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."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Car Crazy (pt 3)

Soooo....we have covered entertainment and food while traveling. How about keeping healthy and clean while we are on the road?

I have 2 kids who get car sick. Really car sick. The other two kids, who don't get car sick (Mason is always in the front row) don't think it is fair that they "always" have to sit in the very back. It finally came down to this...

"Would you rather drive in a car that smells like throw up OR sit in the back?" They voted to remain in the back.

** Part of keeping the kids from not getting sick, starts with the food that they eat. You can check out my post here to give you some ideas!

** Did you know that Dramamine is a Moms best friend? I make my kids take it. I *believe* that Dramamine has now come out with a kids version but am not 100% on that. There are generic brands also that can help you keep your costs down. I have tried things like allergy meds and they just don't work the same. Trust me.

** In the pockets of the seats I keep a container (an empty cleaning wipes container, repurposed) and it holds plastic bags. This way, we have an option if we can't pull over. Then it can just be tied up and thrown away.

**Here are a few more items I always bring with me...
*saltine crackers
* paper towels/ disinfectant wipes
*wet wipes (even for my big kids!)
*kids tylenol
* tylenol for Mom & Dad:)
*hand sanitizer
* sun screen
*first aid kit

Keeping clean! I always think we won't use them...and then we need them. Some of these items are double dippers because they help with both keeping clean and staying healthy!

** toddler wipes (because they are flushable)
** baby wipes (hands and bums)
** toilet paper. A couple of rolls. Some rest areas are...a little shady. It is nice to know that you are covered!
**extra outfit for everyone---> even older kids need extra clothes! What if they spill a water bottle? Throw up? "Accidents" aren't the only way to get wet!
** I cover my seats with towels before laying car seats down. That way it stays somewhat clean in case of spills.
** garbage bags! I hook bags to the back of all the seats so that the kids can throw things away
**Every time we stop, we do a trash round up. Get everything out of the car that doesn't need to be there!

We all know that "things happen" but if we bring the very basics, you should do well!

Any other ideas on keeping kids clean and healthy while traveling?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Reinventing the wheel

It is only the middle of November and I am already soooo tired of making lunches.

Every morning, I pull out the kids lunch containers and try to fill them with items I think the kids will eat. Or, I am so unprepared with what I want to make, that I stop and get some "help-ables" know what I am talking about right? Uncrustables and Lunchables.

You don't have to be an expert in math to realize that those items are not cheap. Helpful? Check. Convenient? Check. Crazy expensive for what they are? Check.
The lunch menu

The other day my son brought home the lunch menu for his school and as I was looking at it, I realized something. They only offer a few different items, and just rotate them.

a side view of the breakfast menu

So why on earth, have I been trying to do something new and different Also known as trying to reinvent the wheel.

I racked my brain and came up with 5 things that my kids normally will eat. They are:

** Quesadillas
** bagel pizzas
** pb & honey
** chicken nuggets
** cresant dogs

I decided to follow the cafeteria and just rotate these same items. I have also decided to this with breakfasts.

I am going to do it this way...

 B:pancakes (made over the weekend of course!)
L: quesadillas

B: cereal and toast
L:bagel pizzas (make ahead over the weekend and freeze)

B: yogurt & muffins
L: sandwich (either pb & honey or ham and cheese)

B: cereal & toast
L: chicken nuggets

B: yogurt & muffins
L: cresant dogs

Over the weekend, for breakfasts, I am going to make batches of muffins & pancakes etc. so that I have them for the busy week.

Of course, if this doesn't work, I can always change it up again. I am just happy I came up with this idea now instead of May or June...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I have always believed that, if you really want to do something, you will find the time to do it.

Whether it is blogging, couponing, exercising, reading...whatever it is. If you want to do it, you will find the time or the way.

Mason often takes my Kindle because it is "his". Makes it hard to read the books I have downloaded!

I come from a long line of readers. I have always loved a good book and getting into a story. Basically joining a new and different world for just a little while.

I have a pile of half read books that just keeps getting bigger and bigger. One morning I was perusing my sisters book blog Bloggin' Bout Books on the hunt for a new book. I came across this review but actually read a book, by the same author that she shared a link too, called In the Woods.

** I don't review books because well, I am not that talented. If you want to read her review, you can find it on her page. Along with hundreds of awesome book reviews!**

I downloaded it on my Kindle and then...let it sit. I had a mile long to do list and "just.didn't.have.time." Well, guess what?

I started it...and couldn't put it down. I had plans to get so many things done with my day off. But I read. And read. And read.

I enjoyed that chance to just sit and do nothing and recharge with a good book.

Of course, it is now back to reality but...for one day, it was a nice break!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Car Crazy (pt 2)

Yesterday I shared a few tips on entertaining kids while being stuck in a car.

For part 2 of this series, I want to discuss, one of my favorite!

I swear whether you are driving for 5 miles or 500 miles, someone is bound to get hungry.

Our family *tries* to get on the road first thing in the morning. That way my kids can eat some breakfast, then get in the car and put a few miles behind us before they need to eat again.

However, that doesn't always work. The last time I went to AZ, we couldn't leave until lunch time. I took my kids to McD's, which they ate in the car. Then they snacked until we arrived in AZ, and then had Wendys. Worse decision ever as I had throw up all over my car. Too much greasy food is not a good thing!

So, what is a Mom to do? Well...this obviously depends on how long you are traveling, where and how you are traveling, etc.  But we are just going to pretend that everyone is traveling by car (:

Eating out:

**I get a lot of fast food coupons in the mail & through mailers. Take those with you. Some are for local areas but not all. Bring them with you to help you save a bit while on the road.

** Many fast food places have options that are not as greasy as say a bacon cheeseburger& fries. Look for options like sandwiches, chicken nuggets, wraps etc.

**If you choose to feed your children in your car, you might want to avoid: french fries (greasy and messy if spilled), orange juice( the acid can be hard on traveling tummies), milk (it smells really bad when it comes back up, ugh).

Bring your own:

**Obviously you can save time and money by bringing your own food. So while maybe not a great price for every day, things like Uncrustables/Lunchables can provide a good non greasy option and can be cheaper than taking everyone out to eat.

**For couponers, we have a lot of snack foods in our stockpiles. Grab some crackers, fruit snacks, fruit cups, squeezable apple sauces, waters, juice boxes etc. You will cut down your travel costs by a lot!

**Let your children pack their food. Give each a gallon sized ziplock bag, and let them fill it. Then they can use the bag for garbage.

Both options:
**plan to bring the "sides" and then you can stop for the main dish. Look through your cupboards, pantry stockpile etc.

**Depending on how long you are traveling, it can be worth it to stop into a grocery store for fruit trays, lunchables or deli sandwiches.

**Bring your own drinks. Waters, juice boxes, crystal light packets...

On the way home, when you don't have access to your own pantry, the grocery store can be your bff. Buying things you know you have at home is still better than repeatedly going out to eat!

Hold kids interest by letting them pick a snack (s) to take with them. Or try something new!

Anyone have any other suggestions for food? What do you do on the road to feed your kids (and yourself) and save money?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Car Crazy (pt.1)

Does sitting in a car for 6ish hours sound like fun to you? How about 12ish for the whole round trip?

No? Well, me either. But until our family is able to teleport ourselves wherever we want to go, driving it is.

My other "baby"

Because of our family size, traveling by car is the cheapest option for us. Even considering those crazy California gas prices!

In a week from Wednesday, our family is headed to Arizona to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends. I am so looking forward to spending  time with my family.

This year is our first time traveling with a potty trained 3 year old. Of course it is nice to not have to change diapers anymore, the bladder of a 3 year old is roughly the size of a pea. That means a lot of extra stops on the way.

Every trip is different but I have learned a lot in all of our travels. So I thought I would share some of the things I have learned.

Traveling covers a lot of areas, and so I am going to break this up into subjects (4 pt series)


With kids ranging from 13 --->3 we have a wide array of interests.

 *My 4 older kids all put their DS's/ipods on the chargers the day before we leave. Then they go into a ziplock bag with a charger and 2 games that they pick out. The end. No more than 2 or we spend half our time searching for lost games. Seriously, could DS games be any smaller?!

*We bought a power cord that can be plugged into the usb port in our car. We let the children take turns as needed.

* My youngest, basically gets the dvd player to himself, since the olders are busy with their games. However, I do try to pick movies that they ALL like, at least every once in a while.

* Every few hours, I make my kids take a break from their games. It isn't good for them to stare at those tiny screens for a long time...not to mention getting car sick and using up the battery.

* I have a really hard time reading in the car and not getting sick.  Some of my kids are ok with it and others aren't. So books are nice to have but some other ideas are:

** Etch a sketch , Magna Doodles, white boards w/ markers & erasers
** classic car games like: I Spy, License plate game, 20 questions etc

* While I only have Netflix online ( I don't get actual discs anymore) if you do, bring one of your Netflix movies with you for something new. Or...
**borrow from the library,
** borrow from a friend (maybe a swap!)
**stop at a thrift store and see what they have
** Both Target & Wal Mart have inexpensive movie sections ($5 & $7)
**Blockbuster often has dvds that are on sale for really cheap

*Gamestop has inexpensive games without cases. Or trade with friends.

New things can hold a childs attention for long periods of time. However, budgets don't always allow us to do it. Those darn budgets, I tell yah! So borrow from a friend, buy from a thrift store, take a trip to the library...

How do you keep your kids entertained in the car? Any good tricks up your sleeves?

(Look out for Car Crazy pt. 2 tomorrow when I talk about---FOOD!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

sleepy boy

For awhile now, Mason hasn't been taking a nap. It is annoying to say the least.

6:30---> He wakes up with the rest of the kids
8:00-1:00---> He is a perfectly happy kiddo
1:00-6:00---> very grumpy but totally won't take a nap
7:00---> if he stays still for lnger than 5 minutes he crashes

Then....we throw in day light savings time. Oh my gracious. He is a crabby, worn out boy. He insists,

" I not grumpy, I Mason."

Lets let the pictures speak for themselves shall we...


Somebody save me!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

'tis the season

As hard as it is to believe, the holidays are just right around the corner!

The kids table!

Coupons are seasonal.

January & February---> bring a plethora of health food coupons. Frozen diet meals, healthy cereals, protein bars...etc.

March---> is frozen food month. So there are usually a lot of great sales on frozen food items.

April & May---> is generally a good time for candy (Easter) baking coupons, and then in May you are looking at coupons for Mexican fare.

June & July---> great time to stock up on hot dogs, condiments, chips

Aug & Sept. ---> back to school time equals lots of crackers, juice, cookies, sandwich items (pb, jam, lunch meats, Lunchables)

Now that November is here, these are the things to be on the look out for. Stock up now. If something has a long shelf life, get a nice 6 months worth. Yes, I said 6 months. These are the items I am stocking up on during these next two months:

baking mixes (brownie, cake etc)
canned pumpkin
chocolate chips/baking chocolate
evaporated & sweetened condensed milk
baking soda/powders

Pantry items:
boxed dinner helpers (these are great to donate if your family doesn't eat them)
canned/jar gravy
cream of soups

Non-food items:
foils/plastic wrap/ baggies/containers
paper plates/cups/bowls
aluminum pans
cold medicines (be careful of expiration dates!)

Build those stockpiles now, when things are at their cheapest price!

**** I know that not every one eats processed foods. Obviously that is an individual/family decision. Think about having one or two for a "just in case" or consider donating them. There is obviously a huge need right now!****

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Being prepared

I had planned to post about menu planning. Some tips and tricks, and why it is helpful.

With last night being the elections, this morning my Facebook wall was covered in a lot of negativity. I have many happy friends, and many who are not.

I rarely share my political beliefs. Not because I don't care, but because I don't like controversy. I stand for the "we agree to disagree and I love you because you are my friend." I don't want to get into arguments or political discussions. Its just not who I am.

I am a verrry conservative, LDS, military wife. I think my political beliefs are obvious.

In all the things I have read, a lot of concern stems from the economy & welfare situations.

As someone who has been on almost every kind of gov't assistance, during my husbands college years, to someone who now is a very frugal shopper, is debt free (except for one car payment and student loans) I am not worried.

Why? Because we have the power to teach our families how to live, in line with our beliefs. We can teach them to be self reliant. We can teach them to stay out of debt. In our homes, we can have a food storage, learn to make things from scratch, have an emergency kit, be prepared.

Coupons have helped me establish a wonderful stock pile. I am proud that I have food to feed my family. You can do this also. Couponing, and watching every penny, can lead you out of debt & provide a safety net for your family.

The other night, I woke up from a dream that really had me thinking. Our family was off in different locations, a friends home, the store...when a fire broke out. It burned for days and, I COULDN'T FIND MY FAMILY!! It seriously scared me. I had no idea where my kids were. Where my husband was, I didn't know. Did they have food? Shelter? Were they safe? It scared me.

Although it is not New Years, I am making a resolution, to get prepared. Make sure I have a food storage, emergency kits, and am fiscally responsible. Who is with me?! Lets be prepared for...whatever is to come! Who is with me?!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween wrap up

Halloween has come and gone. The top of my fridge has about 20 lbs of sugar sitting on top of it.

Not even 24 hours after my kids were home from trick or treating, my husband was packing up all of the Halloween items. He doesn't let any grass grow under his feet!

As you are putting items away, don't forget to weed out!

** Look through your costumes, will they fit anyone next year? We got rid of a couple of two small costumes, a pirate hat that wouldn't fit onto anyones head...etc

**Is anything broken? Ruined? Get rid of it now.

** I also put all Halloween books & movies away for the year. The kids love opening the bins and being able to watch movies they haven't seen for a year!

** Halloween clearance is a great time to pick up costumes for next year, cake decorations, candy, party supplies...think ahead to next year to save money!

**Many items are marked as "Halloween" foods/snacks/supplies. So check out the clearance section for pretzels, Goldfish, fruit snacks, napkins, food storage bags etc.

**Pack some candy away! Put in the freezer to save for Christmas stockings, or even later for Valentines Day...and beyond!

** Send a pkg to troops overseas sharing the candy! They can always use a treat from home!

**Chop up candy and use it in cookies or brownies. Yummo!

Any other ideas for getting Halloween picked up and put away for next year?

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