Sunday, March 28, 2010

And......We're Off!!

It's Spring Break, and we are headed out for some fun in the sun!!!!

........or, maybe rain.


It will be FUN regardless!!!  :-)

There will be no MPM this week, and I'll probably be taking a little break from the blog, as well.  I'll be spending the week with my entire family------what a treat!!!

Hope you all have a blessed, prosperous, lovely week and I'll see you back here, soon!!!


Happy 3rd Birthday, Luke!!

Oh, what would I do without this sweet, little man in my life???

What a true and immense blessing it is to be him Mama.  Truly.

oh.  how.  i.  love.  him.

Happy Birthday sweet boy!!!!!

Here's a look down memory lane over the first 3 years of his precious life:

~~May God bless you in the coming year, and always~~

Friday, March 26, 2010

101 in 1001---

Sarah’s 101 goals in 1001 days:

Here's a little update of my progress so far:

1. Go Make-up Free for an entire week

2. Let the kids have dessert BEFORE dinner Completed 2/10. Ice Cream at DQ before dinner!

3. Teach Ava and Luke how, why, and when to dial 9-1-1 Somewhat completed 3/10. Ava's got it, now, on to Luke!

4. Get a massage once a month for 3 months in a row

5. Floss every day for one month straight Completed 2/10.

6. Give my husband one compliment every day for a week

7. Offer to watch someone else’s kids

8. Arrange a “gift-wrapping” station in the basement

9. Learn how to can fruit and veggies

10. Give up candy for one week (Ugggh!)

11. Be up and dressed before the kids get up for two weeks in a row

12. Pray with my husband every day

13. Pray with my kids every day

14. Lose the baby weight in 9 months

15. Make a Will

16. Live on our one week’s Grocery budget for an entire month Completed 1/10. I went $23 over, but we still did it!!

17. Organize all my ‘bookmarks’ on the computer

18. Finish Ava and Luke’s Baby books

19. Start on Anna’s Baby Book

20. Finish Anna’s Birth Story (Oh. So. Close.)

21. Buy a new Vacuum Cleaner

22. Take down wallpaper on the stairway and landing walls

23. Get a Bike

24. Teach Lukie how to go potty on his own (In progress......maybe by the time he's five?!!!)

25. Get to bed by 10pm every night for a month

26. Go on a Date Night with my husband once a month

27. Re-organize all the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen Completed 1/10

28. Paint the landing and the stairway walls once wallpaper is down

29. Get a new, amazing digital camera

30. Organize pictures in my drawers and actually put them in albums

31. Purge all clothes in my closest that I haven’t worn in a year Completed 3/10

32. Take a mini-vacay, just the hubby and me!

32. Go camping

33. Send someone flowers

34. Sell our house (our other house)

35. Get a Vita-Mix

36. Do the “cash-only” system for groceries for a month

37. Buy a new wardrobe if I meet my “baby weight” loss goal (I’m not telling you what it is, though!)

38. Volunteer at Ava/Luke School

39. Take wallpaper down in the living room Completed 3/10---Thanks, Mark!!

40. Paint the living room

41. Paint the TV room

42. Take my vitamins everyday for 30 days straight (In progress....)

43. Stop drinking Pop for 2 weeks straight (Ugh. I'm down to one a day, now. Can she do it, folks?!)

44. Take each of my kids out on a “date”, alone, at least once a month (errands not allowed!)

45. Find at least 10 minutes everyday for alone/quiet time with God (in progress....)

46. No Hairspray for an entire week (wearing a hat doesn’t count)

47. Organize kids’ toys in bins and label with pictures and words

48. Learn all there is to know about Dahlias and start to build a business selling the flowers and tubers

49. Educate myself to the nth degree on Vaccines and make a decision Completed 1/10

50. Read a book—A REAL book. (Us Weekly doesn’t count)

51. “Camp out” with the kids by the Christmas tree

52. Sleep in a tent in the yard with the kids

53. Be completely debt-free (except for our house)

54. Plant an herb garden Completed 3/10. It's a mini herb garden in my kitchen.

55. Prune Apple Trees (Almost done!!!)

56. Give a monetary donation to someone-anonymously

57. Make a Cheesecake

58. Create a fire escape plan and practice it with the kids

59. Teach Ava and Luke about strangers

60. Build stairs on our deck

61. Build a flat, cemented area for the kids to play, ride their bikes, play ball, etc

62. Double, even triple the amount of veggies we plant in the garden (in progress.....lots started already!)

63. New curtains for every bedroom

64. Go to a coffee shop and enjoy the afternoon—solo

65. Cook and host a Holiday Meal at home

66. Have a party!! (just because!)

67. Host a cookie swap

68. Set up multiple play dates for my kiddos

69. Use re-usable shopping bags when grocery shopping Already FAILED this one!

70. Keep our eating out budget at or below $100/month Already FAILED this one!

71. Buy a Christmas gift for a needy child

72. Pay for the person behind me in a Drive-thru

73. Get back to selling on Ebay

74. Let the kiddos take a small portion of their Birthday money to buy an item that THEY pick out

75. Start the tradition of letting the kids pick out their favorite cereal for their Birthday morning breakfast

76. Have a Girl’s Weekend with my SISTERS!

77. Take a trip to Disneyland

78. Plan a surprise Birthday party

79. Fast for 24 hours

80. Save up to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a really, really great pair of shoes (or an amazing handbag!)

81. Let my hubby take a Saturday all to himself

82. Let myself take a Saturday all to myself

83. Pray before dinner every night—whether in public, or not

84. Teach Anna sign language (in progress...)

85. Have a family devotional time at least once a week

86. Start on the addition to our house

87. Take a class—(photography would be my first choice, hence the need for #29!)

88. Write a letter to each of my kids, to be opened on their 16th birthday

89. Read my Bible at least twice a week (if not MORE!) (in progress...)

90. Take 10 Internet Breaks (an entire day)

91. Have a family dinner by candlelight Completed 1/10/10

92. Re-do kids’ chore charts and stick to them

93. Kiss my husband when he comes home from work*everyday*whether I feel like it, or not

94. Do 10 “real” push-ups in a row

95. Spend an entire day playing on the beach with my family

96. Get over my insecurity of been videotaped, and start a video diary to my children

97. Go to a concert (NKOTB, again?!)

98. Take the kids to a play/live theatre

99. Come up with a better laundry organizing system

100. Expand my vocabulary–Learn 50 new words and their definitions

101. Donate $5 for every goal I don’t meet

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


My kiddos are at the age where they love doing anything with their hands:  sorting, organizing, coloring, drawing, water play, beading, magnets, etc, etc, etc!  The list goes on an on!!  Ava, especially, is our "sensory" gal and could work on these types of hands-on projects for days.  She even asks if she can "ordonize" the pantry for me.  She takes out all the canned food, lines them up on the floor and puts them back in again.  She loves it!! (Hey, that's another frugal activity right there!!!)

So, here's a great,  super frugal, creative and fun activity for your kids, and all you need is this:

  • A Plastic Fruit Holder.  We are using a clear, plastic apple holder (from Costco, I think?).  Which, is another frugal tip:  save all your fruit trays, egg crates, berry bins, cereal boxes, etc.  You can ALWAYS find something to do with them!

  • Buttons.  If you don't have buttons, you can use any sort of small sorting object.  I just love using buttons for the different shapes, colors, sizes and textures.

And that's it folks.....that's all you need!  Spread it all out on a table and have at 'em!  My sister bought the buttons we're using here, but, to be super frugal, seek them out wherever you go!   Garage sales, thrift stores, etc---you can get all sorts of different kinds of buttons on the cheap, and, sometimes, even free!!

Having the kids use their imaginations and play with them as the wish is always great, but, you can also have your kiddos sort them.  They can learn to sort them by size, shape, color or texture.  Here, Ava's working on sorting hers by color:

She could probably sit here for hours and do this.  She is just fascinated by it!!

You can also make shapes and letters out of them.  Lately, Lukie's imagination has been running wild, and he sees shapes and letters in everything---food, clouds, nature, toys, etc!  So, I sat down with him, and I started making letters to see if he could mimic the letter I formed.

Here's my "B":

Here's Lukie working on his "B":

And, here it is:

Not too shabby for a 2 year old!!!

Working with buttons is fostering great learning and creative skills for my little ones, and, they really enjoy it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Are you using too much Laundry Soap??

Did you know that you could be hurting your appliances and your clothing by using too much?  Not to mention, you could, literally, be pouring money down the drain.  I certainly hadn't really given it a second thought, until my Hubs told me all about it.  He's been researching this topic and found out some great info that I thought was worth sharing.

The #1 sin, according to repair people and appliance experts, is, adding too much soap.  Most of us don't think we use too much soap, but, apparently, we are all in denial.  Washing machines are made to use far less water now, than their older counterparts, and therefore, need less soap.  At the same time, detergents have also become extremely concentrated----a little goes a long way!  Following instructions on your soap container is a good first step, but, it's been shown that you usually only need to use one-eighth to one-half of what is recommended.  That's a big difference!!

And suds.  Do you see suds?  Well, according to our research---you shouldn't.  Suds means you're using A LOT of extra detergent.  Here's a test to see if you're over-sudsing:

  1. Throw 2-3 clean bath towels in the washing machine

  2. Don't add any detergent

  3. Switch to the hot water setting and medium wash and run it for about 5 minutes

  4. Check for soap suds

  5. If you don't see any suds right away, turn off the machine and check for soap residue

  6. If you see suds or residue, it is soap coming out from the previous washes!!

  7. Run your towels as many times is needed to get all the soap out

I have to admit-----we did this, and it turns out we had the makings of a major bubble bath in there.  Suds, suds everywhere!!  It took numerous cycles with the towels to get all the soap out!  Yikes, I had no idea.  But, once you get all those pesky suds out, folks, you can breathe a sweet sigh of relief and start your laundry washing adventures anew!!

Save your machine, save your clothes and save your money!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

We had a great weekend----hope you did, too!!!

Some Highlights:

  • My parents and my sister, Martha, up for a visit

  • A fun spring celebration day at A and L's school

  • Gymnastics class for Ava

  • Out to lunch with G-parents and Auntie

  • A beautiful, lovely day to play and work outside

  • Dinner and a movie (after the kiddos were in bed) for the Hubs and me

  • A little shopping for "Cars" supplies and decorations for L's B-day (And a lot of squeals of delight!)

  • Relaxing, enjoyable Sunday getting a lot done in the house

Throughout the great weekend, I also cleaned-out/re-worked my 4.5 freezers and realized I still have A LOT of meals in there!!!  So, our menu plan this week will consist of a lot of them.  Here's what we're having:

Monday:  Chicken Delight Casserole (freezer), Steamed Broccoli, Buttery Rolls (freezer)

Tuesday:  Meatloaf (freezer), Mashed Potatoes (freezer), Roasted Carrots

Wednesday:  Chili Nachos, Smoothies

Thursday:  Amish Baked Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon

Friday:  Homemade Mac and Cheese (freezer), Polish Sausage, Green Beans

Check out I'm An Organizing Junkie for more menu inspiration, and check back with me tomorrow for my post on Laundry you know if you're using too much???

Have a great week!!!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Coupons 101 Part 3---Re-post


Just because you have a coupon does not necessarily mean you should buy that item. In fact, if you buy items just because you have a coupon, you will end up spending MORE money on items you don’t really need, and are still over priced. The trick is to wait for the item to go on sale or clearance, THEN USE YOUR COUPON, which is an even better deal.

  • WAIT FOR A SALE: Wait for the items that you want to go on sale, then use your coupons!    Then, buy several of that item so that you won’t need to buy it, again, until it goes on sale again.  It’s sometimes hard, but your item will more than likely go on sale, so WAITING is the key!

  • BUY ONE GET ONE FREE (BOGO) SALE: When a store has a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE sale, this is a great time to use your coupons. You can use TWO coupons. One for the item you are buying and one for the item you are getting for free. WHY???   Remember that a coupon is like cash, a form of payment.  The store IS getting paid for that product, by the Manufacturer.  (They get back the coupon price, plus 10 cents (or so) shipping)  So, the store gives you the second item for free, but they can turn in the coupon and get paid for that item they just gave you for free.   Example-  Granola Bars are on sale, buy one get one free. You pay $3.00 for the first box of granola bars, and get the 2nd free.  But you have 2 coupons for $1 off a box of granola bars. You can use both of those coupons. One coupon is applied to each box of granola bars (although one box is considered free) Both coupons are applied to the TOTAL SALE PRICE.  It brings the total to $1.00 for 2 boxes of granola bars. You would have paid $6 for 2 boxes of bars, but by using the Buy one get one (BOGO) free sale you have saved  $5.00 on two boxes of granola bars!!!  Quite the deal!

  • STACKING YOUR COUPONS: Stacking your coupons is when you are able to use 2 coupons for one item. You are able to do this when you use an IN-STORE COUPON ( a coupon that the store prints, normally in the weekly ad, or on their website.  It will have the store logo on it) along with a MFR (manufacturer coupon). When you use the in-store coupon and the MFR coupon together this is called “stacking” your coupons. So watch for those in-store coupons, and see if you have a MFR coupon to go along with it.  When I figured this one out, I was OVERJOYED!  (I know, it obviously doesn’t take much to get me excited!!)  But, what a great deal you will get if you have a MFR coupon to go with the store coupon!!  Always keep an eye out for that!

  • REBATES: A lot of companies offer a mail in rebate for their items as part of a promotion to get you to try or buy their product. Many times this makes the item free after rebate.  Example- Rite Aid is selling shaving cream  for $3.00, and they have a mail in rebate for $3.00, which would make the item free.  But, let’s say you have a $1.50 coupon for that particular shaving cream; after you turn in your rebate they will send you a check for $3.00, and you only paid $1.50 for it!!  Rebates are very easy to do, and with most companies, you can just do it online, type in a little info from your receipt and they’ll send you a check.  Completely easy and painless!

  • STORE MATCH OR DOUBLE: Some stores do this every week, but seems as if the local stores I frequent only do it a few times a year. They will match your coupon amount, which gives you the chance to get twice the amount of your coupon. Example- the store is selling juice for $1.00 but I have a coupon for $.50 off, The store them matches the price of my coupon giving me another $.50 off, making my juice FREE.   I have been getting a lot of “DOUBLES” from Albertons, lately, and it’s been great!  I’ve received a lot of free items! Normally if a store matches or doubles coupons, they only let you do a limited number of items per shopping trip. So I plan to make several trips through the checkout line, or plan another trip back to the store at a later date.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

7 months

Our power went out yesterday, so I didn't get this post out on Anna's exact 7-month birthday, but, I think she'll forgive me.  Even though there is a current picture of my CPK below, I still wanted to recognize that she's already 7 months old!!


I literally can't wrap my mind around that.  Time certainly waits for no one.

Here are a few shots of her enjoying one of her current favorite activities---rolling around on the floor:

And a few stats:

  • She's a beast!!  From our rough estimates, she is about 20 pounds and 29 inches long

  • She's eating solids and loving it!  Here's what she's had so far:

Homemade--Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Applesauce, Rice, Mashed Potatoes, Yogurt, Peas, Crackers

  • She can get up on all fours and do a few scoots forward and backward.  Crawling is in the very near future

  • Her squealing and babbling are infectious and she's working on getting more sounds out

  • She is still an ah. mazing. sleeper

  • She opens her mouth wide open when we say, "Gimme kisses!" and leans in for the smooch!

  • We've been working on "Gimme 10!".  She slowly raises both of her hands for the slap!

  • She's such a happy, joyful, truly delightful little baby!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday and my CPK

Hey peeps!!  We're back, yet, again, to another Monday!!  I had quite a fabulous "girl's" weekend with my sister and little Anna in Sea-town over the weekend.  We stayed at my In-Law's Condo (THANK YOU!!!), had massages, did lots of shopping, movie-watching and eating.  Aaaaaah.  Just a nice, restful, relaxing weekend!!  Anna was such a gem, and it was a wonderful time had by all!  It should be REQUIRED that all moms get out and have a girl's weekend, at least once a year, if not, a LOT more!!!  :-)

I do not have a very sophisticated cell phone (especially when I'm trying to get a close-up!), but, here's a grainy shot, from my cell phone, of sweet little Anna.

My sister dubbed this shot: CPK............also known as..........Cabbage Patch Kid:

Hmmmmm.........see a little resemblance to the baldy in this picture?!!:

Mark did well with A and L while I was gone, even though both are a little under the weather---he survived!!  It was great bonding time for them and even through their sickness, and a trip to the ER,  (all is well, but, Luke had a 104 temp!!) I know they had fun!

So, now that I'm back and settled in, it's time to focus on our meal plan for the week.  Lately I feel like I've been stuck in a rut when it come to variety with dinner, so, in the coming weeks, hopefully I can change it up a bit.

Here's our plan for the week:

Monday:  Chicken Curry Casserole (using leftover Turkey), Green Salad, Buttery Rolls

Tuesday:  Asian Salmon Fillets, Rice Pilaf, Roasted Carrots

Wednesday:  Corned Beef, Southern Fried Cabbage,  Steamed Red Potatoes

Thursday:  Spanish Rice Bake

Friday:  Crock Pot BBQ Pork Ribs, White Rice, leftover Southern Fried Cabbage

For more menu planning inspiration, don't forget to check out I'm An Organizing Junkie

Coupons 101 Part 2----Re-post

Ok, so now that you know where to get your coupons, you now need to know what coupons to SAVE.


  • What coupons do you save? I clip and save almost every coupon, about 99% of them, even if it is something I would never use.  The reason I do that, is because, if there is a chance it is going to be free or under a $1, I get it and give it to charity or someone I know could use it.  There is no reason NOT to get something if it’s going to be free!!  On Sundays (or whatever day I get the inserts or coupons), I spend a little bit of time clipping them and putting them into stacks of like categories, ie:  cleaning supplies, Breakfast, etc.  From here, it’s time to organize, and that’s when I put them into all my categorized envelopes in my box.

  • Why do I clip and save every coupon? I save every coupon because I never know what is going to come on sale, or what I might be able to get for free. Or, I never know when I might find an item on clearance, and if I have all my coupons with me, (Yes, I usually take the entire box with me to stores!!) then I am able to take advantage of both the coupon and the sale. Before I started bringing my box of coupons with me, I can’t tell you how many times I would buy something that I had a coupon for at home but I just forgot to bring it!  Or I didn’t plan to buy it that week, but when I got to the store it was one sale. So I missed a great way to save even more money.

  • Don’t be Brand Loyal This might be a hard one for some of you and for others, it’s no biggee, but if you are going to be an avid couponer, brand should usually NOT matter.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some brands that I won’t/don’t buy, because I just simply either don’t like the way they taste (if it’s a food product), or I don’t like how it worked for me.  (For example, a cleaning product.)  But, for the most part, if you save all the coupons in the inserts, and not just pick out your favorite brands, you are going to save big!  For Example:  Let’s say my family only usually buys Tree Top Apple Juice.  So, if I see a coupon for Tree Top, I will definitely clip it and save it.  If I see a coupon for Motts Apple Juice, I may not clip it, or overlook it, because my family does not usually buy Mott’s Apple Juice.  If both juices are $2.50 each at the store, I will definitely buy the one we like best, but if  I find a sale on Mott’s Apple Juice for $2.00 and I have a .75 coupon for it, it would make the Mott’s $1.25 and the Tree Top is still $2.50. At that price I would be happy to buy Mott’s! So, clip ALL brands and make sure to bring all your coupons with you!

  • How many to Save As I stated earlier, we don’t have a subscription to the paper (Yet!!), so it varies how many coupons I can get on any given Sunday.  It is at least one of each insert, but could be up to 20 or more!!  So, you may ask, why do I want so many??  Here’s an example for you:  Let’s say Safeway is having a sale on Pasta Sauce, $1.50/each, and normal price is $3.00/each, plus, I have a coupon for $1.00 off.  That would make each pasta sauce .50 cents!!  A GREAT DEAL!!  But, maybe I don’t want to go out of my way for one jar of pasta sauce….But, if I saved 10 coupons,  and I can get 10 jars of pasta sauce at 50 cents/each, then it is definitely worth the trip!  Plus, then I have “stockpiled” plenty of pasta sauce for weeks to come and I don’t have to worry about buying more for awhile. When you buy your items at a super low price, such as this, and stockpile, the goal is to have enough so you won’t have to buy it again until you can get it for that low of price, again!  That way, you can ALWAYS buy your items at half off or more!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Coupons 101---Let's re-visit

Since I have quite a few new followers, (Welcome, all of you!!), and because it's often times a great thing to re-visit and refresh our memories of something we learned:  I am going to re-post my couponing 101 "course."  I posted these tutorials quite awhile ago, so if you didn't catch them (or even if you did!), here's Part 1 of all things COUPONS!  :-)

So, I want to start a “tutorial”, if you will, of all things COUPONS!  I am not a coupon genius, nor do I claim to be.  I have always loved saving money, using coupons, finding deals, looking for sales, thrift store shopping, etc, etc, etc.  But, just recently, in about the past 6 months, I have dived into the world of coupon-clipping and now there’s no turning back!!  I LOVE IT!  I have to admit, that I used to think coupon-clipping was a somewhat waste of time, I would clip a few, and then throw the rest in the trash.  But, BOY, have my eyes been opened!!  I now look at coupons as MONEY IN MY POCKET!  This is the world of coupon-clipping that I have learned, and I hope it helps you!  Please let me know if you have any questions…..I’d be more than happy to answer them!  There is so much to go over on this subject, so each day is going to be something new!


Learning to use coupons effectively is an integral part of saving money, you could be saving up to 50% or more on each shopping trip!  But, you first have to know where to get your coupons!

  • Newspaper- I have found the best place to get a wide variety of coupons all at once is the Sunday coupon inserts.  Not all papers carry the same inserts, so you might ask which inserts your local paper has. Once a month, Procter & Gamble has a special coupon insert dedicated to their products but it is available only in select papers.   Most papers allow you to purchase just the Sunday paper, or Multiple papers, at a lower price.  Purchasing just the Sunday paper is minimal money out of your pocket, compared to what you’re going to save!!  Now, we don’t get the Paper, and we haven’t since we’ve lived here.  I seem to be able to still get the Sunday inserts by scouring recycle bins, (If I happen to ride the ferry on a Sunday, HOLY COW, I can snag up 20 inserts at a time!!), asking neighbors, letting family members know to save them, etc.  I haven’t missed any Sunday inserts, yet, and I don’t even subscribe to the paper!

  • Printable Internet coupons- There are a lot of really good sites to print coupons from. You can print the same coupons from a lot of different sites. Most of the sites will allow you to print the coupon twice. But if you have more than one computer at home, you can print it twice from each computer.  If you do not have high speed internet it can be tricky to get them to print.  DO NOT try to photo copy your coupons, the stores can tell, and it will make using printable coupons harder for us all. Check your local stores to see if they accept printed coupons.  All the local stores I frequent, ie:  Safeway, Albertsons, Rite Aid, Town and Country, Target, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens all accept printable coupons.  Here are some sites that I frequent:,,,, and are just a few!

  • Blinkies- These are the little black boxes with the red blinking light that spits out coupons at the store. You can find these little units on the shelves in some stores, like Safeway and Albertsons, to name a few. Go ahead and take a few and save them for your coupon stash, or use on your shopping trip.

  • Peelies- These are the coupons that come stuck to a product. They normally have a long shelf life, and they tend to not expire for up to a year. They are great to save and combine with other sales and/or other coupons.

  • Store coupons – Often stores offer their own coupons, as opposed to manufacturer coupons. Store coupons are actually “stackable,” meaning you can use both a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupons on the same item. Pair this combination up with a great sale and you can SAVE BIG! A good way to get store coupons is by signing up for store loyalty programs, or just looking at their once and/or twice weekly Ad.

  • Buying coupons- According to the law, no one can “sell” a coupon, but, they CAN charge you for the time and effort put into clipping it. You’ll find lots of coupons for sale on other sites.  The two sites I frequent the most to buy my coupons are on Ebay and  Buying coupons is very inexpensive and is great, because you can pick the exact coupons you want!

  • The Manufacturer- Many companies like it when you contact them.  Many folks are eager to contact when something is wrong with the product (which is understandable!), but companies love to hear good things, too! You can call, email, or write to them and tell them how much you love the product.  Some companies are happy to send you coupons for discounts, or for free products.  I have emailed numerous companies and received many, many coupons, free products and samples!  It’s great!  Not all companies do this, though, so don’t expect them all to send something your way.

  • Free samples –Manufacturers often include coupons in the free samples that they send out as an extra incentive for you to go out and purchase the product if you try it and like it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Smart Uses for Plastic Grocery Bags

I'm not always good at remembering to bring my own bags to the grocery store....I think about it, but, it is obviously not high on the priority list, because I rarely ever bring them.  So, again and again I bring home my grocery haul in plastic bags and stash them all with the hundreds in my pantry.  At times I feel guilty for having all these plastic bags, but, because I re-use them, I don't feel that bad.  I use them for many things around the house and thought it might be useful to give you a few ideas on how to re-use your plastic bags:

  1. Pack your lunch in them. I pack Mark's lunch in a plastic grocery bag every day.  It's, obviously, not the sexiest form of lunch bag, but it does the job!  He often brings them home, too, so that I can re-re-use them!

  2. Use them as trash bags. Every Monday I empty all the trash cans in the house, and instead of using big, 'ol garbage bags, I just grab a couple plastic grocery bags and empty all the trash into them.  You could also have a plastic grocery bag already in your can and when it's full, just lift it out!

  3. Poo-Poo bags. Ah, yes, we all love picking up after our pets, don't we?!  Ok, not.  But, instead of buying some fancy-shmancy bags to pick up your pets' #2, just grab a plastic grocery bag!

  4. And speaking of poo..... You can also use them in your child/baby's room for all the diaper rubbish.  Just tie your plastic bag to the knob of the dresser and toss them in.  Side note:  This won't keep the stink at bay, so you'll want to change the bag frequently!

  5. Planter Fillers. If you are planting a flower that is not deep enough for your pot, add a few plastic bags to the bottom as filler and pile your dirt on top.  This is much more frugal than filling it completely with potting soil, and, since plastic bags are much less heftier, you can carry the planters around with much more ease.  (Be sure not to cover the drainage hole!)

  6. Shoe Protectors. Fashionable, no, but tying plastic bags around your shoes just might help aid in tracking in unwanted "stuff."

  7. Wet Umbrella Holders. Stash one in your purse, and on those rainy, icky days, you can pull it out and store your wet umbrella in it.

  8. And speaking of rain...How about using a plastic bag as a make-shift rain hat!

  9. Packing Material. Instead of those pesky little styrofoam peanuts, just throw in some plastic bags.

  10. Vacation Bags. These are so handy stashed in your suitcase and can be used to store dirty clothes, wet clothes, toiletries, etc.

  11. In your car. Stashing a few in your glove box can help with almost any sort of mess disposal.

Menu Plan Monday

We're all on the verge......

Well, actually, I've surpassed the verge.  The rest of the fam is right on it.  Of being sick, that is.

I had a weird, wack-o, painful, yucky, just plain "not feeling good" kind of day on Friday.  But, it didn't last long---I slid through Saturday unscathed and am now back to almost 100%.

It's the sweet trio who are hanging by a thread----A short, skinny, unraveling thread.  I see signs of sickness coming for, at least, two of the three, so I'm just praying for a smooth, sick-free week for all of them!!!

So, now, we're on to a new week, and, I do have to confess that last week's meal plan was pretty much a bust.  I think I stuck to one of the planned meals.  Yes, folks, that's right---one.  It was just one of those topsy-turvy weeks where not much was going as planned and, therefore, the meal plan did not go as planned, either.  So, unfortunately, you will see some carry-overs from last week!

Let's see if I can get it back on track!!  Here's what we're eating this week:

Monday:  Mustard Grilled Chicken , Rice Pilaf, Roasted Carrots

Tuesday:  Meatloaf (freezer), Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Wednesday:  Turkey Dinner with all the fixings.  (Yes, if you can believe it, I still have one more Turkey taking up space in the freezer!!)

Thursday:  Turkey Dinner leftovers

Friday:  The start to my "Girls Weekend" with my sister, Martha, and my little Anna!  Dinner out for us (after our massage!!!)

For more menu planning inspiration, check out I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Natural living---Garlic Oil

Have your kiddos ever had an earache?  An ear infection?  Where is the first place that we, as parents, usually run?

Yep.  The good 'ol Pediatrician.

There's nothing wrong with that, I know we used to.  Ava and Luke have not had many ear infections, but the few they have had in the past have all been "cured" by antibiotics.  I have never liked giving my wee ones antibiotics.

Well, now that we have babe #3, and I'm thinking and doing things in a whole new, natural, non-vaccinated way, I keep thinking back to my childhood.  Thinking back to all the amazing, natural things my parents did for us.  So, a few weeks ago when Ava kept covering her right ear, wanting major pressure on it, putting winter hats on to make it feel better (and she's not a hat person), and just moaning "It huuuurrrts......", I knew I had to step into action.  It was a Saturday night and all the Urgent Care facilities in our area were already closed, and the 30 minute drive to the ER did not seem appealing, (albeit, if it was needed, of course I would do it!) so I had to think quickly.  I called my mom and talked with her, as well as, my sister and that's when an "aha!" moment came to me!

An image popped into my head.  This image:

I was reminded of my parents using a GARLIC OIL, such as this, whenever we had earaches/infections!

Garlic oil is amazing and can do amazing things!  It has super healing abilities, helps support the proper functioning of the ears, and is all natural!  We bought ours at a local health food store for around $9, (you can also buy it online or make it yourself!), followed the instructions on the bottle (you have to submerge it in warm water to heat it up a bit), dropped some oil in both of Ava's ears, and, voila---the next morning she was happy, smiley and pain free!!!  We continued with it the following day, as well, to make sure all infection was gone, and it was!  After you drop the oil in, you can also put cotton balls in the ears to keep the oil in and protect the ear, but, with Ava's sensory issues, she wasn't having that!!  The feeling of something in her ear was not pleasing to her, so, we skipped that step and it still worked beautifully!

Garlic oil can be used on all age groups, too, and, we have also used it on Anna.  A few weeks ago, Anna was really pulling at her ear, and every time I would touch it, she would wince in pain.  So, even though I wasn't 100% sure she had an infection, I wanted to nip it in the bud, if in fact she had one.  We added it to both of her ears for two days, and after that, there was no more pulling at the ears or wincing in pain!!

Garlic oil worked when I was a child and it's still working for my kids.  Remember, this is not professional or doctor's advise, so check this out for yourself.  But, I tell ya, God made natural remedies for us, and all we have to do is seek them out!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Keeping up with the Joneses?

Hmmmmm, this quote made me think!!

If you don't know who Dave Ramsey is, please check him out HERE

Ponder this folks..........

"We buy stuff we don't need, with money we don't

have, to impress people we don't like."

~ Dave Ramsey

Monday, March 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

My dear Ava loves to draw and color, and she and I have been working on drawing people, lately.  We've been focusing, mostly, on faces and stick figures, and just the other day, this drawing emerged:

It may not look like much to the naked eye, but sweet Ava drew it like she was the world's greatest artist!!

She came up to me and said she wanted to draw Anna, and I told her I thought that would be a great idea.  Anna was sitting in her Bumbo seat on the kitchen floor playing contentedly with a few toys, and, Ava, with her notebook and pencil in hand, marched right up to her and sat on the floor next to her.  As if she were a professional artist doing a sketch, she proceeded to look up at Anna, cocked her head a little, squinted her eyes and peered at her........then down at her notebook working vigorously......then back up at Anna, again.......and then down again at her notebook.  This went on for quite a few minutes, including a few, "Anna...Anna, look at me!"  or  "No,, no, no....can't have pencil!"  A few minutes and a few giggle later, a joyful, excited Ava stood up and said, "See, Mama, it's Anna!!!"

Oh, the joy and pride in her eyes, knowing that she had just drawn her sister.  And, what a budding artist we have on our hands!!

What a sweet, lovely memory I will carry with me forever and I couldn't help but share it with you.


Are we already to March?!  Wow.  Will it ever slow down??  I feel like we're always back to Mondays quicker than the week before!!  So, here's to another Monday and another Menu Plan:

Monday:  Homemade Lasagna, Green Salad, Homemade French Baguettes, Grapes

TuesdayChimichangas, all the fixings, Fruit Salad

WednesdayMustard Grilled Chicken, Rice Pilaf, Green Salad

Thursday:  Meatloaf (freezer), Mashed Potatoes (freezer), Corn Scallop

Friday:  Chicken Delight Casserole (freezer), Green Beans, Raspberry Muffins (freezer)

Have a fantastic Week!