About Me

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Saint Joseph, MO, United States
I'm a stay at home Mom of two children and I have the unique privilege of being able to homeschool both of them. I am a stepmother to two older daughters one who is going to college. I enjoy shopping, baking, cooking, cleaning, organizing, running, clowning, making soap, playing piano and lately painting with ASCP paint! I am learning to enjoy the little things in life and make the most of it...clinging to my Savior through the tears that life brings and enjoying his GRACE He gives us every day! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Saving with Coupons

As I look to the new year...there are some big changes I want to make.  Hopefully we will be selling our home...if not...we will still make some changes.  I want to move somewhere where we can have a BIG garden and the children can be more free to go outside then we are here.  I also hope to accomplish my first half marathon this April...for which at this time I'm not even close to accomplish.  I also hope to expand my soap business. However, the biggest thing I hope to accomplish is...SAVING money.

I am not a big spender...we don't go on lavish vacations, we hardly go out to eat, we hardly go to movies but at Sams and Target every week I'm in the ball park of around $200 to feed, clothe, and toiletries for the six people that live here.  In February and March of last year our business was having great difficulty and it was a wake up call to me.  I always had lived in my budget, went a little over, but nothing severe.  We have no car payments, no debt except our house, have our emergency funds and our retirement accounts going...but when our business was doing bad I had to dip into our emergency fund..and having a little bit of credit card debt is getting on my nerves...so I had to make some changes..enter the coupon world!

Just so you know, I'm not an expert...I'm in the trenches, I'm learning just like most of you but wanted to provide you some tips that I learned the hard way the other day!

First, I take the Sunday paper and am religious about cutting the coupons, second I have found a website called moneysavingmom.com  I go and print many coupons from that website before I even go shopping.


Target had some great deals going on this past week and I wanted to share some of them with you so that you could learn from my mistakes!

Target had toilet paper on sale for $14.99 and I had coupons for $2.00 of and Target was also offering a $5 gift card

Target had razors on sale for $9.49.  I had a coupon for $10.00 off one and buy cartridges and Target offered a $5 gift card on that as well.

Aveeno was on sale for $6.49 buy three get a $5 gift card and I had a $4 coupon for buying three.

Garner was on sale as well with buy two get one styling product free...plus I had a $2 coupon.

First may I say...WATCH your checker...I had to check my checker twice (yes I thought that was funny) and then had to go into the store twice...which I never would have done in the past.  The checker neglected to send my $3 coupon through and she neglected to give me my $5 gift card for the aveeno.  I had to go into the store twice after checking my receipt and checking my Target app to see what gift card I was missing because I knew I was missing one.  Also, I had my coupons ready to go for the sales that I knew about..but vitamins were one sale and I had coupons for three bottles and I had to dig through all my coupons to find them!

So my tips:

1. Watch that checker and make sure you know the total of ALL your coupons
2. WRite down any gift cards or promotions so that you know that your getting all your deals before you get to the register.
3.  I have a coupon big binder that is now organized that I was too lazy to take with me...and it would have been so easy to just pull out as I went down each aisle. 
4.  Buy enough to keep you stocked up for six months.  Right now paper towels, and toilet paper are being offered at decent prices...stock up when you see major sales. Vitamins are also on discount now...keep stocking up.
5.  Browse the aisles looking for sales that are not advertised and match them to your coupons.  This is where I messed up before.  I would only buy what I needed and use the coupon instead of waiting till the item was on sale and then using the coupon. Target allows you to use their coupon and a manufactuer coupon and doubling those coupons...which can add to real savings.
6.  I also use CVS which allows you to double beauty points and offer reward dollars for certain products spent.  Using these stores has allowed me to save some serious dough.

At this point my last Target bill I shaved $60 off my bill and earned $10 in Target gift cards...it is my goal to continue to bring that total down even farther as I learn more and more in the coupon world.

I don't think I will be buying groceries for .27 cents any time soon but any money that I can save helps my family even more.

I also make my own laundry detergent, my own soap, have switched to a mop that I use vinegar and water with my essential oil to clean my floors (I have all wood floors). I bought Shaklee two years ago for a base for my cleaning supplies and haven't had to buy any since....am not even halfway through the bottle.  I make my own Febreeze and make my own candles as well.  I cook from scratch as often as possible and make my own apple butter, bread and freezer jam.  I tried making my own yogurt but my fam...could not get used to it.  We also buy organic beef and pork from a farmer eliminating our need for meat from the store.  We would like a bigger yard (which is why our house is for sale) for a garden...and I would really like chickens....but pretty sure that won't ever happen:(

Anyway, learn from me and my mistakes...and happy saving money:)

Go be a coupon diva!



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas

I trust you all had a WONDERFUL Christmas! We certainly did...a little relaxed which was soo nice! Here are some of my FAVORITE pics of the day and I am including my sweet potato recipe that I have been asked for several times! Enjoy the rest of your vacation! We are entering my favorite month....JANUARY...clean and purge and ORGANIZE...AND its a QUIET month:) ME LOVE JANUARY!!!!

Before Christmas Eve Service

Before Christmas Eve Service

Christmas Eve pjs

BRother and Sister pose


Ornaments from my husband's childhood



stockings too heavy for mantle

sleepy head

This horse has NOT left her side!

Charlie's toys



Love that face!

Found this on Etsy! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!




Pink glasses for two please:)

Merry Christmas!
Sweet Potatoes

3 cup sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup marg.
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix ingredients together, pour into casserole dish.

Topping
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup pecans
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup margarine
30 min. 375

Should be lovely and bubbly! ENJOY!!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Guilt

This week was supposed to be a blast....but life happened.  We were supposed to catch up on school and let my T have two extra days off where it would be spent enjoying and relaxing while helping his mother catch up on things....but the computer had issues for two days. The dishwasher had issues for three days.  Thursday was to be the big annual HS Christmas party at the ice skating rink....where my E could enjoy ice skating...it is her FAVORITE thing....but we had blizzard like conditions and about seven inches of snow.  Yesterday she was supposed to go see the lights...but she had a horrible cold after I picked her up from dance camp...and there was supposed to be craft class after dance camp...but the snow....the lady in charge couldn't get there...and basically this week could be deemed "fail" to use my 13 year old T's lingo.

However, yesterday I got four hours with my 13 year old where he talked constantly...it was nice.  I got to watch my E dance....and it was nice to watch my kids play in the snow. 










When I go out in public with my E I notice that people smile a little bigger when they see her.  At church I saw grown men with tears in their eyes as they saw all the little children....so I remembered what's important....no, she didn't want to sit on Santas lap we haven't went to see the lights yet, and she didn't get to go ice skating...but we did get glorious snow...and we do have each other...and she's pretty happy...so if you don't get everything done for Christmas, if your house doesn't look like a magazine cover, if you haven't done fifteen million things off Pinterest for Christmas...don't fret...breathe in and out...and then just sit...sit and enjoy the wonder around you.  Sit and take in the real meaning of Christmas, sit and remember the peace and the HOPE that Christmas has given us...and relax...its gonna be ok!

Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Little A-Frame in the Woods

Today was a day where the best place to be was in God's house.  Our Pastor knew our hearts were heavy...He knew we needed EXTRA today...and he brought it.

He first talked about dealing with Grief.  Not just this tragedy in Connecticut but grief in all aspects of our life....he went through the steps of Grief and I am going share that with you.

1.  Release My Grief

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

"Pour out your heart to God, for he is our refuge." Psalm 62:8

2.  Receive from others

"Carry each other's burdens..." Gal. 6:2

"By helping eac other with your troubles, you obey the law of Christ."

"Look after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God's best blessings." Hebrews 12:15

3.  Refuse to be bitter

"Some people have no happiness at all; they live and die with a bitter heart." Job 21:25

"Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you...it causes deep trouble hurting many in their spiritual lives." Hebrews 12:15

Realize what cannot be changed. "Reach out to God....then face the world again, firm and courageous...." Job 11:13,16

Focus on what's important, not what's lost.  No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you." I Thessalonians 5:18

4.  Remember What's Important

"Jesus said...Life is not measured by how much one owns.  " Luke 12:15

"We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it." I Timothy 6:7

5.  Rely On Christ.

"I have learned the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens, I can do all things through Christ, becaue he gives me strength." Philippians 4:13



I have to admit...it helped me....I felt better....still part of me wants to go move to my imaginary A-frame in the woods and hide my children from this horrible world...but we can't live in fear!

I listened to a couple of mothers say they homeschool for this very reason.  As a home school Mom may I just say....your not safe anywhere.  We got to movies, the mall, Target, and we live in the city....if you follow the news...there have been shooting in ALL of those places that I just listed.

I guess that is what is so terrifying about the news lately...it can happen ANYWHERE!

I have also been wondering if possibly I should do away with Facebook.  The social media lately has been ridiculous.  I could NOT believe the hateful comments left by those who were insulted because people said things like..."Our prayers are with you." Seriously? Prayer is the only thing getting me through...Hope is all we have to cling to when nothing else makes sense.  Our world without God is hopeless, hateful....I rejoice that these little ones are with our Savior...they no longer can feel pain or sadness....but those of us left behind to deal with the aftermath....that is where the suffering shows the deepest.

Today as our pastor picked up one of the hundreds shoeboxes that are going to Mexico...he pointed us back to hope....back to work that needs to be done.  Our world needs Jesus....plain and simple.  Those that proclaim He doesn't exist...need it the most...those that spit in our faces when we proclaim His name....need Him more.  There is work to be done...there are lives that need to be changed...and our country is in desperate need of our Savior....it only starts with those of us who know His name...and realize that this is not our home.....this is not the end....

So, don't run to your A-Frame....don't get caught up in the hatred, gun control, remember the victims, not the shooter....hug your children, and decide to LIVE and continue to be the "Light of the World."

Keep on keeping on:)


Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Star

I have to tell you that doing this book is the best thing that I have ever done during Christmas! Unfortunately some of the things in this book include corn projects but if she could have corn they would be SUPER fun!

Yesterday we talked about stars...how that the star was over the place where Jesus was born.  It was a great fun project!

First we read the story, cut out the store, hole punched, thread the string....ready to hang!




Have a GREAT DAY!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My new FAVORITE PLAYDOH Recipe

Ok I confess, I always seem to have a new recipe for playdoh that I have found that is my new favorite...but really....this really is my new favorite.  The other recipe make HUGE batches of playdoh and I do love it...but I was tired of my hands getting food coloring on them because I had to add it to the doh AFTER it was made....enter my NEW FAVORITE recipe!

I found it on Pintrest...it seems that lately that is where everyone finds everything!

So, here goes!

1 cup flour
1 cup water
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
food coloring (4 drops we used more for the purple)


Ellie enjoyed mixing these together in the pan.  When she was done mixing well I had her get down and I turned the oven on medium and mixed and mixed until the playdoh started forming....it starts sticking to the sides...stir CONSTANTLY!

Then....we let it cool! THEN it was time to play!

It made the most GLORIOUS colors!


Side note...my E has really enjoyed making pot holders...her Daddy taught her how to do it:)


So cute to watch her little hands move!

Have a GREAT day!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Angel Ornaments

Yes, we are busy baking, creating, getting presents for teachers that teach us dance and Awana, and Sunday School teachers, and youth workers...WOW for home school kids we have a LOT of teachers:)

So, today we talked about entertaining angels...we talked about how angels announced Baby Jesus birth...and then we made one...soo sweet:)

First measure their feet:) soo cute:)

First Measure Feet

Second, trace their adorable hands.

They can decorate the body however they want.  We used scraps of wrapping paper but you can use glitter, whatever you would like!

Attach your darling child's photo at the heel of the "body" and then attach the "wings" at the back~

Use a pipe cleaner for a halo
Hole punch and hang on your tree:)

ENJOY!

No Bake Spiced Dough Ornaments

This Christmas I tried to do things differently and so far it has been accomplished.  In life there will never be a time that we as Mother's say "I did it ALL right this season." I will say..."I have done it BETTER."

My goal was to decorate the house less and spend more time doing crafts, baking, relaxing and enjoying the holiday instead of making it this AMAZING thing for OTHERS.  Yes, I still have homemade soaps to give away and goodies, my house is still decorated but with only ONE HUGE tree instead of five:)

My E is completely healed from her tonsil surgery so we are able to go back to our activities this week...it was so great to see her dancing again:) Yesterday...we decided to make some ornaments and I canNOT tell you how AWESOME they smell!

The first thing I did was purchase this book which is wonderful and gives ALL kinds of craft ideas that go along with the season.  We went through and picked out the ones we wanted to do.  My E can't wait to do the candles:) Will post that one later this week!




Then...we started in!



We used cookie cutters from my childhood and my hubbies childhood.  Ellie had a blast!

Here is the recipe!

1 cup ground cinnamon (I buy spices in bulk at Sam's)
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 cup applesauce
2 tablespoon white craft glue
Food coloring (optional) we didn't use any
A few tablespoons of all purpose flour

Directions:
1.  Combine the cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg in a mixing bowl.
2.  Add the applesauce and glue.
3.  Have your child help you work in all the ingredients with your hands until ingredients are mixed thoroughly. (My E and I used a wooden spoon to mix and it worked fine:)
4.  If desired, divide into portions and mix a few drops of food coloring into each
5.  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/4 inch thickness.
6. Cut dough with cookie cutters into various shapes.
7. Bore a hole in the top of each ornament (we used a straw)
8. Lay the ornaments out flat to dry at room temperature for 3 to 5 days...(this wasn't an option for us as we are NOT that patient.) So, put in oven at 200 degrees for one hour:)
9.  When they are completely dry, thread short length of ribbon or string through the hole in each ornament:)

ENJOY!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Put it Nicer

For the past two and a half weeks me and my E have been at home.  I've been able to run some errands while my T watches her for a little while..but those trips are few (just one) until Gma came and then there was one more.  Part of me has enjoyed the solitude, the being "put away" from society.  I confess....right now I'm not happy.  I watch the news...the children dying, the people killing themselves, the "winter break" instead of Christmas vacation, neighbors who show their hatred for me on their faces when all I did was have a yogurt wrapper drop on the pavement.  I still wish for my A-frame in the woods...away from all the crazy, away from all the mean.  I dream of families that love each other that don't constantly bicker, that encourage one another.  You know, the ones at the soccer field rooting for that poor child who is downright horrible but every knows how lucky he is because he has this family that loves him so much they are making fools of themselves cheering for him?

I long for conversations where I can say what's on my mind...without being judged...without someone saying they have to fix me.  I long to go to church where I have friends instead of only being close on facebook....I long to be accepted for just being me.

I long to not feel shame for not being a coupon queen, for having a messy basement, for not waking up at 6am and having a huge breakfast prepared for my husband and kids, for forgetting to run my mileage so I can run my half in five months, for not being the perfect wife, for forgetting things...for, for, for....I get overwhelmed with all the for.....

I look at our society lately and I can't help but want to crawl in an A-frame in the woods.  We as people, we as christians.....do we love? The other night our ladies group had a Christmas get together.  I couldn't believe the things that christian women said to one another??? I wasn't even there! These were things that I was TOLD happened and then I had them confirmed....how can we expect the world to be any different if we ourselves are hateful to one another, hold grudges, talk badly, not include others in our circle....because that would be uncomfortable.

I can honestly say that I long for my childhood friends where we went to highschool and some went to college.  STill when we get together we start from where we left off....know every good and bad thing about each other...and still....we still love each other....

I'm a graduate from a conservative christian highschool and college...I was taught how to act in church and in public...how to let things go gracefully, how to keep my mouth shut when I disagree.  How to treat my boss and how to do what he says no matter how insane I thought the idea.  I was taught and STILL do say "Yes Maam and No Maam" to those that are older than me.  You will never hear me call someone "dude" you will never hear me listen to poetry where foul language is used and that is met with standing ovation? Have we lost our minds?

Yes I long for the A-frame in the woods...where my praise music and target shopping online are available at my fingertips.  I long to be away from people who hate me because I believe in God, because I have values, because I hold my kids to a higher standard and TRY to teach them to HONOR, RESPECT, WORK HARD, LOVE ONE ANOTHER....and I find myself failing.....I find myself wanting to give in....close my eyes...and just let the waves come....and fade out from this life....

God requires me to keep marching no matter who hate me, no matter who wish I would move away, no matter....no matter.....no matter.

Go...and Seek...and Love One Another...

This coming week I'm going to try to do what I used to do...send one to two letters to those that God lays on my heart this week....and every week. I'm going to start writing down the "gifts" so that I can see the good and wonderful things that God has allowed in my life....there are so many...

























I just counted a few of my blessings:)