Thursday, October 27, 2011

girl in a whirl

The child who gets dragged EVERYWHERE!
Yep that is me. The girl in a whirl. Half the time I feel like my life is on fast forward. Things are crazy & busy and I just can't keep up.

While I love every single one of my children, and wouldn't give them away for anything,  the down side to having so many kids is keeping on top of all of their schedules, activities...

For example, activities that have requirements are killing me! 2 of my boys are in Cub Scouts and I am constantly trying to figure out (last minute of course) what can count for what." Hmmm, we went to the zoo one day, maybe that can work under such and such patch". Yeah. Let's not even mention the fact that half of their badges are in a ziploc bag just waiting to make it on to their shirts.

School work is another one. Making sure every day that all of the homework is done, reading logs filled out, all announcements have been looked at... I know that I am letting things fall through the cracks.

It is a good thing I love my car, because we are always in it!

So here is the thing, I know the answer to my problem. I need to get organized. I need to have a routine. The kids need to have a routine. It is putting it into practice every day. When I am tired. When I am grumpy. When I would rather be reading my book.

image taken from
I totally need some help. Please all you organizing guru's, HELP ME!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Couponing to Spain...

In late January, or early Febuary, my sweet husband will be deploying...again.

 While I look forward to this deployment like I would a root canal, at least this time he will not be heading back to Afghanistan. This next deployment will have him headed to Rota, Spain.

Doesn't that sound nice? Well while I am looking forward to him being in a much safer location, it is a place that I would love to go and visit him. And because it is not a war zone, I can.

Since he will be gone over the summer, we figured that it would be much easier to find babysitters, if the kids weren't in school or on a structured schedule.

I really, really, REALLY want to go. My hubby said it is long as the cost does not go on the credit card. So what does that mean?

image taken from

That means I am couponing my way to Spain! Drawing inspiration from the site Couponing to Disney, I have a savings account that will have all of my refund & rebate checks, money gifts, and all my coupon savings.

Because I will not be taking my children with me, I only have to save enough for myself. I checked on flights and with all the tickets, tax and fees it will be around $1300. Plus food, a hotel, taxi, souveniers...well it starts to add up. So I am thinking right now my goal is to have $3000 in savings.

image taken from

Of course that has to be saved by June. Yikes. It is about 8 months to save that money or $375 a month.

I have to get busy. What about you, are you using your coupon savings (or other kinds of savings) for anything fun?

FHE** Family Home Evening

Sometimes, I have a family night planned every week.

 Everyone has an assignment and we have a lesson, activity, treat...
And other weeks, we don't do anything.

I need to be better about this. One of my problems is ideas. I have a hard time thinking of ideas that are kid friendly but that share a spiritual message. I don't want to just preach to them.

So starting next Monday, I would like to share what our family has been doing for family night. I would love to have others leave a comment, or post on their blog and leave a link. I need as much help as I can get and I am sure others do also!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

spooky reads

At 7:30 every night, my two youngest boys get in my bed, with a stack of bedtime stories. We snuggle up and read & laugh.

While there are many stories that I can recite by heart, they still love story time. And as long as I can get those snuggles, I am all for it.

Over holidays, or special times of the year, I like to have special stories set aside. These actually get put away with the decorations so that they are like new every year. I also do that with movies.

So while some are favorites are MIA (missing in action) I am sure a search of my kids rooms would help me find them!

However here are some of our favorites...

** Of cours at the top of the list... It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
** 10 Timid Ghosts
** I'm not scared
** although not necessarily a Halloween book, any Scooby Doo book can work
** I Spy Halloween images
** for older kids, "gross" books also work (:

Chapter books that are spooky for older kids...
1. Harry Potter & the Sorcers Stone (witches, wizards, trolls on Halloween...)
2. R. L. Stine books
3. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
4. Dracula
5. Frankenstein
I am sure there are plenty more I just can't think of them right now!

So what about you? Are you reading any spooky books to your kids?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A spooky treat

a spooky layered treat

A skull and cross bones on top of a "graveyard"
Why do all projects have to include a messy kitchen?
My 2 year old is sooo not sure about Halloween.

He gets freaked out by the displays in stores, or the people who live down the street with "blood" all over their window. For the most part, he walks around saying, "onaween scahhy" with his little hands clasped together in front of him.
a very happy boy
However, my older kids are much more "brave" and are getting ready for ghosts, goblins and of course...candy.

I saw this idea in a magazine and decided to make them for the kids. Next time, I will not put them in as big of cups (: It was kind of a lot!

So this was simple & easy. The layers start with crushed oreos. Top that with vanilla pudding colored orange. Next you can add more oreos or just do a layer of cocolate pudding.

Now from here, there are a couple of options...

1.Top with a layer of crushed oreos and bones, for a graveyard look.

2.Top with crushed oreos and add gummy worms to make the look of that dirt & worms treat that we all love!

3.Top with cool whip colored orange. Add sprinkles.

4. Top with cool whip "piped on" to make a ghost shape. Add 2 mini choc. chips for eyes.

5. Top with crushed oreos, take a tall ghost shaped peep and poke a toothpick in it. Then put it into the dirt.

The ideas could go on and on... Any other ideas out there?!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hump day

How I look way too many mornings!!

For some reason, our week looks like this...

Monday & Tuesday my kids are pretty on top of things (tired but still doing what they are supposed too!)

Wednesday & Thursday are a nightmare of fighting, whining, crying, complaining kids.

Friday: everyone is in a great mood and ready to just finish the week.

Today was a typical Wednesday in my house. I wanted to murder every single one of them!! Ugh.

Maybe it was because I was up late last night, and therefor slept in. Maybe it was because it was just one of those days.

But today is busy. So crazy busy. So I am sharing with everyone, my favorite song about being busy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Uhm, exuse me?"

"Oh honey, I am just going to make a "quick little trip to Vons" and I will be home."

I said this to my husband on Saturday evening after my littlest guy was in bed, and my hubby was all engrossed rooting for his team. The older kids were all entertained and so I knew this was my chance.

My date ( my big pink coupon binder) and I were going up and down the aisles, when a woman stopped me and said...

"Wow that is a really great system you have. But do you honestly feel that coupons are worth your time? Isn't it easier to just throw things in your cart and be done with it?"

Well honestly my answer to both questions is...yes. Yes I feel they are worth my time and yes it is easier to just throw things in your cart.

Then she said, " I am a busy Mom. I have 4 kids and just went back to work. I just don't have time."

Now, while I am at the store I am on a mission. So I don't tend to give long answers. But I will say this, I am a busy Mom. I have 5 kids. I have a husband who is gone for months at a time. I have my kids in a variety of activities, and not to mention all those mundane tasks like laundry, dishes...and what it takes to run a home.

However, I still find the time. I make time. I may not be the most organized. I may not be a coupon queen. I may not have a blog with a million readers following me.  But I still make time.

It boils down to..."if it is important to you, you will make time." The end.

There are more than one ways to skin a cat, and there are more than one ways to save money.

image taken from
So as Yoda says,  "Do or do not, there is no try."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Q& A

This kid is known as a "MEATatrian" at our house!

I have been getting so many emails, calls, texts or conversations about saving money...beyond couponing. While I feel that couponing is a great way to get free items, I also know that it is not the ONLY way to save money. So I am going to answer a question from my friend Tiffany about meat.

Her question, "How doI know if I am getting a good price on meat? How can I save money on meat?'

 Having 5 kids who have huge appetites, not to mention my husband who is a steak & potato kind of a guy, I have dealt with this issue! This is a big question that a lot of people have. So here are a few things that might help...

1.) The front of your store ads, have what are called "loss leaders". This means that they mark these way down, to get you in the store. They are willing to take a hit on certain items to get you in, knowing that while you are there, you will probably buy a lot of other things to make up the difference. Don't do it. Just get what you came for.

2) Buy a cheaper cut of meat. I know, I know. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are healthiest for you. But 1)they tend to be a bit drier than other cuts. Our family uses boneless, skinless chicken thighs. These ar much cheaper and the meat always turns out well. Tougher cuts of meat (roasts, steaks etc) can become tender and juicy when cooked low and slow in a crock pot!

3.) I know for a fact that Tiffany's husband is a big meat eater, and so he might not like this idea a couple of nights a week that are meat free. You could have pancakes (or other breakfast foods), you could make an omelet full of vegi's and have hashbrowns on the side, bean burritos, salads...there are tons of options. Soup and roll night. Pasta w/sauce...

last years very inexpensive Easter ham
Love me some 50% off stickers! Because that is a "store price" you can still use coupns on them!
4)  Plan, plan, plan your menu. Lets say you do all of your food shopping on Monday. Plan your meals accordingly. Then only buy what you will need for those meals. Don't buy 4 pkgs of chicken every week becaus that is what you always do. Maybe you only have 2 chicken meals planned for the week. Can you get by with only 2 pkgs?

5) Check the meat dept. for items that are discounted. I buy a lot of our meat when it is 50% off. Take it home and cook it immediatley, or freeze. Your freezer can be your best me I have 2 of them!

6) Remember to serve meals that can be stretched by cutting the meat up! Slice beef and/or chicken to use in fajitas, cut up pieces of chicken into stir fry, or on top of a salad.

7)During the holidays, hams & turkeys are on huge discounts. Buy as much as your freezer can hold. Cook it right away or freeze right away.

8) Can you get away with using a canned product? Tuna noodle casserole is cheap. So are tuna melts. Or you could use cans of chicken in casseroles.

9) Eggs. My husband loves eggs. You can add bits of meat to them if you want (ham, sausage, bacon etc) but the meat doesn't have to go as far. We make frittatas, omelets, scrambled eggs...

10) Coupons on fresh meat aren't always plentiful but they are there. Just keep your eye out. And if you are consistently saving money at the store...than splurge every once in a while!! Get that nice juicy steak or prime rib!

My rule of thumb when I buy meat
*buy loss leaders
*include cheaper meats in my menu for the week (sandwiches, or hot dogs..)
* only buy what you need for the week unless you find a killer sale
*In case of a killer sale, buy as much as your freezer and grocery budget will allow!
*I try never to pay more than $2 a lb for meat.
*If all else fails, buy just what you need at a warehouse club and divide as necessary.

What about you? How do you save money on meat?
Do you have any questions about how to save money at the grocery store? I would love to hear it and see how I can help! You can leave me a comment or email me at

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