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Finding Peace Amongst The Dirty Socks, Grocery Lists, Stuffed Animals, And Buffalo

**This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use in our home.

How’s your day going? I hope you said it’s going well but if it didn’t you may be having a day like mine. I’ve been busy, too busy on too many things… you probably know how that goes when you try to multitask. Sometimes multitasking can be great and you can accomplish a lot but then there are those times that nothing seems to get done.

I’ve been working on our next unit study using  ‘The Little House On The Prairie‘ written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We had so much fun with our last unit study Little House In The Big Woods Adventure that we decided to keep on going. This is A LOT of work though but I want my kids to have fun learning so it is well worth it. To be honest I’m having a blast doing this with them too.

This next unit study is going to be so much fun! I have found so many projects, crafts, and fun activities to go along with our studies. We will be studying about so many things like prairie animals including prairie dogs and buffalo. Then there are the Native American studies that we will be doing along with continuing our state studies. We will also be touching a little bit on stars and constellations as the kids have really been interested in this topic lately. One of the girls asked to do an herb study too so I am trying to work on that as well.

Of course I have a lot more than that included in the study and I still have to finish up our Life Skills section. This time I am hoping to do it a little differently but still plan to include some fun activities like baking some molasses cookies, sewing sun bonnets, and memorizing some bible verses. I think I will have some camping tips, information, or other activities in this study as well so we may see a Weenie Roast and S’mores in our future! I’m not sure what other fun activities I will find to go along with it as I haven’t really even started this section yet and I plan to start this unit next week! AHHHH!

You can check it out and use some of the activities to go along if you plan to read this series with your kids too. A good majority of the resources I link to are FREE because I really like FREE stuff. Some of the links are affiliate links to things we are or will be using.

I am slowly working my way through the books and coming up with lots of fun stuff to do. It has been such slow progress because of so many unexpected interruptions. The biggest being the impromptu trip to Pennsylvania due to the passing of my Mom-mom. I am still not quite over that as much as I felt I should have been by now but I know everything takes time.

Then on top of that I have a houseful of kiddos running around. There are so many chores, like the never ending laundry, and so much cleaning that I need to catch up on I get overwhelmed at times. Not to mention I have to feed these little monsters at least three times a day! No wonder I can’t get anything done. Another issue this week has been our internet… yes, again. It seems that no matter what I do I can’t get it to do like I feel it should. We don’t have a lot of choices so I’m kinds stuck with what I have for now but I do plan to research options… really I do when I get a free moment… lol.

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Continue reading Finding Peace Amongst The Dirty Socks, Grocery Lists, Stuffed Animals, And Buffalo

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Grocery Shopping

Below are links to posts I have written about shopping and saving!

Shopping: Discount Bread Stores

March Monthly Grocery Trip

My First Shopping Trip At Aldi!

January Pantry Challenge Grocery Trip

March Monthly Grocery Trip

Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well. Things have been so crazy busy here but life is good. Actually life is GREAT! Things have been going really well for us lately and this Momma is finally starting to get back on track to my ‘pre-divorce’ organization and I’m loving it. It is exhausting though and it has taken me almost a week to get this post written.

I post our weekly menu plans and for the past several months or so that was a far as my menu planning went. I do have it planned out on a repeating schedule on our calendar but I would have to adjust it on a weekly basis. Fortunately this month I was able to make a change and try to get back into the habit of a monthly grocery shop. In order to do a monthly grocery shop I need to plan out a whole month’s meals at a time, a week at a time. This is really not that hard once you have done a few weeks, and hopefully saved your notes, as you can just rotate the weekly plans to make up a new monthly plan.

The other thing that I haven’t been doing was making my monthly trip to Sam’s club. This was just something that I had stopped doing at some point last year. Then the store moved and I just really didn’t have the time or energy to devote to looking up the new location and making the list for the monthly trip. Needless to say we have seen the consequences of my lack of motivation in that area.

The first step was to sit down and figure out the menu plan. I looked over the recurring meal plans and decided which ones that we don’t really like that much anymore. I either changed them to recur less frequently or deleted them all together. Then I needed to make my grocery list, which was just like I normally do, only multiplied by four.

I wrote down what I needed for the first week and then just added a tally mark beside the items that I needed multiple times for the remaining weeks. Once the list was in hand I check online on Sam’s Club and added the items that I needed to my cart. I did check prices and did not include everything on my Sam’s list. I also checked the special promotions they had and grabbed a few of those items as well.

The greatest thing I like about Sam’s club is that you can do the ‘Click and Pull’ orders. I really don’t like shopping. Anything that makes that task a little easier is a winner with me. Once that was completed I check the Aldi sales and made a list for there as well.

On Saturday I made my way down to the new store location. On the way I noticed that Aldi was directly across the road from Sam’s which made me quite a happy camper.  My order wasn’t quite ready as it was a pretty large order. I walked through the store and browsed. I didn’t take a buggy with me as that may have tempted me to fill the buggy up. My self control seems to hide when I go into Sam’s club. I did rather well though and only grabbed two items that we did need before I got the text saying my order was ready.

I checked out and they have it set up to pull up for pickup. (They actually have a touchscreen outside too that you can use to check in for pickup without coming into the store!) The associates helped me to load everything into my vehicle and they were so friendly! I was beginning to get a little worried about room as I knew I still needed to stop at Aldi before going home.

I did make it to Aldi and thankfully was able to fit everything in:

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This is just one view of the kitchen after we unloaded!

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As you can tell it wasn’t just food that I bought but other household items as well. How much did I spend? This was all under $600.00. I will need to visit the local stores for some fresh veggies and milk but this is the majority of the shopping for the month!

What did I get? (I don’t have the prices as I misplaced my receipts somewhere in the mountain of groceries.)

Some of the bulk purchases at Sam’s:

  • Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and other salad items
  • Ranch (dry packs and bottles)
  • boxed macaroni and cheese
  • hotdogs
  • pintos (Sam’s has a huge bag that will last us a few months at least)
  • tea bags (Sam’s also has the gallon size bags which are wonderful)
  • dry cereal, oatmeal, grits (Sam’s had some really good promos going)
  • bags of shredded cheese (I store these in the freezer)
  • 20 lbs of potatoes, 10 lbs of sweet onions
  • 10 lbs of white sugar
  • large packs of pillsbury crescent rolls (another Sam’s promo)
  • toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning wipes (promo), laundry detergent, paper plates
  • crackers, animal crackers, cheese puffs, pop tarts, popcorn, tortilla chips
  • yogurt, cream cheese
  • canned tuna
  • koolaid
  • nutella, peanut butter, and jelly
  • condiments (bbq sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayo, salsa)
  • spaghetti sauces
  • variety box of pasta
  • cases of canned tomatoes and veggies
  • lots of frozen veggies, large bag of french fries, box of egg rolls
  • large box of instant potatoes, rice
  • pancake mix and syrup

And at Aldi I got:

  • 12 loaves of bread (I will need to get more before the end of the month but this is a start.)
  • 6 dozen eggs (I may need more)
  • 6 gallons of milk @ Aldi for $1.99 (This was all I could store.)
  • chicken breasts, pork chops, hamburger meat, bacon

There were many other items but that is just an example of what I was able to buy in mass quantity to save time and money. I will still be going once a week to the store to get some fresh items or things that I may have forgotten but the fewer times I go to the store the less likely I will go over my grocery budget.

Some of the meals we will be having include:

Breakfasts (some of these will repeat through the month):

Lunches (these will repeat through the month):

  • hot dogs, mac n cheese
  • Egg Salad Sandwiches
  • PB & Js
  • Scrambled Egg Sandwiches
  • Tuna Salad Sandwiches
  • Soup, grilled cheese
  • leftovers

Dinners:

Snacks/Desserts (some of the snacks will repeat through the month):

We will also be having a cookout one weekend so there will be a few more things I will need to get for that once we decide exactly what we will be having. It may seem to be an overwhelming task but you can break it down into smaller chunks to make it easier. I can tell you that I am so very glad that I finally did this and hopefully I am back on track to where I once was.

Menu planning has not always been something that I did. I don’t know how we made it as long as we did before I finally started to make out our meal plans ahead of time. For me this has been a big help in itself. The monthly planning is an even bigger help along with the monthly grocery shop. I can see what a difference it has already made at our house here.

I know this is not for everyone but hopefully this post can help someone.

I pray that you all have a wonderful week!

March 12- 18, 2017 Meal Plan

This is our basic meal plan for the week. Sometimes we will switch the days around if I forgot to set something out or put something in the crock pot. Please feel free to use this or change it around to suit your family’s needs.

I have started trying to do easier meals on days that I have square dancing obligations. This helps me to be able to put a nice meal on the table without feeling guilty about having some much needed ‘Mommy Time’. Some of these meals may also help with those that have busy or irregular schedules due to work or extracurricular activities.

I do have ‘Snacks/Desserts’ listed as well. I always try to keep a bowl of fresh fruit out on the counter or table for the kids to snack on. Sometimes I will make a special snack or treat for us to enjoy.

Sunday

Breakfast:

French Toast Roll Ups, scrambled eggs

Lunch:

Egg Salad Sandwiches, veggies

Dinner:

Parmesan Crusted Pork ChopsMashed Potatoes, veggies

Snacks/Desserts:

Popcorn


Monday

Breakfast:

Cereal/Oatmeal

Lunch:

PB & J sandwiches, fruit

Dinner:

Meatball Sandwich Casserole, French Fries, Salad

(This was a meal that wasn’t made last week so I just moved it to this week)

Snacks/Desserts:

Cookies


Tuesday

Breakfast:

French Toast

Lunch:

Scrambled Egg Sandwiches, fresh veggies

Dinner:

Eggplant Parmesan, Salad,  Garlic Toast

Snacks/Desserts:

PB Crackers


Wednesday

Breakfast:

Basic Muffins

Lunch:

leftovers

Dinner:

Fish Sticks, Grandma’s Mac N Cheese, Oven Roasted Steak Fries, Hush puppies, Cole SlawEasy Tartar Sauce

(for hushpuppies you can use the recipe for Hoe Cakes and just drop the batter by spoonfuls into hot oil to cook)

Snacks/Desserts:

Muffins


Thursday

Breakfast:

Pancakes

Lunch:

Soup, grilled cheese

Dinner:

Taco Ring, Salad

Snacks/Desserts:

Fruit


Friday

Breakfast:

Cereal/Oatmeal

Lunch:

tuna salad sandwiches, fresh veggies

Dinner:

Free Day **use food from the pantry or freezer or order out for a special treat

Snacks/Desserts:

Boiled Eggs


Saturday

Breakfast:

Bacon Grits/Cheesy Grits, eggs, fruit

Lunch:

hot dogs, mac n cheese, veggies

Dinner:

Cookout w/family friends (I will try to post any new recipes after the cookout as everyone is sure to bring some delicious dishes.)

Snacks/Desserts:

Easy Banana Pudding

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!

 

January Pantry Challenge Grocery Trip

I wrote about the Pantry Challenge in an earlier post. This upcoming week is the next Pantry Challenge I have scheduled. I thought I would break down what my grocery list was and how much I ended up spending for the meals that I came up.

Below are the dinner meals and the ingredients that I had to buy and the costs.

Meal #1: Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken w/Rice and Cole Slaw

Cole Slaw Mix $2.00

Meal #2: Popover Pizza, Salad

Romaine Lettuce $3.29

Tomatoes BOGO $2.99

Meal #3: Tortilla Bowl Taco Salad, Rice, Beans

Will use the extra lettuce and tomatoes from Meal #2 and I had some extra pintos from last week that had I put in the freezer also.

Avocado $1.00

Sour Cream $1.75

Meal #4: Boston Baked Beans, Mac n Cheese, Fried Cabbage

Cabbage $2.05

Meal #5: Cheesy Chicken and Potatoes Casserole, Salad

Will use the extra lettuce and tomatoes from Meal #2 & 3.

Meal #6: Free Day (I will probably make some Chicken Stir Fry, Chicken Fried Rice, and maybe some fried ramen noodles. (These are links to other recipes as I can’t locate mine at the moment.)

**UPDATE: I found my recipes 🙂 Chinese Fried Rice with VeggiesEasy Fried Noodles, Japanese White Sauce. I had everything in the pantry and freezer to make all of these.

I had some stir fry veggies and chicken in the freezer. I also had some ramen noodles and rice in the pantry. I won’t be adding as many veggies to the noodles as this recipe shows either.

Sweet and Sour Sauce $1.99

Meal #7: Breakfast for Dinner

Krusteaz Pancake & Waffle Mix BOGO $2.79

(This is my favorite brand and I grab it when it is on sale.)

Aunt Jemima Syrup BOGO $3.89

So altogether I spent less than $25.00 to complete the meals from the pantry.

I also had to buy some staples that we buy every week like:

Milk x 4 $14.76

Bread x $4.00

Sliced Cheese $2.00

Margarine $1.00

Apples $3.49

Bananas $4.72

Creamer $3.00

Eggs $2.00

These came to about $35.00.

We had a few miscellaneous toiletries to buy for less than $20.00. I also found a BOGO meat sale and stocked up on some things that we will need later on in the month. I did spend around $50.00 0n the meat! Eeek… well I don’t feel too bad because I know that I am saving money in the long run and I won’t need to buy much more meat for the rest of the month.

You can see my totals below and the savings from the store card, sales, and coupons. Plus at Winn -Dixie you can also earn Fuelperks. Right now I am at $0.55/gallon which is about $11.00 off my next 20 gallons of fuel. I also did the survey at the bottom of the receipt to save $5.00 on the next trip.

If I had been tight on money or if I had decided not to spend any extra I could’ve left the store spending a little under $80.00. I could have also cut back on a few other things and stayed under $50.0. I do try my best to catch certain things, like peanut butter, on sale and grab them whenever I can.

By using what I have in the pantry and freezer I was able to save money and use it towards the sales I found for the meat. It also helps to prevent waste and helps me to set a good example for the kids about being frugal. This can be a very useful tool in any household.

Pantry Challenge Week

What is a Pantry Challenge? Well, it is pretty much what it says. A pantry challenge is a technique I have to use up the food I have in my pantry or freezer.

I set up one week every three to four months as a ‘Pantry Challenge Week’. This forces me to check through my pantry to see what may be hiding in the back. It forces me to check dates on items that I have forgotten about. It also forces me to look in the freezer. Look everywhere in the door, the drawers, and underneath the frozen bags of whatever is lurking in there. Continue reading Pantry Challenge Week

December 1, 2016

Well, today started early, like 1:30 am early. I went to bed last night with a headache and woke up sick. No fun at all. I turned my phone on and had all kinds of messages that I had missed during the night. (I almost never turn my phone off but my headache was really bad.) I did feel better after I took a shower though.

After my shower I did have almost a whole hour of ‘quiet time’. I spent that time going through my prayer journal and thanking God for the answered prayers. I also added a few new ones. I read my devotional and worked on a study that I had out. I also let my Bible fall open and read out of Psalms. It was just what I needed to help calm my soul and renew my strength this morning.

After messaging my best friend I had a long talk with God and had to hand something over to Him, something I should’ve immediately handed over last night, but stubbornly thought I could handle it on my own. (Which is how I ended up with a headache.) I felt such a relief and got the answer I needed once I let go. God is so good!

I am so thankful to have friends who can make me feel better when I’m down and who remind me that I don’t need to stress over things.

The kids were up super early and started tattling right away. My one son was in a grumpy kind of mood which did improve a little but not much. In fact, he is grumpier right now than he was this morning  He is currently voicing his opinion about bedtime through his bedroom door.

Then I remembered it was December 1st which meant that I needed to change out our school calendar. This lead to me realizing that I had forgot to print out the new calendar stuff for December (I admit I forgot last year too). So I grabbed the laminator and the paper cutter. I printed off the pages I needed and got to work laminating them.

My 3 year old loves to watch the laminator. He gets so excited to see what we are making. He was also my little helper and helped me to carry everything over to the playroom and get it all set up. We had a card left over, St. Nicholas day, and I didn’t know what day it was for sure.

So we went to the laptop and asked my dear friend, Google, for the answer. My son was very curious as to who ‘Doogle’ was and where he lived. He wanted to see a picture but forgot about that when I offered to let him put the final card in place. (December 6th in case you were wondering.)

We did manage to get our school work finished by 12. The girls have really been dragging their feet this week. I’m so glad tomorrow is Friday! I tried to get my daily chores finished and pay bills while they were working but that was pretty impossible today.

I did my laundry, as my laundry day is on Thursday, and then I carried my hang-dry items to my room. My oldest daughter was in there working out so I set them on the dresser with the intentions of going back to finish them shortly. The other clothes got dried and I left the ones that needed pressed on the dryer until I could get them. Well, I didn’t remember the wet ones until after lunch and they left a wet mark on my dresser. I just finished pressing the others after dinner. Now though I can say that task is completed for this week. Yay!

I did manage to finish my grocery list this morning, print my sales lists, and clip coupons. I pulled out my big coupon binder and started to get it set up again.One of my goals for 2017 is to be a better steward of what God has blessed me with. I think couponing will help me with this goal. At one time I was doing extremely well but I kinda fell off track with all of the different things I’ve been taking care of this past year.

I set out with $200 and my first stop was to put gas in my truck. Then to make a few more stops. I managed to find a few books to go under the tree and a few for stockings at Dollar Tree. I also picked up a few things to go along with our Advent study which I also confess has not began like I thought it would.  Being sick with the flu last week really did a number on me and I’m still not feeling quite 100%.

At another store I found a great deal on some meat. There was a BOGO sale on ground pork and ground pork patties. Well, I happened to find 4 packs of patties on sale that had been marked down $2 on top of the BOGO making them almost free! Then even better I found some stew beef also marked down $2. I know some people don’t like these sales but I grab them whenever I can unless the meat looks questionable. I have a big freezer and I know that even cheap cuts of meat will become tender in the crock pot or pressure cooker.

After two more stops and saving over $100 in sales and coupons I still had a little cash in my pocket. I stopped by the ‘relaxation station’ aka Island Shack Tanning Salon. I know, tanning isn’t really healthy, but the warm beds really do help my sore muscles a lot. Plus I usually sneak in a little nap in too.

After my quick nap I stopped to put air in my tire as I had found a note on my windshield informing me of a low tire. So sweet of someone to let me know, I really did appreciate that. Then back home to unload my grocery haul.

Upon exiting my vehicle the geese and the cat promptly notified me that I had forgotten to feed them earlier so groceries had to wait. Big sister heard me pull in and came to help. She had unloaded most of them by the time I had finished feeding which was a great help.

The kids all helped me to put away the groceries. They like to help because they can see what goodies and treats I might’ve gotten. They also enjoy trying to guess what Momma is going to make by looking at the groceries that I brought home. After everything was put away I sat down for a moment to try to decide what I needed to do and what was just gonna have to wait until tomorrow.

I still need to dig out our Christmas stuff. Who am I kidding? I still need to put away the Fall decor! (Speaking of which, I did find the cutest little pilgrim salt and pepper shakers today, on clearance!) Christmas is all packed neatly in some large green totes so I know where it is, I just haven’t brought it in.

I did bring in a tote and some boxes with the intentions of packing away the Fall decor but dinner had to be made. Then the clothes were calling me from the top of the dryer. I still haven’t vacuumed the floors either, but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

Today was visitation and Daddy had already promised to help them with a craft today. They made some paper Christmas trees. I even broke out the art supplies which included sequins and pom-poms. I wasn’t brave enough to bring out the glitter though. They turned out really well even thought some kids really didn’t want to follow along with the video.

christmas-trees

I love it when he does things like that with them. It helps them to strengthen their bond and also creates memories that will last for a long time. He also made his own tree, that they helped to decorate, to take home with him. The boys made him some ‘presents’ to go under his tree too.

Dinner consisted of Sloppy Joes, seasoned fries, and some homemade coleslaw (1 bag of slaw, a bit of mayo, a little sugar, and a splash of white vinegar. I’ll have to work on that recipe as I just kinda dump and taste as I go.) One of the little boys got excited when he saw the buns and the cheese. He had been asking for hamburgers but he thought Sloppy Joes were close enough and he actually asked for seconds.

After baths big sister wanted to try her hand at some No Bake Cookies. (Last night she made Easy Sugar Cookies.) She involved everyone in the process and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They enjoyed measuring, stirring, and of course the taste testing! I’m not so sure that chocolate right before bedtime was a such a good idea though as little man is refusing to go to bed now.

So all in all we had a great day. Lots of memories were made too. That’s what life is about. We have to do the best we can with what we have. Each and everyday is a new day with a fresh start.

I think my kids will remember these days when they get older. They won’t be worrying about whether or not I vacuumed the floor. They also probably won’t be traumatized by not having a Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. (We’ve agreed that we will set it up on St. Nicholas Day and I drew a picture of a Christmas tree on my desk calendar for them to look at.)

They will also look back on the pictures and hopefully remember how much fun they had making crafts with their dad. We may have our differences but I am so thankful that we have been able to work through them and/or put them aside for the sake of our kids. Even though our relationship as husband and wife is over we are still connected through our kids and will always have that bond. It is important for us to continue to work together to be the best parents we can be for our children.

I am off to bed but first I need to walk little man to his bed. Then I have a few things that I need to add to my prayer list. Have a blessed night!

 

 

 

November 26, 2016

Today is another great and wonderful day! I want to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving alive in my heart and in the hearts of everyone around me. Sometimes it is so much easier to find things to complain about than to be thankful for what we have in front of us.

Looking back on this week I can see how many things that didn’t go as planned. How I reacted to those things greatly changed the whole attitude of those around me and those I interacted with. I tried my best to stay upbeat and positive even when I was sick and having a bad day. (I’m not saying I didn’t have my moments but I tried.)

After making my ‘secret’ (see It’s true, I went to a bar!) public that lifted a big weight off my shoulders too. Even though it wasn’t a grand revelation or life shattering event that others have made it out to be it did help me to just get it out.

I’m not perfect, never have been and never will be on this side of heaven. I fall short every single day. That is the most amazing thing about God. His mercy and grace are there for us and he loves us no matter what we have done.Each and every day is a new opportunity to start fresh. I am so thankful for that!

Today I will be making up a quick grocery list and I may run to town for a bit. I found an article yesterday, A Healthy Diet For $20 A Week, that follows some of the same principles I use on my tight budget weeks.  This would also be a good beginning point for couples just starting out or people who may be wanting to cut back on their food budgets a little. I plan to look over it and try to come up with some ideas for my family menus also.

I guess now that Thanksgiving is over we should probably take down our Fall decor and start putting up Christmas decorations. Of course, that also means we will need to drag the tree out of storage too. I’m not sure I have the energy for that today so I may just concentrate on getting the Fall decor put away. Then we maybe we can at least drag the Christmas decor out of the building. Who knows, maybe seeing all the decorations may motivate me to get them put up.

I hope everyone has a blessed day!

P.S. Did I mention how thankful I am to each and every reader? I pray that you can find some hope, inspiration, and maybe a little laughter to help you get through your day!

Feeding an army, part 2

Hopefully you’ve read and enjoyed Feeding an army, part 1

Now that you have your meal planning started what do you need to do next?

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here.

Well, hopefully you have a handful of favorite recipes on hand, in your file box or in your notebook. Get them out and start checking your local sales before you head to the grocery store. I have my menus set up on a rotating schedule on my online  Cozi  Calendar. Sometimes I may end up with 2 or 3 meals for the same day. I usually check the sales and see what the specials are before deciding which meals I will be making. I also try to shop for the upcoming week, on occasion I will shop for the month. When I shop for the month I will still go out every 1-2 weeks for fresh produce and other items that we may need. Continue reading Feeding an army, part 2

Feeding an army, part 1

**This post may contain affiliate links.

Well, as you may know I am a mom to 9. I still have 6 at home so there are plenty of mouths to feed. So how do you feed 6 kids without going broke ? Is it possible to do it healthy and cheap?

Well, I will say that I definitely try to keep it healthy and cheap. We don’t always eat organic and sometimes we do eat more processed foods than I care to admit. We try to grow a small garden as the seasons allow. Our freezers have many bags of berries, fruits and other vegetables that we have grown as well as fish that we catch on our outings.

I shop the sales at our local grocery stores and try to plan my meals around them as much as possible. I also coupon, not extreme couponing, but I really need to focus on it a little bit more. One of the biggest, most helpful things I do is meal planning.

I’m sure we’ve all been there. We are rushing around during the day, cleaning up messes, running errands, and doing whatever needs doing only to find ourselves exhausted. Then we realize that it is almost dinner time and we have no idea what to make. So you have a few options when this happens.

First, you can give them all a PB & J or a bowl of cereal. Second, you could order takeout and then drive to get it and drive back home, wasting time, energy and money. Third, you can go out to eat and spend way more money than you would have if you had eaten at home.

If you had your meal plan ready then you would’ve been able to check it in the morning. You would have seen that you needed to set out some ingredients for spaghetti and been able to plan accordingly. It also helps when you have a plan in hand at the grocery store. It can keep you from making as many impulse buys and help to keep you on budget.

I know that meal planning can be time consuming to start with. It can seem overwhelming at first but don’t let that stop you from trying. Just sit down with a piece of paper and write down ‘Breakfast’, ‘Lunch’, and ‘Dinner’. Now just list a few of your family’s favorite meals down under each heading. That wasn’t too bad was it?

Now you just need to take it one week or one day at a time. I use my  Cozi Calendar to set up our meal plans. You can use a notebook, a wall calendar, or almost any online calendar that has the ability to create recurring events. (I touched on this a little in this Instagram post here.)

Here is an example of my calendar set up:

So, as you can see for Breakfast we have a fairly consistent routine:

Mondays: Cereal or Oatmeal

Tuesdays: French Toast (occasionally I make blueberry syrup to go with it)

Wednesdays: Muffins (sometimes we have English muffins or bagels, if I find them on sale)

Thursdays: Pancakes (sometimes I will mix in some blueberries or chocolate chips)

Fridays: Cereal or Oatmeal

Saturdays and Sundays are usually rotated with some of the family favorites like waffles, eggs and grits, Dutch Puff, Monkey Bread, etc.

Please remember that this menu is what works for my family. It is not a one size fits all and I know that it will not work for everyone. Feel free to use this as a guide and change around whatever you need to change to make it work for your family. If your family likes oatmeal more than make oatmeal a regular thing on your menu. However, if they really don’t like scrambled eggs then you probably wouldn’t want to add that as a regular meal.

(If you want to use paper or index cards simply write each meal on a separate page or card. You can organize them by day of the week, or number them 1-31, however you want to do it to make it easier for yourself.)

Then we move to lunches. Many days we will eat leftovers for our lunch. Some days I am really efficient and I am able to put together lunchboxes for the kids. (Or we will assemble them the night as we clean up after dinner.) For the days when I’m not so efficient and my brain is in the ‘What is there to eat? fog’ then I have rotating meals on my calendar to use as suggestions. These are usually quick and easy meals like PB & J, scrambled egg sandwiches, chicken salad, and on occasion we have hot dogs too.

Now to dinners, which for me are a bit more complicated. Again, you will need to go back to your list that you made of what your family likes to eat. Make sure to include your side dishes as well. My family really likes my homemade spaghetti with a salad and sometimes homemade garlic bread, so we have it every month. Sometimes they really like a certain meal but it may be a little expensive so I may set it to recur every 3-4 months. Then for meals for holidays, like Thanksgiving, I set it to recur once a year.

I also have snack suggestions on my calendar because sometimes my brain just goes into a fog and when snack times roll around I just can’t think of what to fix. I don’t keep a lot of prepackaged snacks so most of them are homemade and this helps me remember to make them ahead of time too.

Remember, if you don’t have an online calendar you can do this in a notebook. You don’t have to plan out the whole month at a time, or even a whole week, just start with tomorrow. Once you have a week planned out and written down then you can save it and put it to the back of your notebook and use it to rotate with other menu plans you will be making.

Or if you are using an index card system just move the menu to the back of the file and rotate it the same way. I used this method when I first started planning out my meals. You can also try googling ‘meal planning‘ or search on Pinterest for other ideas.

I hope I didn’t overwhelm you and I will make additional posts to go into more details about how we feed an army here.

Feeding an army, part 2