Friday, January 28, 2011

CSN Stores Giveaway!!!

****Giveaway Now Closed****

CSN Stores

Everyone likes a giveaway, right?  I know I do!  Well, CSN Stores has graciously teamed up with me to give one of you lucky readers a chance to win a $25 gift certificate.   You can find just about anything here: wall art and decor, fitness equipment, cookware .... even power tools and kitchen sinks!  And this gift certificate can be used toward a purchase from any of their over 200 online stores.

So.  Rule time.  Just leave a comment telling me what you would get from CSN if you were to win the gift certificate.  (Me?  I'm eyeing some of the area rugs over there.)  This will give you one entry.  Easy, right?

Want another entry?  Become a follower (you know that little button over there in the top left side of the blog?) and leave a comment telling me you did.  If you are already a follower, just leave a comment saying so.

That's 2 separate comments for 2 entries.  Easy as it gets!

I'll close comments Wednesday, February 2nd, at 10 pm central.  Make sure to leave your comments by then!  I will then be able to do the random number generator thingy and announce the winner the following day - that's February 3rd.

Good luck to all of you!

*open to US and Canadian residents only.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

OYOL- Week 2

Brenda has a downloadable worksheet over at her blog to help with this week's assignment/challenge.  After going through this exercise and getting it all down on paper, I was thinking 'this shouldn't be so hard. Why, this should be easy to accomplish each and every week!'  You know what, though?  It was TOUGH!  (It seems as soon as I get started on something I have at least 2 little ones that need something.)  To be quite honest -  I didn't even get a shower until 5:45 pm yesterday.  We have to leave the house at 6:30 to get to services on time.  Thankfully, 'Greatest-Husband-in-the-WORLD' stumbled upon my list and helped me out by cleaning the kitchen after supper.  SO nice not to come home to a dirty kitchen!

As you can probably tell, I'm playing catch-up.  I got started a little late on this project, but that's okay.  Thought I would share my list with you before I sign off.

My Daily Do or Die

Read Scripture
1 load of laundry (start to finish)
Stick to meal plan
Get ready for day
Kid Maintenance
Sweep Kitchen Floor
Wipe down Counters
Be Happy
Speak Softly

Weekly meal plan / Grocery list

Clean Master Bath
Grocery Shopping

Kids' showers

Clean Kid's bath and 1/2 bath

Gather Trash
Kids' Showers
Clean out Fridg.

Mop Kitchen

Sam's Shopping
Kids' Showers

I'm hoping all of this will get done easily in a week and then as time goes on I'll be able to add to it.  I need to get all this accomplished on a regular basis before anything can be added, though.  :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Year......

I'm tentatively linking up to this.  I say tentative because there are days (most of them) that I can barely keep my head nose above water.  Here I go adding one more thing to my daily life.  :) The main reason for this personal journey is to help me get my head above water and maybe even be able to get ahead of what has to be done.

I've really enjoyed reading Brenda's posts:  much of it can be seen in my life.  It's nice to see other people are surviving the same situations.  'Misery love company', right?!

So.  Here we go.......

Week One:  This week’s assignment is to think hard about why you want to be organized.

My reason:  To have a more peaceful and loving home that we and the kids will remember fondly in the years to come.  Also, to be able to open our home to others on a more regular basis.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday's Tip of the Week

You've missed these, right?  Here we go....... :)

Our kids LOVE pancakes.  I have to make a double batch each time to make sure we have enough to go around.  Any leftovers have no chance of going bad in the fridge as they are eaten so quickly.  (Yep, Bisquik loves us and we love them.)

So.  Today's tips are all about pancakes.

1.  We always cut the kids' pancakes for them.  The combination of syrup and hair is not one that we enjoy around here, so it just makes our lives a little easier to do this.  However,  that is a LOT of wrist strain to cut up that many pancakes for 4 .5 kids.  (A bit dramatic, but you get the point.)  Kevin came up with the idea of using our pizza cutter.  Only a couple of seconds and the cutting is done!
2.  Leftovers are always nice.  A couple of the kids are even to the point that I will allow them to get certain things out of the fridge by themselves.  Pancakes are one of those things.  To prevent the pancakes from 'sweating' in the re-sealable bag, make sure to let them cool completely.  Using a wire cooling rack will make this an easy task.
3.  Need to reheat the leftovers?  The microwave just leaves them soggy and nasty.  Use the toaster instead!  This warms them (obviously) without them getting soggy.  {I'll spare you a picture of our archaic toaster.  You know what one looks like, right?}

There you have it.  Hope this comes in handy for some of you.  Any other tips?  Feel free to leave them in a comment here or Facebook!

Monday, January 24, 2011


I love books.  I mean LOVE books.  I'm always on the look out for a good book to read.  I must admit that my reading is somewhat limited for the sheer fact that I have a very short window of time to read.  One of these days I'll share a list of books I've read.  Not today, though.  :)
Today I wanted to share The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook by Erin Chase.  I've only just started reading it, but already I'm intrigued and hopeful.  I happened upon it at the local library on Saturday.  And, since I'm working to cut back on our grocery bill each month, I thought this might give me some more motivation and dinner ideas.  I'm hoping to give an update in a week or so to let you know what I think about it.  For those of you who might want to get it earlier, I wanted to get the word out that such a book is available.
*Just so you all know - I could care less if you purchase any of the items I post about from  It's just the easiest way for me to link to them.  I always look for any book I want to read at the library and suggest you do the same.  :)
**Also.  Thanks for the info about downloadable PDFs.  I'm tweaking my files for easy printing, but hope to have them available soon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Playing and a Little Help Needed

I'm sitting here playing around with my design and layout of the blog.  Nothing big.  Just having some fun with the Blogger design tools.  Makes a dramatic change quick and easy.  I should be up in bed recuperating from a very full snow day and getting rested up for another.  It's amazing how different a day can be when school is canceled.
I have a few things that I would like to share with everyone, but I've hit a snag.  I need to find out how to put a PDF on the blog available for download.  If you can help me out with this, it would be greatly appreciated.  Just leave a comment here or on Facebook.  Or, if you would rather, send me an email.  Thanks in advance!
Now -  off to bed!

Child Labor

We are trying to get the kids more involved in the workings and cleaning of the home.  Our lesson right now is that we ALL have to clean up after ourselves and not just expect Mommy to come behind us and clean.  It's really difficult, though, when the tools aren't proportional.  Ever tried using a broom that what 2 feet taller than you?  Not the easiest thing to do.
To help the kids have an easier time, we I decided to get a broom and cut it down to size.  I stood with the broom at my side to measure where it hit on me.  Right at underarm level.  I then measured it against child #2 to get the cutting location on the handle.  Kevin then took it down to the 'shop' to cut it down to size.
It's a novelty for now, but it is much easier for all three of the older kids to sweep the kitchen floor when they make a mess or just after a meal.  Technique leaves a little to be desired, but I'm sure they will get plenty of practice in the days to come.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Turning 4

This week has been a bit busier than usual.  It's been a fun busy, though.  I basically had to go shopping and a little retail therapy is always good (no matter what the reason).  All for this little one.
I don't think I've ever had a child to be so excited about their birthday.  She'd been counting down the days since Friday.  All day yesterday she kept telling reminding me to make the cupcakes, get presents and constantly asking when we were going to leave for her birthday supper at Chick-fil-a.  I believe she opened her presents in record time with paper literally flying around her.

There were only two presents that where consistently asked for this year - a slinky and Bitty Baby clothes.  SOoooo.  The slinky was found at Target, easy enough.  Does she use it the right way?  No, but she is just happy to have it.  We'll see how long the slinky lasts in the hands of a 4 year old.  (She is modeling her new boots below.)
The other request?  Doll clothes.  I was able to find patterns at Jo-Anns for $1 and some really cute material in the remnant bin.  (Note to self - don't pick slippery satin to make tiny clothes from.)  After cutting out the wrong size pattern pieces (arg!), I was able to get a little, purple, satin-y dress (in the correct size) made up on Monday.
McCall's M4736
It's always fun to see the reaction of a child when they get something they really want.  She's been carrying her doll around all day in it's new dress.  I've already had a request for more doll clothes.  :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Under Construction

This title could apply to so many areas in my life......

In this case, it's applying to this simple little blog.  I have an obsession, it seems, with wanting to do little tweaks here and there to make it my own.  A couple of big hindrances for me not doing more at once are time and know how.  To combat these 'issues' I'll be doing little changes here and there (as I can).  I'll let you know in a post what I've been able to do and share any links that tell/show how to do what was done.

The first real change I've made is adding static pages to the blog.  This is really simple.  A good link?  Here on Blogger Tricks.

The next addition is the navigation tabs under the header.  I found how to do this by going to Blogger Sentral and using this tutorial.  Very simple and well explained.

Well.  There you have it.  I reserve the right to change my blog at any given moment.  (Which was already mine.)  Now, hopefully, I won't completely loose all my information in the process.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Latest UPS Arrival

Preserving Food and The Urban Homestead
One I previously borrowed from the library and the other I was able to scan my brother's copy.  I see lots of work in my future.  Should be an interesting spring and summer around here.  ;)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Banana Cookies, Take 1


Need more body. They spread like crazy and were quite flat when they came out of the oven.

Flavor was really good.  Kids keep asking to eat them even though they don't look so pretty.

I need to get more flour before 'Take 2' can be attempted.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I'm welcoming 2011 with open arms.  I always get excited at fresh starts and the prospect of getting things organized and accomplished in my life.  I even spent more than 2 hours, an early birthday date with Kevin, going over our goals and thoughts for the new year instead of going to a movie or eating our at a fancy restaurant.  Things we want to do on an individual basis and as a family.  Thankfully, my White Chocolate Mocha was there by my side to nurse me through the tough decisions.  Two pages of notes and scribbles later, I feel as if we have a good handle on 2011 and some very attainable goals.

One area that I'm determined to do better in is saving at the grocery store.  *sigh* It really does take a LOT of time and effort to stay on top of this area.  So, my goal is to take our grocery bill down to $125 a week (or less).  I know I can do it.  I'm just going to have to put in the effort.  

My first step is to make out a meal plan.  I haven't decided if I should do it weekly, biweekly or monthly.  What do you all do?

Next step will be to set aside the time to look at the sales and get coupons together.  Very grateful for Savings Angel!

Finally, I'm going to have to make sure I have the coupons on hand to use.  This shouldn't be difficult, but they will still need to be purchased.  Related to this step is knowing when and what coupons are going to be in the papers.  So, to help me, and maybe some of you too, I've copied and pasted an insert schedule below.  This will be printed off and in the top of my coupon file so I have no excuses.  Plus, now that you all know, there will be some accountability for me. :)  (I'll try to post every so often to let you see how I'm doing.)

2011 Sunday Coupon Insert Schedule

Date: December 13th, 2010

2011 Sunday Coupon Insert Schedule (Smartsource Coupon Preview 2011, Redplum Coupon Preview 2011, Proctor & Gamble Coupon Preview 2011, General Mills Coupon Preview 2011)
2— (2) Smart Source (2) Red Plum and General Mill
9— Smart Source and Red Plum
16 — Smart Source, Red Plum and Proctor & Gamble
23 — Smart Source and Red Plum
30 — Smart Source and Red Plum
6 — Smart Source
13 — No Inserts scheduled (Valentine’s Day)
20 — Smart Source, General Mills and Procter & Gamble
27 — Smart Source and Red Plum
6— Smart Source, Red Plum and Procter & Gamble
13 — Smart Source and Red Plum
20 — Smart Source and Red Plum
27 — (2) Smart Source, Red Plum and Procter & Gamble
3— No Inserts scheduled (Easter)
10 — Smart Source and Red Plum
17 — Smart Source and Red Plum
24 — Smart Source and Red Plum
1 — Smart Source, Red Plum and Procter & Gamble
8— Smart Source and Red Plum
15 — (2) Smart Source and Red Plum
22 — Smart Source and Red Plum
29 — No Inserts scheduled (Memorial Day)
5 — Smart Source, Red Plum and Procter & Gamble
12 — Smart Source
19 — Smart Source and Red Plum
26 — Smart Source and Red Plum
3 — No Inserts scheduled (Independence Day)
10 — Smart Source and Red Plum
17 — Smart Source
24 — Smart Source and Red Plum
31 — Smart Source, Red Plum and Procter & Gamble
7 — Smart Source and Red Plum
14 — Smart Source and Red Plum
21 — Smart Source and Red Plum
28 — Smart Source, Red Plum and Procter & Gamble
4 — No Inserts scheduled (Labor Day)
11 — Smart Source and (2) Red Plum
18 — Smart Source and Red Plum
25 — Smart Source and Red Plum
2 — Smart Source, Red Plum and Procter & Gamble
9 — Smart Source and Red Plum
16 — Smart Source and Red Plum
23 — Smart Source and Red Plum
30 — Smart Source and Red Plum
6 — Smart Source, Red Plum and Procter & Gamble
13 — Smart Source and Red Plum
20 — Smart Source and Red Plum
27 — No Inserts scheduled (Thanksgiving)
4 — Smart Source, Red Plum and Procter & Gamble
11 — Smart Source and Red Plum
18 — No Inserts scheduled (Christmas)
25 — Procter & Gamble


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