Slow Cooker Kraut & Sausage

My mom-mom always made the best homemade kraut. I can remember helping her and tasting it straight out of the crock. These are fond memories for me. I’d love to learn to make it the way she did one day.

I love kraut and sausage but my kids haven’t developed the taste for it yet, I have faith that they will though, eventually. We eat this only once or twice a year for now but if they do decide that they like it we will probably have it more often. Continue reading “Slow Cooker Kraut & Sausage”

February 5- 11, 2017 Meal Plan

Coconut Cake

This is the easiest way I make a coconut cake, which is a favorite of mine. This feels like cheating with the way I make it but it tastes so good. Continue reading “Coconut Cake”

Chicken and Rice Casserole

This is an old recipe that I haven’t made in a while. I don’t remember where I got it from originally but it is fairly easy to put together. Pair it with a salad and some rolls to make a great meal.

This recipe also works well with pork chops!

Continue reading “Chicken and Rice Casserole”

Crockpot Italian Chicken

This is one of those meals that is so easy to make and so good to eat. This is also a good one for the freezer! Continue reading “Crockpot Italian Chicken”

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

This recipe came about after I found a recipe in my FaceBook feed for Cinnamon Roll Pancakes. After reading through the recipe I decided I wanted to try something different. So after looking at a few different ideas. playing with the batter and filling, and lots of taste testing this was the winner here. Continue reading “Cinnamon Roll Pancakes”

Rock N Learn: Preschool DVD

Rock N Learn: PreSchool is just one out of a whole series of DVDs that we use on a regular basis in our house. This particular DVD is geared more towards 2-5 years old, or preschool. My 14 year old son, who is special needs, really enjoys this DVD as well. Continue reading “Rock N Learn: Preschool DVD”

Biscuits ‘N Gravy

I think this is one of my favorite meals. I remember learning how to make this on a wood cookstove!

You can make it by itself with sausage or bacon to give it extra flavor. It is delicious over biscuits, toast, Salisbury steak, scrambled eggs and just about anything else your little heart could imagine.

Use your favorite biscuit recipe or buy some of the ‘whack ’em on the counter’ biscuits. I have used the Emergency Rolls, 7 Up Biscuits, toast, and even the 30 minute Rolls for this meal. Continue reading “Biscuits ‘N Gravy”

So many choices!

I don’t know about you but sometimes I get overwhelmed by the number of choices I have to make everyday. Choices about what to make for dinner, what to wear, and heaven forbid that I need to buy a new appliance or gadget for the house.

Everywhere we look there are choices. So much marketing about what is the best choice and why we need one brand versus another brand. So much persuasion about how things will make our lives better or how we just can’t go on another day without a certain product.

I try to be as informed as I can be about every choice I make. If it is a big financial decision then I try to take my time to think about it and weigh my options. Sometimes I overanalyze the decisions and sometimes I just fail to make one and it gets made for me. So how can we make sure that we make the best choices?

When it comes to the things about what to wear or what to eat then those are usually fairly simple. I keep my clothes weeded out and organized so I don’t have too many choices. I have something for about every occasion but I don’t keep an overabundance of clothes. As far as meals go, I always try to plan ahead and I have our menu on a rotating schedule. This helps me narrow down that ‘What’s for dinner?’ dilemna. (See meal planning for more info.)

For the bigger decisions I always try to ask God for His guidance no matter how big or how small the decision is. When I was married I would also consult with my husband and have him to help me with the decision. If I am still in doubt I will try to find someone knowledgeable about the product and ask their opinion. I check reviews for the product and/or service before making my decision.

We need to learn to be as informed as possible in making decisions. Sometimes we don’t always have days or months to gather information or ponder over what to do. Each of us is different in the way we handle our decision making and sometimes we need to pray for guidance and wisdom. If we go ahead and pray for that right now then we will prepared for whatever lies ahead.

This is especially important when we have children who are looking up to us and watching everything we do. Now the decision to buy the automatic coffee maker over the manual may not be something that really affects them but there are and will be other choices that do. They are watching us and learning from us when we are making choices in life. They see the big choices and whether you realize it or not they see the little ones as well.

The way we handle these decisions is helping to mold our children in the ways they will handle their future problems.We need to make sure that we’re setting good examples with our decision making process. We can help them by allowing them to make choices from an early age. Decisions about what to wear or what snack to eat. I’m not saying to give them free reign but present them with a couple of options. The younger the child, or the less mature, then the fewer choice options they should have. Maybe let them pick from two outfits or two different snacks.

It is important that they learn to do this as we need to practice skills to get better at them. When they make choice help them to stick by it, when appropriate, and let them learn the rewards and consequences of their choices.By showing them how to make responsible choices and how to accept the consequences our decisions we will be helping them to be more responsible adults.

 

100th day of school

This will fall in February for us this year. I don’t think we’ve ever had any kind of celebration or anything before but this year I will try to make it a little extra special and maybe it will help to keep us motivated.

Below is a list of activities I have found to help celebrate this special day. Continue reading “100th day of school”

Chinese New Years

Below are some link for some fun activities.

chinese new year for kids on Pinterest.

chinese new year for kids on YouTube.

Chinese New Year and China Crafts and Children’s Activities

CHINESE NEW YEAR

2017 Chinese New Year Kids Activities and Rooster Crafts

Chinese New Year: creative projects and free printable art activity sheets for kids

Chinese New Year Activities and Crafts for Preschool and Kindergarten

All About Chinese New Year for Kids and Teachers

My First Shopping Trip At Aldi!

I’ve been talking about it for a while now but just haven’t gotten around to doing it. We all have those things that we want to do or need to do but keep pushing them aside or putting them off until later. Well, for me later had finally came and I went to Aldi.

Part of the reason I kept putting it off was because it is a little bit of a drive from me. Earlier this week though I had set my intentions on making this happen, and I did just that. I have been reading some great things about them for awhile. I have heard lots of great things too.

There were a few posts in my FaceBook feed like Passionate Penny Pincher‘s live video that really prompted me to get on the ball and check it out for myself. I have seen other bloggers posting about their savings as well. Part of my New Year’s goals was to be a better steward of my blessings which means I really need to work on some of my financial goals. 

I have been doing a lot of research on grocery budgets and I feel that ours is fairly average considering the number of meals I make and the number of people I feed. We are currently averaging $100 – $150/week on groceries. There may be a couple of times every now and then that I go over that. We don’t eat out very often and I do make a lot of things from scratch. Not only that I do shop the sales and clip coupons too. This does take time but I am dedicated to making sure that we stay on budget so we can work towards some bigger goals in the future.

We had been going to Sam’s club too but they moved their location and it is now farther away from me. Just knowing that there might be a chance to save money on most of the items we need, at one store, was reason to get excited. I’ve watched the videos, I’ve seen the posts, but I wanted to see for myself. Most of the reviews have talked about how amazing this store is and I am a bit of a believer in the ‘if it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is’ saying.

So I made my grocery list. I also printed off the ‘The Ultimate Aldi Grocery List‘ from Passionate Penny Pincher‘s site and got ready to go. So binder and lists in hand I made the 45 minute trip to my closest Aldi. I also made sure to stick a quarter in my pocket on the way out the door.

First things first was finding a place to park. Then I went to the front of the store and waited for the lady in front of me to put her buggy back and retrieve her quarter. I deposited my quarter in the slot, unlocked a buggy, and went inside.

As soon as I went in I noticed the nice wide, uncluttered aisles. I also noticed that they did have some really good prices. I mean really crazy good prices. Below is a list of a few of the items I was surprised at:

  • Eggs, Large -$0.69/dozen
  • Bananas -$0.44/lb
  • Cream of chicken soup-$0.69
  • Honey Nut Oats (like Cheerios)-$1.19
  • Whole Milk-$1.99/gallon
  • Tortilla Chips-$0.99
  • Shredded Cheese (3 cups)-$2.69
  • White Sugar (4 lbs)-$1.69
  • Canned Chili Beans-$0.59
  • Canned Corn-$0.36
  • Apples (3 lb)-$2.99
  • Potatoes (5 lb)-$2.69
  • Strawberries-$1.29/lb
  • Cherry Tomatoes-$0.79
  • Romaine Hearts-$1.99
  • Spinach-$1.49
  • Pretzel Sticks-$1.29/lb
  • Baby Carrots-$0.69/lb
  • Whole Wheat Bread -$0.49/loaf

Of course I got way more than this and more than one of many of these items. I was almost afraid to go to the checkout. I was afraid there may have been a mixup on some of the prices. I did keep in mind some of the tips from the video I had watched. I didn’t buy any brand name items as they did appear to be marked up more than what I could get them for at other stores. I also had my sales lists from two other stores so I could compare some of the prices to know if I was getting the best deal.

I did buy a couple of meat items that were on sale but I didn’t really need a lot as I have still have an overstock of some items in my freezer. My meal plan for next week was planned around some of those items as well. I did see some items that I will want to try out in the future but for the sake of my budget I tried to stick to my list as much as I could. The pretzels and strawberries were a couple of my impulse buys.

I was really pleased with the prices on the fresh produce. I have been trying to include more fresh fruits and veggies in our meals and snacks. These prices could help me achieve that goal and keep me within my grocery budget.

Another good thing about the store is that I feel like I could take my kids, well maybe a couple at a time, and not have to worry about them seeing things that they just had to have. It would also be helpful to have another person there to bag the groceries. I forgot to mention that you need to bring your own bags. They have some plastic bags that you can buy at the checkout. The bags are OK, they may last a trip or two, but I will be investing in some more reusable bags. My favorite FlyLady bags are available here.

For me this was definitely an experience that I will be repeating again. Maybe the next time I won’t need to circle the store 4 or 5 times to find everything I am looking for. It is definitely not a ‘one stop shop’ for me but I’m sure it could be for some people. I will continue to clip coupons and check sales. I will probably still shop at 2-3 stores to get my groceries. The stores I shop at are fairly close together and I make one big circle to get back home. When the new Aldi store opens it will be in a location that falls along the route I normally take so I will be sure to include it in my regular stops.

So, you are probably wondering how much I spent? I got a HUGE buggy load of groceries that filled the back of my truck for $127.64! That included about $15.00 worth of toiletry/paper products and another $10.00 worth of items that I had purchased for my dad. My goal was to spend $100.00 or less on groceries and if I hadn’t bought the strawberries and the pretzels I would’ve come in under budget. I can try again next week!