Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dave Ramsey Style

We are going Dave Ramsey style. We are baby stepping our way to a better life. We are just one baby step 1,but are so excited to get started. We are looking at lots of way to save money and make extra money to go through our baby steps faster. Baby step one is to save $1000 emergency fund. Right now, we don't have a bunch of money to put back, but after the holidays and after we start following a zero budget, we will make this goal quickly. To be honest, we have no money put back yet. So follow us along with our journey.

I cannot wait to get our finances on track. I am so excited that we will not be struggling as much. I am learning a few ways to make some extra money from home while we are raising our growing family... No, I am not pregnant right now, but we would like to start a family after the wedding. The wedding is a whole other financial disaster, but we will come up with a game plan. It does not benefit us to put the boys in daycare because I would not make enough to even cover daycare expenses. So I will be working from home on a few various things.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What Coparenting Should Look Like


So this weekend was the great child exchange. The boys are going to a their daddy's for Thanksgiving. While I hate that I am not with them, they need the time with their daddy. We get along great. The boys call everyday and tell me about their day. I miss them so much though. The eight hour trip was actually very easy with the boys. DS3 has the croup which prompted a trip to the emergency room just the night before. But a dose of steroids later, he was feeling much better. The Ex was meeting Brad for the first time face-to-face. I was worried to be honest. I don't do well with uncertainties. I like to have every little thing planned out to have less confusion. My mom let us borrow her car since my car is broken down and Brad drives a "Dave car" (Dave Ramsey financial mastermind recommends driving a car as long as you can while completing the baby steps and since we are still in the process of baby step 1 there will not be a new car for a while and no fixing my car for a while). She packed the boys some snacks and we used the headrest DVD players for entertainment.

We agreed to meet at Cracker Barrell at the halfway point. We arrived 20 minutes before Ex got there. We played with the boys while we waited. EX arrived and we got out of the car and the boys gave him some love. I greeted him with a hug and Brad shook his hand. Ex treated us to lunch as a thank you for meeting halfway gesture. That was really nice, I thought. We sat there and talked and laughed and Ex gave Brad some tips on how to deal with me. HAHA silly guys. We enjoyed our lunch and loaded the boys up in their dad's car to finished their trip. We reminded the boys to treat their dad and his girlfriend with the same respect as they do us and to be kind to their "stepbrothers" or they would deal with me... and they don't like to deal with me.

That is how I think co parenting should go. We treated each other with decency and respect. We get along well not only for the kids' sake but because we genuinely care about each other. And even though our marriage was a disaster. He was a terrible husband and I a terrible wife. We are still best friends and have a great friendship. The divorce was in the boys' best interest. I like his new girlfriends. She is kind and accepting of my kids and that is something that will not be taken for granted by me or my kids. Ex called me on Monday to tell me how much he appreciates Brad and that he is working on the boys to let them know that he is to be treated just like they would treat their dad. That is the only thing the kids will see. They will not see us putting each other down. They will only see us building each other up and working together for their best interest.

Saturday night Brad and I stayed in Indianapolis. Neither one of us had been there so we decided to take in the city life. We went to a little hole in the wall beer bar and watched an improve comedy show. Then we ate at Rally's which was a first for Brad. On a side note to all you big city commuters... God bless you. I hate big city traffic. It was horrible.

Sunday on the drive home, Brad was expecting that I would fall asleep as I normally do on road trips, but I didn't. I stayed awake the whole time. We had such a good time just driving and chatting. It is not often that we have alone time, so it was nice to just talk and connect as a couple. On the way home, we passed a Big Boy billboard. Neither one of us had ever seen a Big Boy outside of Austin Powers. So without a word Brad pulled off the interstate and we went to Big Boy's for an impromptu date. We did a 1950s date night. We split a ruben and a milkshake and a slice of pie. Then we sat in the parking lot and watched the birds migrate. It made me smile. He is such a wonderful partner and I am so thankful to do this thing called life with him. He spoils me, which is something I am not used to but greatly appreciate.

What are your coparenting tips? Favorite impromptu dates with your significant other?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Yes I Want a Sample

Please tell me I'm not the only one who can make a snack out of shopping a whole foods or Sams Club. Yes, we order every sample we see online. Why not? We keep hotel shampoos and soaps. I keep a decent sized basket in our closet to throw them in. So we don't even know they are there. We use what we want to try or what will lower our budget and donate the rest. Why do I order things we won't use? Often times samples come with coupons. So I get the sample and possibly the product for free or with (my favorite) overage! Our local pet shelter takes donations for cat and dog food. We love Operation Christmas Child and we can send soap and shampoo in the boxes. DS3 has a passion for the homeless and collects bags full of toiletries and change to hand out to the homeless. We use the medicine samples in our first aid kit. Free magazines can be donated to the library or nursing homes. Also, magazines usually have coupons in them. Does it save us lots of money getting samples each year? No, of course not. But we look at it as every penny counts and if we can donate and make a difference then why wouldn't we do it. Quite frankly, I get samples from time to time and will write reviews on here or on the page where the sample came from. I will out a disclaimer on those products that yes I got the product for free and my review is honest and unbiased. If I don't like a product, I will still share it too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Drugstore Game

For many years now, I have tried to save my family money. I love couponing. I have actually became quite good at it in the past. I have friends who call me and ask me to teach them to coupon and I am happy to do so. Who couldn't use extra money in their budget? I know we certainly could. Since learning that I won't be able to work fulltime due to my health, it is more important than ever! Couponing is overwhelming and hard work. It requires dedication and planning to make sure that everything goes according to plan. It seems like a simple concept, but I am here to assure you that everything you think you know about couponing is probably not the whole truth. I am not saying that you are wrong in any form or fashion, but maybe that you are not using the full potential. And to be honest, I have not been using my full potential savings either.

Last week, one of my dear friends called me asking me to teach her to coupon because the expense of diapers was drowning her family. I had to be honest with her, that couponing for diapers is unchartered territory for me. We cloth diapered and so that was not something that I needed to do, but I would be happy to help her in anyway that I could. The first thing I encouraged her to do was to play the drugstore game. It is a simple way to coupon and to gain your bearings in the couponing world before moving on to the extreme couponing way. I referred her to ladies a bit wiser than myself on this topic: Money Saving Mom, Southern Savers and The Krazy Coupon Lady.

Here are some things I have learned from many years of couponing:
  • Baby steps are important. Start small. One store.
  • You will be buying large quantities
  • You will buy things you don't need but you can donate
  • Follow people smarter than you
  • It's an adrenaline rush


When you have as many kids as we do, every penny counts. In reality, who doesn't need to save money now days? We have 5 birthday presents to buy, 5 Easter baskets, 5 Christmases to buy for not to mention all the people in our lives. When my ex and I first got married, I was in college working on two degrees (I don't advise this). He was a security guard making minimum wage. Needless to say we were strapped for cash. His favorite show at the time was Ghost Hunters. I saved enough to buy him the entire series that was available on DVD. I dedicated just a half hour a day to save money to buy him Christmas. That was a big thing for me.

Swagbucks is a search engine that pays you to search. You can answer questions and earn by doing free trials. You can watch videos to earn and it is so easy. You can earn by printing coupons and using them. We I love coupons so this is a win-win. I like to let the kids play games and earn for me. They are happy because they get screen time. I am happy because I am usually able to get a chore done and get rewarded for it.

You will earn 1SB a day just for having the toolbar. That's 365 BS a year! You receive 1 SB for doing the daily poll. It seriously one click of a button. How easy is that!? Earn 2SB a day by viewing NOSO that's 730 SB a year. It takes right at a minute. The way to earn more SB is to follow people who have more experience aka bloggers. I have go to bloggers that I follow and have followed for years because I learn so much for them.

I like redeeming for gift cards though there are other options. Some of the gift cards you can redeem for are: Amazon, Walmart, Target, CVS and Visa just to name a few. I try to same the swagbucks up until November and then start cashing in so that we can use them on Cyber Monday for further savings.

*Disclaimer by clicking the link above and signing up with Swagbucks, I will receive bonus SB. However, my review of Swagbucks is completely honest.*

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Open Letter To The Judgemental Jerk At The Market

Based on today's horrific shopping experience...

To the super healthy couple going into the market,

Goodness you all were so adorable in your running gear, holding hands walking into the store.  You're one of my people. I love going out for a good run. I feel so healthy and less stressed out after a run. I love knowing my body is in great shape because I take of it. Did I say love? Change that to loved. You see, I had that stolen from me. My body will not cooperate to let me even though I try. For four months now, I have busted my butt trying to get better. I literally walk like I rode across country on horseback. That's the only gait I can walk.

I know, I know! I look healthy! I am the thinnest I've been since before my kids were born. The multitude of pills I have to take each day (you know, to stop my body from waging war on itself) has the tendency to do that. Yes, I sure was using one of those motorized carts. Can I please tell you how hard it is to reach the top shelf with those? And not to mention the beep beep when you back up is so embarrassing. You see, I have to use one of those due to my incredibly high restrictions on activity and the incredible fatigue you get during a flare up. Do you know how hard it is to stand less than half an hour while raising three kids full time and the other two part time? Let me inform you... It's your parents teaching your kid to ride a bike without training wheels. It's taking your babies trick or treating with tears rolling down your face because you hurt so badly. It's having to tell your kids no when they ask if you'll jump on the trampoline or slip and slide with them. Seeing the confusion on your face because until a few months ago you were the biggest kid in your house. But now you will have to "learn" how to run and jump again.

So, today while buying food for my family, imagine my shock while your girl friend started laugh and you called me a "lazy piece of s---!" Yeah you went there. Good for you. See you showed a level of intolerance and ignorance that me speechless! Me...speechless? This is something that doesn't happen often. I have psoriatic arthritis! Yes, like the golfer. No, it will never go away. Yes it can be managed. Invisible illnesses exist. I am not the only one out there. There are brave men and women who served this country and a piece of their mind is still over seas. You can't see there scars, but I assure you they are there.

Words can hurt. Thank goodness I am cold hearted to that kind of thing, but the next person may not be. So my advice for the day is don't be an asshat! Consider that you don't know all the facts. Remember what your mama always told you... If you don't have something nice to say, say nothing at all!

Monday, November 14, 2016

House Hunting Is A Nightmare

We are on a tight budget. Who isn't now days? I am currently out of work with a lovely psoriatic arthritis flare up. This one has been so bad, I haven't been able to work in months. So here we are with just his income. We had talked in the past about me staying at home with the munchkins. I guess this is a trial run. So we are looking for our first place together. We are so excited! While he's game planning a typical weekly schedule for us, I'm over here panicking, making lists and of course doing the Pinterest planning. And though we are working together, there are so many speed bumps to get over.

We have called every apartment complex in our area and they are either full or crazy high in pricing. So we are looking at small rental homes. They are limited in my area. Though I have to say, I get the biggest kick out of people finding out we have 5 kids and area looking at a 3 bedroom. "Are they all yours?" "You can't fit that many beds in one room." And my favorite "All boys!? You could have a girl." 1. Yes. They are all mine. Yes, we know what causes it. No, we don't have cable, but I don't see how that would help... It kind of kills the moment if you leave it on. Oh that wasn't the point and that's too personal? Hmm...then maybe you should just keep your face closed so your off based opinions don't fall out. No, I didn't give birth to all of them. Two were born before I ever met them. If you can't love your partner's kids as your own, then you don't deserve them. 2. Heck yes I can fit three beds in one room! Remember these things called bunk beds? Yeah they are fantastic! 3. I know. Sorry to disappoint. We didn't get the memo that you now order a baby in the sex you want from Amazon! Yes we have all boys. They are messy and loudly and at times just plain wild. But they are so fun and amazing and smart and loving.

We are wanting a smaller place for now and who knows we may like it and stay that way. We would like to save up for a farm. It's a dream of ours to have land and a garden and chickens (ok just my dream, but still)! It is such a struggle to find a place willing to accommodate our large family. But we are a team and we will work through it as a family. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans' Day

It is Veterans' Day. To those serving or have served or have given us their loved ones... Thank you! Thank you for the sleepless nights, the pain and the sacrifices you have made to serve your country. Here is a list of places participating freebies for Veterans:
  • Applebees
  • IHOP
  • Chilis
  • Krispy Crème
  • Red Robin
  • Olive Garden
  • Golden Corral
  • Red Lobster.
I often found myself asking for a military discount when travelling, making purchases or using services. It never hurts to ask. I personally offer a 15% military discount on my services, if I can get healthy enough to get my business to take off. I am sure there are more places but take advantage of as many as you can.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Family Game Night and Sneaking in School Time

Sometimes the boys get burned out on doing school. I can understand this. They are homeschool, so more often than not, they get a lesson with everything. Going grocery shopping: meal planning, couponing, interacting with customer and staff member, etc... Mama tends to throw in lessons on life skills, nutrition, math, reading, economics, and health, safety and manners. Sometimes they just don't want to do school. Yesterday was one of those days.

Recently, we went to a yard sale and I bought 11 board games for $1 each. They are in perfect condition. Most of them can be used for school. Monopoly is heavy in math. The cranium games have a lot of trivia questions and you know there is a lesson with missed questions. We got shape and color and state bingo. That's always fun too. But I was really blessed to be able to get Cranium Hullabaloo. This was a game that DS4 used in occupational therapy many times. It has shape, color and category recognition but also several sensory properties too. DS4 is vaccine injured, autistic and has sensory processing disorder. He has since aged out of the therapy programs he was in. We don't feel that all goals were met. So we follow several therapist on Pinterest or their blogs or webpage. They have great ideas of things to do at home to help manage his "super powers" as we call them.

The boys played several games last night. We spent hours laughing, talking, learning and enjoying each other's company. What a wonderful evening! It is fun when we can have family time and include school. We missed DS1 and DS2. Hopefully, we can have a game night soon when we have them again.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Open Letter To President Elect Trump

Mr. Trump,

First of all congratulations on your victory in this crazy, chaotic and down right hellacious election season. I'll be brutally honest, I was not a supporter. I am a libertarian by nature and a feminist to boot. So you can imagine the shock and horror I felt as I listened to clips of speeches you made on the campaign trail. I won't lie, I really wanted to hate you... I did. I mean here I am begging and pleading for liberty and less government restrictions and here you are talking about a wall. Then the time you made fun a disabled reporter. Please tell me that was completely taken out of contexts...Please. I have a special needs child and want to protect him from that kind of bullying. And I won't even start on the "grab them by the p*ssy" conversation, I won't. I know guys have their chats and talk sex and about women they've slept with or want to sleep with. I am not blind to these things. I was angry when I first learned about these comments. I was scared to be completely honest. I then got to thinking surely you got tongue tied and did not intend for that statement to be rapey, even though lets face it, it sounded very rapey and creeperish.

Many statements you have made feels like you believe that unless you are a straight white male, you don't count. In your victory speech, you promised to be a president to all people. I pray that you will follow through with this. I do believe you are making headway with your policy for maternity leave. You said you would listen to us. Please here me when I say, consider adding paternity leave to the policy as well. Right after birth mothers need more help. A dad's job is not completed at conception. Also, the reversing Obama care thing... please do that immediately as this mama can no longer afford her medication that is crucially needed to keep her body from attacking itself.

As I watch the news this morning, many stations are asking "how do we explain this to our children?" Here is how I explained this to my children and I am 100% sincere in everything I said to them:
So guess who won overnight. Trump. I know that we really liked Johnson and Weld and we were pulling for them hard. We can work harder for a libertarian candidate in four years. I honestly believe that Mr. Trump is a step in that direction for the American people. You see, we get to keep our guns and he has directly spoken about the link between vaccines and autism and he will not allow our choice to be taken away. Mr. Trump is a successful business man. Yes, he has filed for bankruptcy, but it was to gain more money for his company. Just like mommy and daddy had to file bankruptcy a few years ago in attempt to save our house and keep food on the table. Yes, the news has been throwing around that Trump doesn't pay taxes. Hell yes, good for him, because taxation is theft! Our country is very far in debt. I feel confident that Mr. Trump can help us slowly pull out of it where you can have a successful and happy future as adults.(On a side note: Mr. Trump consider asking Dave Ramsey to be a financial advisor in your cabinet. The man is a freaking genius!) So we have a job to do starting today. We have to pray for our new president elect. We have to work on a state level for legislation that we believe is needed for the good of all people.

That we will do, Mr. Trump. We will pray for you daily, just as we have President Obama. We will pray for you and your family's  safety and health. We will pray that you will be guided by God and will do what is best for this country. We will respect that you are the president and will choose to support you when you are right. We promise to be unbiased while we evaluate you as president. It is a hard job and quite frankly I am thankful that I do not have to do it. Keeping up with these 5 munchkins and keeping them safe and healthy makes me crazy most days.

Good luck and congratulations again. I cannot believe I am saying this... #makeAmericagreatagain. Or at least try very hard.

About Us

Welcome! We are glad you are here! The purpose of this page is to journal our story so all of our kiddos can look back on our lives together. I will be sharing stories about our big, blended family, ideas, recipes, deals, products we like and things I have learned in this process. Feel free to contact me if you have ideas because God knows I need them. Ha ha.

So a little about us... The kids have not decided whether they want to be apart of the blog and have their pictures or stories out there for everyone to see. So to protect their privacy until/unless they give permission, I will not be posting their names or pictures of them identifying them. DS1 and DS2 do not live with us full time. We enjoy every second we have them. If it seems there are more stories with DS3, DS4 and DS5, that is because they do live with us full time, except when they get to go spend time with their daddy. 

I'll start with me. I'm Sarah, a 30 year old stay at home mom with three biological kids of my own. I have psoriatic arthritis which at times is life hindering for me and is the reason I now stay at home. I am a dementia nurse by trade and will have a passion for it until I die. I love to be active: hiking, playing ball, riding horses, gardening, or pretty much anything else you can think of. At times, I am sarcastic. I homeschool my three little guys. I am an activist and work with many organizations in my community pushing for improvements in the areas of healthcare, human rights and education. I am one of those crunchy moms... pretty much if it can't be fixed with breast milk or coconut oil it can't be fixed. We practice gentle parenting. We believe in child autonomy. They are tiny humans, but humans none the less and deserve respect and a say in their lives (the reason they won't be identified until they say so). I have been a single mom since March 2015. I am still very close with my ex and we are still great friends. We raise our boys with a team effort of co parenting. So yeah, there will be times that a story includes the ex. If you are hoping for drama concerning our relationships with our exes, you've come to the wrong place. No, we don't always agree with or get along with our exes (I mean they are exes for a reason), but we are all adults and try to be friendly and civil and keep our personal business out of public eye. *steps off soap box for now* I am a coupon queen and deal hunter. I love to bake and am actually turning out to be quite the cook (not bad for someone who literally had to Google how to make boiled eggs just a few years ago).

Have you ever met someone who you instantly connected with and couldn't imagine your life without them? That is how it was when we met. Neither of us were actively looking for a relationship and just happened to cross paths and here we are... planning our wedding!

Brad- He is the sensible one in our family. He is the glue that holds us all together. He is my biggest child who needs the most supervision as I always tell him. He is the type of man who will work all day and come home and wrestle in the floor with the boys or throw a ball around. I sometimes have to remind him, "It's almost bed time, please don't get them riled up." He is my polar opposite! While I am high strung, hyper, temperamental, and talkative; he is calm, quiet and always in chill mode.

DS1- He's our gentle child. He loves animals and history. He is so good with the smaller kids and so helpful with me on high pain days.

DS2- He's our ladies man. The girls love him...note to self buy a huge gun to clean (Hey boy moms are scarier than dads)! He is a people pleaser and peacekeeper.

DS3- He's our outgoing child. He is a future politician or CEO I think. He is charismatic and can't talk his way out of anything. He is my mini me. He is an activist in his own rights.

DS4- He's our tough boy! He was born at 28 weeks. He fought for life. Now, he daily deals with autism and sensory processing disorder. Despite his daily struggles, he is so smart and funny and loving.

DS5- He's the joker. He will do anything for a laugh. He is also our mischievous child. But is also the sweetest, most loving, most bullheaded child on the planet!

We are excited to start our journey together. We can't wait to see what life has in store for us or our kiddos.