Thursday, June 11, 2020

2020... so far the weirdest year yet!

I don't even know where to begin. Just a quick post since I am trying to get my store items updated and realized I haven't blogged here since last October!

My husband had his medical retirement, and the date was finally given!  End of Feb, he is free!  Yay! That was a lot of driving every day.  Will be so great to have him home.

In March 2020, we lost 2 very special women.
First, my best friend's mom (best friends since we were kids)....
Carolyn Hassinger

and then, we traveled to Kansas because my mother-in-law was in hospice care at her home. The boys got to see their grandma again, and then she slipped away to be with Jesus.

Kathy Tvrdik

At the same time, the pandemic hit the U.S. and we were told we would need to quarantine to stay safe. We were staying in a Super 8 in KS, next door to a Dollar General, and if I shopped aka couponed, I could spread the virus to my family and kill them all. The big county next to us was closed down. You needed to be essential and have some kind of proof you were allowed to be on the road. I was afraid we weren't even going to be let back through KS, Missouri, or back into Minnesota! Chris looked up the rules online, and found that yes, you were allowed to travel back home.  The kids started "Distance Learning" in the hotel room, via internet (luckily Gabe also had his school iPad with him, since when we left, it was Spring Break.) Trevor was able to use Chris' iPad and his own phone to chat online with his teacher and classmates and find his assignments. This was all so new and out-of-the ordinary. It really felt like I was living in some kind of crazy dream world (or nightmare!).  Chris was going and chatting with the hotel owner a lot, and found out he was from India, and was a Christian. So they chatted quite a bit. (Even though you were now supposed to stay 6 feet away from people.)

We did come home the day after the funeral, only allowed to eat in the car, as all restaurants were shut down and only doing orders online/carryout options or drive-thru.  Of course, this was all new to them too, and the handling of the money, then the food, was just total cross-contamination and scared me. The gas pumps were just crawling with the virus in my mind, even though some places, they had a girl walking around and wiping down all the touch screens and pump handles. Everywhere we went, we used hand sanitizer and hand wipes. And I did a lot of praying.

I sure was glad to be home finally. My sister sent me a homemade mask, and Chris had a lady at church make some for them out of a pillowcase, and she made me a nice double layer one too. We tried to stay home as much as possible, only going out to the store for groceries. I even got a time slot for a grocery pickup at Walmart (it was hard to get slots, they filled up so quickly.)
I even abstained from couponing for two months, and didn't even set foot into any Dollar Generals for 2 months! (Big feat for me... lol.)

Churches are all shut down, and doing online videos for church now. It's interesting, you can watch a couple different services if you want. So I have been following both of my churches... lol. And then started watching Michael W. Smith's worship broadcasts on YouTube each week.

Anyway... I started focusing on what I could sell on Amazon... merchant fulfilled only, since Fulfilled by Amazon was only sending out essential items, not anything else, and wasn't taking any new incoming shipments.  Also tried posting a few more things in my eBay store.
It took a couple weeks, but somehow the sales started coming on quickly for home fragrance type items... I guess people are getting tired of being stuck in their stinky  Or they have teenage boys... #truth.

The first week of June was my best selling week so far ever on Amazon. I am starting to also get a few FBA orders coming in again, and it seems Amazon warehouses are slowly getting back to work and sending out items that aren't "essential" again.  I don't know, I think books and art supplies ARE essential for people stuck in their homes.

I reached my first goal that I set for myself, being able to pay the internet bill for a month all by myself, with my earnings from items that I sold online.  I am very proud of this accomplishment!'

The kids' school decided to finish up a bit early, and they had a wave parade at the elem. school. Then I had to go turn in their iPads (got there at the last minute that day.... phew.).
Both kids did great with their distance learning, and I think I am going to homeschool my now FIFTH grader in the Fall, using an online program that uses accredited MN teachers, so I don't have to be the teacher, and all the curriculum is covered and no school supplies have to be bought either.

We were approved for SNAP (food assistance) with Chris being retired and disabled. He is still fighting for his soc security/disability benefits.  So I can't comment on that at this moment.

We finally got a Dexcom after we got home (yeah, no Dexcom that whole time we were out of state, and dealing with the funeral, pandemic, distance learning, and then NO DEXCOM..... talk about stress....) and we were still fighting with insurance about getting Trevor's insulin pump. We found out the one we want, isn't FDA approved for kids under 14. But he can get a different model. It's on the way, and might even be here by next Monday!  This is going to be LIFE CHANGING for him!  We will have to do some kind of training again, and get a new insulin prescription, etc. So it's a big change, and a lot to learn, but oh man, how exciting! 

Restrictions are starting to lift a bit here in our state now. Restaurants are allowed to have outdoor seating, (with distance between patrons of 6 feet of course), and have to follow all the safety rules which keep changing. Small business stores are slowly opening up again. But the virus is still around. There are still 93 people in our county currently that have Covid-19.  I follow them on Facebook, and they used to give the numbers daily. Now they are switching to once a week.

Then there was a horrible, unfair, death of an African-American man in Minneapolis (George Floyd), by a white cop. Very horrible, kneeled on his neck, and killed him. Talk about pain and outrage!  The Twin Cities erupted in riots and buildings were destroyed and fires all over the place. Protests and gatherings are still happening. The one cop was finally put in jail, and also the others that were with him, that didn't stop him. (One tried, he at least said something.) So there is a big movement from the #BLACKLIVESMATTER group, and of course #BLUELIVESMATTER too! Because not all cops are bad!  I can support both, can't I?  Well I did a lot of soul searching, thinking about how I grew up (yes, I still have white privilege today, even when couponing) and I even saw a map online which blew me away, of the city I grew up in, seperated by where people lived by the color of their skin and ethnicity. ("Negroes", "Jews", and "Italians").... never saw that map before. I learned that people living in certain areas, were not given loans/mortgages. I watched a few Documentaries too, and had Gabe watch one with me, about Slavery in Current Times. VERY eye opening. And watched another one about Darwinism... and it is ALL ABOUT RACISM! Anyone that believes the Darwin theory is promoting racism!  Luckily the Christians stepped in, and had the boy freed, that was living in a monkey cage in a zoo. Horrible story. True story. Sad ending to his life, too.  I watched a few YouTubers talk about it, and hear what is going on in their cities.  The Impaulsive podcast had some really good episodes. Those guys really speak their minds, and speak so intelligently about things sometimes (of course there is a lot of nonsense and stupid stuff too... lol).

Mom and Dad finally got to visit. Gabe went to help Dan and Jenny with some wood, and spent some time with my Dad. We also finally had our good friends Jim and Jean-Marie and their kids over for dinner one evening. I was very scared about having people in our home during this whole pandemic. But she assured me that they are very safe, wearing masks, Jim doesn't work around other people, and their kids haven't been anywhere. It really was nice to have human companionship again! Even though I wanted to give hugs, I still maintained a bit of "social distance". Paranoia? Maybe. But I just want to stay safe, and keep my family alive. This virus is NO JOKE. And we are all high risk in one way or another.

OK, rambled on enough here, I could type for hours on these subjects.... I will be posting another Christian blog post real soon from the other day.

And oh yeah, I turned the big 39 again... on June 8th.  (hee hee).  I am now using "readers" to see the fine print on coupons and UPCs.  Mom took me to Walmart before the whole pandemic thing and I got my first pair of reader glasses. Not sure if they are the right strength. My eyes seem to slowly be getting worse. Ugh.  And I won't even mention the gray hairs and chin hairs coming in... lol.

Got my flowers planted, bird feeders up. I have seen hummingbirds already, and a giant pileated woodpecker has been here a few times. Of course, I named him "Woody".  We are due to have some storms here tomorrow afternoon/evening. We do need the rain badly. But I can do without the storms part. We have enough going on in our world already!


Thursday, October 10, 2019

October Ramblings

October Ramblings

Oct. 10, 2019

I haven’t been creating much lately. My workspace has become one big clutter mess and I was struggling with a sore back. After prayers at Moms group, that night, I was stretching and my back seemed to readjust back into place. Now feeling a lot better and Super Grandma Dianne is here to help with driving and some of the dishes, laundry, and vacuuming (she can’t sit still unless she’s on Facebook 😂 love ya mom).... so.... I got my small desk cleaned off and now I’m trying to clear off the counter so I can use it for recording art videos and the other half to organize part of my couponing stockpile. 

My son’s football season is coming to a close. Tonight we’re driving to Aitkin for a chilly game. He has a few games left. You win some, you lose some, but at least he’s having fun. 

The weather is changing for the worse here.  There is actually the S-word in the forecast. 
This is the time of year my depression can  gear up and wipe me out. My body goes into hibernation/survival mode. I am trying to stay active and keep my interest in my hobbies up. Of course there are days I just need to nap or veg out on the recliner when the kids are at school. As a caregiver wife & mom, those self-care moments are very important and I need to ignore that inner voice calling me names. 

I am slowly working on getting my online reselling business up & running. Life and my tiredness (hypothyroidism) always seems to set me back. But I am persistent and will not give up on my dreams. I have learned in the past that if you pray and work hard, you can reach your goals with God’s help. 

Our van needs a bit of a tune-up, the snowblower isn’t working yet. I am getting the “before the snow falls” anxiety. 😜 Thanks for keeping us in your prayers. 


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Take a peek at my "Products I Love" page on Pinterest HERE.

Photo above taken by Barbi Tvrdik on 10/10/19... a half green/half neon orange masterpiece in my backyard. 
God’s creation is beautiful up here this time of year. 

 Keep praying for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes!
We worship a God of miracles!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

How to Color Like an Artist: Colored Pencil Techniques Including Blending & Shading

I was recently doing a little research into how I could improve some of my coloring skills as an adult coloring book artist. This one received many great reviews, so I thought I'd share my great find. Chapters include; Pencil stroke types, shading techniques, highlights on white and colored paper, textures, blending colors with solvents, blending colors with light-colored pencils, basics of color theory, color harmony, using gray colors to create selective focus and combining mediums. Great tips and techniques, and ways to improve your coloring skills.

"A great guide." —  Jo's Reviews

Improve your coloring skills with these simple, step-by-step instructions for techniques using colored pencils. Intended for beginning artists and coloring book enthusiasts, this guide is ideal for those without formal training but with some experience of coloring with pencils. A wealth of suggestions and exercises will show you how to take your skills to the next level.

Discover how to create volume with such shading techniques as crosshatching, long and short strokes, and color gradation. Learn how to form unique textures that add detail to images. Practice blending techniques and layering one color at a time to control values and colors effectively. Full-color photographs throughout the book illustrate each method as well as lessons in color theory. Eight practice pages from Dover's bestselling Creative Haven® series of coloring books provide the opportunity to test your new techniques.


5.0 out of 5 starsSo Helpful and Easy to Understand!!
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
"I'm so glad I ordered this!!! So helpful An having the pages in it to practice with makes it so easy!! I've always loved coloring but now that I'm older I wanted to become better if I was gonna spend money on some of the Adult coloring books." ❤️

You may also like:

Prismacolor 3750 Premier Colored Pencil Accessory Kit with Blenders and Erasers, 7-Piece Set

Premier Colored Pencils for Adults Coloring Books, Premium Artist Colored Pencil Set (72-Count), Handmade Canvas Pencil Wrap, Extra Accessories Included, Oil based Color Pencils (Choose one of the beautiful wraps or a tin case.)

63 Beautiful Coloring Designs based on the Disney artwork of Thomas Kinkade (includes color photos as well)

* This blog post contains affiliate links, at no extra cost to you, the buyer. Thank you for your support.

Monday, September 30, 2019


 TIDE Laundry Detergent
Nice Coupon to clip with S&S Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent

* This blog post contains affiliate links, at no extra cost to you, the buyer. Thank you for your support.