Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cooking Thursday~ honey ham

By 7am yesterday morning, I knew it would be a day where I did not want to make dinner.

My choices were...hire a personal chef, eat out, or turn to my good crockpot.

After I had decided on a crockpot meal, my son asked, "Mom can you pleassssssse make honey ham?

Since I had everything I needed I said sure!

I like to get the Farmland half hams to make this recipe. I had a pkg of turkey ham also and decided to make it all at once.

Place ham in bottom of crockpot.

Pour a can of thawed oj concentrate on top.
Add about 1/2 cup of brown sugar to the top.
Then pour maple syrup on top. I didn't measure, because I was using what was left in the bottle.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
This is sooo quick and easy and my kids love it!

I served this with rolls, mashed potatoes & gravy and steamed vegi's.

For more yummy recipes, head on over to Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Cooking Thursday!

Witching Hour

From 3-5pm my little angels, turn into little demons.

Trying to help 4 kids get their homework done, afterschool snacks, hearing about everyones day,keeping up with a now somewhat mobile baby, getting ready for Scouts and other activities, making dinner...ugh.

It is just too crazy sometimes.

Sometimes, when my kids are just too out of control, I make them run laps. It's true. Around here we call them HEALTHY HEART LAPS.

Depending on how crazy I feel they are acting that is how I determine how many they do!

They are not always happy to do it, as you can tell by the pictures of my oldest son, but they usually are calm afterward. If not, they go back out for more.

Does that sound too harsh?! I don't think so. They need an outlet for their energy and tv & video games just don't cut it!
Is there anything you do to keep the calm at the witching hour?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is this normal?

First view of Ralphs haul!
2nd view of Ralphs haul. Those Pepperidge Farm cookies? .88 after coupon!

Part of my Vons haul. It was just to hard to get a good pic. of everything!

Vons trip. I had a very hard time getting a good picture of everything!

2nd trip to Albertsons. Ben likes Powerade and I like the My Coke Rewards points! Win, Win!

This is just one of my cute little grocery stacking helpers!

This is the haul from my first trip to Albertsons

Every time I return from the store (any store) my kids all gather near and...

"don't worry Mom, I will get your groceries ready for a picture."
I mean, does anybody else have this happen to them? Lol

So this is what I got yesterday...

Albertsons (1st trip): before coupons and savings card it was $191. After it was $98. I wasn't that happy about it but...knowing I am having my first House Party on Saturday (upcoming post!) I knew I would need a little more snack-y foods.

Albertsons (2nd trip) I realized that I had forgotten a few things the first time around. Hello. Anyway, I went back and got the rest of what I wanted. The total before coupons and savings was a little over $100. In the end I paid $30! I was very impressed with myself! (:

Vons: So I love Vons. Not just for prices, customer service etc. I love their bakery, sandwiches etc. I try hard to stick to my list but things just kept "accidentally" finding their way to my cart. However, I still did pretty well! My total before was $301 and I brought it down to $150. I had a little over 50% savings. (This even included: 2 deli salads, 4 pack of bakery eclairs, Sandra Lee's Semi Homemade magazine, a deli sandwich...yeah.

Ralphs: After spending so much time at Vons, I was just going to go home. But after glancing at my list for Ralphs I knew there were so many deals I just couldn't pass up. I cut my list by ALOT, but still got the major items I wanted. And while I was there, I saw a lady matching her list with her coupons. So we had a little chat and shared our good deals. (: Couponers are so nice and friendly! My cashier was the SLOWEST cashier on record. I had a before total of $198 and got it down to $50. Ka-ching. Love it.

Can't wait to see what comes up this week!

Friendly Wednesdays/Blog Hop

I am joining Feeding Fours' Friendly Wednesday blog hop! Go on over to her blog and join in the fun! It is a great chance to meet new bloggers and get more followers. Here is the info. on how to play:

How to Participate: Follow the hostess - Feeding Four. If you want me to follow you back, please leave a comment letting me know that you are a new follower and leave a link to your blog. Create a new Friendly Wednesday blog post on your own blog. Use the button provided on the side bar to get more people to join in the hop! The more people who join, the more fun it is!Enter your information into the linkup below. Follow all the other blogs you want. This is a great way to get more followers! Friendly Wednesday will be posted once a week. Your link must be added every week so be sure to come back to linkup! (this is all from Feeding Four's site)

WFMW-coupon organization

When it comes to coupons, one of the questions I am constantly asked is:


So I am going to give you a brief history of my couponing organization!

When I first started, I used, just like most people, a handy dandy coupon file.

It worked great, at first. But the more I got into couponing, the more coupons I was getting. I just didn't have enough space to file them all. I would constantly have it "throw up" coupons.

Then I moved to the NO CLIP SYSTEM.

With this system, you file your coupon inserts by date and kind. (Ex. Smart Source 9/26). Then as you are going through your store ads, and making lists, all you have to do is look up where the coupon is, clip and take to the store.

This also worked great at first. I wasn't getting behind on my clipping, and I could find everything easily.

But then, I would get to the store and find an unadvertised sale. Or make a quick stop (are they ever quick?) and have zero coupons with me. So obviously that wasn't working.

Then I heard about THE BINDER SYSTEM. This is what I use currently.

Using a binder (trapper-keeper style) fill it with baseball card holders. Clip coupons and file by whatever means works for you. I file by types. ( Breakfast items (non cereal), bread, rice, Mexican etc)

Having them in clear pockets makes your coupons very easy to find. I also keep a pair of scissors, pens, highliter etc. in mine. I can't tell you how many times I have been seen in an empty aisle cutting something out! (:

This is what works for me now. I do have to keep up with my clipping (which I always seem to get behind on!) But this way I always have all my coupons. Also, when I have a lot of coupons, and run out of room...I simply add a new page of card holders.

That is what works for me!

What kind of system do you use? Do you have one? I would love to hear what you do!

For more tips and ideas, head over to We are THAT Family!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I have sort of been flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to my meal planning. Sometimes that just happens right?

Here is my **SOMEWHAT** more organized menu for the week:


b-fast: choc. chip muffins, scrambeled eggs w/ham, juice

kids lunch bags: tuna fish w/ club crackers, fruit snacks, mandarin oranges, cookie

dinner: sloppy joes, mac and cheese, salad


b-fast: cereal, leftover muffins, bananas

kids lunch bags: chicken nuggets, grapes, yogurt, boiled egg

dinner: crockpot bbq chicken, potato salad, fruit


b-fast: smoothies (milk, chocolate instant breakfast, bananas)

kids lunch bags: homemade lunchables(crackers, cheese & lunchmeat) baby carrots w/ranch, applesauce, treat

dinner: spaghetti w/meatballs, salad, rolls


b-fast: cereal

kids lunch bags: pb& j, pretzels, applesauce, treat

dinner: chili pie casserole, carrots, corn bread

B-fast: cinnamon rolls, fruit, eggs
kids lunch bags: leftovers or pb & j, odds and ends left over from the week, juice box (my kids get a water bottle M-Th and Friday is juice box day!)
Dinner: family movie night! Pizza

b-fast: it is a requirement to have big breakfasts on Saturday mornings! pancakes, sausage, hash browns, juice
lunch: hosting a Beyblade party for House Party! It ends at noon so we will just munch/fix your own
Dinner: something easy! lol

b-fast: leftovers
lunch: leftovers
Dinner: grilled chicken, rice, salad, rolls,dessert

What is on your menu this week? Anything yummy? I would love to hear it! If you need some inspiration, head on over to Org Junkie, for hundreds of meals plans!

Happy Homemaking Monday

I woke my kids up with their FAVORITE song this morning. "Get up, Get up, Get out of bed, get up, get up you sleepy heads. Get up, get up get out of bed, so early in the morning." They all sighed and groaned. My 9 yr old exclaimed, " I hate Mondays!!"

So while my kids weren't exactly happy to get up this morning, I am happy to send them off to school! My husband who had all last week off, went back to work. All I can say is I am happy this morning to get back to NORMAL!

WEATHER in my neck of the woods: it's crazy but we are having a heat wave! High 90's today!

THINGS that make me happy: routine

BOOK I am reading: I am really not reading anything right now :(

ON MY TV today: catching up on my DVR while I clip coupons and fold laundry

On the MENU for tonight: sloppy joes

on my TO DO list: finish organizing coupons, fold laundry (no it never ends!), bring a clarinet in to get fixed

NEW RECIPE I want to try soon: BLT dip

In the CRAFT BASKET: so sad, nothing there either. Although I am looking at ideas to use for my Christmas cards!

LOOKING FORWARD to this week: nothing to exciting going on really.

TIPS & TRICKS: Don't do everything by yourself. Teach your kids to help you. It is good for them and for you!

My FAVORITE blog post of the week: I didn't really do much on the computer at all this week!

BLOG HOPPING: see above


LESSONS LEARNED the past few days: No matter how much my husband threw off my schedule by being home, it is worth it. Spending time with our loved ones is more important than a sparkling house. I have barely 6 weeks left before my husband deploys. I don't think I am going to be wishing I had cleaned more!

ON MY MIND: my oldest sister! She is headed into surgery this Wed. Hoping all goes well!

SCRIPTURES, DEVOTIONALS OR THOUGHTS: A new friend of mine said to me, " no matter where your kids go to school (ie public, private, charter, homeschool) they are HOMESCHOOLED by you. Schools do not teach character, patience, compassion etc. You are there first teacher." Why yes, yes she did have me crying! (:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

back to reality!

This week was sooo crazy for me.

Having my husband home all week, through me completely for a loop! I was able to go run errands (without my little 14 mo sidekick), have someone else pick kids up from school & activities. I also scheduled meetings, appts etc. It made for a verrry long and busy week.

That is why I haven't blogged as much this week.

Tomorrow the kids go back to school, my husband goes back to work and the house will be quiet!

So I will be back to my regulary scheduled programming!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cooking Thursday

Have I mentioned I have been CRAZY BUSY? Thursday is quickly coming to an end and I haven't posted a recipe.

When nights are just to crazy, one of our go to meals are nachos! You can dress them up...or down.

I simply cut up a pkg of Velveeta, add a can of Rotel tomatoes, a bit of milk, and warm in the crockpot. I put mine in for 1 hr. on high. Then turn my crockpot down to warm.

Yummy toppings:

**seasoned hamburger (I just get it out of the freezer!)

**refried beans



**sour cream


**pico de gallo

or simply just eat it with chips and cheese!!

I know this is not really a recipe per se, but that is all you are going to get out of me tonight! Luckily, there are plenty of links over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom! So head on over there now!


My good friend Jessica tagged me for this. So here are my answers:

4 things in my purse: a million pens, chapstick, military ID, reciepts

4 things in my desk: a million pens, post-its, stamps, address labels

4 favorite things in my bedroom: my husband (: books, jewelry boxes my hubby gave me, a quilt my Grandma made

4 things I have always wanted to do (but haven't yet): Go on a cruise (Jess we will just have to go together!), travel to Europe, get my degree, write a book ( I have had an idea for a book since I was in high school but...)

4 things I enjoy very much right now: blogging, couponing, baking/cooking, crafting

4 songs I can't get out of my head: Fire Burning, Poker Face, Love Story, Danger Zone (these all happen to be my kids favorite songs, hmmm...)

4 things you don't know about me:
I was 14 credits away from getting my associates degree, when I got my MRS instead
I met my husband when I was 14!
German Chocolate cake is my FAVORITE
I have been in a town where the population was 2, and I have a picture to prove it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

busy, busy, busy

My husband is home this week. Which means that I have been busy trying to balance my schedule, the kids schedule and spending time with him. So I am not getting this up as early as I would have liked. Anyay, I am linking up to Feeding Fours Blog Hop! You can find all the info here!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Say Please Lunch Notes-product review

I love to put fun little things in my kids lunch bags. I have put stickers, tattoos, a button, notes etc.

While cruising the $1 aisle in Michaels, I came across these fun little notes by Say Please.

I didn't realize that I had purchased a sample pack and that there were only 4 cards in there! It did say it on the pkging I just didn't notice!

My kids loved finding these in their lunches. One side had a fun note (I love you, be kind...) and on the other was a fun trivia fact.

I try to be really frugal and I just have a hard, hard time paying for these. The prices on their site are just a little too much for me.

Being a crafter, I have tons of paper, stickers, etc. I can google facts, jokes etc.
If you don't have your weight in craft supplies, these would be a fun option!
Here is my run down...

Kid friendly: 5/5 stars
convenience:5/5 stars
value for the money:2.5/5 stars

If you try them please let me know what you thought! I would love to hear your experience!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Homemaker Monday

Weather in my neck of the woods: it's always sunny in Camarillo (:

Things that make me happy: being within driving distance of family

Books I am reading:I am between books right now

What's on my tv today: dh is ESPN

On the menu for tonight: meatloaf, mashed potatoes & gravy, rolls, salad

On my to do list for today: lots and lots of laundry

New recipe I tried or want to try: too many to name

In the craft basket: a stuffed bear for my sons' kindergarten class

Looking forward to this week: having my husband home! He took a week of leave!

Tips & Tricks: You know, I've got nothin' today!! (:

My favorite blog posts for the week: sooo insanely busy this week! Didn't do to much hoppin'!

Blog Hopping: see above!

No words needed: Playing peekaboo with one of my blue eyed boys! ( 2/4 have blue)

Lessons learned in the past few days: That I need to do what I feel is best for my kids, not what others think is best

On my mind: my daughter. Still struggling with middle school. Talks of homeschool are in the works.

Scriptures, thoughts or devotionals: " do your best, leave the rest, Angels do no more"

Menu Plan Monday

Can I be honest? I have NO clue as to what to make for dinner this week. My husband is off for the whole week. When he is home, I always try to get as much done as I possibly can. Errands, appts etc. This week is full of goings on. I also have a lot of coupon shopping to do and my sister just gifted me with a whole bunch of food! I love FREE!!

Another week of flying by the seat of my pants is not to bad of an idea. Hopefully I can get a little more organized this coming week.


meatloaf, mashed potatoes, rolls, salad


alfredo w/ brocoli & chicken, fruit


chili pie casserole, corn bread, carrot sticks w/ ranch


breakfast for dinner


soup & sandwiches

Saturday : I'm gone in the evening so something easy...

cresant dogs, fruit, chips


chicken divan, rolls,

For tons of other menu's you can head on over to Org Junkie!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

let's do lunch!

Before school started, I shared an incredibly long list of lunch box ideas, which you can find here.

I certainly could have used it this week!!

Having a big stockpile/pantry, I am usually prepared with a lot of different snackish items. Granola bars, fruit snacks, yogurts, crackers, cookies, chips...You get the idea.

But I don't like looking at my childs' lunch box and just seeing pre-packaged snacks. I like their lunches to be special, because they are special! (:

This week while doing my freezer cooking, I am going to do a few things to prepare for next weeks' lunches! They are:

***boil eggs. My kids love having hard boiled eggs! You can also use an edible marker to write a note on the shell!

***make pasta! Mix with sauce (probably alfredo) and put it into containers.

*** using up mini bagels to make bagel bites.

*** making pb &j/ pb & honey sandwiches and freezing them. I make them, remove the crusts, put in a sandwich bag, then place them back inside the bread bag. Does that make sense?

Using the weekend to prepare for the week, makes the mornings much less stressful!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Using up produce


(getting ready to freeze)

The other day at church, some friends brought in their surplus lemons. I love it when people share the wealth!!

Anyway, I had planned to make lemon bars, and life got in the way...and I never made them! :( But I didn't want them to go bad.

Instead I cut them, juiced them, put the juice in a gladware, and put it in the freezer.

Freezer cooking doesn't have to be about doing an all day cooking session, it can be something small like saving your lemon juice for another day. Waste not want not right?

Look in your fruit you have mushy bananas? Bruised apples? Instead of just tossing them, think of what you can do! Turn them into breads/muffins. Chop and flash freeze. Use them for smoothies...think outside the box!

Now I have lemon juice for when another craving for lemon bars strikes!

You can go to LifeAsMom for more frugal ideas!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

chore charts

Finally! I have been dealing with finding "the perfect chore chart" forever.

One day I was in the dollar spot at Target and...I found these. I figure if they don't end up working for us, I won't feel bad because I didn't spend an arm and a leg for them!

So far they are working well. One of my hardest problems is deciding how much each job is worth.

It is important for me to pay per job, not per week, or month whatever. It shows my children that if you don't do your jobs, you lose out that day.

These came with a pkg. of stickers. Ivan (5 y rs old) loves to see stickers accumulate on his chart. I also know that my other kids will make a competition out of it. One time, my oldest boy had a full chart where the others had a few here and there. The next week they worked a lot harder!

All I want is help around the house! They make 99.9% of the messes is only fair.

Do you pay your children an allowance? If so, how much and how frequently?

Mine is a work in progress, and I am sure there will be a million changes before I figure it out!My favorite chore of all, written at the top, is "Moms Personal SLAVE!" LOL They don't think it is very funny though!

Eight to the Eight to the Eight

Keli over at Feeding Four tagged me in a fun meme/tag. I was just thinking the other day about how I haven't seen tags around lately. So I am so happy to participate! Thanks for asking me to Keli!

So I have to answer Keli's questions, add some of my own, and then tag others! If I choose you, I would love for you to keep passing it on!

If you could cook with any one person, alive or deceased, real or fictional, who would it be and why? Oh my heart. I would choose...Paula Deen. I just finished reading her memoirs and I just love her even more. Or maybe Pioneer Woman. Or...

What's the biggest cooking disaster you've ever experienced? Although I know this will sound like I am bragging, I really haven't had any. The reason why? I get scared to go out of my comfort zone! Not to say that I haven't burned, undercooked, scorched, forgotten an ingredient etc!

What dish are you famous for? Hmmm...that is a good one. I would say my mini meatloaves or enchiladas. Over the summer I had the experience of cooking for extended family and these were big hits!

Who inspires you in the kitchen? Why? You know, so many people do. My family the most. I want to feed and nourish not just their minds but their souls. I want them to feel my love through my efforts.

What season premiere are you most looking forward to? The Mentalist. I love, love, love that show.

Who is your favorite author? JK Rowling. I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. So are all my kids!

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? a thick crust, Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza. Pizza freak right here! Pizza, Harry Potter...makes for a perfect night!!
You're stranded on an island and can take one thing with you. What is it and why? My husband!! He is the love of my life and is very a handy man. (:

OK my 8 questions are:

What is your favorite cooking magazine?

What is the wierdest food you have ever had?

What is your favorite kitchen gadget(s)?

If you could spend $500 on YOURSELF, what would you buy?

Do you believe in love at first sight?

What is something you would love to learn to do? (Craft, hobby...)

What is the chore that you detest around the house?

If you could go back to the time when you were 18, what would you tell yourself?

So now I have to tag people. Here goes...

Jessica@ BookLovingMommy

Angie@ TheAmericanHomemaker




Cooking Thursday

(just a reminder to my kids!)

( I added brown vinyl to my cookie jar)

(doesn't the cookie jar look so much better full?!)

(the finished project!)

My 8yr old had had a rough morning. As we were walking to school, I noticed tears in his huge blue eyes. I gave him a big hug and asked him what I could do to turn his day around. It was a one word answer. Simple. Easy...COOKIES!

He wanted something with caramel. I decided on cake mix cookies.

I chopped up some Rolo's and threw them in also. Yum! Nice and chocolatey and ooey gooey!

I had just finished decorating the outside of my cookie jar, but it looked so lonely with nothing in there! These cookies filled it up very nicely!

Oh and that cute little blue eyed boy...he LOVED them too!

For more yummy recipes , head on over to Diary of a Stay at Home Mom!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy 200th post!

I can't believe it!! 200 posts?! I am so impressed with mYsELf! (:

In all honesty, I am having so much fun with this blog. I may not be the perfect homemaker/wife/mother... or whatetver. But I do enjoy the ride!

I love getting to know all of you and hope you keep coming back for more!

If you have comments, questions, suggestions, or a product you want reviewed...please don't hesitate to contact me.

Friendly Wednesdays/Blog Hop

I am participating in Feeding Fours' blog hop! Feel free to go over and join in the fun!

"Welcome to Feeding Four's Friendly Wednesday Blog Hop! I'm glad you're here!Thank you to all the bloggers who linked up last week!Please feel free to grab the button (located in the right side bar) and add it to your blog to get more bloggers to participate in the blog hop!!How to Participate: Follow the hostess - Feeding Four. If you want me to follow you back, please leave a comment letting me know that you are a new follower and leave a link to your blog. Create a new Friendly Wednesday blog post on your own blog and be sure to use the button provided on the side bar. Enter your information into the linkup below. Follow all the other blogs you want. This is a great way to get more followers!"

**All info in quotations taken from Feeding Fours site**


I posted my tip for Works for me Wednesday and for some reason it won't show up at the top of the page. So feel free to scroll on down for a tip on how I get my kids ready in the morning!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Freezer Cooking Menu

So...I changed my mind. AGAIN. (: I have decided to skip my big coupon shopping this week...except for a few items here and there.

Instead, I will be heading to the store to get the needed items for my fREEzeR cOoKinG DAY!

Here is what I will be making...
Mini Meatloaves
Taco soup
Chili Pie casserole
(All will be tripled except for the taco soup because I am making that in my crock pot)

1 ham- sliced/chopped and frozen in individual portions
2 pkgs of chicken frozen in marinade (probably Italian dressing)

rice ( rice cooker will be doing the work for this one!)
bagel bites

sausage/egg/cheese biscuits
bacon/egg/cheese biscuits
breakfast burritos

As this is my first time to do this much at once, I am feeling nervous but excited!

I decided to just pick one form of meat to work with...ground beef. All the meals are pretty simple to make.

I am also toying with the idea of doing the breakfasts (and maybe adding a couple of batches of cookies) on Friday and the mains on Saturday.

My sweet husband took a week of leave starting on Friday so I am excited to have extra hands around!

*****All the recipes I am making, have been featured on this site. I will try to find them all and link to it, but just in case I don't (lol) feel free to click on dinner ideas!*****

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Homemaker Monday

It is so quiet! After a busy, rowdy, loud weekend, life has returned to normal. Husband off to work, kiddo's at school, and the baby (with no one to bother him!) is taking a nice long nap. Bliss.

The WEATHER in my neck of the woods: this morning was a chilly 55! The grey clouds and fog have broken and now it is sunny and warm.

Things that make me HAPPY:the quiet that comes with a Monday morning

BOOKS I am reading: The Hunger Game Series. These books are so well written and compelling but wow are they disturbing.

What's on my TV today: Matlock (:

On the menu for DINNER:hamburgers, potato salad and applesauce

What is on my TO DO LIST for the day: cleaning out the fridge! ugh I haven't done it since we have moved in!

New RECIPE I want to try soon: So many! Two I want to try are Pepperoni Pizza Pasta and Cookie Pretzel Peanut Bark

In the CRAFT basket:making vinyl signs

Looking FORWARD to this week: Our church womens group is meeting this week and making stockings for the troops. My husband will be gone over Christmas this year (sob) and so it just has a special place in my heart.

TIPS AND TRICKS: When cleaning up, grab and empty basket. Put everything in and go from room to room. When you put something away in one room, look for items that need to be removed. Make one big circle!

fAVORITE blog post of the week: See below

BLOG HOPPING: So this week, I was reading some of the links at Works for Me Wednesday. I clicked on one for a Star Wars cake and found the best site EVER! It took me all of 3 seconds to add it to my favs! Head on over to GLUESTICKS and check out all the fun crafty stuff she has going on! Adorable!

nO WORds nEEdED:My boys...being boys!

lESsoN LeaRNED tHiS week: To keep my priorites straight!

On my MIND: my sweet daughter. She is still managing the rough waters of middle school.

Scriptures & Devotionals: "No worldly success can compensate for failure in the home."

Want to contact me?

Feel free to contact me at