Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quick and Easy

One of my favorite things about fall is pulling out all of the recipes that we only get this time of year; casseroles, soups, stews, all those warm things that nobody would want to touch in the summer heat. My favorite way to make soup is to let it simmer on the stove all day so we can smell it's yummy goodness. Sometimes though, simmering all day doesn't fit into my schedule and I want something to warm up with quick! This is my favorite go to soup for that. It is relatively cheap, quick and easy, and most importantly, delicious!
Broccoli Cheese Soup (from Jeremy's Aunt Jill)
3 T. Butter
3/4c. chopped onion
-saute in pan for about 3 minutes, then add:
6 c. water
6 chicken boullion cubes
8 oz. very fine noodles
1 t. salt
-cook for 5 minutes, add:
6 c. milk
1 1/2 lbs. Velveeta
-stir until smooth
1 bag frozen broccoli
1/4 t. garlic powder
-cook until broccoli is heated through and noodles are done
There ya' have it! This makes a HUGE pot of soup, I usually make half of the recipe for our family. They all love it and that, works for me!
For more clever tips and tricks visit We Are That Family for Works for Me Wednesday.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We have another crazy, busy week ahead of us! I am so thankful for menu plans during weeks like this, it gives me one less thing to think about, and that is a good thing!
Homemade Granola Cereal/ Fruit
Pancakes/ Fruit
Homemade Granola/ Yogurt x2
Peanut Butter Toast/ Smoothies x2
Lunch Meat and Cheese Sandwiches/ Carrot Sticks/ Apples x2
Leftovers x2
Tuna Melts/ Fruit
Grilled Cheese/ Tomato Soup
Lasagna/ Green Beans/ Garlic Bread
Taco Soup/ Tortilla Chips
Crockpot Chicken/ Twice Baked Potatoes/ Salad - (Never ate this last week)
Honey Mustard Chicken Wraps/ Roasted Potatoes
Chicken Pot Pie
Homemade Pizza
To be inspired by over 400 more menus, AND to enter a drawing for an awesome giveaway, head over and visit orgjunkie!

Friday, September 25, 2009


I've committed myself to joy.

"These are the things I've spoken to you
so that My joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be full."

-John 15:11

Not every moment, of every day are there circumstances surrounding me that make feel joyful. That's ok. It's not just a feeling, it's a decision. It's an instruction. Sometimes I'm tired, or stressed or overwhelmed or attacked. I could walk around complaining of my tiredness, or I could remember that the joy of the Lord is my strength. I could remember that He gave me His joy, and it's complete. I could allow thankfulness to arise to bring forth joy. That's what I'm committed to. I'm gonna notice the little things and remember the big things..

..his chubby toes

..the way his little hands move to try to touch my face while I'm feeding him

..all of those little girls that laugh so often and sound so much like me

..the silly songs that are constantly being composed and performed

..the curls that will never stay back in her pony tail, and insist on surling daintily around her face

..the insanity of bedtime and the constant "one more kiss mommy"

..the way she holds her little brother and talks to him so tenderly, just like a momma would

..those round, brown eyes that watch me so intently to do just what I'm doing

..home from work kisses and the way he smells when he comes in from a long day

..tickle fights

..innocent questions and innocent answers when I hear them talking about God late at night

..early mornings

..late nights

..text messages

..whispered I love you's

..shed blood

..resurrected life

..the most precious gift

.... and I am gonna say, Thank you God. You have given me joy complete.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Helpers for Homeschooling

Since I homeschool my children in 3rd, K, and Pre-K and I have a 2 month old baby, I have to be able to have some things each one can do independantly during the day. They all love to be on the computer so... these websites have been a great help to me because the girls are learning, they are having fun and their attention is being kept for the half hour or so that I need it to be. Yay!

Spelling City is awesome! Each week I input Lauren's spelling list and she can learn and practice her words, play a bunch of different games, and take practice tests. The site will say the word, then a sentence and then the word again just like I would do for the practice tests. When you sign up for the site it keeps track of all your lists, so all she has to do is click on the correct one. All for free! If you pay a membership fee, it will also keep track of test and game scores too. This would be awesome even for kids in public school to have fun with practicing their words.

Starfall is a fun website for prek and k or any little ones learning to read. They have phonics practice with different songs, stories that the child can "read" along with, and a number of different games to practice sound blends. It is very easy to navigate, my 5 and 3 year olds have no problem playing by themselves.

For more ideas that make life work, visit We are That Family for Works for Me Wednesday.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

So this week I was working to keep the budget REALLY low. There are a few things from last week that we didn't eat because we had a whole bunch of leftovers to finish up for dinners. I'm not sure how much I will end up spending because I haven't actually gone to the store yet because of the busy weekend, should be around $40-$50.
Pancakes/ Fruit
Breakfast Burritos
Homemade Granola/ Yogurt x2
Grilled Cheese/ Tomato Soup
Turkey Rollups/ Carrot Sticks/ Homemade Apple Chips
PB&J/ Carrot Sticks/ Homemade Apple Chips
Leftovers x2
Tuna Melts/ Green Peppers/ Homemade Apple Chips
Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Sweet and Sour Pork Stirfry over Rice
Burrito Casserole
Cheesey Meatball Soup
Herbed Crockpot Chicken/ Baked Potatoes/ Green Beans
Cheesey Broccoli and Rice w/ Chicken (also a hit with the fam. Yummy and cheap.)
For some recipes and menu inspiration visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by Orgjunkie.

Planning for the Week

I've had all these things bouncing around in my head that I would like to accomplish this week, so I'm gonna join with my friend Lindsey and blog my plan for the week. Maybe I'll even update it to let ya'll know where I'm at with it. We'll see. :)

First Goal: Begin the habit of getting up at 5:00am. I was doing 5:30am but that really is not quite early enough (and truth be told, it hasn't even really become a habit) for me to get a good workout in, have ample quiet time and be ready to wake the girls at 7:00am. They say it takes 28 days to make a habit, so here's to day 1!

Zone for the week: Master Bedroom
Declutter the closet and bureau, make a clothing inventory, wash the windows, detail vacuum.

Start reorganizing the kitchen a little at a time. I've been trying to come up with a new plan for the kitchen to make it make more sense as to where everything is and I think I finally have some good ideas. It will take a little time, so I'm just going to do this as time allows the next few weeks and if it's not done by the time I'm in the Kitchen Zone, I will finish it then.

Maybe "fallify" the house, on a budget of zero dollars. This should be fun. :)

This is of course besides all my other "normal" stuff. I'm expecting a good week. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Frugal Friday

There are so many things that I have learned in the past two years, during our quest to get out of debt, about being frugal. Menu planning, couponing, baking from scratch, making my own detergents and cleaning products, gardening, canning, freezing, budgeting, snowballing. Some of these things I was already doing and some things were completely new to me. There are so many ways to save a few bucks, and they all add up to a whole bunch of bucks over time. You know what they all have in common though?

Hard work.

Clipping and organizing coupons takes time and work. Gardening takes work (which this year my Father in Law did most of, bless him), canning takes work, hanging clothes on the line to save a little electricity takes a small extra effort. Not everything is "easy", but it's so rewarding. My favorite books to read when I was growing up were books like Little House on the Prarie, and anything from back in that time period. I learned something from them. I learned that the essence of their survival was the willingness to work and that each person in the family contributed to the household for it to operate successfully. I am thankful for every modern convenience that we have, but I also don't want to sacrifice what is best for my family so I can take it a little easier, and I don't want to raise children with a lazy mindset. What's best for my family's finances is to be debt free and stay that way, so if that takes some extra work on my part, I'm willing to put that in.

My frugal tips for today:
1. Be ready to put forth the time and effort that it will take to make changes in how you live.

2. Schedule and plan. If you read my last post you know that I believe nothing is more important than your family and relationships. Your family doesn't have to be sacrificed in order to be frugal. It's just finding the balance.

3. Start with one thing. When we first started this journey, I jumped in with both feet.. and burned out quickly. Make a list of some things you can change and begin with one thing, master that, then add something else. It takes time to learn how to do some of these things and it will help you fit things into your schedule when you're adding only one thing at a time.

4. Get everyone involved. Children love to help and they can learn amazing lessons right now. I am excited to raise children that have wisdom about finances and the heart to be good stewards of the things that God has given to us. Also to have the "know how" to do many things on their own.

Being Frugal: It's all in a days work.

For more amazing frugal tips visit Life as Mom.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On My Mind

It's been on my mind lately how fast time goes.

Maybe it's the busyness. The never ending to-do lists that seem to drain the time.

There are days that seem to last forever, you know those days.. cooking, cleaning, laundry, schooling, scheduling, phonecalls, crying, fighting, whining (that's usually just the children, rarely me =] ), and on and on it goes. The days that the tasks cloud my vision and living somehow gets pushed to the back burner. You know what? I don't like those days. Thankfully they are not the norm, but I would like them to be obliterated completely. Last week I realized in the middle of the day that I was caught up in task mode, so I put down the to-do list that I was adding to and took the children outside to play.

It's no coincidence that the days that I'm in task mode there is more whining, crying, and fighting. Since "I don't have time" to deal properly with issues with the children, attitudes and character issues are allowed to continue and we end up with "crazy house" as we fondly refer to it. :) So of course those days are long!

God made us to relate to one another. Husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers, sisters, friends, we all need relationship. Our life with Papa God is all about relationship! He wants to know us, we need to know Him. And relationships take time. So wouldn't our enemy like to make us "too busy" for relationship? Too busy to consider what we're missing out on? Too busy preparing the perfect whatever that we don't get time to hear what Jesus is speaking, our husband is sharing, our children are excited about, our friend is needing?

I have purposed to not miss out on living. Not miss out on any smiles or laughs or jokes or gurgles or tickles or cuddles or hugs or questions or answers or booboos or bad days at work or good days at work or tears or hurt or sadness or joy with my precious, precious family and my very dear friends. That's a lot to miss out on just to get my list all crossed off! How blessed I am to know Jesus, and how blessed I am to have this life so full of His gifts.

Here is what I really don't have time for: Forgetting this lesson. Because no matter how long some days are, months go quickly and years fly by and I want to relish every moment of this life I have right now. As wife, mommy, daughter, sister, friend.
The cleaning and scrubbing
will wait till tomorrow,
for Children grow up,
as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs.
Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep......
Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Well I know it's not actually Monday, but yesterday the time was just not available to blog... actually the last few weeks the time has just not been available...

School has begun! We are having so much fun learning and adjusting to our new schedule, but it is an adjustment! Thankfully I have had menus planned all of the time because menu's are sanity savers. For real.

Here is my plan for the coming week..

Breakfast Casserole
Zucchini Bread/ Fruit
Breakfast Burritos
Graonla/ Yogurt
Orange Smoothies/ PB Toast

Lunchmeat Sanwiches/Carrot Sticks/ Pretzles
Leftovers x2
Tuna Melts/ Apple Slices/ Pretzles
PB&J/Carrots & Celery/ Applesauce
Grilled Cheese/ Applesauce/ Tomato Soup
Chili Cheese Burritos/ Green Peppers

Burrito Casserole/ Chips & Salsa
Chicken & Stuffing Bake/ Corn from Freezer
Crockpot Barbecue Chicken/ Macaroni Salad/ Applesauce
Broccoli Cheese Soup/ Oven toasted Turkey Sandwiches
Cincinnati Chili/ Green Beans
Sweet and Sour Pork Stirfry over Rice

For more inspiration and lots of good recipes check out Menu Plan Monday at orgjunkie.