Thursday, February 25, 2010


Alert!  Alert!

Until tomorrow, February 26th, you can get FREE SHIPPING AND 15% off all online orders at:

The Children's Place

For Free Shipping the code is:  FSFEB2010

For 15% off the code is:  SPRING22A

PLUS, they are having their "Winter's Last Blast" sale with items as low as .99 cents!!

Things are going fast, so go there NOW!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Natural Living---Vitamins

I grew up in quite a "natural" home.

If you recall THIS post, then you know that I had kidney cancer (Wilm's Tumor) when I was two, and that I was "naturally" cured from it.  My parents went completely against the grain, refused chemotherapy and radiation, and put me on a strict vitamin-nutrition program.  There were naysayers a-plenty, and even some who turned my parents into CPS, but, nonetheless, my parents stood their ground and did what they knew to be the right thing.  And, what do you know---I'm still cancer-free 29 years later!!!

If you've been a follower of my blog for awhile, then, you will also know that I have been seriously and prayerfully researching vaccines.  I have learned and found out SO MUCH, that, it has been absolutely life-changing.  So, if you hadn't already figured it out, we have decided to STOP vaccinating our kids.  We are thrilled and 100% confident with our decision.  I know deep down in my gut----in my heart of hearts----that this is the right decision.  Again, as I have always said, YOU have to educate yourself and make the decision that is right for your family.

With that said, I am going to try to start posting, periodically, about different ways of natural living.  There are thousands and thousands of different ways to live naturally, and I am not a professional "natural liver," but, maybe there a few things you can take away from these posts.

So, to start this off, since vitamins have been a huge part of my life, I thought I'd post about 5 vitamins/supplements that we give to our kiddos everyday.  This is, in no way medical or professional advice, so please don't take it as such!  This is information that I have taken from hours and hours of research and through my own experiences.  So, besides a good, nutritious diet, appropriate amount of sleep, and lots and lots of love, here's the five things we're giving to our kids, everyday:

1.  A good, PURE, age-appropriate Children's Multi-Vitamim.  We use Shaklee's Incredivites for Ava and Luke:

And, since Anna is 6 months, now, we use Shaklee's Vita-Lea Infant Mix:

2.  DHA/EPA Supplements.  We use Nordic Naturals EPA and EFA:

3.  A Probiotic.  We use Udo's Choice:

We give this to all three kids, 1/2 tsp, once a day.

4.  Chewable digestive Enzyme.  We're using Vitabase:

5.  Vitamin D3 Depending on what Multivitamin you use, you might not need to add more D3.  Currently, we're using the Nature Made brand Chewable D3:

I didn't write about each, individual vitamin and all of its benefits, because, if you are considering any of these vitamins, then I am sure that you will do your own research and find out all the amazing benefits from each of them.  Education is key!!

I know some may balk at vitamins, because they are expensive, and, yes, they are not cheap.  Point blank---they will cost you some money.  BUT, the benefits FAR OUTWEIGH the cost.  If this is important to you, work the cost of vitamins into your budget and MAKE IT WORK!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Oh, how I LOVED working/playing in the yard with my family on such a fine, delightful, sunshiny day!!!

We pretty much spent the whole day outside, today, and, boy, was it ever great!!!  We have quite a huge yard/garden and LOTS, LOTS, LOTS to do, so having an unexpected, beautiful, sunny day in February was much appreciated!!  The kids played and played and got dirty, dirty!!  I had fun whacking down some bushes and pruning some apple trees while Mark rota-tilled the dahlias and veggie gardens and mowed our entire yard.  It was so beautiful being outside together!!  And soooo beautiful getting so much done!!!

Saturday we ran lots of errands and spent the day shopping together.  One of our stops was Costco, which, we only do about once every 3 months, and stocked up on all our essentials.  One "essential" I bought this time, which I haven't done before, was a 25-lb bag of pinto beans.  I have been researching pinto bean and their prices, and found that Costco's price is right up there with the best:  it breaks down to be, about, .59 cents a pound, which, is pretty excellent.  I've been loving making my own re-fried beans and have wanted to try many more recipes with beans.  Beans are super healthy and super frugal, so I thought it'd be worth it to buy my beans in bulk!

Tonight I made a really amazingly simple, yet, delicious meal:

Beans and Cornbread

[caption id="attachment_2233" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Photo courtesy of Ree Drummond--The Pioneer Woman"][/caption]

HERE is the delicious recipe.

We loved it, the kids loved it, so healthy and hearty----ooooh, and that cornbread is to die for!!!  YUMMY!!

Here's what I have planned for dinner for this week:

Monday:  Grilled Steaks, Baked Potatoes, Corn

Tuesday:  Baked Teriyaki Chicken, Steamed Rice, Steamed Broccoli

Wednesday:  Veggie and Cheese Omelets, Bacon, Toast, Fruit

Thursday:  Chicken Delight (freezer), Raspberry Muffins (freezer), Green Beans

Friday:  Roast Pork Panini Sandwiches, Chips, Pasta Salad, Fruit

For more Menu Planning Inspiration, check out ORGANIZING JUNKIE

Friday, February 19, 2010

Safeway Policy

If you are a big Safeway shopper, like I am, I wanted to fill you in on a bit of  information, in case you weren't privy to it:

  • If an item is rung up incorrectly, the sale price does not ring, the clearance sticker is not peeled, etc.  Basically---if they mess up the price of your item in any way------did you know that you get that/those items for FREE?!?!?!

Safeway is not vocal about this policy (and, I'm assuming it is a company wide policy, but, check with your local store), at least, they hide it at my local store.  There have been mmaaaaaannnnny times that I have been rung up incorrectly, I go to customer service, and they just give me back the difference.

That is, until another mom filled me in on this policy.

Soooooo, the next time it happened, I marched right up to customer service (mind you, I had already gotten to the car, put all three kids in their car seats, loaded all the groceries in, when I looked at my receipt and realized the mistake!!  Which, is, in and of itself a great tip-----LOOK AT YOUR RECEIPT BEFORE YOU EXIT THE BUILDING!!), showed them their mistake and the customer service associate proceeded to tell me she would give me back the difference.  That's when I said, "Um....yeah, I heard that your policy is, if there is a pricing accuracy mistake, you refund the entire amount of that item.  Is this correct?"  She looked up at me with a, somewhat, horrified look on her face, and muttered, "Yeah.  Ok."

I have a feeling this is not a policy they are shouting from the rooftops, but, hey, IT'S THEIR POLICY, nonetheless.

Folks, this is not trying to get more than you deserve, this is not being deceitful, this is not being greedy------ this is THEIR POLICY!!  Pricing accuracy is very important to Safeway, which is why they have this policy, and if they screw up, they want to give you that item for free.  It's their way of staying on top of pricing and signing in the store and helping us out for this major inconvenience.

Don't be ashamed to ask for this if they don't offer it!!!

Gooooooo Safeway Shoppers!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Growing so fast

It's hard to believe that Anna is SIX MONTHS OLD today!!  I am baffled at where the time is going.

Here's a few shots of our sweet Anna playing with her two favorite toys:  the remote and the phone.

What a little punkin!!!

And, not to be outdone, here's a few updated shots of Ava and Luke:

Ahhh, handsome Luke potty-training!

My beautiful Ava

And...............the sweet trio.

My. how. they. grow.


I am so privileged to be their Mama!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Don't forget the Dairy

Just like the good 'ol MEAT CLEARANCE, don't forget to scour your DAIRY/cold case section for ah-mazing clearance deals, as well!!!!

Look what I scooped up:

Cheese, cheese and sour cream!  Each orange tag is .75 off------that yummy Tillamook cheese was already on sale for $3.99 and as you can see, I got another $3 off!!  Only .99 cents for a "special reserve" Tillamook Sharp Cheddar!!  Also, see that Kraft Cheese, with $2.25 worth of clearance stickers??  I bought another one with it ($2.49) and used a coupon:  $1 off 2!  I got two packages of Kraft Shredded cheese for:  $1.73.  That's about .86 cents a bag.  Not too shabby.  Just like I ALWAYS look through the meat clearance, I also, ALWAYS go through the Dairy cold cases, every time I go shopping, because you never know what you might find!!

These scores are from Safeway, and I love how they use the bright orange colored stickers---it helps me spot them RIGHT away!!  Each grocery store has their own way of tagging dairy/cold case clearance, so keep your eyes peeled!!

AND, remember-----You can ALWAYS use coupons along WITH these clearance items!!!  Woot!  Woot!

Back to it!!

It's a new week and a new perspective.

Hallelujah for that!

Let's see if I can re-group and pull it together again!!!

We did have a marvelous weekend, though!  It started off fabulously with my sister Martha coming up to visit us and giving Mark and I a date night!!!  Oh, how much needed that was!!!  :-)  She had all three kidlings and, from what she reported, the night seemed to go just fine!  Mark and I ate at a wonderful restaurant, had a super tasty dinner, went to a movie and capped the night off with an ice cream cone from DQ.  We had such a great, fun evening.  Thanks, again, Martha!!!

Saturday proved to be just as great!!  Martha stayed the night and my parents came up for a visit!!  We celebrated Valentine's Day and my Dad's birthday---we had great food, great conversation and great fun!!  Such a blessed day!!!!

Unfortunately, yesterday, (and the veeeeerrrrry wee hours of the night) started out with a sick little babe who has a sick mommy.  Not the greatest way to spend Valentines' day, but, let's hope and pray that Anna and I can kick whatever "this" is, soon!!!

But, as I said, it's on to a new week and new, grand adventures!  The kids are out of school the next few days, so I'm looking forward to some outings and fun with the kiddos!!!

With that in mind, here's what our Meal Plan looks like this week:

Monday:  Pork Fried Rice, Green Salad, Smoothies

Tuesday: Homemade Pesto over Cheese Ravioli, Caesar Salad, Garlic Bread

Wednesday:  Chili (freezer), Cheese Quesadillas, Tortilla Chips and Salsa

Thursday:  BBQ Meatballs (freezer), Mashed Potatoes (freezer), Fresh Corn Casserole

Friday: BLT's, Oven-Baked fries, Fruit Salad

Hope you all have a fantastic week!!!


For more menu planning inspiration, visit, I'M AN ORGANIZING JUNKIE!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I'm so sorry for the lack of posts.

I am mentally...........drained.

I'm sure the hectic-ness of my life doesn't even compare to yours, but I tell ya,

since Ava's "incident," it has been so exhausting.  I was not prepared for this.

I *promise* I will be back more regularly, soon, but I have to deal with life at hand.

Blessings to you all!!


Monday, February 8, 2010


I am just trying to breathe.

The past 5 days have been some of the most stressful days I have experienced in a long, long, time.

Many of you know what we have been going through, and your support and encouragement has helped us get through this amazingly tough time.

If you don't know: Our 4-year-old daughter, Ava, was left on a public school bus for 3 hours on Wednesday afternoon. I don't want to go into all the details of the past 5 days, or all the details of that dreadful day, but, as you can imagine. WE. ARE. DEVASTATED.

I am still struggling with this a lot. I can't sleep, I have no appetite----I am just distraught by the entire events of that day. Thinking of my sweet Ava sitting, alone, in that bus for hours makes me want to weep. We are praising God, though, that she is home safe and sound. This could have been catastrophic, so we are thanking God He brought her home safely to us.

We are firm believers in the public school system, and this Developmental Preschool and their staff have helped Ava in amazing ways.


The school system failed us. The school system failed Ava. In ALL WAYS POSSIBLE.

This was so much more than a mistake. This put my child's life at risk.

God tells us, that, "All things work together for good, for those who love Him."

We believe that, and we WANT this to work for good. For change.

But, we also believe that the appropriate actions must be taken!!!

I hope this encourages you to get on the horn-----Call your schools, make sure they are TAKING ATTENDANCE. How do they KEEP TRACK OF YOUR CHILDREN? What procedures and protocols are in place for the bus drivers?? How are they ensuring your kids are SAFE?!?!?! Don't become complacent and figure that schools are following protocol and doing everything they should be----they just might not be, like, we, unfortunately, found out.

In our case, we want to be a voice for our beloved daughter who doesn't always have a voice.

So, I guess it's a new week, but, since it's going to be busy and consuming, I've realized a meal plan is more important than ever!

Here's ours for the week:

Monday: Spaghetti with homemade Meatballs, Green Salad, Homemade French Baguettes. I'm going to try THIS recipe.

Tuesday: Shredded Pork Nachos, homemade Guacamole, Salad, Smoothies

Wednesday: Chicken Delight (Freezer), Corn, Pumpkin Rolls (freezer)

Thursday: Meatloaf (freezer), Mashed Potatoes (freezer), steamed Broccoli

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Roll with it

I tell ya, as a wife, a mother---a human being----I am full of explanations.

Throughout my adulthood, and especially the past 7 years of married life, and the past 4 years of motherhood, I have realized I make FAR too many of them.

Some of them sound like this:

  • "I'm so sorry the house isn't clean, I didn't expect company this afternoon."

  • "Before you take a bite, I'm pretty sure I baked the crust too long on the pie."

  • "Yes, Anna's wearing blue socks, they're a hand-me-down from her brother."

  • "The car is a little bit messy, I feel like we live in the car, sometimes!"

  • "I'm wearing a hat today and no make-up---It's been one of those days."

  • "Don't look at my legs---I haven't shaved them for 2 months!"

  • "I haven't had time to weed the garden beds, I know they look pretty bad."

  • "Yeah, the kids are eating breakfast in front of the TV, we only do that on Fridays."

  • "Oh, man.....don't look over there, I haven't dusted that table in weeks!"

I could go on and on and on.........

Why do I do this??  I don't have a good, solid answer for it.  But, I'm pretty sure it's a combination of a bit of insecurity, mixed with a little bit of embarrassment, some guilt, and plain 'ol honesty.

But, in my opinion, it's NOT HEALTHY.

Being a mom is not an easy job, and as I strive to do the very best I can, things can often get a little out of control, and I think I feel insecure, at times, that I'm not doing everything "right;"  That I don't always look "right;" that the house doesn't always look "right;" or, that my kids aren't always doing the "right" thing.

But, really, does anyone care if Anna is wearing blue socks???  Does anyone care that I let my kids watch Curious George while they eat their breakfast on Fridays???  Does anyone care that I didn't put makeup on and I threw on a hat???  Does anyone care that the table's dusty???   Or, am I just doing all this "explaining" to make myself feel a bit better about the situation because of my insecurity??  Probably the latter.

I have to remember that I am ME---unique ME.  I am the parent of MY children---I make the choices and decisions that I deem right for myself, my family, my home, and my children--NOT anyone else!

My house is never going to be picture perfect.  My kids are never going to be picture perfect.  I am never going to be picture perfect.  Never.  I have to be OK with that.  Does it mean I stop cleaning the house, or stop training my children, or stop caring about my appearance?  Absolutely not.  Am I saying, "Let the chips fall where they may, I'm not even going to try....."  NO!

But, let's just be real here....there are days when things just don't go the way we would have wanted them to go, like this for example:

  • The cats had just thrown up on the carpet, play dough is in every crevice of Ava's body,  Luke has "marked" himself up with pens from head to toe, laundry is piled high, the dishes are overflowing in the sink, I'm breastfeeding Anna, and I'm still in my jammies (and it's 1:30 in the afternoon!!)......... and wouldn't you know----that's the EXACT moment someone decides to drop by!!!  (True story!!!)  But, you know what, instead of making explanations for it---like I did that day---I should have just rolled with it.  Felt comfortable with it.  Paid no attention to it.  Tried to be 100% FINE with it, knowing that this is just  But, I didn't.

It's a GREAT thing to care about the condition of my home, the condition of my children and the condition of myself---I should!!-- but there comes a point.   Life is sometimes crazy and overwhelming, and I'm not going to be able to do it all---everyday.  Even though I want to.  And, that's OK.  My house is not always chaotic, I try to keep it clean, my kids are not always out of control, and I know I usually get dressed every day!  But, there are certainly going to be those days where it's NOT in control and I truly believe I have to be OK WITH IT.  I have to stop explaining to other people about why something is like this, or why something looks like that, or why we let our kids do that, or why something is not this, and just.........BE.

My purpose of this post is to remind us, that, our hope is in THE LORD, not in the views, opinions or comments of anyone else.  We are measured by God's standards, not the world's.  We're not here to impress or please other people---only God!!

If you are struggling with this, whether you're a mom or not, I encourage you to stop explaining and just start being. As hard as it can be, we need to put any insecurity or guilt aside and be who God has called us to be.   We need to STOP the explanations, STOP the feelings of guilt, and STOP the feelings of INSECURITY about things that don't warrant this.  And just be comfortable being us.  Let go of any unrealistic expectations you put on yourself, and do things in the way that God has made YOU to be.  Let's not try to conform or feel insecure with the way we roll......

Romans 12:2:

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Freezer Cooking Day 2--Results

Aaaahhh.  So my two day freezer cooking spree is over and I feel pretty good about the results!!  This is what I was able to accomplish yesterday:

  • 2 Chicken Delight Casseroles

This recipe is a favorite of mine that I remember from my childhood.  My mom made this casserole many, many times and I always have fond memories of it.  I LOVE it!  It's so easy, so tasty, and so great for a crowd!  It's actually called Turkey Delight, but with all the chicken I have, I swapped, and chicken works just a good.

If you're interested, here's the tasty recipe:

4 cups cooked Turkey (or chicken)

3 eggs slightly beaten

1 cup cooked rice

1 cup breadcrumbs

3 Tbl melted butter

2 cups chicken broth

1.5 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Mix all together and bake in a 9x13 pan 50 min @ 350

Yeah.  Super easy!  Here's the recipe for the sauce that goes with it.  I don't always make the sauce---the casserole is just as tasty and yummy on its own---but, it's great to have, especially if you're having company for dinner.

Sauce:  (Double to have enough for 6 or more)

3 Tbl butter

3 Tbl flour

cook both of those, then add:

1 cup chicken broth

3 Tbl cream or milk

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sliced mushrooms

**Add parsley and mushrooms last and cook to a creamy sauce

  • Boiled and shredded 12 more pounds of chicken

  • Chicken Stock

  • Chicken Noodle Soup (I substituted this for dinner tonight!)

  • Cream of Chicken Soup

I have never made my own creamed soup, but I am now a believer.  I ran across THIS recipe from Tammy's Recipes and thought I'd try it.  There can be all sorts of "junk" in canned creamed soups, so I was eager to try this and it turned out great!  So easy, so tasty!  I wish I would have tried this a long time ago!

  • I made one more Meatloaf, froze much more of the ground beef, and still have 5 more pounds in the fridge to do something with!!

So, all in all, a pretty accomplished day.  I forgot to take a picture of the end result,  but you get the idea!!  I'm hoping these freezer cooking days are something I can keep up EVERY month!

Oh, yeah, and another little highlight from yesterday:


We have a 5 month old sitting up on her OWN!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Freezer Cooking Day 1---Success!

So, I decided to start my freezer cooking day YESTERDAY.  It hit me that it would be much easier and much less stressful having the hubby home to, either, help me, or help with the kiddos.  Boy, did it work!!!!  I'm going to have to do that EVERY TIME!!!  Mark was such a big help to me in the kitchen---we got so much done and had a great time doing it!

Here's what we accomplished yesterday:

  • Taco Meat x6  (We used part of the meat at lunch on Nachos!)

  • Chili--4 containers

  • Spaghetti Sauce--4 containers

  • 12 1bs chicken---shredded

  • Chicken stock made  (not pictured, but we got 2 jars made)

  • 3 lbs of meatballs

  • 8 lbs of bananas chopped

As usual, the kids LOVE chopping bananas!

Joyful Anna watching all the action!

And, not only that, but, Mark had to run a few errands, and he saw that the AMAZING ground beef clearance was STILL ON at Safeway, but this time, it was only 28 cents/pound!!!!  He bought TWENTY more pounds of ground beef for only:  $5.60!!!!! But, hello!!!  We had twenty pounds from the day before, added to the twenty pounds he just bought---and if you add that to the 30 pounds we already have in the freezer.......YIKES!!  70 pounds of ground beef!  I'd say we're set for awhile........a......looooonnnnng......while.

So, Mark took about 8 lbs of the meat, seasoned it, and made pre-formed hamburger patties--30 to be exact!  And, we sectioned out the other 12 pounds into 1 lb sections and put them in individual ziplocs.  I still have TONS of ground beef in the fridge to, either, do something with, or freeze as is.

WHEW!!  We're in ground beef heaven............

So, here's what's on the agenda today:

  • 2 Chicken Delight Casseroles  (I'll post the recipe tomorrow)

  • Boil and shred 12 more pounds of bone-in-chicken

  • Make Chicken stock

  • Do something with all that meat!!!