Monday, January 31, 2011

My not so frugal side

I love a good deal. I think coupons are my love language. If it's free I am all about it. However, today as I was mopping my floor I was thinking about some of my not so frugal splurges. I think it should be known that I have been known to skip a deal for convenience. Some of that is just necessity, but some of it is that those little splurges make my life easier. I thought I'd share a few of my fave things that are usually not the least expensive way to go.

-Swiffer wet jet is something I use in place of a mop many times. It is so easy and I can do all my mopping in less than 15 mins. Now, this is not as thorough as hands and knees rags and bucket, but in my reality those kind of floor cleaning happens rarely. So, if I want my floors at mopped this little invention makes me happy. I do use coupons, but even so those little pads and solution refills are not free.

-Crockpot liners are also not super cheap, but they make clean up so easy! I love these little baggies. Especially with my freezer cooking. Now dinner is so easy I could jump up and down. Ah, it is the little things.

-Gas is an area we could do better with. We drive a lot. I try to run all my errands at once, but as a stay at home mom I don't really do a ton of staying at home. We do try to do any gas loyalty programs we can to get as much discount as we can, but gas is a big money sucker in our home.

-Starbucks is a treat I love to splurge on. Oh, the mocha makes me so happy. So expensive. So worth it. (once in awhile)

Those are are a few of the ways I splurge here and there. I try to save in other areas so I can spend a little extra on other areas.

Menu Plan

In case you are wondering what we are eating this week here is our menu plan. I am back to just dinners since our breakfast and lunch menu varies and usually consists of leftovers or sandwiches or cereal.

Monday- Ravioli
Tuesday- City BBQ (fundraiser for  friends mission trip)
Wednesday- orange chicken and eggrolls
Thursday- crockpot chicken with carrots and potatoes
Friday-Date night kids will eat mac and cheese and fun foods.
Sunday- youth group super bowl party

All this is pending on not getting some crazy ice storm. When I head to the grocery I will pick up some extra bread in case we need to live on sandwiches. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Getting paper work organized

It is well past that time of year. Each January (hey, it's still January...) I pull all our paper work for the previous year. I put all of it in labeled envelopes and stick it out in the garage (aka the catch all). So, today during naptime I pulled out all the old paperwork, and made our files just a little nicer. They were in no order so I alphabetized the file folder and then organized each hanging file folder with colored file folders inside.

The good news is that it really didn't take too long to get the drawer all set since it wasn't in terrible shape. The bad news is my shredder needs to get ready for a work out since I haven't shred anything for like 3 years I have a few things I need to get rid of. I'm one of those people who likes to have paper records for everything, but I am really trying to reduce the clutter. So, I am going to try and get rid of most everything I can find online.

I do have a sense of accomplishment though today. My files look pretty. I like when things look pretty. Now on to the rest of this house.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Problem solving

This morning Isaac comes into my room for one of our fun little talks.

I: Mom, I was singing the if you have a problem, fix it right away song. I was singing that so Asher would know that if you have a problem you can fix it right away. All you have to do is pray.
Me: that's great buddy.
I: Yep, it is. It is my new song. I was singing it in my bed before I even got up.
Me: Would you like to sing it to me?
I: I guess here it is: If you have a problem, you can fix it right away. If you have a problem, you can fix it right, right, right away. All you have to do is pray,pray, pray. Just praise the Lord and he will fix your problems. (and repeat)

So, on paper this is cute. In real life it was adorable, but as I'm listening to the tune I realize it is very familiar. Yep, He is singing to the tune of Katy Perry's Firework song. Yep, he is with his momma all the time and it shows.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Milk Monster

My little man loves his milk. He wakes up and looks for it. He sees the fridge open and he runs yelling, "Milk!" He loves milk. This comes as no surprise since my other boys also had a love affair with moo juice. Levi is just now starting to express his great love. He dances when he see it. He brings cups to you when ever he finds them. He loves his milk.

Meal planning Monday

Chicken marsala

fish sticks
House church- cookies

hot dogs and mac and cheese
Buffalo chicken

Pot Pie

chicken nuggets


youth- ravioli

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Freezer cooking day

Today was great. My freezer is stocked, my floors are mopped, and I am about to watch Chuck and fold some laundry. Ahhh, good day. So, Tami and I started last night with some prep work. Our hubbies watched the kids so we could get everything ready.
Last night we got all our meat cooked and assembled both our Tortilla soup and Potato chowder. We worked until almost midnight turned on the crockpots and headed to get some zzzzs. This morning I showed up with Tim Horton's in hand ready to knock out some serious meals. Tami was already starting by the time I got there. Our wonderful hubbies took the kids to Boonshoft so we could get some real work done. Of course we had some booty shaking music going to keep us moving.
Tami adding the cream cheese to our potato chowder. 
Mountain of taco roll ups. Yum!

Tami was a trooper with the stuffed shells. We ended up with 12 trays...

By the end of the day I think we ended up with over 28 meals and 2 sides. We had a fun day, and I am looking forward to low stress meal planning for at least a month! YAY!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Freezer cooking

Tonight, my good friend, Tami and I will prep for tomorrow. An all day freezer cooking extravaganza! I am looking forward to hanging out with her and I am so looking forward to a freezer full of meals!!! Here is a list of all the yumminess we have planned:

Taco Roll ups
Potato Chowder
Tortilla soup
Stuffed Shells
Angel chicken
Johnny Marzetti
Buffalo Chicken
Pot pies
Sloppy Joes
Taco meat
Orange chicken
candied carrots

We should have a freezer full of meals to last a little over a month. We may need a little prayer since neither of us are feeling 100% and this can be an energy drainer. I will let you know how it goes when all is said and done.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Halos for horns

Oh, my sweet baby. We are at the sad sad age. For some reason something happens to my each of my precious babies around 18 months. Levi is unfortunately no exception. He is throwing everything. Pulling folded laundry down. Screaming constantly at me. Hitting. And the one thing that he wants constantly is milk.

This phase has come with each child. It is an age full of energy. He is learning new skills (like throwing). He wants to participate and be helpful (by pulling laundry down). He is trying to communicate (by screaming). He is expressing his needs (milk, milk, and more milk).

The great part about this round of scary toddler is that I'M NOT PREGNANT! That has always been one of the major struggles with this age. Hopefully God will give me more patience and wisdom this round. I know I will need it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Living Social- Amazon gift card

Today's living social deal is a $20 Amazon gift card for only $10! Since Amazon already has so many great deals it's like taking an additional 50% off! If you are interested in this deal go here.

Wondering what to buy with your gift card?
 Here are a few ideas...

 Stretch Island Original Fruit Leather, Ripened Raspberry, 0.5-Ounce Bars (Pack of 30).
Subscribe and save to get an additional 15% off. (You can cancel as soon as your order has been processed.)

Huggies Natural Care Fragrance Free Baby Wipes Popup Refill, 216-Count Pack (Pack of 3) 
Again you can hit subscribe and save to get an additional 15% off. 
Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope 
I am reading this right now. It is such a great book. I have not read a book this fast in a long time. Beware, you may shed some tears, but you will also laugh...hard. 
What will you buy with your gift card?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Menu plan for the week!

Here is our menu for this week, cuz I know you are dying to know:

Monday- Ham, potatoes, and green beans
Tuesday- House Church- hashbrown casserole
Wednesday-Personal pizzas
Thursday-Fettuccine Alfredo with broccoli and garlic bread
Friday- Chicken breast, rice, and edamame
Saturday- Freezer cooking all day. Left overs or sandwiches whichever is easier. :)
Sunday- Youth group

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lovey Bear

Each of my kids have special loveys. Isaac attached to a lovey bear early. So of course, we had one for Asher. His was blue so we could distinguish between them. By the time Levi rolled around I think every one sent us some form of lovey. (Blanket with an animal head attached. Sounds creepy, but they are cute.) Levi chose his favorite. He is a man of taste and he chose the softest lovey we had been given. He loves it...A LOT! So we found a back up that is also soft. However, now he thinks he should have all times. 

 Levi even feels the need to eat with them. If you take them away he yells "EEEEE" (lovey)
 He will put them around his neck and walk around like a cape.
Not gonna lie, though. I think it is precious He is such a sweet boy and he loves to cuddle. His is so precious. I just love how sweet my baby boy it.

BBW Luv Club

If you signed up for the Luv BBW Club you need to make sure you get in on Thursday! I honestly thought the free gift would be a sample of lotion or something, but look at all they gave me. And the best part is I chose what scents I wanted. It looks like you can no longer sign up for this promo, but if you did already and have your card hurry in and get your goodies!

It's here!

I am not what you would call tech savvy. I mean all you have to do is look at this blog to figure that out, but once in awhile I find some electronic that catches my eye. At the time of my birthday there really wasn't anything I really wanted so I stashed away my gift money for a rainy day. I started putting away a little of my spending allowance (yep, I do have an allowance) away each month. By Christmas I started realizing that there are a lot of apps for smart phones that I kinda wanted. However, we are not willing to pay for a data plan on our phones. We are saving up for an adoption after all.  So, I started looking into it and realized I could get an itouch and still have the apps.

So, my little savings pot continued to grow, and then I used my swagbucks to get amazon gift cards. And I ordered it middle of last week. Now it is here and I am so excited! The best part is that I can use skype on it. So when Dan or I travel with out the other we can still talk face to face! (and I do love his face.) So, I'm excited about my new toy. I realize many people have had this toy for awhile, but for a not so tech savvy girl such as myself I feel like I am moving up in the world.

Monday, January 10, 2011

United Art and Education

Oh, the teacher store is having a sale!!!! I went in yesterday for brass fasteners and I have to peak at the clearance. The lovely cashier informed me that if you buy one of their totes ($1.50) anything clearance you can put in it is 50% off!!! YAY! I got lot of goodies. Including a Thomas floor puzzle my kids got so excited about. I was able to snag several word family work books and file folder game books. There were lots of books for 2 grade plus, and tons of art supplies. I snagged a fun Disney computer game for around $3 and a few handwriting books for my kiddos.

So, if you have anything you might need from the teacher store now might be a good time to go take a peek. :)

My crazy ponderings

I have started reading Genesis. I love Genesis. It is Sunday school revisited for me. I love the history and the stories. So fun. Today I was reading about the fall. A few things struck me. Every time I read this section I think it is so sad that we only get 3 chapters before man sins. It is all down hill from there. Good thing we have Revelation at the end to let us know that GOD WINS! :)

So, any how I am reading and it always seems strange to me that Eve is not concerned with the talking serpent. I mean, should that maybe be a hint that something isn't right that the thing is talking to her? Or do you think that was normal pre fall for animals to have cconverstaions with folks. Now, I am sitting here picturing a gorgeous Narnia. Like Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe Hawaii. So, I am stuck thinking about the talking animals. I know there is so much more meat in this part of the Bible, but this morning I am giggling over my hot chocolate at my picture of Eden with talking animals. :)

Yes, I know, it is a good thing I don't write Biblical commentary. Some days the mom brain wins and this is what I process.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Strega Nona

I love kids books! I always have. Stega Nona is a fun one that I heard when I was little. This month you can hear it read online by the author. If you have little ones it is a fun way to do story time. My boys thought it was fun to watch the story. :)

Free Kashi cereal at Kroger...

If you are a vocalpoint member you may have received a sample of Go Lean Crunch in the mail a few weeks back. Inside was a coupon book with 4 fab coupons. Well this would be a great time to use those if you have them. I went last night and came home with some FREE Cereal! YAY! Here's what I did:

Kashi Go Lean Crunch $1.99/each when you buy four
Use 1 $3/1 Go Lean Crunch coupon
Use 3 $1/1 Go Lean Crunch coupons
As Low as FREE- $.99 ea ( I had to pay $1 for one box and the rest were free)

Free Veggies

Meijer has Green Giant vegetables on sale for $1 this week. Use this coupon to get them free! This is for the small boxes, but I love them for lunches when it is just me and the kids. Or even just me. :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Funnix reading program FREE

I just came across this and I am so excited to check it out. It looks like this month Funnix will be offering their reading system FREE. Since I am working on reading with Isaac I am excited to see what this is all about. I just signed up for it and have not had time to really look into it, but I wanted to share in case there is a limit. Go here and check it out if you are interested.


Days like this are interesting. Dan slept in which was a little nice for me because I got to see him for a few minutes before he left for work. Levi is not feeling well so he has been very whiny. I'm  not sure if he is sick, or if he is teething, but I just want him to feel better. I hate when my little ones don't feel well. Especially when they can't tell you what is wrong.  :(

So we woke up. I started a load of laundry and ran the dish washer. I played with the boys and made breakfast. Unloaded the dishwasher. Got every one dressed and put away some laundry that was already folded. Put Levi down for a nap. Did school with Isaac and Asher (still have more for after naps, but we needed to break). Switched laundry and made lunch. Then I got every one down for rest time.

Poor Levi woke up from his nap and feels yucky so I gave him a little Motrin. Apparently he isn't as excited about the dye free stuff since he spit it out. I laid him back down since he didn't want any lunch and looked so uncomfortable I didn't know what else to do for him. I think if we keep going more than today we will call our trusty Doc and see if he has any ideas.

So, today is strange because I have been some what productive, but yet I feel so unsure with little man. Humm. Well, while he sleeps I am going to go fold some laundry and clip some coupons. There are a few good deals out there to be had so I need to get myself in gear and get back into shopping mode. :)

We have been eating down our stockpile since we ran out of space for it. So, now I will start building it back up.

Fear of flying alone with kids

My Aunt and Uncle moved to AZ when I was in elementary school. My dad's parents retired out there when I was around 14. My parents decided to move out west immediately after I got engaged. They of course took my baby sister (who was a freshman in high school at the time). So, I have family out there.

It is has been awhile since we have been able to go out there. Partially because it is so expensive to fly and partially because it is so hard to fly with kids. I actually really like to travel. I have always loved planning for the trip. I had a suitcase as a kid (it was carebears) that said "getting there is half the fun". I took that to heart. I love packing travel bags. I love picking snacks and organizing. Even as a young kid I would pack weeks ahead of a trip and repack. It was how I showed my excitement. I remember sitting on the stairs with my sister practicing the order in which we would play with our road trip toys. Yes, I am a nerd, but I have a plan just about for everything.

So, all that to say that we are going to fly out to see my family in February. I am very excited to see everyone. My only fear or nervous spot is that I am traveling by myself with three little boys.  I have already started mentally planning snacks and toys to pack. I have bought stocking stuffers on clearance so there are fun surprises in their bags. I have suckers for going up and coming down. I have gum. I will take empty water bottles so I can fill them at drinking fountains. I have dry drink mix to dump in said bottles when the kids complain they want juice. I will take extra batteries for the leapster. A dvd player ready to go, coloring books, silly putty, books, toys for the baby, diapers, wipes for butts and hands, and as many snacks as I can too keep there mouths full.

So over the next few weeks I will be looking for as many ideas for fun easier travel with kids. I am sure it will be easier now that I have two potty trained. I need to call ahead and find out if they will let me bring milk for Levi. He will need it. :)

Note: I have taken out the section where I chose to vent. I did not mean to offend any one. I apologize for anything that I said that came out as hurtful. It was not the way it was meant I assure you.Thank you for letting me know that it was coming across as less than kind. :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year New Goals

In 2010 I had a lot of lofty goals. It is fun to look back and see how far I have come and realize that many of my goals are not resolutions, but life long goals. Much of what I was striving for is still in process and probably will be for quite sometime. As I was reading through this list I see that I accomplished a few of these things. We aren't pregnant! We have never gone this long in our whole marriage with out being preggers for this long. So that is a big deal. However, God has a great sense of humor because we did save up a down payment on a new home. With which he showed us that it is not our money and he called us to start the adoption process. So, 2011 we hope that our family WILL grow and we will finally have our sister!

Other goals were to have Asher potty trained which was accomplished some where around April/May! Home school is an adventure. Isaac is starting to read and we are getting more consistent about what it needs to look like. I am so thankful for all my friends who have already done this and are willing to share their wisdom. I love having my kids home. Dan and I are trying to decide if we think Isaac is ready for actual Kindergarten. The blessing of homeschool is we can train him at the rate that works for him. There is no way he would thrive in all day school at this point. :)

Organizing is a constant process for us. I feel like as soon as I get something to work we mess up something else. So, this year I am hoping to continue to purge all unneeded stuff. This is getting easier as Levi gets bigger. We have gotten rid of each wardrobe after he moves through it. We still have little space as Isaac just keeps getting bigger our big boy clothes are expanding. I am learning though not to have quite as large a wardrobe for each size. If I can have a week of clothes for each size we are good.

This year I am keeping many of my goals simple. Many of them are similar to last years maybe with a bit of grace built in.
-Take note of all God's lessons. God has taught me so much in 2010. I want to make sure I have my eyes, ears, and heart open to what it is He has to show me. I am learning that each day looks a little different. Some days I get up early and get a quiet time alone. I read, journal, and just get some amazing time with the Lord. Other days I wake up to kids jumping on me screaming for breakfast, no one naps, and the words quiet or alone don't always happen. So, those days time with God looks a little more...out of the box. Some days my time with the Lord comes with a story Bible or kids devotional.  But He has something for me in it all. I don't want to miss any of it wishing it looked different.

-Find and stick with a schedule that works. School, chores, naps need to all somehow fit. We are getting closer to this. I am realizing school at this point only needs to happen around 3-4 times a week to accomplish all I want to so this has flexibility.

-Early to bed, earlier to rise. We struggle with going to bed on time. It has been a constant goal to get to bed before midnight. I am really hoping to start a new 10:30 bed time. I will work toward it. I also hope to get up earlier. I know I do better when I get up before the kids to have a quiet time and start some chores, but it is not my favorite thing. I love me some sleep! So, again this is a goal I am working toward.

-Eating healthier and losing weight. This started last year. I fluctated a lot, but I am coming out about 15lbs down. I'm hoping to keep losing this year, but I really want to focus on healthy eating and exercise not just dieting.

-Fund the adoption! I have this as a goal, but the reality is this is a prayer. We can do all we can, but only God can make this happen. We have been so blessed by all the fund raisers and the amazing generosity of our friends. We know God has our back on this.

-Bring home our baby! Again this is another thing we have no control over, but we are praying 2011 is the year we can say we brought home our little girl. This will be a great year!

Ok, so this is a little lighter than last year and a little more vague. Here's to 2011 the year of being realistic! :)