want to ask anyone to watch my kids isn't because I think they are a nuisance or terribly misbehaved. I think that if I could be honest with myself, I would admit that I feel like I am the nuisance. I tell myself that I am just being a responsible mother. I reason that a mom who can leave her child with anyone without a real reason for needing a sitter is lazy. Irresponsible. Immature. Selfish.

I guess before I sat down to write this post I wanted to give a broad vision of the homemaker that stays home with her children and contrast that to the mom who spends more time away from her children, by choice, than she spends with her children. I wanted to say I'm tired of seeing moms that can leave their babies with just about anyone for just about any reason. I was willing to admit that I should go out with my husband every now and again. That maybe Ladies' Night Out wasn't so bad after all. I might have even found my ever elusive "Middle of the Road" (which, I was fairly certain, was most likely much closer to my side of the highway than hers) in this navigable journey through motherhood.

I didn't stop to think that maybe I'm judging harshly, in part, because I might be jealous. Is there really something wrong after all with a stay at home mom who gets a sitter a few times a week so she can go to lunch with friends or shop till she drops or snag a hot date with her hubby? Probably not. Is there something wrong with a mom who grabs a sitter at every possible opportunity because she can't stand being around her own children? Possibly. Is there something wrong with a stay at home mom who won't ask ANYONE for help because she's embarrassed, afraid or, dare I say, ashamed to admit that she can't do it all on her own? Probably.

I guess what I am saying, if anyone is out there listening, is that I need help. I'm not supermom. In fact, I'm so far from it that I'm not sure I would recognize competence in myself if I ever achieved it. I'm tired of trying to be great at everything that my family needs and instead disappointing them with only being able to be mediocre at a bunch of... well, stuff. I tired of feeling guilty. I'm tired of smiling at other women as they make lunch dates with each other while inwardly cringing at the thought of them having a good time while their child is at home needing their mother more than their babysitter, their grandmother, or even their own father. I'm tired of longing for life to be different, to feel full. I am tired of being tired. I want to try to be selfish. I want to be better. I want to feel happier--and not just for my children to see a happier mom, but for me to actually BE happy FOR ME.

My husband asked me the other day if he will ever see the "old" me again. I'd like to think that maybe there's a chance that the world can see a new me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Level Up!

I have this running joke with friends and family alike that as we achieve new accomplishments in life or as we reach a new state of adulthood we are "Leveling Up". Sure, it's a cheesy video game reference. For the most part though it makes me feel much better about aging. There are lots of great ways to level up, some not so great. Here's a list to start your gears turning, the sky is the limit:

Get your first job
Get glasses
Get a REAL job
Get in a committed relationship
Get married
Have a child
Get a family pet
Have another child (or 3)
Get a minivan
Get stronger glasses
First child begins to read
Find a gray hair
Develop a "muffin top"
Deal with the loss of a family pet
Go to a high school reunion
Find a *wild* stray hair growing from your nose, ear or in your eyebrows

I think you get the picture. This week I leveled up and joined a club. From what I gather this club isn't very exclusive but it isn't talked about much. Most members like to keep their membership on the down-low and no, I'm not talking about the Freemasons. I have officially joined the ranks of TWCTLTS: Those Who Cross Their Legs To Sneeze. Or Cough. Or Laugh. Or Giggle. Or Go on Long Car Rides. Or Short Car Trips.

I joke about unlocking new achievements but some of the road stops on my journey to maturity are less than fun; chipping a tooth, reaching to check the mail and feeling "something" happen to your back, worrying about how that Mexican food is going to affect your bowels later on. At 29 years old I do feel that I've leveled up a little early in some areas, I'm not sure whether that's an achievement or not.

This latest development has me a little troubled though. Of course I had to google "incontinence remedies" and "treatment for bladder leakage". Some of the results I came up with were simple, some drastic and some were just funny.

While Kegel exercises seemed to be the easiest route to go (after all, we were good girls and all did our Kegels during pregnancy, right?) I will admit that the Kegel exercises have been somewhat elusive for me. Finding my "special muscles" has been puzzling for me. I've tried taking a pause for the cause in the bathroom but lately that's nearly impossible without crossing my legs. Truth be told, I think that most of the time I'm just giving my anal sphincter and my cha cha a good workout. Those pelvic floor muscles must just be flaccid. After having my last child I went in for a post-partum visit and while my midwife was doing her job she casually dropped a "Kegel for me". I thought I Kegeled but apparently I wasn't doing much of anything. I got a flatline expression she promised that she'd give me a few tips before she left. She forgot the tips and quite frankly, I was a little embarrassed to ask her how to give my lady bits a good workout. I'll admit that my lady problem is mild but at my age it should be nonexistent. I think. I mean, I don't see all the other mommas at the playground slamming their knees shut like a locked bank vault while pushing their tots on the swings, falling to their knees, twisting around like maniacs with a smile plastered to their face that says "Nothing is wrong!!" pushing a cart at the grocery store or traipsing along downtown sidewalks with tinkles on their trousers.

Again, Google to the rescue: while fashioning a cadaver mesh sling to support my bladder didn't sound fun, bio-electrical feedback sounded weird and the thought of incontinence pads was insulting at the tender age of 29, I did find multiple references to vaginal weights and exercisers. Hmm, weights ehh? I'm no body-builder but the thought was intriguing. It conjured images of a six-pack surrounding my bladder. Some brands were entirely clinical, devoted to the mature woman, a seasoned veteran in my sneezing club. Other brands were devoted to emphasizing all of the double-your-pleasure-double-your-fun benefits with a slice of incontinence control on the side, and others were somewhere in the middle of the road. Some of the descriptions made me blush while reading them, others made me feel like I should buy them for my grandmother and save her some money on the Poise pads. Some products promise grab-and-go ease: "Simply insert the weights and go on with your day, exercise your lady bits without even knowing it!" Others caution that you'll need to set aside a half an hour for a full on workout--and boast that you'll be able to apply 9.5 POUNDS of pressure when you're done with a workout. When it comes down to it, if the product advertises a satin carry-bag, a velvet lined case or something of the like in its list of features, I probably won't be buying it. If there is a picture of a cute old lady on the box, I most-likely won't be purchasing it. If there's a chance of one of my kids walking in the room and asking, "Mommy, what are you doing?" or "What's this funny toy, Mommy?", I'll probably pass.

For now, I'll stick with my daily sessions of squeezing every muscle between my belly button and my thighs while contorting my face and holding my breath, 20 reps at a time while pondering the Hab It.

Anybody out there Level Up lately?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Recipe: Chicken Chili with black beans and sweet potatoes

This post promises to be lackluster. No pictures. No humor. Straight to the point. I made a crock of .... something (which shall be referred to as "chili" from this point on) that was tasty. I tweeted. Recipe requests followed. Those who know me are well aware that I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of cook in the kitchen but I'll dish my secrets for ya'll.

Without further ado, I present to you the recipe for my on-the-fly Chicken Chili with black beans and sweet potatoes.

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
2 15 oz cans of black beans, undrained
1 lb frozen corn
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 sweet onion, diced
1 envelope taco seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 green pepper, diced
2 15 oz cans chicken broth
1/2 cup - 1 cup apple cider

Toss everything into a crock pot or a large, HEAVY pan with a lid. Place whole chicken breasts on top. Cook on low for 8-9 hours or bake in oven at 325 degrees for 4-6 hours. I'm sure that the chili would probably be done MUCH sooner than this, but I was out shopping and came home to it being perfect after this time period. It helps that I used a porcelain covered cast iron dutch oven to cook this--the super heavy lidded pan cooks evenly and keeps things nice and steamy inside the pan. When the sweet potatoes, peppers and onions are soft, you know you're ready to rock. I take the chicken out of the pan, dice or shred it and return it to the pot for 10 or 15 minutes. That's also when I pour some apple cider in, just to get the chili to the consistency that I like. I think it complements the sweet potatoes nicely but if that's not the style that makes you smile, you can use chicken broth just as easily.

Recipe can be halved super easily and leftovers are great. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How come...?

Be it right or wrong, here's my view of common perceptions regarding family sizes. Keep in mind that, as a mother of 4 children, these may or may not be my opinions.

Families with...

1 child : "Aww, how sweet. A cute young couple just starting their family."

2 children: "I'll bet that they've got the whole golden retriever/white picket fence dream too. Good for them." (This is particularly prevalent when the couple has one male and one female child)

3 children: "Ahh, the days of my youth. I always hated being the middle child but boy, was it great to have an older sibling to take responsibility and a younger sibling to lay all the blame to. That's just great. They're the average American family. Heck, she's probably got a vinyl 'soccer mom' decal on the back of her minivan."

4 children: "Sheezum! Ever heard of birth control?" Spoken to the parents: "I'll bet you have *your* hands full!! Wow!! Ha ha! Aww, beautiful family, good for you!!" ::mumbling and head shaking:: as they walk away.

5 children: "Good golly, he'd better have a good job to pay for all those kids! No, wait, **my taxes** are probably paying for all of those kids!"

6 children (or more): "Holy cow! What are they in competition with the Duggars or something?!"

So what I'm wondering is how it seems to me that we go from a positive perception of families right up until the 3rd child. All of a sudden there's a shift right around 4 kids and suddenly people seem to think that a family of 6 is freakishly huge. Not that I'm upset about it or anything because you know, I'm still on the smaller side of the freakishly huge family but I was just curious as to what it is that causes what seems to me to be fairly popular opinions.

How about you, what do you think of larger (or smaller) families? When does the number of children in a family just get to be outlandish?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Little Secret

OK, maybe this isn't really a big secret, but this is a little trick that I use all the time in the kitchen. As a mom of four children it seems that portioning out the plates and drinks and setting the table is always the craziest time of my day. I rely on the help of one of my very best friends to help me get dinner on the table and sit myself down while my food is still hot... or at least lukewarm. :)So by now, you're ready for my little kitchen tip, right? Well, here it is:

I use kitchen shears ALL OF THE TIME. They make cutting food for the kiddos go by in a flash. Forget the old fork and knife routine. Slap chop, step aside. I cut up my kiddo's burrito in about 4 seconds this afternoon (something messy like that would ?NEVER work in the ol' slap-chop). I can dice steak or pork chops for the kids in about 30 seconds, make short work of dicing green beans into bite-sized pieces and snip open freeze pops all with the same versatile tool. Need diced tomatoes and you've only got a can of whole, stewed babies? Pop the lid off that can, stick the shears in and with just a few quick snips in the can you've got diced tomatoes ready for action. Same with sliced peaches or pears, etc. My kitchen shears get lots of use around here so I keep two pair on hand so when one's in the dishwasher we've got one waiting in the wings.
I know that there's nothing super revolutionary here but it's a great tip that I picked up along the way and thought was worth sharing. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rite Aid Deal week of 4/18

Found a couple of bargains at Rite Aid this week, I'll give you a heads up on a few:

In my store they had 12 oz bags of Starbucks coffee for $9.49 marked @ 75% off making them $2.37. Pair with a $1.50 coupon from the 3/21 SmartSource you can snag a bag for just 87 cents!

Again, in my store they had select Betty Crocker Warm Delights marked $1.99 marked @ 75% off making them $.49. Use with a $1 off 2 coupon from 3/28 Smart Source making them FREE!

Purex 3-in-1 Starter Kits are BOGO marked $8.99. You can use the Rite Aid ad-perks $2 coupon and the $2 off 1 starter kit in the 4/18 RedPlum making these $1.50 **or less** per pack.

CoverGirl products are Buy one, get one half off. Eye shadow single packs priced at $3.29 (second one $1.70) paired with the wellness coupon for $2 off a $2.99 or greater cosmetics purchase AND 2 $1/1 CoverGirl product coupon from the 3/7 or 4/4 P&G insert make these $.49 each.

Huggies and Goodnites are $8.99 this week. Pair Huggies with the $3 internet printable for Huggies diapers floating around or the $1.50/1 Goodnights from the 4/18 Smart Source, the $2 Rite Aid ad-perks from March (exp. 4/30) and you can get them for $4.00 - $5.50 per pack (*or less).

Kotex U products are $3.49 this week with a $3.49 Single Check Rebate, you can pair them with the $1/1 coupon in the 4/18 Smart Source to get them for FREE (actually, a $1 money maker after rebate).

Any of these deals can be combined with a $3 off a $15 non-prescription purchase Wellness Rewards coupon or a $5 off $20 purchase ad-perks coupon. Keep in mind that a Ad-perks coupon can be combined with a Wellness Rewards coupon so you can actually get $8 off any $20 purchase!!!

Here's an example of a scenario I did this morning:

2 Purex @ 8.99 (BOGO)
1 TGIF snack @ $.99
1 clearanced Chow Mein @ $.25 (filler)
2 CoverGirl EyeShadow 1 @ $3.29, 1 @ $1.70
Subtotal: $15.22 + tax
- $2 Purex MQ
- $2 Purex MQ
- $2 Purex Rite Aid ad-perks
- $1.50 TGIF internet printable
- $2 Wellness Rewards cosmetics coupon
- $1 Covergirl MQ
- $1 Covergirl MQ
- $3 on $15 purchase Wellness Rewards coupon
Total: $.72 + tax

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You *thought* you trained them well...

Being sick tends to greatly exaggerate people's traits and tendencies. Typically an impatient person does not develop the patience of Mother Theresa when they're running a fever but rather they want a cold, wet cloth for their forehead NOW. If you're juggling their drink, the TV remote, a crossword puzzle and their meds and just happen spill a solitary drop of tea on the nightstand you're likely to hear quite a bit of ha-rumphing or exasperated sighs. The clumsy sickie often pukes on the floor, stubs their toe and knocks over chairs on their way to their porcelain throne and forgets to close the bathroom door when Mother Nature leaves them spouting like Old Faithful every fifteen minutes. The messie leaves a trail of tissues everywhere and will have you wiping up Gatorade they've splattered all over the counter. If Mother Nature happened to touch this poor soul too then you're likely to find skid marks on the back of the toilet seat when you follow them with a can of Lysol... if you're lucky you won't find a crumpled piece of stained toilet paper kicking around next to the can but let's face it, how often are we mom's ever really THAT lucky?

Over the past two weeks my kiddos came down with, of all things, the dreaded flu. Now, up to this point, I thought I'd done a decent job of teaching my children to mind their manners. Granted, they do interrupt me fairly frequently when I'm chatting with another adult, they're prone to childing bickering and if you know them at all I'm sure that you could rattle off a list of their other childish, impetuous ways. On the whole though, they say their pleases and thank yous. Pipe in with an "excuse-me" here and there. Cough into their elbow... grab a tissue for a sneeze. I think you can see where I'm going with this.

Any illusion that I'd had of having taught my children proper etiquette has been shattered. Yeah, they went flying out the window at 2 am when my daughter was *screaming* "MOMMMMMMAAAAAY!!!" at the top of her lungs. Of course I thought she was vomiting or had fallen out of bed on her way to the bathroom or something. Nope. When I got to her my heart was racing, I was light-headed from jumping out of bed so fast, out of breath from hurtling myself down the stairs at warp factor 7 and was groping around to find her since 1--I didn't have my glasses on and 2--it was darker than a pimp's heart. "What is it honey? Are you ok? Mommy's here..." And as I reached out in compassion, trying to console my obviously distressed daughter she liftede her head from the pillow and demanded with a certifiable screech in her voice, "Get me a drink, NOW!!!!!" Sadly, this was only the beginning. That girl is the crabbiest, nastiest, most demanding sick person I've ever dealt with. Nothing was addressed calmly, everything was needed urgently and all demands were made VERY LOUDLY. Yeah... that didn't fly too well. She soon learned that she could refill her own cup with water if she was going to yell at me. But rather than ask calmly she marched her independent little butt to the sink time after time. Great, now that I've said that, this is stuck in my head:

Then we have sick child #2. This one was very polite, very docile and actually fairly cheery. She just coughed in your face and sneezed all over you. I think that one of the things she did repeatedly that I was particularly fond of was when I'd hold the thermometer in her mouth she would cough all over my hand. EVERY SINGLE TIME. She would be absolutely fine, no cough, perfectly calm and as soon as that thermometer hit her lips she turned into a fire-breathing dragon; her hot breath would make my fingertips curl back against the tip of the thermometer, inching away from her mouth. Her chest would start to rise in preparation for the heaving coughs that would soon send her into fits of coughing and spewing abundant showers of micro-sputum up my arm, across my chest and even in my face. Ooh, ooh--another thing she kept doing was walking up to you and just letting those queer little pre-vomit burps out. You know what I'm talking about, oh yes. Those little froggy, demon seed burps that you try to swallow down just moments before the big hurl. Yeah, she didn't try to swallow those. No keepin' those suckers down. But she never puked. And it seemed like she derived some sick little bit of amusement from watching your reaction. The more reviled you were by the belch the more satisfied she was.

I could go on but I think you get the picture. I won't exactly be sending them to Mo'Nique's Charm School (GAH!) but I guess we're starting back at square one. And I've made a mental note to keep kleenex in every single room of the house. We just stocked back up on lysol so I hope we're set for the next big disaster to rock my humble abode.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Huggies Deal

The week of 3/21 Rite Aid is going to have a pretty smokin' deal on Huggies:

$8.99 for a jumbo pack of Huggies with a $1 SCR (one SCR per household)

Head over to or RIGHT AWAY and print out the $3 Huggies coupon; you can do this twice. Hopefully you still have another coupon for Huggies kickin' around, if you can't get another $3 coupon, you can find one for $2.00 pretty easily (just ask if you *really* need my help with this).

On Rite Aid's adperks site you can watch videos to earn coupons: you'll want to score the $2/1 Huggies coupon.

Watch enough credits to earn yourself a $5/$20 purchase or $5/$25 purchase coupon.

When you print your coupons MAKE SURE that you elect to print at least 3 copies of the coupon. Once you print that coupon sheet those coupons disappear down a black hole of "You already saved once, sucka!" I repeat, when you print your Rite Aid Huggies coupons, print at least 3 copies.

Here's how your purchase is going to play out (the order you give your coupons in does matter):

Purchase 3 packages of Huggies @ $8.99 Subtotal: $26.97
Use $5/$20 Rite Aid coupon next. Subtotal: $21.97
Use (3) $2/1 ad perks Huggies coupons. Subtotal: $15.97
Use (3) $3/1 Huggies internet printable coupons. Subtotal $6.97
Submit for $1 Rite Aid SCR (Single Check Rebate) Final Total: $5.97
Divided by 3, you paid $1.99/pack

Pat yourself of the back and revel in the savings.