Saturday, October 15, 2016

Groceries on a Budget

Do you ever wonder if it is possible to do what those extreme couponers do on TV?  I often think those people are crazy, seriously I think it is because I relate to them.  Deal shopping is addictive, and I have to admit when you have a great savings day you do acquire a shopper's high.  I am not as extreme as you've seen on television, but I do like to save money.

I used to think that you couldn't eat healthy on a budget.  On top of that I have a gluten sensitivity and that is an added expense at the checkout.

We feed our family on approximately $400 a month.  The secret is to stock up when things go one sale, to use coupons, and shop multiple stores.

I had once assumed that it would take too much time to save like the crazy coupon people or to go to multiple stores. Contrary to my initial thought it doesn't take that much more than making a list each week. Here is how we shop to save more than a few bucks:

It doesn't takes too much time to clip coupons, if you only clip the ones you'd typically use.  There are multiple ways to coupon and some of them do take a lot of time.  I have developed a method that doesn't take much time or cause us to over spend on unnecessary items, like 10 tubes of tooth paste.  I filter through the coupons and pull the out only the coupons for products we normally use: cereal, meat, dairy, and select hygiene products.  On average I spend 15-30 minutes going through the coupons and ads each week.  I put them in an organizer and watch for those products to go on sale. Then combine sale and coupon for maximum savings.  This week's coupon savings totaled $17.75.

I used to think I didn't have the time to drive all over town to go to multiple stores.  Once a system has been established like sticking to only the items on your list, with laser focus your grocery shopping does get more efficient.  I can't claim to be efficient it is a trait I inherited with marriage.  We shopped three grocery stores this afternoon and it took approximately an hour total.  We saved $31 by using the store discount cards. Finally, we save 10 cents for using canvas bags (believe me every little bit counts.)

My total time clipping, driving and shopping was about an hour and a half.  I will round up to to two hours for easy math.  Two hours of savvy shopping to save our family $48.85.  That is would be at least four hours of work at a part time job if I were paid over $11/hour.  And I would still have to grocery shop on top of the time I worked outside of the home.  Spending a little extra time saving is worth being able to stay home with my children.

This week's grocery store visits totaled $86.55.  It consisted of:

8.5 lbs of ground beef
3 lbs of bacon
8 boxes of Cheerios
4 59 oz Minute Maid OJs
1 lb of kale
2 zucchini
7.58 lbs of bananas
3 Old Orchard Frozen Juices
2.29 lbs of squash
.32 lb of baby boo chop
.58 lb ginger root
3 red bell peppers
5.04 lbs of red grapes
3 large pumpkins (for carving)
Renew Life Ultimate Flora 30 ct Probiotic supplement

Most of the list above will be consumed this week but some of them are stock up items.  We only buy them when they are on sale and freeze them to use when we need them.  Some weeks we buy other items that compliment our meal plans.  I hope to post a stock up price list in the future so keep an eye out for that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Clear Away the Clutter Challenge

I dread the organizing process of moving into a new home.  Once all the major unpacking was done, I shifted to the sorting of the random objects.  I have found that I had created piles that would migrate through the home until they found a temporary spot in our office.  I began to call it Mount Catch All.
Organization has never been my strong suit.  Many of my childhood memories are of my mother and I in conflict over my messy room.  In fact, one of my mother's favorite school projects that she saved is a laminated children's book I wrote in sixth grade, titled: Cleaning My Room Is So Much Fun.  Uh, that was a big fat lie I told myself, my teacher, and my mom.  I can thrive in piles of papers and books.  That is until they somehow multiply like ciaos causing gremlins.   Mount Catch All had taken over the whole office and was flowing into the kitchen, leaving me overwhelmed and unfocused.

Copyright: <a href=''>solandzh / 123RF Stock Photo</a>I have to give a huge thank you to my dear friend Amy, who came to my rescue.  She came over this week and helped me organize our office.  If I am the Hot Mess Mamma, she is the Organizing Ninja Mom.  In less than two hours she stealthily sorted, delegated tasks and advised me through the office.  What had once been the landing pad for the miscellaneous office supplies, bills, homeschool curriculum and any other random objects, (Mount Catch All), were now neatly sorted placed and orderly stored.  I had been chipping away at the pile for weeks and thought I had weeks ahead of me.  Nope she had the floor cleared and left the desk functional, in a matter of hours.  Woo Hoo!  I love Amy, she rocked it, but why couldn't I do that on my own.  Am I hard wired to be messy?

I love when my home is clean and clear of clutter.  My brain actually is relaxed and calm when my home is organized.  So why don't I keep it that way?  I am on a mission, yes the impossible kind to find a system that works for keeping up with the clean up!  Join me as I relearn how to be domestic.  I would love to hear from you about your organizing tips and tricks.  Obviously I have a lot to learn, and I am ready to get started!!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Fun Can't Wait For Tomorrow

It doesn't  matter how busy I actually am. There never seems to be enough hours in my day. I will just have to put it off till tomorrow.
Whether I have ten or two things on my daily list, I have a hard time being motivated to complete them.  What isn't finished today should get done tomorrow.

I function better with a visible list, but creating that list is often a task I am not motivated to do. I will make one tomorrow.

I plan on doing better tomorrow!   

The truth is that today is important and many things on my to do list aren't as important as others.  Sure I could have the tidiest house, or most fit body, those things are good, but choose other things like experiences with my kids.  I once asked my mom how she thought that my kids would remember me when I pass.  She replied, "You always make things fun, you're the fun mom!"  Inside I beaned, did a happy dance in my head.  "Oh yeah I am the fun mom.  I am not the tidy mom, the organized mom, nor even the cool mom, but I am the fun mom."  

So today I will enjoy being the fun mom.  I am headed out for a bike ride the piles of books and office supplies stretch across my dining room can wait till I get back or organizing can resume tomorrow.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Steadfast in the Change

It seems as though we are getting good at moving.  We have spent the last nine months in transition and we have done it without internet!!  So I have been a little distant from the blog.  I know some of you are freaking out as you read those last few sentences, not because of my internet absence but rather the idea of not having internet!!  It has been a challenge, but also a huge blessing.  I have spent more time reading actual books (ya know the paper kind) and interacting with people face to face!! Without lightning speed internet my life has slowed down and I have found myself in that season I dreamed of in my post last year.

SO here is the catch up:  Last November we completed the long process to become foster parents, only to find out that we'd be moving to another state.  This meant that we would have to start the process all over again, and we have.  We spent the better part of the winter decluttering and staging our home to sell it.  We put it on the market in April and it sold in a day.  Ok, but then we had to find a home in another state, without internet.  Deep breath.  Matt my husband found us a home and in our new state and showed it to me over FaceTime.  Take another deep breath, he place a contract on it without me stepping foot in it.  The control freak in me still can't believe this, or what is more unbelievable was that I was ok with it!  Months later I am still in awe of the blessing our new home is and can't wait to meet my son and show him his very own room!

The more change the better!  So we decided to homeschool this year and there will be more about that in the post to come!!!  I hope to post more whenever we get internet; we are waiting on Google Fiber! That's right 0 to 100 mbps in who knows when!

For now I will e working on those face to face friendship making and book reading.  Currently I am reading The Best Yes by New York Best Seller Lysa TerKerurst. One of my hopes is to get better at scripture memory.  I have chosen one of the verses in the study guide that corresponds with the book.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Thanks for holding my hair Mom.

"Mom, I think I threw up..." Those were the words that woke me up 12:06 AM this past Tue.  My girls had snuggled up in my bed as they usually do when my husband is traveling for work.  Sure enough I turned the light on and with out all the gross details, it was everywhere. Throw up is my mommy kryptonite, I some how made it through the compulsive gagging and began praying. This sucked, I really didn't want to be the only parent home tonight. One of my girls was sick, and the other covered in her reversal of fortune.  I didn't even know where to begin, but prayer was my only guard against the selfish "why me?" and getting through the clean up.  Prayer instantly positioned me for gratitude, and then lead me to a place of compassion. I have had a friend whose husband was deployed for over a year and knew she had nights just like these. Then my heart dropped for a dear friend who had lost her husband less than a year ago.  She has often told me it is the nights that are the hardest. I couldn't even imagine a night like this. I was thankful that I could at least call my husband the next morning and ask for prayer.
Adi woke nearly every hour and I did as well to hold her hair back and play the role of nurse mom for the next twenty four hours. My bouncy bubbly six and a half year old was like a lifeless doll. She couldn't even keep fluids down, and I began to worry. But before I went too far down that path I spotted the pink post it notes she had neglected to put away after playing with them the day before.
Lately, she has been leaving a lot of her things out of place, her focus at school has been lacking, and has even began throwing passionate fits.  Irritated would would be an understatement in discribing my feelings about these behaviors.  Now those pink post it notes were a reminder of her chronic disobedience but also to me that I had committed to praying for her.  You see, I am a post it note prayer. I often write prayer requests on post its and stick the in various places around the house.  Sometimes it is a just name, sometimes there are specifics, but they catch my eye and remind me to pray.
I had started this battle strong, but after long hours and little sleep, I was forgetting my strongest ally.  I began to pray and God helped me remember how much joy Adi's spunky personality brings me.  That He is sovereign in every situation, even using Adi's over site to encourage me to pray. 
So I did. We made it through the night, and when Adi woke bouncing and playful, I was again, very great full.  Today my sweet Olive was struck by the same virus and we have chosen an active prayer attack.  She has hugged the toilet a few times and as a scurried down the hall to hold her hair back I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The sound of my steps and my body language reminded me of my mom, when I was sick. It was a I have become my mother moment, but in a good way. When I was sick, she would scurry in hold my hair and rub my back. 
Tonight I am the hair holding, back rubbing, nurse mom on the night watch. I am ready to battle this illness with prayer. Prayer for healing and prayers of gratitude.  I thank God for a loving mom; thank you mom for being the type of mom who rubbed my back and held my hair; thank you for training me to be a good mom through your actions. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

My Lies Rob Me of Joy

Last weekend I was sitting on a gym floor coaching my daughters' cheer squad when I realized there was a woman standing behind me.  When I looked up, her phone was right above my head.  I jokingly commented, "Are you taking my picture?"  I startled her; she had walked right up to me and hadn't noticed I was at her feet.  "I was looking at today's schedule. I am trying to figure out what the next activity is today."  She like many of us had so much on your calendar that instead of enjoying there current activity she was planning the best plan of attack on the following items on her to do list.

Busyness is my weakness. I am the girl who thinks she can do it all and then finds herself overwhelmed. I know that I am not alone in this whirl wind of busyness because I have heard at least three other women this week say they hope in the next season, they can find time to rest. The overcrowded schedule is an epidemic that is widely spread among modern families.

A while back, I spoke to a mom who had rushed from one activity to another; her account of violin lessons, practices, and ballgames all in a matter of two hours, made me sigh with exhaustion. I didn't dare judge her because I was in the same boat: Kids home at 4:00, homework, dinner, a t-ball game at 5:45, and softball practice at 6:15. Thinking about our family schedule made me sigh as well. I often say to myself I will be less busy in the next season of my life, but that is a lie I have been telling myself for years. It is no secret that lies are destructive. I haven't met anyone who likes being lied to, but we tell ourselves lies all the time. More bizarre we believe the lies we tell to ourselves.

I have a long history of telling myself lies which have robbed me of the joy of the moment. When my children were infants I would long for the days they could feed themselves, walk through the zoo without wanting to be carried, and especially the day we said goodbye to diapers and hello big girl potty. My eyes were always focused on the next season of life, so much that I would often forget the blessings of the here and now. I am thankful for the amazing women in my life who sat me down at that time and reminded me that those precious days would pass too quickly and I would miss them when they were gone. Many times I couldn't wrap my mind around missing dirty diapers, sleepless nights, and days on end without showers. But I do miss that sweet face looking up at me saying "Hold you?" with arms stretched toward the sky. Then a glowing smile wide on her face as I swept her up in my arms. How many of us are looking at what we have to endure and are missing what we've been blessed with right in front of our eyes?

My little girls don't fit in my arms anymore, but they still want climb onto my lap. I am body pillow during family movie night; personal space is not an option. I don't mind because I know in time they will slowly fill there own schedules with independent activities, and snuggle times will be too few and far between. Despite my arms and legs going numb, I love making memories like these with my girls. This season of our life is incredible; tying shoes and inconvenient potty breaks come with the territory. I still find myself telling a variation of that old lie, we will have more time when this season is over to rest. When basketball is over we will spend more time together as a family. When school is out we will be less busy, and on and on.

Busyness is an epidemic, an addiction, and this is an intervention. I have to stop lying to myself and take back my schedule.  Putting healthy limits on the amount of activities will give you more time to grow as a family.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Burlap Free Printable Scripture Love the Lord Your God

Burlap Free Printable Scripture Love the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Det. 6:5