Perspective

I was driving home today from a doctor’s appointment where I got a diagnosis that was very difficult to hear. I’m thinking of all the ways that this “label” could effect my life, including the fact that forevermore people are going to define me and who I am by using this label. I am not a label and who I am has not changed. I want my life to amount to so much more than labels and limitations.

While I’m driving I’m listening to a podcast about strengths and giftings and how to apply those in everyday life and the speaker told a story about her weekend with her little two year old. He hates his car-seat and he will scream and throw a tantrum everytime he is in it until they arrive at their destination. Well, this past weekend she took him to get ice cream and play at his favorite playground. But he didn’t understand where they were going, he just knew that right now he was strapped into a chair and so he screamed the entire way.

Well, God is trying to take use to our equivalent of ice cream and favorite slides but we don’t understand that the way to get there is through this time that we don’t like. So I’m gong to try to stop focusing on this current circumstance that I don’t like and anticipate the playground and ice cream  at the end.

What is your current “car-seat circumstance”? Is it health? wayward children? sleepless nights? finances? relationships? Try shifting your perspective from the immediate unpleasantness to the potential God has to use this for great joy and blessing. It hard to do. I don’t expect to find out what my playground and ice cream experience is going to be for several years. But I know God has one in store and I know it’s going to be worth the unpleasantness of the current ride.

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Healthy “Chocolate Milkshake”

Today my boys bombarded me with “I want a milkshake!” and since we are trying to eat healthier no ice cream has been bought at my house recently.

wp-1487976127826.jpgWhich doesn’t stop the nightly requests for it.

But today when it was requested I had a brilliant idea. Let’s make milkshakes that are good for them!  I’ve learned with kids it’s all about the terminology. If I call it a milkshake, it’s a milkshake…. And they love it. …Even if they know what is in it. So we made three ingredient, healthy chocolate milkshakes. And they helped make them. And they knew exactly what I put in. And they still loved it!

I didn’t measure at the time because we were going off consistency and what they thought tasted good but here is an approximation of what we made.

Healthy “Chocolate Milkshake”

  • 4-5 frozen banana’s
  • 3 Tablespoons Cacao powder
  • enough milk or nut milk for a vegan/dairy free version to get the milkshake consistency you want, this was about 1.5-2 cups in our case.

Add these ingredients to your blender. Blend thoroughly and Enjoy!

 

 

Bottle Feeding Babyfood

So it can be super hard to spoon feed a baby and it can also be difficult to get them to take their daily supplements. I can’t blame them, would you like a mouthful of slimy vitamin D oil? I think I’d spit it out,too.  I’ve used pouches but the consistency has to be just right and the child has to have a little dexterity. I find they work best for older kids. For little ones 4 months to a year it’s easier to feed from a bottle but they need more nutrition than just milk. My solution? Food bottles with a feeding cap and a thinner consistency of food.img_20170104_131922.jpg

It is critical that babies be exposed to a variety of fruits and vegetables from 4-9 months. This is not just for their nutritional needs but to help develop their taste buds and their tendencies towards desiring healthy foods as they grow up. It is also important to protect their immune systems and keep them as healthy as possible, while breast milk is amazing, making your own babyfood also allows you to add some immune system boosters as well.

Because different fruits and vegetables are different consistencies it is hard to give a precise recipe since all measurements are approximate. You will quickly learn what consistency comes through the feeding nipple at the rate that is suitable for your baby.

Approximate Recipe

  • 2 cups  – a mix of 2-3 fruits or veggies or salmon
  • 1/2-1 cup full fat, plain yogurt
  • 100-150 ml pumped breast milk

Boosts

  • 1ml -Vitamin D
  • 3 drops OnGuard essential oil
  • 1 capsule each of JuicePlus+ Red, Green & Purple (Fruits,Veggies and Berries)

Additional Resources

For info regarding what foods are safe to introduce at what times: Wholesome Baby Food

Two trusted doctors that I use for research and questions regarding best foods for baby or general health:  Dr. Sears (America’s Pediatrician) Dr. Axe (Doctor of Natural Medicine)

For more information regarding the supplements I use: JuicePlus+ and Doterra Essential Oils

 

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.

Helping Babies Sleep

I LOVE essential oils, because they work! When nothing else works, the oils work. Simple as that. And my kids love oils, because they know they work. They know that oils make boo-boos feel better, upset tummies stop hurting and get them over colds faster. Usually I apply oils topically but today I decided to try a little aromatherapy as a solution to a new issue we’ve been having. For several nights now Daniel has been waking up with nightmares that monsters and shadows are chasing him in his room. Today he even had the same nightmare during nap time. So I decided to chase away those monsters with a combination of aromatherapy and mom psychology. We made Monster Spray! and while we were at it we made a sachet for baby sister to sleep with too!

It’s easy, Here’s how we did it.

First you need a couple things.

img_1706

For both projects:

For Monster Spray:

For the Sachet:

  • Small organza draw string bags (I got 8 at the dollar store for $1)
  • cotton balls
  • Optional: Stuffed animal -This one was given to me with a little zipper pocket in it’s back or you can open a hole in the back of your kids favorite stuffed animal and sew it back up after putting the sachet in.

Monster Spray

Add water to your spray bottle:

img_1714

Add a few drops of lavender oil to the bottle:

img_1718

Put cap on and decorate with monster stickers. Or in this case dinosaur stickers since we didn’t have monster stickers:

monster-spray-stickers

And most importantly. Spray on the pillow before bed and (if your child is old enough) place the bottle somewhere they can use it incase of monster nightmares, like with a favorite stuffed animal:

monster-spray

Lavender sachet

For the sachet for little sister we attempted a video of our little guys creating it.

 

Here are the basic instructions:

  1. Stuff the organza bags with cotton balls (These could also be made with rice, or dried lavender flowers but I wanted something that was going to be safe if the bag accidentally got opened)
  2. Add a few drops of lavender oil.
  3. Close the bag up and insert in the back of a stuffed animal if using.

Miss Abigail approves (And her whole room smells great!)

img_1711

These little sachets are great for placing in drawers or closets to make them smell great, too. And if you want to make a pretty gift for a friend use dried lavender flowers in the bag instead of the cotton balls.

 

 

 

Attitude Of Gratitude

I’ve a pile of laundry sitting next to me that I should be folding but I keep getting distracted by what my little guy has done. This post is begging to be written down, if only to preserve this moment for his future.

I started noticing it a few months ago. We were walking into  doctor’s appointment and he noticed a landscaper weeding a flower bed. “What’s he doing, Mommy?” he asked. “He’s making it look pretty.” I responded. “I have to say ‘Thank you’.” He quickly ran over and thanked the shocked worker for helping to make things pretty.  Later that day we were walking into the mall and he spotted a custodian cleaning one of the directories.
“Wait, Mom. I have to say, ‘Thank you’.” and he quickly ran over and said. “Thank you for cleaning up the messes.” a few minutes later he spotted a security guard and ran up to him saying “Thank you for being a helper!” I was very pleased with him but not really sure what was going on or where he had learned this. While I try to make sure he says “Thank you” at home when someone serves him I’ve never pointed out all the sometimes invisible people who serve us in public.

When I mentioned it to my husband he quietly said “Honey, I do that.” Suddenly it all clicked. He’s right. My husband is an extremely wonderful about thanking people. In restaurants he calls the manager over to thank them for their service (even if we only received mediocre service) he says they hear enough complaints that a simple “Thank you.” can make their night. He always thanks the custodian and security guards at his office and inquires about their families. He stops and thanks police officers for their service. He always remembers the administrative assistants birthdays, even though no one else does; and he always thanks them with a small gift or card if they assist him on a project. As a former nearly invisible admin, I know just how huge that can be.

No wonder my little guy has been saying “I want to be like Daddy.” He is a pretty terrific guy. Apparently, the things daddy thought no one noticed were being observed and mimicked by his oldest son. So I just smiled and allowed him to run up to the policemen on security duty at the church nursery and thank them for helping. Then a couple weeks ago he elevated his thankfulness with an action that nearly made me burst with pride.

We had been at the park playing and it was HOT. We had decided that it was time to head home and have a rare treat of ice cream. When we pulled into our development we noticed the lawn crew was there working quite hard in the blistering South Florida summer heat. My little two-year-old sweetheart wanted to do something for them so he went into the freezer and pulled out a box of novelty ice cream cones we had bought with a coupon at our local warehouse store. The box was nearly big enough for him to climb into but he drug it out onto the front lawn and them pulled ice cream cones out of it and walked up to each gentleman on the crew and offered them an ice cream cone. It was an extremely cute scene and I was a very proud mama.

IMG_1006Today was lawn day again. When we got home from dropping Daddy off we saw the lawn trucks pulling in to start another day of hard work in the summer heat. As soon as he got out of the car my little guy ran in and filled the bottom shelf of our freezer with water & Gatorade bottles. Then when he heard the lawn equipment in front of our house he filled a little basket with the last of the ice cream cones, water and Gatorade and carried it out. There was only one person in front of our house at the time so he started walking around the complex offering every worker he could find a drink and ice cream. It took several trips back to our house for refills because he could only carry a few at a time but he was determined that ever worker should be offered ice cream and a drink. I followed behind with his little brother and kept an eye on him but this was his project and he was so delighted to do it.  An I just watched as hard working men got smiles on their faces, tears in their eyes and bend down to hug a little boy who had just touched their heart by saying thank you in a tangible way.

IMG_1005 (1)What really got me thinking was when one of the workers stopped me and said. “Of all the work we do, you guys are the only ones who ever say ‘Thank you’.” WOW! There are so many people who live in our complex and none of them say “Thank you.”? And what about all the other complexes that they manage? How many hundreds of people do they serve every day who never say “Thank you.”? But then, how many times have I neglected to say “Thank you.”? How many times have I been so wrapped up in my own world that the people around me who are serving me have been completely invisible?  I’ve started taking a lesson from my two-year-old and I’m looking out for someone I can thank for their invisible service. Will you?

I’ve also decided that encouraging this attitude of gratitude in my boys is well worth the cost of keeping my freezer stocked with a box of ice cream novelties and plenty of water and Gatorade in the pantry. We emptied out our stock today but when we returned home from our last trip he called his daddy and asked if he would take him back to the warehouse store tomorrow to get more ice cream and drinks for next time the workers are here. A pretty proud daddy had no problem agreeing with that!

 

An Intentional Christmas

I’ve had several people ask me what we do to be intentional in teaching the meaning of Christmas to my little ones. I realized that we actually do a lot of different things that I hadn’t focused on until people started asking me. So I decided to list out all the things I could think of and share them here.

Some ideas we do consistently every year, others we choose based on the year and some I haven’t tried yet but they are in my files to attempt either this year or next. I hope some of the ideas will help you to have an intentional Christmas.

  • The Legend of the Candy Canecandy cane

This sweet little book tells the story of the candy cane and why it is such a special Christmas Candy. If you look at a candy cane upside down it is a “J” for “Jesus” who was born on Christmas day. Turn it right side up and it is a Shepard staff, the first people to worship Jesus. The red strips represent the strips of Christ blood shed for our sins and the white strips show that he can wash our sins clean. I have always loved this book and now my kids love it too. At the beginning of the Christmas season I find red & white, peppermint mini candy canes (mini’s help me limit the sugar intake). Each time we read “Candy Cane Book” the boys are allowed one mini candy cane. Joseph eats his up while we read but Daniel will hold his and follow along with each part of the story before eating his. And my two year old can tell you each aspect of the candy cane and what it represents! This is a great way for even a child to be able to share the gospel at Christmas time.

I’ve even found these little poems you can print out and attach to candy canes to pass out with a short explanation of the candy cane on it.

http://smile.amazon.com/Legend-LEGEND-Walburg-Sep-30-1997-Hardcover/dp/B007S7KP26/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1449232932&sr=8-2&keywords=the+legend+of+the+candy+cane

  • Adornments – Barbara Rainey’s Ever Thine Home collection20151208_150808.jpg

I love Barbara’s vision to make your home an embassy. We are ambassadors for Christ and our homes are a reflection of that. She is so wonderful about providing beautiful items that help intentionally share the message of the holiday (I actually stole the idea of intentionality from her several years ago). As a mother of six she know wha20151208_150758.jpgt will be safe around children. None of her adornments are glass or breakable but they are all extremely beautiful!

I’ve included a photo of out tree where we use the “Savior Names of Christ”, the “Christmas Names” and the “Adore Hymns” collections.

http://everthinehome.com/christmas/

  • The Christmas Keychristmas keys

When we were first married my husband found these Christmas keys. They are three decorative keys; the shepherd key, the Magi Key and the Christ Key. A little poem accompanied them that we read each year as we hang the keys. It’s a simple tradition but it explains the “Key” to Christmas as Christ coming to die for our sins.

https://www.leafletonline.com/christmas-keys-ornament

  • Crown of thornscrown of thorns.jpg

Another tradition my husband started, (I think because he was tired of fusing with angels and stars that wouldn’t stay on the tree correctly), was to hang a crown of thorns from the top of our tree. We still have angels and stars just in different locations because these do hold special significance in the Christmas story. However, we use the crown of thrones as yet another reminder that Christ’s ultimate purpose in being born was to die for our sins. When we hang it Daniel will find a picture of Jesus were a crown of thorns in one of his picture books and tell us that it was used to hurt Jesus but that his blood took away our sins. It’s a simple symbol we can use in teach that even our two year old can grasp.

http://smile.amazon.com/Crown-Thorns-Christmas-Ornamental-Authentic/dp/B000QWLL82/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1449414479&sr=8-7&keywords=crown+of+thorns

  • Why do they call it Christmas – Buck DenverDVD-Christmas-1000_1024x1024.png

This video by Veggie Tales Creator Phil Visor is so educational even Bible college graduates will learn something new but it is presented in a way that is interesting for the whole family and, once again, even a two year old can grasp the concepts. Some of the symbols and Christmas traditions that are explained are Why is it called “Christmas?”, Why do we celebrate on Dec. 25th?,What year was Jesus really born?, What do Christmas trees have to do with Jesus?, What about Santa Claus? Where did he come from? (Don’t worry it doesn’t spoil anything if you choose to allow your kids to believe in Santa), Which came first – Christmas or Hanukkah? And which one did Jesus celebrate?, What are the “12 Days of Christmas?”, How does the name “Emmanuel” explain the real meaning of Christmas?

http://smile.amazon.com/Whats-Bible-Buck-Denver-Christmas/dp/B0063FGFJ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1449414903&sr=1-1&keywords=why+do+they+call+it+christmas

  • When Christmas Came – Barbara Rainey20151208_153815.jpg

I love Barbara’s books because she designs them to be used from toddlers up through teens. I have her Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas books and in each one she uses various font sizes. The idea is when you children are toddlers you just read the LARGE font and as they grow older you add in the smaller sized font. When Christmas Came uses John 3:16 to explain the meaning of Christmas one phrase at a time. Christmas is about: God, Love, the World, Giving, Jesus, Choice, Hope, Eternal Life, & Promise

http://smile.amazon.com/When-Christmas-Came-Barbara-Rainey/dp/1602002487/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449415385&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=when+christmas+came+barbara+riney

  • Fisher Price Little People nativity Little-People-Nativity

This was an idea I got from my cousin. Children learn by doing so why not give them a way to act out the Christmas story? We got the Fisher Price Little People Nativity from Family Christian and the boys love when I pack up most of their regular toys after Thanksgiving and bring out the nativity for them to play with during the Christmas season. They love arranging and rearranging the characters and especially love it when I allow them to listen to Luke 2 being read aloud from my Bible app while they play.

http://www.familychristian.com/little-people-nativity.html?gclid=CjwKEAiA1o-zBRDomsWasvKh4S8SJADSlZkqujm-rjWkMtHSKFkT8bU0n745E7Rs-rqObEY6JF7YVxoCRwnw_wcB&kwid=sitelinks-kwid^32018591x20548918386x326856546-slid^2199574074x20548918386x326856546-device^c-adid^84423489666@ADL1bba74b4db7b64c738311b55e456786d1

  • The 12 names of Christmas who Jesus is to me20151208_153841.jpg

This little book comes with 12 ornaments. Each with a picture symbolizing a name of Christ on one side and a verse on the other. Each ornament has a corresponding devotional in the book that can be read all at once when decorating the tree or one 20151208_153857.jpgeach day for the twelve days of Christmas.

Here are a few of the ornaments hanging on our tree.

https://shop.familylife.com/p-3931-the-twelve-names-of-christmas-ornaments.aspx

  • Advent Calendaradvent

In the interest of full disclosure I don’t have the advent calendar I am recommending. We got a late start this year so I’m modifying a simple grocery store version for this year. But my boys response has been so positive that I am already planning to purchase this more advance calendar next year. It comes with 24 magnetic figures representing different characters in the Christmas story. In each little door you can also place a small piece of candy and a bible verse to read with each character. It’s a great way to refocus our attention back to the reason for the season each day.

http://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0002TUVEO/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1G2S0G1Q76EC1&coliid=IVRYNYO1J7J1D&psc=1

  • Service Outreachesshoebox

I can’t express enough how important service out reaches have been. From the time Daniel was 6 months old I have taken him to buy items for Operation Christmas Child’s shoeboxes. We have also taken bakery treats to the local public service departments. Purchased items for refuges and meals and gifts for single mom’s and their kids. I make sure to have him fully involved in choosing the items and delivering them. He has been able to show a good grasp of what is needed and what would be enjoyable and he doesn’t ask for things for hwpid-20141217_133159.jpgimself when we are on these trips because I explain how blessed we have been and this is a time to bless others.

Here is my favorite story from this year’s trip:

Every year I do a little project with the boys and usually the talk before hand goes like this “We are going to go buy some things for little boys and girls who don’t have nice things.” Daniel says “Ok” and then picks out some things he thinks another little boy would like. This year the conversation wasn’t as easy. He asked a lot of “why” and “what happened?” questions that required a lot more thought and explanation on my part. Since we were doing a project for single mom’s and their kids I explained that God had given us a good daddy and given daddy a good job so he could provide nice things for his family but not everyone has a daddy or they might not have a job so they don’t have money to buy nice things. This seemed to satisfy him until we got to the store and I asked him what he wanted to pick out for the little boys and girls and he said “I want to buy them a Daddy to take care of them.”

  • Nativity picture booksnativity book

This one is pretty simple, each week we make a library trip and get at least one new “Christmas Story Book.” The pictures might change a little but the basic message is still the same and it helps reinforce the message of Christmas each time they bring me the book and ask me to read. Which happens about 20 times a day. That is another reason we use the library for this…the variety keeps mom sane.

  • A Birthday Cake for Jesushappy-birthday-jesus-cake

This is another idea I took from a family member. When her children were little she had a happy birthday to Jesus Cake each year. I think we are going to try it. It will help drive home the point that we are celebrating Jesus birthday.

Enjoy your intentional Christmas!

 

Music from a Thankful Heart

I apologize that this blog has been quiet for a little while but there has been very good reason, here is the biggest/smallest one:

Brothers

Brothers

Joseph Mark was born 15 days early via emergency c-section amid a whirlwind of other life altering events. He and big brother Daniel have been occupying all of Mommy’s time.  In fact I am trying to type this blog one handed while alternating little boys who want to sit on my lap while listening to their Thanksgiving Music Playlist.

Daniel has a fascination with music and while I love Cedarmont Kids, Praise Baby & Veggie Tales for him I can only listen to the same handful of songs a certain number of times before I go stir-crazy. I think we passed that point about six months ago after the one billionth time listening to every one of his kiddy dvds! 🙂

He dances and signs along when his dad or I are listening to our “grown-up” music so I decided to continue on the theme of teaching him Thankfulness (he will now say “Thank you” with almost no prompting!) and create a Thanksgiving playlist that I can put on for him when he asks for music. These songs won’t drive the adults up a wall and I want to teach him the words to praise hymns while he is young. When I was a child we had to memorize hymns and the words to those songs have stuck with me my whole life and carried me through many trials.

I put a lot of work into compiling these and thought some of you might enjoy being able to grab one of the songs or the whole list. I hope you find it encouraging and if you have a favorite Thanksgiving song please leave it below in a comment.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving Music Playlist

Because Of Your Love
Better Than Life
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Come Ye Thankful People Come
Doxology
Enough
Everything that has breath
For All You Are
For All You’ve Done
For These Reasons
Forever
Give Thanks
Grateful Heart
How Great Thou Art
How To Worship A King
I Thank You
It is Well With My Soul
Love You So Much
Made Me Glad
O Worship The King
Praise To The Lord The Almighty
Thank You For Loving Me
Thank You For Saving Me
Thank You Lord
Thankful
What the Lord Has Done in Me
When It’s All Been Said And Done
Worthy Is the Lamb (with In the Cross and Crown Him With Many Crowns)
You Are Good
You’ve Been So Good

 

To Train Up A Child

Now days it seems that there are so many spoiled children and mothers who are simply slaves to their children. I really don’t believe that this is the way it should be. Children should be trained to behave properly and do tasks according to their abilities and moms should be able to enjoy the time they have with them instead of being worn out from being their servant.  One of my favorite author’s & speakers says regularly our goal as parents should be to raise Godly, marriageable adults. I think the Godly part is obvious, if we fail at that we have failed as parents; however, most people miss the marriageable part. Most moms forget to train their sons to me marriageable (able to care for themselves, their wife and family) and instead train their sons to expect their wife to cook, clean and slave for him just like mom did while he he does little to nothing and shows no appreciation.  It is all well and good if his wife marries a woman who desires to cook and clean for him. This was my personal choice in life, and I hope my son will choose a Godly woman who will love and respect him and fulfill the Proverbs 31 model I try to follow. However, I speak from experience when I say it is much easier to do when you have a loving, caring, grateful husband who is willing to pitch in and doesn’t expect you to do everything for him. I would like to do my daughter-in-law the favor of training her husband now instead of making her spend 10 years trying to re-train bad habits out of him. Daniel is one and we are starting to work on him doing some age/ability appropriate items.

I have recently started trying to teach him to pick up his own toys. It is still a work in progress and, yes at this age it would be faster and easier for me to do it myself than to spend all the time I do training him to do it himself. But if I did that I would not be teaching him anything except that Mommy will do it for him. So instead of doing it myself in half the time, I take the time to sit with him and train him on how to pick up after himself. Someday my daughter-in-law will thank me.

Children respond to doing any task better if their is a reward attached. Fortunately I was able to discover early on that Daniel’s love languages are touch & words of affirmation (for more information about  discovering your child’s love language check out Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages of Children, they even have a test to discover your child’s love language for older children) I discovered this when I told him thank you for handing me a piece of laundry. He went happy crazy and now he wants to help with laundry all the time and if I forget to say thank you after he hands me a piece he will remind me. This works with almost anything. If we say “Thank you” to him he will repeat that action over and over to get more affirmation.

Today I decided to try using affirmation to get him to pick up his blocks. I’ve tried to get him to do this before and usually he get bored after the third block and wanders off or starts crying. So today I decided to sit with him the entire time and affirm each time he put a block in it’s bucket. Yeah, this took WAY longer than doing it myself but it was well worth it as all the blocks got put up and he was so proud of himself.

I started this video about halfway through, when he wasn’t looking (otherwise he would have just wanted to quit and play camera) The angle isn’t the best the whole time since the camera was stationary and obviously a one-year-old little boy is NOT and unfortunately my arm is blocking him part of the time but I think you get the main idea. Hopefully this will give you some ideas about how to train your child up to be a Godly, Marriageable adult.

 

 

 

 

Saving $ on Groceries

How do I save $ on Groceries

 

First I put a lot of work into going to each store in my area that I would typically shop at and recording their price for all of the items I normally would buy. This first step requires a great deal of effort and time but it pays off in the long run. Once you have it you know which store to buy what items at and if a sale or coupon is really a good deal. Here is a small sample of one of my early grocery comparison lists . Since I created it there have been some new stores that I’ve found that have better prices so I need to update this list but at this point I nearly have everything memorized.

Next, when I have time and access to coupons I try to use them as long as it is really getting me a better deal. A few rules to make sure you are getting a better deal with a coupon.

  1. If you wouldn’t buy the item normally (without a coupon) then buying it just because you have the coupon is costing you $ not saving it.
  2. If you spend more on the cost of the paper to get coupons than you are saving in the face value of the coupon then couponing is not worth it. I have actually found that in my area during certain parts of the year when the stores send you their weekly sale flyers the Super Saver coupon insert it included so I get those coupons for free, I also check at the front of my local store for their in store coupons and subscribe to my warehouse club mailing list for all of their coupons. Also, stores like Target will print coupons for you at the register for items that you purchase frequently.
  3. Buying an item because you have a store coupon may not save you money if another store has the same item at a price lower than what you are saving with the coupon, check your price comparison sheet to make sure.
  4. The best deals are to combine multiple coupons with buy one get one sales. I.e. if you have two coupons for $0.50 off on package of cheese and cheese is on sale buy one get one then you can use both coupons and get two package of cheese for $1 less than the cost of one package normally.
  5. You can also combine a store coupon with a manufacture coupon. I.e. Store coupon for $1 off cheese and a manufacture coupon for $0.50 off cheese will result in $1.50 off the cost of one package of cheese. Doing this during a sale nets you even bigger saving.

Couponing takes a lot of time & effort both pre shopping and during shopping. I have to admit, I haven’t done as much of it as I used to since having a baby. It is really hard to balance my coupon book in the shopping cart with my baby. Usually when we are couponing my hubby goes along with my & one of us handles the coupons while the other handles the kids.

Another reason I haven’t done as much couponing is that we are

  1. Shopping at stores that don’t accept coupons but have rock bottom prices that I can’t beat even with coupons at other stores and…
  2. We are eating a lot more items that there are rarely coupons for like fresh fruits and vegetables. For saving on these items I shop my local farmers market because they have both a better quality and lower price that your typical supermarkets. I also tend to buy in bulk when they offer a discount & we just eat a lot of that particular item for a while. (10 lbs of carrots anyone)

Another way I save $ is by the type of meat I buy. Ground meat is usually cheaper than whole cuts (steaks, etc) but only if you use it wisely. Making burgers out of 1 lb of ground beef will get you 4 burgers, basically one meal. Using 1 lb of ground beef to make shepherds pie, spaghetti sauce, lasagna, tacos (if you stretch it with lots of toppings) or other large dish will net you up to eight servings, doubling your bang for the buck.  Also, it is cheaper to buy a whole chicken, turkey, or ham than it is to buy cut portions of these items. You may have to put a little extra work into preping it, cooking and then portioning it but you can save quite a bit this way and have meals for several days off the large amount of meat. We like to cook one of these large amounts of meat, eat some that day with lots of sides, like rice & veggies then portion the rest into freezer bags and use them in different meals later.  Your freezer can be a huge $ saver this way, especially if you can get that meat on sale.

Some of the cheapest meals I make that serve my family at least once, usually twice or more.

 

  1. Curry with rice
    1. We have many different curry sauces we like so I make one of the sauces add 1lb of meat & 1-2 lbs of veggies and serve it over rice, very filling and pretty yummy. We can eat this for 3-4 meals or we eat it 2-3 times and my hubby packs whatever is leftover for lunches.
  2. Rice Casserole
    1. This is a great way to use up leftover rice. I make a sauce, cheese, tomato, basil etc. Combine 2-3 cups of rice with 1-2 cups shredded or cubed leftover meat and 1-2 cups of veggies add the sauce to hold it all together put it into a casserole dish (usually this actually makes 2 casseroles) and top it with cheese, or breadcrumbs or even crushed tortilla chips. One casserole serves our family for two meals so when I get two out of it I freeze the second one to warm up on a night I don’t have much time to cook. A total of four family dinners at very little cost.
  3. Spaghetti Sauce or Lasagna
  4. Shepherds Pie
    1. Ground beef, veggies and potatoes, super cheap & easy
  5. Chicken pot pie
    1. Another great way to use leftover meat a great one dish meal
  6. Stir fry with fried rice
    1. One lb of meat, 1 lb of veggies your favorite oriental sauce or spices for flavor and serve with fried rice (rice, veggies, egg and sometimes additional protein).

Taking Care of Mommy’s Spirit – While Taking Care of the Rest of the Family

Last week I wrote about how difficult I was finding it to take care of myself while I was also trying to take care of the rest of the family. I mentioned a book I have been trying to read called “Taking Care of the Me in Mommy” by Lisa Whelchel. I really love Lisa, I’ve heard her speak several times and always enjoy it. I also love her books and the more I read the more I think she was a mom just like me, trying to be all things to all people and usually putting herself on the back burner in the process.  I finally got a few chapters further into the book and found a few ideas that I have tried to implement.

 

One of the things she suggested was putting scripture memory verses with your daily makeup routine; however, I hardly ever have time for makeup so I didn’t think this would be the best place for my scripture memory. It might only happen once a month! Then she suggested using daily household tasks are reminders to “pray without ceasing”. Her suggestion was laundry, Oh, yeah I do TONS of laundry! So I decided to try that.

Now I’m not very good at remembering to do things without a visual reminder so I typed up a list of reminders and also decided to through so scripture to memorize in there too. Then I cut out the reminders and taped them to various items that I use while doing laundry.

I also made a few to put up when I’m housecleaning, I tried to post them in inconspicuous areas that most people wouldn’t notice but I would know they were there.

Here’s a few.

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Prayer reminders taped to bleach & fabric softener

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Memory verse & a prayer reminder taped to the top of my washer.

I’ve had these taped up for a few weeks now and last week I had to have my washer serviced. After the gentleman left I saw them again and was glad I had been nice! He was really a sweet guy, after the second trip out I found out that his daughter was a missionary in a closed country and we had a really good chat.

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Memory verse taped to laundry soap

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Verse & prayer reminders taped to laundry hamper

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Prayer reminder taped to inside of refrigerator door

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This one was cool, she suggested praying for each person in your family while folding specific items of laundry. I taped the reminders inside my clean laundry hamper.

 

I did lots more, if you want the full list it is available here: Everyday task prayers.  This has really helped. I have to admit I don’t always pray for exactly what the reminder says but it has helped me remember to pray without ceasing & my family is getting bathed in prayer a lot more & my spirit is being revived.

 

I hope this idea helps someone else. I know It has helped me. I can’t wait to continue reading for more ideas on taking care of Mommy.

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On the topic of prayer, I’d like to leave you with a thought that my pastor said recently that has encouraged me to include more Thanksgiving in my prayer life.

“What if you woke up today with only what you had thanked God for yesterday?”