Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Boy howdy. Life has been busy. Buuuuuusy. Can't even describe how crazy life has been.

I often have people ask me, how do I keep up with all my kids and all their activities? My answer...I don't. Something always has to give.

Sometimes it is home made dinners....hello McDinners.

Sometimes it is sleep...the bags under my eyes are scary.

Sometimes it is cleaning...yeah it can be scary in our home.

Sometimes it is laundry...just like the house, the mountain of laundry can be scary.

Sometimes it is free time.

But sometimes it is your blog & facebook page. Not your personal one of course though!

We just have a crazy amount of things going on until the end of the school year. I am trying not to drown.

Of course, that is just life. My life right now. I will try to keep up but if I don't, you know why!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Being Mom

This past weekend, we had such warm weather.  It was hot. Near 90* one day.

My favorite thing to do when the temps soar? Sit by the a/c. What can I say, I am a whimp.

Saturday though I found myself sitting in a camp chair, in the blazing sun, dripping sweat, as I sat and listened to my daughter perform in a concert.

I sat there surrounded by other parents & family members. Supporting their loved one.

I thought about my Mom, and how she or my Dad, made an effort to be at every one of our events as kids. All 5 of us. I never thought about the sacrifice that was! The driving to and from, the inability to get your own things done, sitting in freezing cold & blazing hot conditions... Oh hindsight, you really are 20/20!!

Harmony has a tendency to faint at her concerts. It's true. She has done well the past two, but I still bring extra water for her. I knew that with the higher temps, the likelihood of her fainting would be high. I have seen her standing up straight and tall, only to collapse to the ground a second later.

And it struck me, as I sat there watching her. That this is what being a Mom is all about. Being there in case she faints. Being there to hear her perform. Being there to make sure she has water. Sunscreen. Taking pictures so she can remember her concert. Being in her corner. Being someone she can count on. Being there. Not only physcially but emotionally.

In everything that I do for my children, the most important is the actual being there for them. I needed that reminder.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

It has been way too long since I participated!!! I have times when I do really well, and then times that I fall off the wagon, usually when we are busy.

But what better time to be organized and prepared than when you are busy right?! So here goes...

B: smoothies & toast
D: spaghetti & meatballs with green beans and garlic bread

B: cereal & fruit
D: chicken tortilla soup (crockpot)

B: scrambled eggs & muffins
D: pulled pork sandwiches, fruit & fries?

B: cereal & fruit
D: sausage & noodles, vegi

B: kids pick whatever they want
D: pizza (or something as equally easy!)

B: something quick as we have to be out of the house early
D: breakfast for dinner

B: leftovers from the night before
D: ham in the crock pot, funeral potatoes

For tons of meal ideas, head on over to OrgJunkie!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

sneak peek at my week

This Saturday I sat and updated my calender. It was just my daughters activities. For school, band and church.

Holy cow our family is busy. I am always surprised by how much we have going on when, outside of church activities and school, we really don't do anything else. No sports practices, no lessons....

I have been spending Sunday evenings trying to plan for my week. It really helps me keep my head through out the week.

Surprisingly un-busy!
My errand day
Ben has class in the evening

Early morning band practice for Harmony
my stay at home day (housework & coupon organization tasks)
scouts for the two older boys

An errand day if needed
Ben has class in the evening
Harmony has Young Womens (church)

my stay at home day
Ben in class
early release day for my 2nd & 5th graders
cub scouts for Ivan

errand/grocery shopping day
Ben has 1/2 day of class
unless there is a birthday or something, we are generally home on Friday evenings

service project for our church (for whole family)
major clean up day
31 party for me
family movie night

For your benefit, I didn't include...the errands that need to be run, the day to day things like (laundry, dishes, making meals, helping with homework, shuttling kids to and fro...)

How do you prepare for your week? Or do you just take it one day at a time? I love to hear how others run their homes & schedules.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Green Giant Veggie Chips product review

*** I recieved packages of Green Giant Veggie Chips and coupons as a member of Bzzz Agent to help faciliate my review. I was not paid for my review and all thoughts & opinions are my own***

My kids take turns getting the mail, so when Ethan came home with a big green box, I had no idea what it was. I am used to getting packages & boxes of review items but sometimes I forget all of the different ones. So I was really excited when I saw the Bzz packaging and realized what it was!
 Green Giant Veggie Chips!

I had been wanting to give these a try but just hadn't yet! I recieved 2 large size bags, and 4 small sized bags.

No one gives an honest opinion like kids, right? So I put a bag in each of their lunch bags and told them to tell me what they thought when they got home. I said feel free to give some to your friends and ask them what they think. So oldest to youngest, here were their thoughts...

Harmony: Yuck. These were kind of...tasteless. I jut didn't like them and threw the rest away. (*I hate it when they do that!)
Ethan: They were really good Mom! I would eat them again & again.
Connor: Well, they kind of tasted like Sun Chips. I hate Sun Chips. Gross.
Ivan: I loved them Mom! Yum, they were good. I like the cheesy part.

Basically we have a tie. Kids, I tell yah. Here are mine and Ben's thoughts:
The two flavors we tried were the Multi Grain Sweet Potato with sea salt and  RoastedVeggie Tortilla Zesty Cheddar. We agreed with the kids that these were very similar in taste & texture to Sun Chips. With a light crunch and a non greasy texture.

Here is the problem...Ben was not a huge fan. His words were " they were like a bland version of a Sun Chip."
I liked them.  They were a nice light snack. I ate some at lunch with a sandwich and felt they made a great pair. Now, were they the best chips I have ever had? No, but I would eat them again. Especially if they were a good deal.

Our family (minus Mason) are at a tie. 3 vs 3. I guess you are going to have to try them and decide for yourself... and of course let me know what YOU thought!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mini-corn dogs

Over Spring Break, our family was so off schedule, we couldn't even find it any more!

Sleeping in until past 8:00, having breakfast at 10, lunch at 2 and dinner around 7:00. Then staying up late and doing it all over again.

For the most part, it was enjoyable to be so relaxed. But as we all know, kids who have no schedule do not thrive. And neither do Moms!!!

Sunday evening I decided to make a snack for the kids that could also be used for their lunches during the week.

While they jumped on the trampoline, I made a recipe that I had seen floating around the blogosphere. Mini corn dogs!

I am not sure if you can call this a "recipe" per say but...

2 boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix (ingredients needed to prepare)
Hot dogs (amount depends, I'll explain in a second!)

Follow the directions on the package, to make muffins. I added a bit more water, because I wanted it a little runnier.

Line muffin tins.

Add a small spoonful of batter to the bottom of each cup.

Chop hot dogs into desired size and place at least one in each cup.

Add another spoonful of mix on to the top of the hot dogs.

Bake at 350* for about 15 minutes or golden brown on top.

The boys loved and devoured these corn dogs.
Harmony felt that there was too much bread and not enough dog. She said 2 pieces in each would have been better.

All in all, it was a total hit...and way cheaper than buying a box of corndogs! These travel well in lunch bags AND freeze well for later.

I can see myself making alot of these this summer!

Monday, April 8, 2013

You say potato...

My son Ivan loves baked potatoes. Loves them. One day he ate 3 in a day! Seriously. The kids loves a baked potato.

Of course they are loaded with  cheese, chopped ham and ranch.

After a busy day at 2nd grade, he asked me if he could, "please, please, please have a baked potato for an after school snack?"

Unfortunatley for him...we didn't have any.

So of course he asked me to go to the store and get him one. He promised that I only had to get him one. Just one for him.

Now, potato's are pretty darn cheap in and of themselves. You can turn them into so many different things. They are cheap, tasty and verstaile. How could you go wrong?! Hmmm, yep there is a way...So while I was at Ralphs I did some investigating.

First we have a single potato. Wrapped and ready to go into the microwave. Cost = .99each

Right next to these, were loose potatoes. They were .99 a lb.

Hmmm, it gets better...

A pre-bagged 5 lb. bag of potatoes was $2.49 each.  A lot more spud for your buck right?

BUT...a 10 lb. bag of potatoes? $3.49 each. That is 5 more lbs for a dollar!!! Five!

What the heck kind of math is that?! I think my 3 year old could figure out that the 10 lbs is the best deal.

When my husband was in school, I read every book I could find on saving money. I still have a lot of them today! One of the lessons I learned, and has stuck with me, is that you pay for convenience. The more the store/manufacturer does for you, the more it is going to cost you.

These potatoes are a good example of this. But there are soooo many others.

We need to be educated consumers if we want to get the most bang for our buck.

Be a smart shopper! I will try to show more of these examples as I find them, so be prepared.

So, of course you know I am going to ask...what is your favorite way to eat a spud?!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Double coupons, baby!

When I first moved to California, I was pretty much in heaven.

I had quite a few (and still do!) grocery stores to choose from, and 2 of them doubled coupons up to $1 every day, no limits.

It was so nice. Grocery shopping was so much fun and I was able to snag some amazing deals.

As couponing became more popular, my stores slowly started changing their policies.

The policy changes made it harder and harder to get deals. I worked hard to get what I could and then...double coupons were gone. Poof.

I am not going to lie, my couponing enthusiasm waned a bit. I would get frustrated knowing that items I would normally get for free, were now costing me money. Boo, hiss.

It has now been almost a year since I have been able to double coupons. On Tuesday I was going through my ads and....Albertson had 2 doublers in their ad!

Even though you can only use 2 per transaction, and it only doubles it up to a $1...Well I am still happy to do what I can. I may have to do 100 transactions but...I will do what I can.

I ended up bring Mason with me so I only did 2 transactions. Each transaction came out to be a 70% savings!

Here is what I got...
4 (2 Liters) of A&W
4 pkgs of Hillshire Farms sausage ($1.99 each minus a coupon good for .75/2)
2 pkgs of strawberries $1.50 each
4 pkgs of Eggo waffles ( on sale 2/$3) and I had coupons good for $1/2
4 cans of Chef Boyardee ( .68 each minus 2 coupons good for .55/2)
4 cans of Hunts tomatoes (.68 each minus 2 coupons good for .55/2)
6 boxes of Outshine Dreyers fruit bars ($2.49 each minus a coupon for $1 each)

Not bad huh? I can't wait to go again!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Break

I don't know about everyone else, but I have a love/hate relationship with Spring Break.

I love not having a schedule, sleeping in, not fighting over homework, not making lunches, not having to run around like crazy...

However I dislike (hate is such a strong word!) kids fighting with each other, kids who are bored, kids only wanting to play video games, no structure, no schedule...

Ben & I are not huge fans of paying a lot of money for activities, and so this one fit the bill for us...

The  California ScienCenter! If you are looking for something inexpensive to do with your kids, near L.A., this is a great deal! We paid $10 for parking for the whole day. That is it.

We chose not to pay & stand in line to see the Endeavor, but we really didn't need too! We had a ton of things to look at & play with.

On the very top floor, was a hands on exhibit, that we literally had to drag the boys away from.

They set up dominos, and of course knocked them over, raced sail boats, raced cars, built contraptions, helped build a house...so much to do, see and touch. You could see their minds soaking in information like a sponge. Huge plus for this Mom!


Although a tad fearful of heights, we enjoyed looking down on the crowds as well as jets hanging from the ceiling.

They had little chicks in an incubator, that my kids ooh'ed and ahh'ed over. They kept going back to see them.

After playing a game of tag with Ben, we headed back to the car.


The place was packed, and so we didn't get to do and see everything. We are anxious to go back.

If you do plan a trip, bring your own food! There are a few restaurants on the bottom floor, but while the prices are decent, the lines are nuts! Pack a picnic and sit by the rose garden.

It was a nice break from the mundane and we will be going back, for sure!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hi, my name is Marie...

...and my son has autism.

Yesterday I shared with you, how my son felt about having Autism. So I thought I would take a turn and tell you how I feel about having a son with autism.

So how do I feel about it? I have no one answer to that question.

Sometimes I feel mad. Why me? Why MY son? Why can't I get all the help he needs?

Sometimes I feel sad. Why didn't Ivan get invited to that birthday party? Why can't I do/be everything that he needs? Why do we have to deal with this?

Sometimes I feel confused. Did I go too far? Did I not go far enough? Did I make the right choice? What does he need? What doesn't he need?

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. In over my head. Like I can't handle any more outbursts, or screaming, or calls from teachers, or him hiding, or cutting his sandwich into 4 pieces.

Sometimes I feel scared. Scared for his future. Scared for ours.

Sometimes I feel tired. Tired of fighting over homework. And househod chores. Tired of making sure everything is right in his world. Tired of fighting for him with no resuts. Physically. Mentally.Emotionally.

But most of all I feel thankful.

Thankful for my son who loves me unconditionally. Who forgives my mistakes, with no qualms.

Thankful for a son who looks at life in new and amazing ways.

Thankful for a son who counts on me and trusts me.

Thankful for a son who teaches me every day. About patience. About love. About forgiveness.

Thankful for a son who is smart, funny and cute.

Thankful for a son who has overcome so many challenges and faces so many more on a daily basis.

Thankful for a son who loves to dress up as a pirate.

Thankful for a son who  loves to ride his scooter, jump on the trampoline and play at the park.

Thankful for the gift that is my Ivan.

Want to contact me?

Feel free to contact me at hecimommy@gmail.com