Sunday, May 27, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

The other day I mentioned on my facebook page, that I have been in a total food rut. Considering how many cookbooks I have, that is kind of sad!!

With my husband gone, it is so easy to turn to kid favorites: hot dogs, pizza, chicken nuggets etc. But while it may be convenient, it is certainly not good for us!!

I decided to plan out this week and even though it is an "off" week, I am happy that we are getting out of our rut! So here goes:

B: pancakes, sausage & hot chocolate
L: fix your own
D: at a church bbq

B: leftover pancakes or cereal
L: fix your own
D: chili pie casserole

B: toast & eggs
L: school picnic/potluck
D: on the road so not quite sure

B: cont. breakfast at hotel
L: eating at LegoLand, or going outside of the park for fast food
D: at hotel, so something from the grocery store

B: cont. breakfast at hotel
L: cashing in on some fast food coupons, since we will be in the car
D: home by dinner, but I am sure we will be tired, so...

B: cereal
L:fix your own
D: ribs, corn on the cob, jello salad

B: fix your own
L: fix your own
D: left overs or pizza

For TONS of dinner ideas, or to add your own, head on over to Or Junkie

Friday, May 25, 2012

Doin' Double Duty

Life gets so cahrazy around this house.

Too many kids going in different directions.

I know you know what I am talking about, so I will not even talk about it anymore.

But, now that summer is upon us, I will have a bit more free time. It doesn't mean that I want to spend all that free time in the kitchen however.

To save some time, I like to do some "dinner double duty". Making a double batch of whatever I am making, and freezing one.

For example, I had one of those big pkgs of chicken thighs from Sams Club.

I got out 2 gallon sized bags, divided the chicken, added a marinade and some pineapple (these were both straight out of my stockpile). One bag went into the fridge to marinate for dinner. The other, was labeled and tossed into the freezer.

When you want to serve it, take it out of the freezer in the morning, place it in the fridge and let it thaw. At dinner time, you have some nice yummy chicken ready. Our favorite way to eat teriyaki chicken? Cut up into a stir fry!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Sobe Lifewater Review

As a blogger, I love getting the mail. You never know what fun surprises and products you will find in that little box.

I was so excited to recieve my Sobe Lifewater review kit. I broke it open and there was a bottle of SoBe, coupons aaaaand...a fun little freebie.

Before I tell you about the LifeWater, I have to tell you about the freebie. It was a tube of chapstick...that tastes & smells SOOOO good! Yummy coconut flavor. My daughter claimed it as hers but I took it back! I don't know if this was just a promotional item or if they will start putting them out to the public, but I hope they do!!

Summer is right around the corner, and with it comes picnics, beach trips, swimming pools and fun. However, besides sunscreen, we often forget to stay hydrated. When hanging out in the sun, your body loses water and you have to replenish.

Nothing quenches thrist quite like a glass of water...

However, SoBe Lifewaters come close! With over 25 flavors, all with 0 calories...well I am sure you can find a flavor you like...without feeling guilty.

I recieved a bottle of SoBe Lifewater pomegranate nectarine (with coconut water) to sample. While I am generally a fan of pomegranate, I just was not impressed with this FLAVOR. If I hadn't read the label, I would have had no idea what flavors to expect. My daughter tried some of it also and gave me a 'meh" with a turned up nose.

I put some in a sippy cup for my 3 yr old and he sucked it down in no time flat! So it really is a matter of preferance. There are two other new flavors, Pacific Coconut and Mango Mandarin. These both sound very yummy and tropical-y. I will be putting them on my "to try" list!

SoBe regularly goes on sale and summer is the perfect time to stock up. Stay hydrated this summer with a yummy bottle of Sobe LifeWater!

**Disclosure policy: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Sobe LifeWater, through my status as a Bzzz Agent. While I recieved products to sample, I was not paid for this review and all opinions are 100% my own.**

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spring fever x 2

A slump. Or just major spring fever? I don't know but it hit me hard. I didn't want to do anything. I mean anything.

Dishes were piled in the sink, laundry was overflowing, the living room was an obstacle get the picture.

We had a busy week with a lot of events, but it ended with...a campout!

Every year our church holds a "Father & Son campout" Thanks to deployments, my boys hav not been able to go on very many. This year, their teacher at church volunteered to take them. They were sooo excited! Knowing she was getting a break from her daughter was pretty excited too!

Friday night I let her pick whatever she wanted for dinner, we ate ice cream, made strawberry/watermelon lemonade, watched musicals, did our nails...and slept in Saturday morning!

Saturday I took her to get her hair done. We had a good time and I loved spending time with her. It is rare for us to have girl time, so I loved it!

The house was still a mess, but I knew we were having company on Sunday. So I got my rear in gear and CLEANED! It really is such a peaceful feeling to have a clean home.

Maybe 30 minutes after our first visitor left...we had 2 more. That really made me glad I had cleaned. I now have a post it note on my computer that says, "How would you feel about the house if someone dropped by right now?" It is such a good reminder for me!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Easy Shmeazy

Over Easter, I purchased more than one ham, when they were at a rock bottom price. I hope everyone did!

I have been trying to clean out my freezers and this ham was taking up quite a bit of room.

Normally my favorite way to cook a ham is in the crock pot, with a can of oj concentrate, honey (or maple syrup) and brown sugar.

Let it cook low and slow all day and you have a nice sweet ham.

Well I didn't have any oj concentrate, and didn't want to go to the store for some, to my stockpile I went...and found this marmalade!

So this "recipe" was marmalade, with a little bit of water to thin it out some, skipped the honey and syrup, and added just a sprinkling of brown sugar.

It turned out sooo yummy! Using  the crock pot is so easy and all you really have to do is put the sides together. It is nice for summer also because it doesn't heat up the whole house! What are your favorite meals to cook in the crock pot?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spring Fever

One of the nice things about homeschooling is, when the weather is perfect outside, we don't have to spend our day inside!!

Now that state testing is over, spring fever has hit our family big time!! So instead of sitting at the kitchen table doing worksheets, we headed out to visit the Santa Barbara Mission. Fourth graders in CA, learn about their state history and make their own missions. It was the perfect chance to get out of the house.

It was a beautiful day and the mission was very pretty. Beautiful gardens, spanish architecture, fountains, statues, murals....

I loved that my kids were so quiet and reverent as we walked through. There was a woman praying in the chapel and so they made sure to be respectful of her. Thus there are no pictures from inside the chapel.

Later the kids sat in the grass and sketched a picture. They are now working on making their own!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Breakfast & a Giveaway

As a Mom, I always make sure that my kiddos eat something for breakfast.

 I have said it before, and will tell them a million times, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." My kids know that I am pretty liberal about what they can eat for breakfast. I would rather have them eat a pb & j than have them go to school with a rumbly tumbly.

Of course they have their favorites...muffins, doughnuts, cereal, waffles, pancakes etc.

Due to how fast & easy, and of course  how cheap it is after using coupons, cereal is one of our go to meals. And yes on occasion we have had cereal for dinner also!

Now it is time for a confession: I am rrrrrreally bad about eating breakfast. Mornings are busy. I am locating shoes, making breakfast & lunches, signing reading logs, checking emails...we all know what it is like. So I rarely have the chance to sit down and eat something. Normally my breakfast consists of a diet Dr. Pepper...without actually eating anything until around 10ish. Bad I know.

How cute is that box?!

So when I had the chance to try out a sample of the newest, Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, I was all for it!

I had tried the cereal before, but was interested in trying it with more of the "bunches" which are my favorite part! Well, I have to was totally yummy! I really liked having more "bunches" and the "Just Bunches" I am sure will find their way into my shopping cart!

It was totally yummy, filling and...healthy to boot! With only 6 grams of sugar and 10 grams of whole grains per serving, you can feel great about giving it to your family! I used skim milk and had a yogurt and a banana also!

The folks at Post have given me 3 coupons for a free box of cereal! I will be choosing 3 winners instead of just giving one person 3 coupons. You know share the wealth a bit (:

 1st entry (mandatory): leave me a comment telling me what your favorite breakfast is!
2nd entry: Follow this blog (if you already knew, just say it)
3rd entry: follow MarthaWannabe on facebook
4th entry: like Honey Bunches of Oats on facebook
5th entry: leave a comment on the HBOats facebook page and tell them that I sent you there, using my blog address

That is FIVE ways to get a free box of cereal (: Giveaway ends on May 20th...sometime in the evening!

**Disclosure policy: Post provided me with a free sample of their Honey Bunches of Oats-Honey Roasted so I could review them. However, all opinions are my own!**

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day

Last night, my son decided to give me an early Mothers Day gift...he threw up everywhere. I cleaned him up, remade his bed, and loved on him until he fell back to sleep.

I woke up with one child sleeping next to me, snoring really loudly. The other side, was another child with freezing cold feet, tickling me if I closed my eyes.

Such is motherhood. It isn't always glamorous...ok it isn't glamorous at all!

Whether you spend your day at a spa, getting breakfast in bed or with the gift of a fistful of dandelions and a big slobbery kiss, I hope you enjoy your day.

Happy Mothers Day to you all!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A week in the life...

My inbox and Facebook page are still full of questions and requests to "please help me figure out couponing", "please explain it to me" etc. etc.

So I am going to share this week about what I do each week to find those deals. I will be sharing websites that can help you as well as a great resource for people who really feel that they don't have the time!

**Disclaimer: I am not promising a 100% savings your first trip. I am not promising that you will pay with pocket change. I am not promising that you will walk out with 4 carts full of food. Consider yourself warned.**

Although, it is different for every area, my stores ads run from Wed-Wed, but I get the new weeks ads on Tuesday. So even though, it is already Wednesday, we are going to start out with Tuesday.

Can you see that circle around the .39 bananas? Mark up those ads!

I am very giddy when I get my mail on Tuesday. I have an ad for Vons, Ralphs, Albertsons, Fresh & Easy and Smart & Final. I live in a big area so I have quite a few stores close. Although I do not recieve weekly ads from them, I also have Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Food 4 Less, Super Target, Super Wal mart, the commissary, wharehouse stores...

Because new ads start on Wed. if there is any deal that I didn't get that I want, I get it that night, knowing it will end.

Then I go through all the ads and pull out anything I don't want/need. Lap band ads, a store that is really far away from me, etc.

After that it is just a matter of looking at what is on sale this week. What goes on your list is going to be up to you. The more willing you are to venture out and try new things, the more $$ you will save.

For example, lets say that you ALWAYS buy Colgate. Colgate is not on sale this week but Crest is. So instead of paying FULL price for Colgate, you use a coupon on the Crest that is on sale. Presto change-o you just saved on your toothpaste. Now imagine doing this for every item on your list.

A diet Mt. Dew in a fun cup is also a helpful tool!

If your kids love bananas, but apples are on sale, they can learn to love apples for the week.

Circle, highlight mark up that ad.

This is how I spend Tuesday nights.

If you are like me, and have a million and one grocery stores within a mile radius, just pick one. Don't worry about hopping here and there. Stick with one.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mighty Fine

I just finished watching an amazingly powerful movie.

When I first read the email inviting me to premiere the movie, I was not sure what to expect. But who doesn't want to watch a new movie right?

"Mighty Fine" takes place in the 60's/70's in New Orleans.

(image taken from Mighty Fine website)

It opens with Joe Fine (played by Chazz Palminteri) moving his family from Brooklyn to New Orleans. No one is really excited about this move but are hoping for a new and better life.

The women in Joe's life, wife Stella (played by Andie MacDowell) and daughters Natalie (played by Jodelle Ferland) and Maddie (played by Rainey Qualley) are constantly walking on egg shells, trying to keep their father/husband happy.

When the family starts to face financial troubles, the situation goes from bad to worse. Their hope of a better life is being dashed. As Joe's rages become worse and happen more frequently, the family pleads with him to get help. He is a very stubborn and proud man, and blames his wife for his problems.

Following every rage, comes some sort of gift, as a way of buying forgiveness.

In the end, a choice has to be made whether or not to continue with life as they know it, or to find the courage to get out of it.

Have you ever read a book about the Holocaust or slavery and had a hard time describing it as "good", because it describes something horrific? That is how I feel about this movie.

While it was not one of those movies that leaves your heart a little lighter and a huge grin on your face, it was a heart wrenching, keeps you glued to the screen, hoping for a happy ending kind of movie.

I grew up in a wonderful home with loving parents. I had a hard time imagining living my life in the way that the Fine family did. However, I do know of family & friends who have dealt with such situations. I believe this movie would be helpful if you had been through this type of situation. Knowing that you are not the only one going through it.

This is not a family friendly movie. It is rated R and contains graphic images, f-bombs, and violent scenes. I had to keep shooing my children out of the room while it was on.

Mighty Fine will be opening, on May 25th,  at a limited number of theaters. If you are interested in seeing if you have one in your area, you can go here

I would love to know what you think. Watch it and let me know!

**I am having the hardest time adding a link to the trailer!! Please go to the Mighty Fine website and watch it there.**

*** Disclosure policy: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mighty Fine and the distributor. I received access to an online showing of the film and a promotional item to thank me for participating**

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Happy Day

My 2 (soon to be 3) year old, came down this morning, gave his brother a hug and said..."Happy Day to you!"

With 5 kids, we celebrate a lot of birthdays. Today just happens to be my oldest sons.

*Big sigh* I hate how fast they grow up. It is that feeling of being torn between, wanting to keep them little and wanting them to grow up and be the person they are meant too.

I do love how simple his birthday requests were. Every other year, we have a friend party. So this year he is on the "just family" party. When I asked him what he wanted to do, he said, "see a movie and have Dairy Queen for lunch."

Gee could you make it any harder?! lol Instead of some big fancy thing, or wanting to go somewhere expensive....Oh I love that kid.

We had a nice yummy breakfast at Ihop. Movie. Unwrap gifts. DQ for dinner and ice cream cake.

Happy Day to my favorite 11 year old! Love you Ethan!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

spoiled rotten

I often look around my home and see an abundance of:

video games
video game consoles

Some other things I see (although they are not in abundance) are:
cell phones
dvd/ blue ray players

What it all boils down to is, our family is spoiled rotten. Now I am not saying that my husband doesn't work hard to provide for us. He does. It is just that, compared to some, we have soooo much.

My children however, see us as poor. Yep.

"Mom, do you have $50?" asked one child who will not be named
"Do you have more than $50?"
"Then you can get us the video game because it is only $45. You have enough money."
What that child fails to realize is...I CHOSE NOT TOO!!

My kids have so much to learn! So when the opportunity arose for us to provide some service to others, I jumped on it. Normally, I don't sign up for things because Mason usually makes things harder and I feel like we don't really help, but make it worse.

However, this time I brought him. We went with a group from our church and participated in Mormon Helping Hands. We worked with Food Share and spent the morning harvesting cabbage. It was hot and dirty work, but not one of the kids complained.

Later we were told a story about how, people call the Food Share and say they have nothing to feed their children. Their cupboards are bare. It is hard to believe that our family has almost a full mini mart in our garage, while others have nothing.

I hope the lesson sunk in for them. As we were driving home, my son said, "Mom I have a really good feeling in my chest."

"That is good. When we serve others we have a good feeling inisde."

"No it's not that, it is just because I ate a lot of snacks and I was really hungry."


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

me want cookies

Cookies are good. The end. There is no further explanation needed, right?

On Pinterest the other day, I saw a pin for a cookie recipe. The title was all I needed to hear...

"Holy-crap-these-are-amazing-cookies". And they were. And easy to boot!

Now I followed the pin to the website, and was led to another website and so it took me a little bit to find it. So I am going to post it here so you don't have to go searching all over the internet for it. I am here for you.

This recipe comes from Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy. You can click on that link and it will take you directly to the post. I love that she gives you the option to just print it out right there!

The boys helped me and these were so yummy. I love baking with my boys. My boys also loved the fact that these were "no bake" and so they could have them right away!

Because one kind of cookie isn't enough (lol) while at Sams Club the other day I found these! I had gone to Wal Mart looking for a birthday gift, and it wasn't there. I had a little craving for Oreo's but decided not to pay $2.99 for one pkg.

These 2 pkg.  boxes were marked down to only $2.71! 2 pkgs for less than the cost of one. I bought 3 boxes so you can guess who was the best Mom ever...or at least for the day!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Family time

The past two weeks have been so busy at our house. Life just never seems to slow down! Maybe it is because I have so many kids with so many different places to be....

That just might have something to do with it right?

On Friday, my kids and I (minus the youngest) headed out to a childrens museum.

This museum was pretty small, but still lots of fun. My daughter is at this, " I am too old for this kind of thing" stage which can be pretty annoying. Luckily one of her friends was there and so they were able to hang out. Although I did catch them "playing" in the doctors office.

I love seeing my kids interacting with each other and with the exhibits. I also love seeing how much my children know. My son surprised me with some facts about ocean life. This is one of the reasons why I love homeschooling.

We hit up the commissary where I like to go and use my high value coupons. We snagged Philadelphia Cooking Creme for .29 ea. Vlasic pickles for $1 each, Kraft Homestyle Mac and Cheese for .69 a bag.

We were tired and worn out, but my daughter still went out and hung out at a friends Spring party. I love that they made bags, played charades, knitted and did all sorts of fun crafty stuff. It was a long day but we had fun.

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