Monday, December 31, 2012

My weekly plan

Life at our house is busy. Crazy busy. Here is a peak at what is going on in our lives this week, and how I am going to TRY and manage it...

LOL, obviously an old calender :)

Beginning FlyLady---> starting in Zone 1
Grocery shopping round up
-Rite Aid
Yes, seriously!!! I only have a few things to get at each place so hopefully I can get it done fast. Plus they are all really close to each other.

Home and general clean up.
Family night in the evening: making family resolutions, choosing a family "motto" for the year, and filling out a year in review sheet to put in scrapbooks.

Nothing scheduled!!
** New ads for my grocery stores come out!**
Recycling old ads
trash goes out
Desk day

Connors orthodontist consult
errands as needed

Nothing scheduled!!

Ben & the older two boys are going camping with Scouts

Harmony is  headed for a temple trip
Ben & the boys camping until the afternoon
Family movie night: I am going to have some exaughsted kids & a hubby, so I know we are going to need some vegging out time! Connors pick for movie and snack.

Time change!! Church now starts at 11:00 instead of 9:00
prepare for Masons first day of preschool (sniff, sniff!)
prepare the kids to go back to school
-wash pe uniforms if necessary
-make sure lunch bags are clean
-fill water bottles & put them in fridge
-plan out lunches
-help kids clean out backpacks

Friday, December 28, 2012

3rd times a charm

Way back when I lived in Norfolk, VA I was given a food saver. I don't know if it was for my birthday or Christmas or what exactly, but I was thrilled!

I read this cover to cover

So while learning how to use it, I decided to put some chicken in a marinade and seal it. However, I didn't do it properly, and when it started to vacum, not only did it suck out the air, but it sucked all the marinade as well. I had a huge marinade-y mess on my counter and inside the machine.

After only  a couple of uses, it was no longer functional. I couldn't get them to replace it because it was "user error". I couldn't pay to replace it because we just didn't have the money. So basically, I was out of luck.

While living in Guam, I went to a yard sale. There I found a Food Saver for $5. I grabbed it but...I didn't have all the parts. So it sat and collected dust until it made its way to a GoodWill.

I decided that Santa was going to bring me another one. I broke it out last night. After wasting some bags on practicing (I thought it was supposed to save money?! lol) I finally got it!

I took the rest of my Christmas ham, cubed it and then vaccum sealed it. Success. Then I got into it and did a few other things around the kitchen. I am so excited to use it. I am looking forward to saving some money on produce and meats.

Do you have a Food Saver? What is your favorite item to seal? Any hints or tips?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

traditions vs. frugality

Missing a couple of kids...

Ahhh Christmas traditions. That is why we do what we do right?  That is why we get up at the crack of dawn, or stay up until the late hours. Baking, shopping, wrapping...whatever it takes to make the holidays special, right?!

When I was growing up, every year in our stockings, we would find amongst the other items, an orange, a pack of hot chocolate and an individual sized box of cereal. Basically we were given our breakfast, so my Mom didn't have to worry about it. Basically it was a two-fer...stocking stuffer and breakfast in one.

I decided to continue this tradition with my kids. So every year, my kiddos look for their own box of cereal.

On the 23rd, my oldest son, who is a cereal aholic, said, "Oooh I can't wait to get my mini cereal!" Guess who hadn't bought any yet?

Christmas Eve morning, I got up at the crack of dawn. After staying up late wrapping gifts of course. Kohls was opening at 6:00 and World Market at 7:00. I just needed to get a few last minute items and with Kohls cash, and amazing coupons for World Market, I had a plan to be home by 10:00.

Of course, things don't always work out the way we plan, right? I ended up going to Kohls, Walgreens, 2 different Michaels, World Market and then hit up  Ralphs for a few last minute food needs. I went to the cereal aisle for the coveted cereal...and about DIED!!

Do you know how much those are? The 8 pack was $4.49!! Of course you have to get two because in amongst the kid friendly ones are the healthier ones. The ones the kids complain about of course. I was about to grab it anyway, in the name of tradition.

But.I.just.couldn' Instead I got a different brand of cereal that was on sale used my coupons and got 6 boxes of full sized cereal (most had double box tops as well) for less than $10.

Well guess what, my kids were so excited to get a full box instead of a mini one. They got to put their name on it and no one else can eat out of anybody elses box.

They were happy. I was happy. My wallet was happy. And...I think I started a new tradition!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

the Christmas clean up

It happens to me every single year. I spend sometimes months or weeks preparing for Christmas. As the holiday draws closer, and the busy-ness of the season consumes us, some of my daily to do's get put on the back burner...

 --->  laundry
  ---> couponing/keeping my binder organized
   ---> dishes
   --->  planning meals (instead of just throwing a pizza in)
    ---> going to the gym ( I had gone for almost 2 months straight!!!)
---> blogging
---> keeping the kids on a good schedule
---> making my kids nice healthy-er lunches, instead of a lot of processed foods

Just some of our trash from the holiday

Have I ever mentioned that I am not very organized? Or a good housekeeper? Well it is true. But after Christmas, I just have this hankering to get things cleaned and organized. To put all of the Christmas decorations away, and put a new schedule into place.

Is it a New Years thing? A type of "nesting" thing (can you nest if you aren't preggo?) I don't know what it is. But I have that feeling.

While making Christmas dinner, I started putting things away into bins for next year. I didn't take down the tree or anything like that, but I am feeling that urge. The urge to purge!!

I keep thinking to myself that I don't want to make any resolutions because I don't want to be dissapointed if I don't do it. However, aren't we supposed to try and improve ourselves?

Well I know that keeping a clean house, an organized schedule and nicer meals on the table would be a good thing. It would improve our lives. So the quest to be better continues.

I just have to get all this Christmas stuff put away...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to take a few minutes to wish all of my readers a very, very...

Merry Christmas!

May your day be full of everything that is good! Family, friends, food...

I am so grateful for the birth of Christ and that he came to this earth to fulfill his divine destiny. It is not easy to keep Christ in Christmas when all my kids are thinking of Santa. But I try.

From our family to yours, a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, my daughter lost her voice. She was coughing and had a runny nose...but everyone else seemed fine.

I thought I dodged a bullet. I thought wrong. I have a house full of sickies. Our house sounds a little like this..." cough, cough, sniff, achoo, cough cough"
Poor baby!
At times like this I am thankful for my stockpile of:

*soups (a huge variety of them)
*sugar free drinks (Gatorade/Powerade/Crystal Light/water bottles etc)
*tissues ( I prefer Kleenex Cold Touch, have you tried them? Love 'em)
*cold medicines
*hand sanitizer
*disinfectant sprays
*cough drops
***and of course plenty of Wet Ones!

We all know one of  the best ways to help prevent colds...hand washing! Killing those germs that we spread from person to person.

I keep a "tool kit" in my car and in my bag that always has the essentials: Wet Ones, hand sanitizer, tissues, chapstick...That way when you are out and about, and can't be near a bathroom, you can still wash those hands.

Also, when a little one has a sore nose from all the blowing, sometimes they prefer to use a wet one instead. Its soft, and the moisture helps the area around the nose that gets chapped!

When you are sick, or your family is, having a stockpile can be a lifesaver.

Just one more way a stockpile can help you save time, money...and your sanity!

As Moms, we all have to deal with "sticky situations". That is why Wet Ones is giving us the chance to share some of our favorite hints, tips and...funny stories! By doing so, you will be entered to win an ipad mini or tickets to Six Flags!   You know we all have some great tips to share with others! Go and enter on Facebook, just follow this link It is totally painless, I promise!

**I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Wet Ones. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.All opinions are 100% my own.**

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Menu Making Tips

Is everyone having as crazy of a holiday season as I am? Life has been so busy! Going from one event to another. No matter how busy I family still wants dinner.


Too often on those nights, I turn to a drive thru. Or call  my favorite pizza place. Not great on the budget, or the waist line, but at least everyone is happy, right?

Well...maybe not.

Are you someone who makes menus? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants every night?  Do you make a plan, and then don't use it because you don't have the items? Maybe your family doesn't like what you had planned?

Do you know why going out to eat is easy? Besides the fact that someone else is making it for you?

Because they have a menu!! Imagine this scene:
Mason when he is waiting for dinner!
It is close too (or past) dinner time. Kids & hubby are cranky and hungry. You pull into the drive thru of your local fast food restaurant and start to look at the menu board...and there is nothing there. You drive up to the window, and the employee says, "what would you like to order?" You have no idea what they serve and what they don't serve. Can  you get a taco or a hamburger? Sub sandwiches or pizza? What kind of drinks do they have? Is there a combo? It would make getting dinner a lot harder wouldn't it?

It is the menu that makes it easy for us. A number one meal with a diet coke. One kids meal with chicken, apples and a chocolate milk. See? Its easy.

Pretend your kitchen is a restaurant. No, I don't mean offer each person a different meal. I mean, plan out everything.

The main course? Sides? Bread/rolls? Dessert? Drink? Plan it out. Even if you don't have it written out before hand, at least have everything planned in your head :)

There can be a big difference in what we PLAN to eat and what we ACTUALLY eat, right?  If you plan to have lasagna, and you forgot to get it out of the freezer or realize you don't have an ingredient, and end up making scrambled eggs. We have all had that happen at least once, right? Well, I keep a dry erase calender board on my pantry door. Every night, one of the kids or I, write down what we ACTUALLY ate for dinner. Whether it was filet mignon or pancakes. Then at the end of the month, I write it all down. From the first day to the last. (**Note---> I have never served filet mignon**)

This helps me a ton! How many times did we out last month? Did we like the new recipe that was tried? Were there any requests? What about repeats? This is a true representation of what we eat. It is much easier to make my menu with this list in front of me.

Make sure you go through your stockpile/pantry/freezers before you step foot into a grocery store. You may be amazed at what you already have on hand!

How about you? Do you have any tips on planning menus? Sticking with a menu? I would love to hear how you manage the dinner hour!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Carmex Lip Conditioner

** I was given 2 tubes of Carmex Lip Conditioner to try, but was not paid for my review. All opinions are my own.**

See this cute boy? His name is Mason. He is 3.5 and he absolutely HATES giving "tisses" when I am wearing "lip pretties". Actually, my husband isn't a big fan either. When I give him a kiss, he quickly wipes the chapstick off.

I happen to have a lot of "lip pretties". I usually have at least one ismoothn every pocket and purse that I own. Not to mention my daughter has a pretty major collection. Like Mother, like daughter.

Soooo...I absolutely love being a member of the Carmex Blog Squad! I love getting to try new products from one of my favorite companies!

The newest item to come out, is the Carmex Lip Conditioner. Yep, conditioner. The lip conditioner comes in an orange flavor (love!!) and goes on lightly. After just a little bit of time, I realized that I could still feel that kind of "Carmex tingle" that really lets you know it is working. didn't feel like I even had it on! It had dried but was still working. Does that make sense?

Doesn't she look thrilled?!

I had a tube in my car (of course) and was driving Harmony somewhere. I told her she should try it because it is really good, and she gave me a little smirk and said, "I already did."

I absolutely love it! My daughter loves it. How I knew it was a winner? I had it on, and Mason still let me give him a "tiss". No wiping off at all!

I would totally recommend this to anyone. Try it and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

stockpiles & shelves

I moved!!! Well...kind of.

When we first moved into our home, I put my stockpile and extra freezer in the dining room. I loved having it so easy to access. I wasn't the biggest fan of "decorating with my stockpile" but just dealt with it.

The cereal cupboard---> My kids have made a serious dent, I need to restock!!

However, I slowly outgrew it. Yep. So my sweet husband, let me take a corner of the garage. Then it became a side of the garage. My hubby bought me some shelves and helped me organize.

My baking shelves

The "Turner mart" or "T"-mart as the kids call it, has once again grown and changed. My children have a hard time putting things away where they are supposed to go. I also have a hard time finding things when it is time to put dinner on the table. It was kind of like it went to the garage to die.

The two shelves together. No, the top is not organized!!!

Most of my blogging and computer spent on the couch cuddled up with my laptop. Our coffee table is usually littered with ads and coupons. Not a great sight when people come over. lol

Laptop + water cup + store ad= :)

So, the dining room is once again my domain. I now have a curtain that I can pull across the entry way so that if it is messy, or I don't want visitors eyeing my stockpile, I can simply pull it closed. I have shelves and have a home for coupons, ads, my binders...and my laptop is resting safely on the table.

Boxed dinner helpers...both of my kids schools are having food drives so these will soon be empty!

I am in the process of moving the food over but I can tell you one thing...I am lovin' having my stockpile close. It is so...nice. Seeing all my hard work lined up on shelves. Another bonus is, finding things I didn't remember I had!

I think planning dinner will be a lot easier as well. So here are a few pictures of my new space. Lots of items to move over and it is a total work in progress BUT I am happy in my new home!

Friday, November 30, 2012


"Mom, are we poor?"

My kids at SeaWorld (minus the youngest)

One of my cute little kiddos asked me this the other day. Of course I asked why they thought that.

"Well because you always use coupons, and say, "I am not spending money on that" and you always accept hand me downs, plus a few other things."

I thought about their question before I answered. I wanted to make sure that they understood why I do the things that I do.

No, we are not poor. My kids have never known what it is like to have a hungry belly, or to not have a roof over their head. Or to suffer with an injury or sickness, because we can't go to the doctor. They always have clothes that fit them. They get new books & video games, go to movies & amusement parks. We eat out, from McDonalds to more "fancy" places like Olive Garden.

No we are not poor.

I try to save money because:
 I don't want my kids to know what it is like to have a hungry belly.
I don't want my kids to go without a roof over their heads.
I don't want my kids to have to suffer because we can't afford to take them to the doctor.
I don't want my kids to have to be without nice clothes. (Not the nicEST, but nice).
I want to be able to buy my children new books. I want to be able to buy them video games.
I want to go to the theater and watch movies with my kids. Or take them to an amusement park.
I want to be able to eat out.
I want them to feel safe and secure. Content.

Nope, we are not poor. But I am going to spend the least amount of money I can, so that I can AFFORD to do what we enjoy.

Its not about the money.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When Mama ain't happy...

Oh my heck fire. There is nothing, NOTHING that hurts me more than having one of my children hurt. NOTHING.

One of my children has a bully. While there have been physical confrontations, the emotional & mental confrontations are 10 times worse.

I can't even tell you how mad I am at some child I don't even know. I just want to spank him and put him on time out. Apparently he isn't getting any discipline at home as this has been going on for a couple of years now. To my knowledge, the child has been suspended multiple times.

My child is sweet. My child is kind. My child is a good person. My child wouldn't hurt someone just because. My child accepts everyone.

My child feels that this would be the answer to their problem:

That they need to be stronger. That they need to be a different kind of person than who they are.

If they want to be stronger because THEY want to be, than I have no problem with that. What I havea problem with, is

Why, why, why? Whoever said, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" had no idea what they were talking about. Words do hurt. Once they are out, they can't be taken back.

Today on Facebook, I shared that I am thankful for parents who raise their children with good morals & values. And I am. Because so many parents aren't.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Groupon, Nutcracker & a GNO

While I have purchased Groupons before, they have always been for online purchases. Never local businesses.

Yeah, I know. I totally need to branch out.

However, I got an email about a Groupon for a local production of the Nutcracker. Tickets were 50% off and so I knew I had to jump on it.

My sisters and  I used to go to the Nutcracker every year and I have been wanting to take Harmony.

So we got all gussied up and headed out to the theater. Leaving the boys behind, of course. Girls night out!!

We found our seats and were totally squished in with the people next to us. However, once the curtain went up, people were able to move and get closer. Suddenly we had a row to ourselves! Nice.

I loved being able to watch the play through her eyes. We loved the music, dancing and well...everything.

I had planned to take Harmony out for dessert, but she was too tired, and ready to go home. I did make her stop for a couple of weekend papers though (:

I am going to be paying a lot closer attention to my Groupon emails from now on! I hope they do it again next year so we can make this an annual tradition!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Energizer & Crayola event

I hate driving through LA. Hate it with a passion. It doesn't seem to matter when I go, I always end up in traffic. Every.single.time.

Despite my hate for the traffic in this city, I bit the bullet on Tuesday and headed down to Santa Monica for a fun event... the Energizer and Crayola event sponsored by Mom Central held at Cookies & Books in Santa Monica.

The sun was just about down, but you could see this little strip of beach through the trees.

We went in and my boys were immediatley drawn to a dark room off to the side...with glowing lights coming from it. Of course.

Set out on tables, and even some on the floor, were a variety of new fun toys from Crayola. Gone are the days of just a standard box of crayons let me tell you!! Crayola has so many fun new offerings.
Ivan (my 7 yr old) was in heaven with the Light Designer (aka "the globe thing"). By using a special pen, the kids could draw, write their names, or color in designs that were already on it. There were only 3 of these set out and it was hard getting a turn!!  That was a hot item! His 2nd favorite was called the Light Up Tracing Pad. Kind of like a light box but kid friendly. This was also a lot of fun as you could draw, and then light it up so it was glowing.

Mason (3) loved the Sketcher Projector. I drew a smiley face and showed him how it magnified on the ceiling. He loved it and did it again and again.

The Crayola products were a lot of fun and I am all for anything that takes my kids away from video games!

While the creativity was going on, there were refreshments being served. I sat down with my kiddos and was shocked that they had candles on the tables right at the kids level. It took me a while (yes I am so on top of things!)to realize that these were battery operated!!! The candles were the Energizer Flameless candles!

I was totally shocked.
1. They gave off light just like a glowing candle!
2. They smelled yummy!
3. Mason kept trying to blow it out. LOL, obviously they are safe to have around kids.
4. A timer. I can't tell you how many times I have fallen asleep with a candle still burning. You can set a timer and these automatically shut off. No wasting batteries!

And speaking of batteries, Energizer batteries now have Power Seal Technology. I apologize because I am not sure if ALL their batteries do, or if they are in a specifcally marked box. However, do you want to know what is totally awesome about these?

A 10 YEAR SHELF LIFE!! 10 years! That is a long time. That means that they will still be usable when my daughter who is 13 now turns 23! That seems so crazy!

Both items, the batteries and the candles would be AMAZING items to have in your 72 hour kits/ emergency preparedness kits. Put them in together and you have batteries to keep your battery operated candles running. If you are ever without power, these two items are going to be your best friends.

While I don't have any of the Energizer products for a giveaway (sorry, my kids had the wrappers off of the candles in 5 seconds and used them for reading on the car ride home!). I do have some fun Color Wonder Metallic Paper to give away. I love Color Wonder products because they can only be used on Color Wonder paper. Not the walls. Ask me how I know...

So, it has been a long time, but it is time for a giveaway!! If you would like to win one of these (make a great Christmas gift!) please leave a comment, saying you want in!

***In order to be entered, you have to be a follower of MarthaWannabe's BLOG and FACEBOOK page. ***

Because I am the one sending the items open, this giveaway is open to all 50 states AND Guam and Puerto Rico (: I am going out of town and so will close this giveaway on the 25th and draw a winner on the 26th. Two names will be drawn so good luck!

"I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Energizer. I attended an event and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation."

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