April 1, 2014

This Week's Menu Plan

Breakfasts- Eggs, cheese toast, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, super power smoothies

Lunch- Leftovers, pb&j, grilled cheese sandwiches, crackers, veggies and dip


Chili, hot dogs, baked beans
Spaghetti, salad, cheesy garlic bread
Red beans & rice, sweet cornbread
Turkey and bean tacos with guacamole, pico de gallo, and all the fixins
Homemade pizza, salad
Grilled barbecue chicken, potato salad, baked beans, salad

What is your family eating this week?

March 4, 2014

We are getting pretty busy here. Soccer has started up again, and we have two boys playing this season. That means double the practice, double the games, and double the excitement! Usually, soccer practice days mean we either eat something easy like sandwiches, soups, freezer meals, and leftovers. Another thing I do is start a meal in the crock pot that morning. This week, we have three days of practice, so that 's three days of meals I need to have ready to go.

January 25, 2014

7 Steps To A More Productive Morning

Are you a morning person? I know for certain that I am not. Despite that, I often have to be up and ready to go just about every morning every day of the week. I have found that a little preparation makes my morning much more smooth, which is a blessing for a non-morning person like me.

For years, I have had such hectic mornings. That makes for a very stressful, unorganized day. And the more stressed and unorganized I feel, the less productive I am overall. So, I've implemented seven steps I take each day and night to have a more organized, productive morning. Taking these steps each day has made such a huge difference in my life, spiritually, physically, and mentally.

1. Read my Bible-- With the start of the new year, I began anew with my Bible reading plan. I'm using the one-year reading plan on YouVersion.  I had planned on reading the entire Bible last year. I instead chose several different plans that were shorter in length but delved into specific areas of the Bible. I find that reading for a few minutes each morning sets my mood for the day and gets me in the right mindset for the day.

2.  Make my Bed Daily-- I know it probably sounds like a mundane, think-less chore. But making my bed every morning sends my brain a signal to keep on task. My bedroom instantly looks 100% neater than it did before I made the bed. There is something about straightened sheets and fluffed pillows that is more aesthetically pleasing than a ball of sheets and blankets in the middle of the bed.

3.  Keep the Bathroom Counter Clear-- This is always tough for some reason. I make a conscious effort to keep my bathroom counters clear of clutter. It is so easy to leave the hairspray, curling irons, and toothpaste laying out on the counter when I'm in a hurry to get myself ready in the morning. It takes only seconds to put those things away, and it creates a sense of calm in the bathroom. I also encourage my boys to do the same in their bathroom.

4.  Program the Coffee Maker-- God bless whoever invented the automatic timing feature on coffee makers. Getting my coffee together the night before saves me much needed time in the morning. It is so pleasing to wake up and have my coffee waiting for me. It takes less than five minutes to prepare my coffee each night. I typically get it together while I'm doing my dishes each evening.

5. Wash a Load of Laundry Each Night-- One way I keep my laundry under control is by washing a load each night before I go to bed. I turn it on right before I get in bed and place it in the dryer first thing the next morning. I have a pretty basic washing machine, but if you have a fancier model with a automatic timing feature, you could set it to wash about thirty minutes before you wake up.

6. Set Out Clothing the Night Before-- I always have my children's clothes set out and ready to go the night before school, church, or any other outings we may have. The same goes for me. If I have to leave the house, I have all of our outfits laid out, ironed, and ready to go. This includes socks, belts, and accessories for me. This saves me precious minutes in the morning. I don't find myself running all over the house trying to find clothes for everyone.

7. Unload the Dishwasher--  One of the first kitchen jobs I do in the morning is unload the dishwasher. This sets me up for an easy cooking day. Many days I will do a baking or freezer cooking session, and an empty sink and dishwasher gives me a feeling of motivation and relief. And, a clean kitchen just looks better and creates a productive environment for cooking.

I have found such a peace when I complete these steps every day. What are some things that make your mornings easier?

January 23, 2014

Top 10 Dollar Tree Buys

I'm a huge fan of Dollar Tree. For anyone who has never heard of it, Dollar Tree is a store full of items from household items to toys, to grocery items. And everything in the store is one dollar (or less in some instances).

Up until a couple weeks ago, I would have to shop at Dollar Tree when I would make a trip to a larger city about 45 minutes away. I was so excited to learn several months ago that a new store was opening up closer to my town.

Happy dance!

Now, I will say that there are some things there that I wouldn't purchase. For example, I wouldn't purchase medication there. But they do have so many great items that I do use regularly. I can't tell you how much shopping there has helped my grocery budget. So I decided to compile a top ten list of my favorite Dollar Tree Buys. Keep in mind that stores in different regions may or may not carry the same items.

1Hot Sauce-- I recently discovered the great selection of hot sauces in my store. We are big fans of all kinds of hot sauce. One of my favorites is a hot wing sauce that is actually manufactured in my state. They also have sriracha and hot sauce.

2Pasta-- I just discovered that I could get all sorts of pastas at Dollar Tree. I was especially excited to find lasagne noodles there. I never find lasagne noodles for a dollar, even in discount grocery stores. They also had some whole wheat pastas as well.

3.  Jarred Olives and Peppers-- My husband is a HUGE fan of olives. I have found all sorts of gourmet-style olives. They have plain ones as well as stuffed olives with all kinds of yummies. They also had jarred pepperoncini which is a favorite around here.

4.  Gift Wrap and Bags-- I think we can all agree that gift wrapping items are a steal at Dollar Tree. The only better deal I can get on gift wrap is at after-Christmas sales. I always purchase my birthday wrapping supplies there.

5.  School Supplies-- I have found such great things for my kids. My favorites are manuscript writing tablets, flash cards, activity books, dry-erase markers, and scissors.

6.  Storage bins-- We are always dealing with storage issues around here. With three boys, the toys can pile up quickly. I always pick up a few whenever I'm there.

7.  Spices and Kosher Salt-- Dollar Tree carries quite a variety of dried spices. I usually buy my staple spices at Sam's in bulk size because I use them so often. But there are some that I don't use quite as much. Whenever I need a spice in a small quantity, I always check Dollar Tree first. They also had Kosher salt which made me really happy!

8.  Kid-Size clothes hangers-- I was in need of hangers for my kids' closet, and I happened to be in the store. I had hangers on my Wal-Mart list, but I decided to stop in Dollar Tree first. Low and behold, there they were.

9.  Plastic Spray Bottles-- I always need these for my homemade cleaners. I also use them to spritz my seedlings. You can never have too many.

10.  Nail Polish-- I love to play around with fun nail polish colors. I like picking up fun colors to try out. I don't feel too guilty if I don't like them. Now if I'd spent ten dollars on a bottle of nail polish and hated it, I would have been a tad annoyed.

 Do you love Dollar Tree as much as I do?  What are your favorite buys?

January 21, 2014

This Week's Menu Plan

Last week just seemed to fly by for me.  What about you?  It seems like it was just Monday.  Oh well, here's to a new week!

My two oldest children are home from school today, so as you can imagine I am not getting very much done. One thing I am going to do is some baking for the freezer.  I don't have a lot of room in my freezer at the moment thanks to a wonderful summer veggie harvest--but I do have just enough room for a few batches of muffins.

January 17, 2014

Pardon Our Progress

If you happen to come by and things look a little weird, never fear. I'm updating the design of the site as I have time. So, as I would tell company who happened to drop by, just excuse my mess. I'll have it cleaned up soon! 

And I'm sure you're going to love it!

My Homemade Laundry Detergent Experiment

Have you ever tried making your own laundry detergent? It is a great way to save money. When I first heard of the concept, I was intrigued. Surely this was a way I could save hundreds of dollars a year. Then I discovered it wasn't quite as easy as I thought. 
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