Thursday, August 30, 2012

'Twas the week before...

"Twas the week before school starts and all through the house, Mom is scurrying around like a crazed mouse....

With my recent decision to no longer homeschool, I am now looking at a pretty long list of to do's. It was my choice I know. But this is what I am looking at:

***new tennis shoes for all my school going kids
***one new backpack (the other 3 look pretty good!)
***getting lunchbags & waterbottles out and labeled
***taking a quick inventory of what clothes need to be tossed/replaced
***school supplies that I haven't already purchased
*** making a "lunch making center" that holds my containers, bento picks, lunchbox notes, fun napkins etc

*** organizing calenders, schedules, carpools and everything else that our family is up too

hanging out during a very hot middle school orientation!

The reason why my blog is called Martha WANNABE is because I wanna be organized, not because I am. This is going to be my year. I can just feel it (: What are you doing to get ready/have done to get ready for the upcoming school year?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ABC's of lunch bags!

(St. Patty's day lunch from last year)

(lunch box from last year)

***I originally posted this almost 2  Years ago. But I know that right now, if your kids aren't back to school yet, they soon will be. So enjoy this list of ideas for your kiddo's lunch bags!***  If you have any other ideas, that you don't see listed, please let me know!

In a week, my kids head off to school! I couldn't be more excited. Don't worry, they are as excited as I am!

But this does also mark the daily occurence of packing lunch bags. This year, I get to do it times 4. But I thought I would share my Lunchbag ABC's and hopefully it will inspire & help you. If you think of anything good that I don't have listed, please leave a comment and let us all know what it is!

A: apples/ applesauce, apricots (dried or fresh), avacados, animal cookies, apple crisp, ants on a log

B: bananas, breads (all different kinds), hamBurgers, biscuits, bagels w/cream cheese & lunch meat, bagel pizzas, brownies, blueberries, burrito

C: crackers & cheese, crackers, cookies, candy, corn, corn dogs, chicken nuggets, cherry tomatoes, chex mix, celery sticks w/ pb, cream cheese, cherries, chips, chocolate milk

D: deviled eggs, devils food cake, dried fruit, dips- caramel for apples, ranch for vegi's...

E: eggs (hard boiled), egg rolls, enchiladas, edamame

F: fig newtons, fruit snacks, fried rice, french bread, fettuchini alfredo, fruit,fruit salad

G: grapes, granola & yogurt, granola bars, graham crackers, Goldfish, gum-if your school allows kids to chew it, suprise them every once in a while!

H: hamburgers, hot dogs, hot pockets (cook in the morning, wrap in tin foil and it will stay warm until lunch), ham & cheese on crackers, hoagies,

I: ice packs. You can get these for pretty cheap. Helps keep things cool. Also, freezing water bottles or juice boxes can also help keep things cool.

J:jerky, jam, juice, juice boxes, jokes-my kids love getting a quick little note that has a joke on it. If there is a holiday, look out for holiday related jokes.

K: kabobs (make sure your kids are allowed to have kabob skewers. These might be considered a weapon.) kisses -since we can't go to school to give them a kiss, let 'em know you are thinking about them with a Hershey's one!

L: lemon bars, lettuce wraps, lasagna, lunchables (homemade or bought with sale and coupon!), leftovers from dinner, Love notes from Mom

M: mac & cheese, muffins, milk, mango's (fresh or dried),

N: Nutter butters, napkins with their favorite character-grab a pkg from the birthday section at the store, nacho's, nilla wafers, nuts

O: oranges (cut up for them or you are guaranteed to get it back!)orange juice, oreo's

P: pizza, pepperoni's (my son Connor loves having mini pepporoni's to munch on)pb on crackers,pasta, pasta salads, pudding, pears, peaches, potato salad and of course...pb &j!

Q: quesadillas

R: rice, mini rice cakes, ravioli, ramen, raisins (yogurt covered or regular)

S: strawberries, soup, salad, spaghetti, smores goldfish, string cheese, snap peas, sandwiches, salsa & chips, stickers (fav. characters or holiday themed!) sweets to share ( I like to put 2 treats in with a note that says one for you, one for your best friend), shapes- turn fruit, sandwiches etc into different shapes using cookie cutters or a knife for fun! Silverware:make sure to send some in every day! Maybe have a set that is for lunch bags only. Or stock up on plastic ones.

T: tacos, tuna fish, tomatoes, trail mix, themes-try making a lunch using foods with your child's initial ( all L foods for example) or holidays, numbers, colors etc., thermos, for keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold!

U: uncrustables. Do not buy them!! They are so expensive for what you get! Using coupons and sales, get pb & jam (or make your own jam!). Head to the day old bread store and get 2 or 3 loaves of bread. Spend a few minutes turning them all into sandwiches. Place them bag in the bread bag and label. I use a cutter from Pampered Chef, to take the crusts off!

V: vanilla flavored...well anything! (:

W: water bottles, watermelon-cut up into pieces, wraps

X: uhm...

Y: yogurt

Z: zuccini bread, zoo animal crackers,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday

11:40 pm: went to bed
4:46 woke up coughing
5:12 My two boys who slept on the trampoline, came in soaking wet thanks to the sprinklers going off.
5:13 began my day. Very early. Especially after not going to bed until almost midnight. will probably be a long day...

The weather in my neck of the woods: while the sun hasn't come up yet, it is supposed to be a little cooler here today. I have been lovin' the break from the heat.

On my reading pile: Have you ever started a book, thought it was kind of silly, and yet kept reading it?Well,  I got a free e-book called "Her Dear and Lovely Husband", it is not something I would normally read an yet, I haven't been able to put it down.

On my tv: my boys are watching Phineas and Ferb, which is one of my favorite cartoons these days!

On my menu for the week:
Monday: tacos, rice and fruit
Tuesday: baked zitti with sausage
Wednesday:pulled pork sandwiches, french fries and fruits/veggi's
Thursday: pizza night
Friday:not sure
Saturday: birthday dinner
Sunday:leftovers/make own

On my to do list:
go bring paperwork to kids schools and get them enrolled
finish laundry
clip coupons and organize them

What I am creating: nothing...and more nothing. Maybe when the kids are in school?!

Homemaking tip: I've got nothing. Lack of sleep,I guess!

Looking around the house: Hanging out with cute boys watching Phineas and Ferb, snuggled under a Clone Wars blanket. Piles of folded clothes that the kiddos need to put away.

From the camera: I got a new phone and I am lovin' the camera. I am used to taking my phone, ipod, camera with me every I can just use my smart phone. These are my hubbys favorite cookies adso I made them on his first day of grad school (:

On my prayer list: Me. Praying for knowledge for what is best for my family.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Decisions, decisions

Last year in February, I made a decision. It was hard, but I felt that it was the right decision at the time. For my family. Was it wrong? Was it right? I don't know.

I learned a lot. About me. About my children. About my strengths. About my weaknesses. About what I am made of.

While it has been on my mind for a while, I haven't shared with anyone my thoughts or feelings. Until it became so overwhelming I thought I might just burst.

In the end, what it all boils down to is...I am NOT going to continue homeschooling my children.

I am sad that I wasn't able to do it long tem, but have a feeling of relief, a load has been taken off my chest.

I admire those Moms who homeschool and the work that it requires. I am just not one of them.

Boy this Mom thing is rough... I really, really do need a manual! So if anyone comes up with a parenting/mother hand book, let me know. Although I need it specific to my kids, so that keep in mind!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A look back...

Today my husband woke up early, showered, grabbed a few snacks and his backpack and he was gone. Off to school. Grad school. Cal State Northridge to be exact.

It has brought back so many memories of the last time he was in school. Life for our family is so much different now than it was then. So, so different.

That time in our lives was when I learned so much about saving money. Unfortunatley, it didn't happen with a lot of speed bumps along the way.

Here is a little comparison:

Then (1999-2002 approx)

**3 kids
**3 kids all in diapers
** Ben at school from about 8ish to 5ish
**one car (an old blue mini van) still making payments on it
**Ben had to ride the bus, so that I could have the car
** lived in a variety of housing, including: student family housing, managing an apt. complex and later we moved into a low income housing complex.
** qualified and were recieving: food stamps, WIC, the state health plan, and a stipend every month for our utility bill so that we could run the heat w/o worrying about the cost
**lived off of approx. $1000 a month

My hubby will probably kill me for this one (:
Our family then, with some help from both sets of Grandparents

in front of our low income housing


Ben graduated from the University of Oregon in June of 2002. We have lived in a few different places, but our life NOW looks like this...

**5 children (ages ranging from 13--->3
**1 child in diapers (although is almost completely potty trained!)
**Ben's hours have not improved much...
** 2 cars (1 SUV that we bought just 2 years ago, brand new and  a 2006 Ford Focus that is paid for)
**We made the choice to live in military housing, it was brand new and renovated, has parks, a pool, gym and we don't have to pay for utilities (other than our phone/internet/cable etc)
** Qualify for absoutely nothing
** Insurance is through the military,  as well as our life insurance.
**We have a variety of savings accounts, (long term, short term etc)
** while I am not going to share how much my husband makes, I will tell you that it is quite a bit more than $1000 a month (:

Turner family now...

While things have changed, we still try to keep our heads about us when we make choices. We are not perfect. I have been know to make frequent visits to a store that rhymes with Shmarget. I know we have come a long way and I know that we LEARNED lessons that we wouldn't have learned, had we not had to go through what we did. I like where we are at now...ecspecially not having 3 kids in diapers!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The one where...

Marie tells everyone how lost she is feeling...

Last year, for a variety of reasons, I started homeschooling my three older children. Ivan, my first grader had the most amazing teacher, and so I left him in his class.

It made for a crazy year, having kids going to different schools with different schedules etc, but I knew it was right. I let Ivan know that he would be at home with me for 2nd grade, and I have been content with that decision...until recently.

Ivan is autistic. He is very mild. But it doesn't necessarily mean that life is all sunshine and roses.

As the summer has progressed, and Ivan's lack of schedule has continued...he has become very...difficult to deal with.

Today while at Barnes and Noble, he threw a HUGE fit. Complete meltdown. Running away, hiding, crying, screaming...Something I haven't dealt with in such.a.long.time. It was frustrating. For him and for me.

I feel lost with what he knows/understands vs. just trying to get away with things. I feel lost when he screams and cries and won't talk. I feel lost when he shuts down. I feel lost with how to help him.

I am starting to feel very lost in whether or not I will be able to teach him. Will I be able to get through to him? Would someone else be better for him? Can I teach him when lately I can't even get him to get dressed without a fight?

School starts next Wednesday. I don't feel ready...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mint chocolate brownies

I love mint. Mint oreos, mint shakes (or Shamrock shakes as some places call them) mint candy, mint gum...

We were organizing the pantry when I found some mint chips. Yum.

I have a nice stockpile of brownie mixes (doesn't every couponer?) and decided to mix the chips in with the brownie mix.

Then I decided to take it one step further...Have you seen the Duncan Hines frosting creations?

Well I had one of those with a chocolate mint mix in.

Please can I have a brownie Mom?!

So...I added that to the top of the brownies.! Oh yummy.

A yummy minty brownie with a glass of ice cold milk? Perfection.

Just because you have a mix, doesn't mean you can't add anything to it to jazz it up a bit!

This "recipe" consisted of:

1 box of brownie mix and ingredients to bake them (eggs, oil  water)
1 bag of mint chips
1 container of frosting
1 mint mix in

An easy, simple, yummy dessert!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday

Whew this is it! The last week of summer for our family. I am ready for a more structured schedule. My kids may not be, but I certainly am!

Weather: Its still hot around here. Mid 80's. Yes I know that compared to some that is not very hot, but for here, it is!!

On my reading pile: I am actually re-reading The Hunger Games series  since I just watched the movie over the weekend.

On my tv: LOL, watching Magnum P.I. on Netflix while I fold laundry (: Love that Tom Selleck!

On the menu for this week:
Monday: ham wraps with spinach, potato salad, and grapes & apple slices
Tuesday: we will be gone most of the day so I am going to put potatoes in the crockpot and have leftover mini meatloaves, corn on the cob
Wednesday: chicken stir fry
Thursday: spaghetti w/sausage, garlic bread and salad
Friday: pizza night
Saturday: not sure
Sunday: not sure

On my to do list:
*clip coupons/sort/file
*pack needed items for playgroup
*zoo activity sheet for kids

What I am creating: Our playgroup is headed to the zoo tomorrow so I want something fun for the kids to do like bingo. So I am working on that.

Homemaking tips: Do as much as you can the night before to prepare for the next day. I love starting the day with a clean slate. But if I know I have somewhere to go, I like to be ready...for example our playgroup is headed to the zoo. I know what I need to have and so if I prepare today, then I am able to get out that much quicker in the morning.

Looking around the house: hubby just got home from a run, one of my sons is ignoring me and not getting his daily chore done. Quiet and relaxed morning. I have to enjoy them while I can!!

From the camera: My son has borrowed one of my cameras and has taken HUNDREDS of pictures of his Lego creations. So I have just been using my little one. I love this picture of my son in the pool. He has no fat on his body so he gets a little colder in the pool then the rest of us (:

On my prayer list: family and friends, always.

"From what might appear to you to be small choices, the Lord will lead you to the happiness you want. Through your choices He will be able to bless countless others."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Week in Review

Its that time again. A weekly recap of what we did this week. To be perfectly honest, our weeks are pretty much the same...

Mondays: We generally spend the day cleaning up and running errands. Yes, yes it is an exciting life we lead. This week I also had to get ready for a meeting with our homeschool teacher. Yep, the summer is coming to an end and we are preparing for the next school year!

Tuesday: An older woman in our ward, absolutely loves Harmony and invited her to come and spend the day sewing with her. This woman also loves to find deals & steals at thrift stores and so Harmony came home with a huge bag full of new clothes. Score (: Ethan has scouts every Tuesday night and has been having a lot of fun with it.

Wednesday: Another exciting day of cleaning, errands video game playing...Harmony has Young Womens on Wednesdays and learned how to make apple pie. Unfortunatley she didn't bring any home for us!

Thursday: was spent pool side! Our playgroup has been meeting every Thursday at our local pool. We have been having a lot of fun with the other Moms and kids. Not to mention getting a lot of sun & exercise. It brings back memories to me of spending all my summers in the pool. Later Connor headed to a friends house, Ethan went off to a different friends house...and the house was relatively quiet!

Friday: Ben and I went on a date! Our first one since he has been home. We enjoyed lunch at one of our favorite local places. Yum! Then I spent my afternoon grocery shopping.

Saturday: clean up, spending allowance, buying new church shoes for Mason, a trip to GameStop...a typical Saturday.

This is pretty much the last week of summer for us. Ben starts school on Saturday and then the next week we have an orientation and start tracking for school. I am looking forward to this next phase...although I know life is going to be much busier!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The sweatshirt

Over a year ago, I can't remember exactly when but...

I bought Connor this sweatshirt at Goodwill. It was in almost perfect condition. No holes. No stains. Nothing. I *think* that I even got it on the 50% off night. So a great deal all around!

He loves it. He wears it all the time. All.the.time. And it shows!

I am so glad that we got our moneys worth out of it.
big rips everywhere!

It is now covered in stains and rips. Holes and dirty.

It was time. I couldn't take it anymore. I told him it was time to let it go. He cried....ok not really but he really didn't want to give it away. I stayed strong. I bought him a new sweatshirt ($7.99 from Ross).

In to the trash it went. I only caught him trying to get it out of the trash can twice before the garbage man came!

So happy to finally get rid of the dreaded sweatshirt (:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In the kitchen

We absolutely love Rhodes rolls/breads in our house.


The taste is wonderful and I love the no fail guarantee. Seriously, yummy.

My kids have decided that I need to make this bread at least 3 or 4 times a week. lol

Not a great shot, but the butter melted fast!

I enjoy my bread hot out of the oven with butter and honey. Yum!

I of course, also love that they put coupons inside the package too. Makes it easier to buy more!

On a not unrelated note, our family has a rule about cereal. You are not allowed to open a new box until all Rubbermaid/ Tupperware containers are empty.

My cereal lovin' boy came up to me, batting his long eye lashes at me and said, "Mom can we make Cocoa Rice Krispy treats?"

Easy enough treat right? So we made them and as we were munching away he said, "My master plan worked."

Next thing I know he is out in the garage getting a new box of his favorite cereal. Stinker. At least he was following the rules right? It is also one more thing he knows how to make.

What is a Mom to do?!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday

I have been so busy this morning and afternoon, working on getting this upcoming school year organized, I have barely had time to sit down!

I really, really wish that I wasn't such a procrastinator. My life would be so much easier. However, that is my goal for this new year...ok my whole life. I just want to be organized, is that to much to ask for?!

Moving on...

Weather in my neck of the woods: I am going to sound like a real whimp, I know it, but it has been hot lately. I am dying...and it has been hovering between 83*-85*. What can I say? I am used to my mid 70's temps!

On my reading pile: Its very random but, I am going through a scrapbooking magazine, I am also reading "SuperMarket Secrets" and I am re-reading a book on homeschooling.

On my tv: well now that the Olympics are over, I am catching up on my DVR. Leverage and I will also be watching the final Closer tonight.

On the menu for this week: Uhm, yeah. Food will definatley be served.

On my to do list: make out a menu plan (: See above! But also, homeschool paperwork, organizing my "classroom", working on my kiddos chore charts

What I am creating: Although it is not the most crafty thing in the world, I am making something. The chore charts for my kids have all been laminated and have jump rings. I am printing off healthy habit check lists...It is fun to make things even if it isn't all cutesy (:

Homemaking tips:Label everything. It makes everything so much easier to find and to put away.

Looking around the house: I have made quite a mess on my table! Cricut, laminator, hole punch, binder rings, markers....

From the camera: Since my husband has been home, my youngest won't let him out of his sight for a second! It was so cute watching him get his "tools" when Daddy got his tools out.

On my prayer list: family and friends.Always.

Devotional: Unfortunatley I am drawing a blank right now :(

For more Happy Homemaker Mondays, stop on over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Bed Fairy

****Before I even start this post, I want it known that THIS WAS NOT MY IDEA!! I found this idea on Pinterest and then went to the blog Organic Families, and am now implementing HER bed fairy idea. I am not including the photos that I got from her site. You will have to go to Organic Families to get them. Doing my best to give credit, where credit is due!!****

Not too recently, we instituted daily jobs and an allowance for all of our kids. There are some jobs that I require my kids to do because they are members of our home. Then there are others that if they do them daily, and do a good job, they earn an allowance. It is not big, but it makes it possible for them to have some spending money.

Now their list of what we call "Dailies" is pretty simple. Yet they are habits that I want them to get used too so that eventually it is just that...a habit.

I know that not every one feels it is necessary to make your bed every day, but I do. It is important to have that space where you can go and rejuvenate. It makes your sleep more restful but also sets the tone for your whole room.

When I saw this idea for the bed fairy, I knew my kids would be all over it. So while the kids were busy doing other things, I printed them off and put them on their beds.

Although my kids are a bit older, they really did enjoy having a treat, and something fun related to their work. This was the introduction to the "program" so I will let you know how it goes this week.

What do you think? Is this something your kids would like? Do you think it is important to make your bed daily?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Since I moved to California, I have enjoyed having stores that double coupons.

One of my stores, not only did they double, but they didn't have limits on them. They also had a few times when they did triple coupons. You also racked up shopper points and got a coupon back every quarter for how much you had spent. It was soooo nice. A couponers dream.

Then I looked in my ad one day...and there was a notice that they would no longer be doubling coupons. At all. They were also revamping their points system. Sigh. Offering every day low prices instead of the deals that they had before. Some deals are good. Some would be even better if they still doubled my coupons. Big Sigh.

BUT...I had one more store that still doubled coupons up to $1. You could only double one like coupon at a time but they at least, they were still doubling. I got as many free items as I could and got in on as many deals possible.

Then, one week as I went to get a couple of extra papers, I noticed it. A sign next to the door. "All manufacturer coupons will only be accepted at face value." Ugh. Big sigh. Its over. I now have zero stores that double.

I have shopped this way for the past two years. Always knowing that I could get those free items and get that extra money off my bill.

Now, it is time to change it  up. While I am still going to do the same old same old (ie. go through my ads, match sales with coupons, etc) but for the most part, I will my military commissary.

Without doubles, the prices don't even COMPARE to the low prices that I can find there. I know not everyone has this option. I know right now grocery prices are scary high.

If you live in an area with no doubles, I would highly reccomend finding what store has the cheapest prices all the time. Not just sales.

Times they are achanging...and I have to roll with them, no matter how sad I am!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Oh my goodness gracious. It totally snuck up on me. My daughter just turned 13. My not so baby-baby is a teenager. I swear I am not that old...ok maybe I am.

So I just wanted to share 13 reasons why I LOVE my 13 year old:

1. Crazy smart. Seriously. She amazes me with all she knows.

2. Talented. Everything she does, she does it well. If not, she will practice and practice until she does. She has some mad skills...writing, music, drawing...

3. She knows who she is. For the most part, she couldn't care less what people think of her/her likes.

4. Funny. She really has a good sense of humor.

5. Creative. In her writing, in the games she makes up, in well everything.

6. Very practical.

7. She is a good friend. She is fiercly loyal.

8. She has this amazing range of likes. From tv shows, to books, to music, she loves things from other countries...

9. She is determined. She makes goals and goes after them.

10. I love that she loves to watch Jeopardy and she answers alot of the questions right!

11. She loves to do crafty things with me.

12. She doesn't follow the crowd. If she doesn't think/know something is right, she won't do it.

13. She is beautiful inside and out.

I seriously love this awesome girl. She enjoyed going on a date with her Dad to Barnes & Noble, World Market, Michaels and then out to eat at a local hamburger place.

Later she opened a few gifts and celebrated with birthday pie instead of cake, her favorite Coconut Cream Pie.

HaPpY HaPpY BiRtHDaY HaRmOnY!! MoM LoVeS YoU!!

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