Sunday, February 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday (week of 2/21)

If you noticed, I was completely missing last week.  We have had bouts of sickness and other things that have made our week a little busier and crazier than normal.  I hope to stay on my self-imposed schedule of posting this week. 

Menu is a bit simpler this week cause the hubby is going out of town Thursday - Sunday and the kids and I will be out of town Friday - Sunday.  When Mike is gone, I tend to feed then kids & I quick and easy dinners. 

Toast, smoothies
beans and rice

Bacon wrapped meatloaf (we never had this from 2 weeks ago), mashed potatos, broccoli, croissants

eggs, toast
sweet potato soup (will post recipe, I plan to try out a couple of new recipes)


corn dogs (maybe eat out with gran)

out of town

Out of town

Out of town

I also plan to do some baking on Tuesday and Wednesday!  Hope to make some much needed cookies, cinnamon rolls and granola bars.  I have to make sure the hubby has good snacks for his road trip!  :0)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Menu Plan Monday (week of 2/7)

Sorry this is a late!  I will start with Wednesday's menu.  There are some repeats from last week due to changes based upon the weather.

cearl, fruit
corn dogs, french fries
Spaghetti & Meatballs, Broccoli and Salad

Grilled Cheese
Baked Chicken, Rice & Veggies

Dry Cearl or Pancakes (Freezer)
School (we pack a lunch)
Sonic for Kids and Date night for Mommy & Daddy

Eggs & Pancakes
Birthday Party
Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, Veggies & Bread

Cinnamon Rolls
Hot Dogs
Breakfast for Dinner

I will post recipe from Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf.  This will be my second time to make this.  I got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  It is so delicious.  I made some adjustments and I will post my recipe after I make it the second time around!  It is so good and holds together well.  The main adjustment I make is to use a combination of ground meat, black beans and spinach.  I plan to add sweet potatos or shredded carrots this time around.  Not only does this save money because you are only use 1/3 lb of meat, but it is much healthier and you get in vegetables when you least expect it!! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

To Know God

"Often what we want to know most is where God wants us to go and what He wants us to do or even what he wants to do for us.  But God wants to know us!"

"David says in Psalm 119:10 "With all my heart I have sought You."  When you make knowing God your priority, He will reveal truths about Himself that will point to the path you should take, and when you take it, His blessings will follow"

"David's focus wasn't on his circumstances or what he expected God to do about them; it was on God Himself."

I found this devotional very encouraging and convicting.  All to often, I get caught up in the everyday things of life: what are we going to do today, what are we going to eat, where are we going to go.  Even the life things in general:  what are we going to be doing in 1 year, 5 years, etc; worry about my kids and other random things.  I find that my short quiet time each morning is just getting re-filled in order to accomplish those things.  I focus on what I need to do better, how I can be a better wife & mother.  This has motivated me to put away the self-help books and really dig deep and begin a journey of getting to know the Father again, who He is and the relationship He desires to have with me. 

"I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.  I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches;  I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.  I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word."
Psalm 119:10-16

*the items in quotes are from the Journey Devotional, Priscilla Shirer

Friday, February 4, 2011

Recycled Gift Wrap (Frugal Fridays)

One of the ways I save a little money is by not spending and arm and a leg on giftwrap. 

A few years back I would have never dreamed of using the comics as giftwrap.  But for Christmas that is the bulk of what I used to wrap our gifts. 

I figured if I was spending less than $5 on this really nice gift, I really didn't want to spend $3 or more on the wrapping.  Some ways that I save on wrapping gifts:

  • Comics and Newspaper
  • Recycle gift bags from previous gifts; Christmas, Birthdays, Baby showers, etc
  • Save the fronts of greeting cards.  They really dress up newsprint, etc.   
  • Save boxes, tissue and ribbons from everythings; you never know when you may need it
After Christmas I found 2 rolls of Christmas paper in our storage.  I guess we will have to use it next year! 

I also check garage sales and thrift stores for good deals on greeting/note cards.  And I have enjoyed making my own greeting/note cards out of cardstock, scrapbooking paper and pictures.  So much fun and can be made so personal!  You do have to buy the invitation envelope, if you want an envelope!  (I have found that less is needed when you just want to make due with what you have.)

What frugal ways do you save?

Finer Things Friday: Full Freezer & Pantry

For the past 4 days, we have had lots of Ice and Snow!  Schools have been closed all over.  What a blessing it has been to open up my freezer and pantry to find plenty of fixings for lots of great meals!  The nicest thing has been the little things that I have stashed away in the freezer.  Small bags of beans used to make a yummy chilli.  Pumpkin stashed away back in October to make delicious Pumpkin bread.  And a box of extra 7-Up and Cream Sodas leftover from Zeke's birthday party!  What a special treat for my two little troopers!  These surprises are definately a Finer Thing!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


No Cable TV

For the past 4 years we have lived without Cable TV!  I have declared that any sort of TV is a want and not a need.  It definately can be beneficial and I am grateful that we have the small TV that we have and the basic channels that we get with an antenna and the DVD/VCR we can use to watch movies, etc.  But I am grateful that I have learned to live without it.  Over the course of the past 4 years I have had times where we did not have TV or computer at all.  It was very freeing!  I read alot.   I journaled alot.  I played games with my hubby alot.  My kids have been more creative when we watch less TV.  And I will admit that when it is accessable I tend to watch it and allow the kids to watch it.  And it saves us money. 

Disclaimer:  I am NOT saying that everyone should be like me and not have TV.  This is just my way of chronicling the simple ways of life we have done over the years. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Menu Plan Monday (a little late)

I have waited to post my menu because *gasp* I haven't made one yet.  I had planned to eat only fruits & veggies Monday - Wednesday.  Trying to Detox my body.  Hubby would most likely eat the same and therefore I would just be throwing together something simple for the kids to go with the fruits and veggies. 

The winter weather as well as hunger has motivated me to eat a bit more.  Now I am in the mood for Chilli, Soup, Bread, etc.  I still plan to eat mainly fruits and veggies but will eat a little bit more.  I did not set out to starve myself just to eat a bit more healthy.  It has motivated drinking more water and eating more fruits and veggies.  With that, I have thrown together a menu plan. 

Fruit, dry cearl
Veggies & Rice (PB for Zeke, Pasta for Abi)

Eggs, Toast, fruit, Smoothie
salad (cearl for kids)
Chilli, French bread, salad

Fruit, toast, Smoothie
Sandwich, Salad
Chicken Noodle Soup

Fruit, Cearl, Smoothie
Salad, Leftovers
Breakfast Casserole

Fruit, Dry Cearl
Pizza, Salad

Fruit, Toast, Smoothie
Sandwich, Salad
Fish Tacos

Fruit, Eggs, Pancakes
Sandwich, Salad
Tator Tot Casserole

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Deals for the Week 1/31

I am so sad that my camera is not working because the deals I got today are definately picture worthy!!  I think I saved around 57% at Kroger today!  Just a quick recap of my "scores"!!!  (I do not have specifics on coupons, if you have questions, just ask and I can try to remember)


Tostitos Tortilla Chips 2 for $5  (if you buy 2 you get a Free Salsa)
* I bought 2 chips and 1 salsa, used 3 -  $0.55 off 1 coupon

$3.35 OOP

Kroger (M=Mega Sale)

Kettle chips - $0.29 (1.29, used $1 off Coupon)  (M)
Pure Almond  -  $1.49  (2.49 used $1 off coupon) (M)
Softsoap  -  FREE  (0.88 used 0.35 off coupon)
Pampers Easy Ups - 5.49  (8.49 used 1.50 coupon and 1.50 ecoupon) (M)
Pampers Wipes - FREE  (1.49  used $2 off coupon if you buy both pants and wipes)  (M)
Blueberries - $1 per pint
Knorr Sides  -  $0.25 each ($1 used  0.50 off 2 coupon and 0.50 off 2 ecoupon)
No Yolks egg noodles - $0.25  (1.25 used 0.50 off coupon)
Adams & Eve Fruitables (8 pack)  - $1.99  (2.99 used $1 off ecoupon)
Krusteaz Pancake mix  -  $0.49  (1.49 used 0.50 off coupon)  (M)
Bar S Franks  -  $0.39   (0.89 used 0.50 off 2 coupon)  (M)
Nestle Cookie Dough  -  $1.29 (2.29 used $1 off coupon)  (M)
Kraft Singles  - $0.24  (0.99 used 0.75 off coupon) (M)

I am sure there are some other deals I am forgetting!!!  I load coupons to my Kroger card from the following websites.

You can double with paper coupons.  Only one of each ecoupon will come off in a single trasaction. 

I love me some good deals!!

Healthy Slop (Recipe)

My amazing 20 year old son has created a wonderful healthy dessert!!  After last nights introduction, hubby had to make some more tonight. 

Basically it is a combination of Rice, Butter, Fruit, Nuts and Sweetner.  Below is what me made it with tonight,  You can tweak it to your taste or to whatever you have in your cupboards. Also amounts are whatever you choose. 

Cooked Rice (hot so that it melts the butter)
3-5 TB butter
Fresh Blueberries and Strawberries
Dried Cranberries
Sunflower Seeds
Turbando Sugar

We found that letting it sit made it a bit sweeter!!  So yummy!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

God's Way

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Focusing on the goodness of God seeing the bigger picture!  Boy am I glad that His thoughts are higher than mine and His ways are higher than mine!! 

I recently was asked to complete a reveiw of myself at my job.  I had the hardest time even sitting down and reading it to complete it.  I did not want to speak too highly of myself but I also did not want to focus on the negative.  Bottom line I would have much rather had someone else complete it!  When it came down to it, I basically rated myself  "mediocre".  My supervisor came back to me and smiled and said "you do not think enough of yourself".  She rated me "excellent" in most topics.  She had great encouraging things to say. 

Why is it that I was so quick to focus on the negatives?  Not wanting to brag about myself?  Do I sense a bit of insecurities? 

My husband and I recently were discussing the scripture "Love your neighbor as yourself" from Matthew 22:39.  How hard can it be to love your neighbor as yourself if you do not Love yourself?  If you are not speaking  highly or at least thinking highly of yourself how can you pass that on to your neighbor?  Believe me I am not advocating being big headed, prideful or having your head stuck up your own butt!  But I know I could definately "love myself" a little bit more. 

How do you love yourself?  Right now for me it is to not leave my "needs" at the bottom of the list.  I have to take some time each day for ME!  If I do not take care of ME there will be no ME to give away!

This post definately went in a couple of different ways, mostly I am thankful that God's thoughts and ways are  greater and bigger than my own!  I am thankful today that He sees the bigger picture.  Makes it much easier to follow His lead! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Birthday Parties (Frugal Fridays)

Birthday Parties have always been special in my household.  With both sides of my famly we always have a celebatory dinner for the family member who is having a birthday.  Now that we have grown, we combine and have a monthly meal if there are multiple birthdays in one month. 

But for my little ones I am still throwing bigger shindigs! 

Invitations:  I used Evite for the majority of my invites.  Others who either did not have an email address or I did not know it received a very simple invitiation printed on resume paper and folded into a business envelope. 

Location:  For the past two years we have been blessed to have had my son's birthday at the church where I work for a very low price.  The price includes use of the sitting areas, gym, foosball table and pool table, kitchen, and BOUNCE HOUSES!!  This year we had a much larger guest list because we included our new friends from Mother's Day Out!  That made this such a frugal find since it is one price not priced per child. 

Food:  I made cupcakes instead of purchasing a cake which saved me a minimum of $10 (more since the amount of cupcakes was more than what one cake would have fed)  I prepared other inexpensive dishes from home as well; Cinnamon Rolls, cut up fruit and veggies and Goldfish.  These were great becuase any leftovers were easy to work into our menus. 

Drinks:  This was probably the most expensive item on the list.  We wanted to be sure we had plenty.  And plenty we did.  Again leftovers were great!! 

Goody Bags:  After Christmas Clearance!!  Need I say more??  I found great goodies for our guests at the Target $1 bins for 75% off!  Everyone got a small dry erase board.  Cost to me $0.25!  I also gave away Magnets & small packages of M&Ms.  Also frugal finds!  The smaller guests got board books and older guest received small planners.  Both found at Target for $0.25 each. 

Decorations:  This was very minimal.  I did have some leftover balloons from a previous party and had them blown up with helium there at the church.  Because I made cupcakes, plates and forks were really not needed.  I had a big package of napkins and a smaller package of plates and forks.  All the drinks were individual so cups were not needed.  I purchased very neutral, inexpensive paper products to keep cost down. 

All in all I spent around $100 for a party for 60+ people! 

Finer Things Friday: Indoor Playgrounds

We love to visit Chick fil A!  Mainly because they have a great indoor play area.  It is pretty small so not too much trouble to get into.  And it is usually pretty clean.  I try to get a table right by the door.  If I can't get that table, I will get one that is beside the glass.  If we are not there for a meal, I will get a drink (free coupon from calender) or coffee.  Other places with great Indoor play areas include McDonalds, Burger King and recently founded Arbys!!  Finding a place for my kiddos to play that is safe, comfortable and clean is definately a Finer Thing!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I am humbled to be the parent God has chosen for my children. 

These past several days sickness has invaded my household.  Started with my sweet little boy having Ear pain the day before his birthday.  This was short lived and he seemed to feel better within 12 hours.  Then my sweet daughter developed lots of congested, runny nose, itchy eyes and cough.  Next sweet husband began to feel pretty under the weather and since he has a job in the medical field decided it best that he visit the doctor.  Turns out he has Strep Throat.  With the kiddos continuing to have congestion, etc we decided it best that they make a visit to the doc as well.  Turns out they have Ear Infections (could have strep but antibiotics for ear infection with treat that as well). 

My humbleness comes in the fact that I didn't think they were THAT sick.  I would not have gone to the doctor.  They were getting well!  They played the entire time in the doctors office as if they were perfectly healthy.   Had my husband not gone to the doctor and found out he had Strep Throat, we would have sat at home all the while my kiddos suffering from Ear Infections. 

So grateful that God works circumstances and situations so that we make good choices.  He is the one in control and He sees the bigger picture.  I thank God that he is taking care of my children.  And me!  He is a faithful God so much bigger than I can even imagine!

How has God blessed you today??


For the past 18 months my family of 4 has lived in a 1 bedroom apartment above a coffee shop across the street from an University!  When we first moved here I was constantly focused on the negative things about this place.  Over the past several months I have begun to see the roses in the thorns.  So many of the things that I saw as soooo bad have become such blessings.  Living in such small quarters has caused us to think and live our lives much simpler.  So for the next several weeks on Wednesdays I will post a way that we live just a bit more simple. 

So to start things off .....

One way that we live a simple life is          Less space to clean - Purge Clutter Often

I can clean my entire apartment in less than an hour.  The kitchen is small, so less to clean.  I think the bathroom probably takes the most time to clean.  Pick up is quick, there is less space to hold things.  I purge things and get rid of them often.  We have a storage building and we keep most of our things there and only get things when needed.  We trade out toys for our kids often and exchange clothes seasonally.  I have invested in several storage units that keep clutter and toys hidden.  Baskets, Plastic containers, Closet Organizers and Coat/Bag racks help to organize our small space.  I have two large wall hanging coat racks right by the front door.  These hold coats, backpacks, purses, bags, strollers and any other random things that need to be kept out of the way.  Most of my kids toys are in plastic containers or baskets.  I also have a 9 cube shelf that holds the canvas drawers.  This has been my favorite clutter container.  I love that it is decorative and clean.  I use 4 cubes for books and the other 5 with canvas drawers to hold toys, cds, note cards, etc. 

Less Space, Less Clutter makes my life simple!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Here is our menu for the week of January 24, 2011

I usually plan breakfast, lunch and dinners. We do not always follow breakfast and lunches but it is great to have an idea to go off of. 

pancake & sausage
school (take lunch)
Beans & Cornbread

Fish Tacos, beans & rice

malt o meal
hot dogs
Chicken & Broccoli

toast & smoothie
Blue Eggs, Blueberry Pancakes, Blue Jello

Cinnamon Rolls
Bacon wrapped Meatloaf, mashed potatos, green beans

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

eggs, toast
Turkey Meatballs

The 25 Day Praise Plan - Marriage Challenge

One quality I admire most about my Husband:


From the first time I met my husband, he has oozed with integrity.  He does what he says he is gonna do.  He is consistant.  He cares about what others think, in a healthy way.  He strives to do the right thing. 

Now, I am not saying my husband is perfect!  He has forgotten to do something I've asked him to do.  He has been impatient and inconsiderate on occasion.  But at the end of the day I strive to see his heart and it is then that I see who he really is.  He lives a life of Truth.  He is zealous for things he is passionate about. 

I have NOT spent the week praising my husband.  I wish I could say that I have but I shall not tell a lie!  I have most likely been very impatient, moody and even a little mean.  (it has been a rough few days).  So tomorrow I will include a special note in his lunch letting him know what I think of him!

I love you honey!

What will you do to praise your husband??

Friday, January 21, 2011

Homemade Pizza (Frugal Friday)

We love Pizza!!  For a while we had pizza every Friday night.  Sometimes it was take out.  Papa Johns is our favorite.  Sometimes it would be frozen.  Now, we make Homemade.  We often get day old bread from Jimmy John's (they sell it for 50 cents per loaf) and top with a variety of toppings.  Chicken, Spinach and Feta Cheese is a favorite.  I also have been known to make my own pizza crust and then top with Sauce, Pepperoni and Cheese.  The nice thing about homemade pizza is you can pretty much make it with whatever  toppings you have in the fridge.  I usually use leftover sauce from when we have spaghetti.  I use just enough cheese.  And there you have it a wonderful meal for very little moolah!! 

How do you save money??

I am linked up to Frugal Friday!

Finer Things Friday: Big Brothers

I am so grateful that my oldest son lives next door and is able to enjoy time with his younger brother and sister any time he would like.  They are able to spend lots of quality time with him, we are blessed to have meals together a couple times per week and he even offers to babysit from time to time!  That, my friends, is definately a Finer Thing!

I am linked up at Finer Things Friday

Eating 1 meal of the same color

After reading a post from Chasing Cheerios I decided to incorporate food into our study of colors.  So each week we will be eating one meal that consists of foods that are the same color.  (I was not able to locate the post but the link will take you to the website which has so many fun and exciting activities.)

Last week was the first week and we talked about Yellow!  So on Sunday night we ate all yellow foods.  It was so much fun.  On the menu was Yellow Rice with ground beef, squash & corn.  The ground beef was seasoned with Tumeric Root so it was yellow tinted.  I also made Banana Pudding.  A first for me and it was yummy!!  See pic below. 

This week is Pink & Green and we will be having Spinach Pizza.  (I am sure I will think of something else to go with it.  Probably salad. )  Next week is Blue and we plan to have Blueberry Pancakes, Blue Eggs, Blue Koolaid and Blue Jello.  I will post pictures so stay tuned!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The 25 Day Praise Plan - Marriage Challenge

I am so excited to focus on my sweet Husband over the next few weeks!!   I just linked up to the 25 Day Praise Plan - Marriage Challenge.  You can get all the details at Woman Living Well.

I love to utilize different devotionals, challanges to encourage me and hold me accountable.  This challange offers suggestions on different ways to encourage and love your husband each week over the next 4 weeks.  Start now, you and your hubby will be glad you did!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My sweet boy is growing up!!

Today (January 19) my sweet Zeke turns 4!!  I remember ever so vividly the morning I woke up in labor.  The chair I labored in for about 3 hours before I woke anybody up is the chair I am sitting in to write this post.  I remember getting to the birth center dialated to a 3 and being sent to the mall to walk.  I must have been a sight walking all over Golden Triangle Mall with my sweet husband and teenage son dragging behind.  I was so excited.  Then they called us back to the birth center to get my IV set up.  (I was group B strep positive with both babies)  Once we got back things moved ever so quickly.  By 1pm I was around a 6 and we were really getting into the heavy labor.  By this time my sister had showed up.  She and Mike were so good to me.  They talked me through, held me up and encouraged me.  I am sure I squeezed my sister's arm a little too hard at least twice.  More family arrived as the labor progressed.  Through the whole labor I was surrounded by family.  Once my water was broke the contractions came quickly and I began to push Zeke out.  I had my mom, sister, other mother, nana and husband surrounding me.  My wonderful husband was able to pull his son out!  What a wonderful moment!  We were  so blessed by Inanna Birth Center to be able to deliver like this.  Zeke was born at 6:45pm on Friday January 19, 2007.  He weighed 8 lb 15 oz.  He was perfect!  Today he is still my precious boy.  He loves to write, draw, play with trains and dinosaurs.  He even likes to cuddle with mommy sometimes.  He is so smart and likes to just sit and talk.  He is so very thoughtful and will just randomly ask me "how was your day, mom?".  I love him so much!!

Our first time to really look at Zeke!

Our wonderful midwife, Jean Sala!

 Zeke 1 week old!  At home all cozy in his bed!
 Zeke about 4 weeks old.  This was after we found out I was starving the sweet boy!  Once he started gaining some wait he just kept eating and eating and eating!!
 Zeke probably less than an hour old!!
 Mommy and Zeke about 1 week old
 Zeke at 2 years old!  What a character he is!
 Zeke and his daddy!  Zeke is 3 years old here!  He loves to be with his Daddy!!  His daddy is pretty fond of him as well!!
Sweet face of Zeke!!  3 years old

Zeke first signature and hand!  3 years old

Zeke first Vacation Bible School - 3 years old

Camping!  Zeke trying to be like Daddy!  3 years old

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Word for 2011

After reading several blogs about choosing a word for the year, I have done just that!

The word I have chosen for this year is.....


Obedience to God
Obedience to My husband
Obedience to My self
Obedience to My kids

I have broken each one of the categories down and found practical ways that I can fulfill this word over the next 365 (less now) days of 2011!!!

Daily Quiet time
Read the bible through in a year
Daily Prayer time
Giving (not just finanaciallly)

Pray for him daily
Weekly date night
Taking care of myself
Daily flirting, encouraging
Being aware of my "tone" (I can say alot with the way I say something)

Daily Quiet time
Weekly Alone Time
Routine (me and kids)

Pray for them daily
Play with them daily
Lesson Plans for School (we homeschool)

I have also made financial, personal/relational, spiritual and physical goals for myself for this year!

The phrase that has come to mind as I have prayed and sought the Lord over this word and goals for this year is...

"It is up to me!"

That is not to say that I do not have to lean on God to have the strength but to me it means that I have to put myself out there and allow God to meet me!!! 

If you have made any goals for this year and you want to share, please leave me a comment!!

God Bless!!!!