Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Micheal's Camp Creativity

I love keeping the boys busy during the summer! Basically anything to get them off of screen time... the struggle is real I tell ya! So this morning I was researching and came across this gem. Michael's is doing this craft camp this summer.

This is pretty affordable. I love that it encourages creativity and writing with a journal. I also love that it breaks the monotony of summer vacation. Check it out, here!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Toys R Us Pre-Memorial Day Event

Sunday, May 21 from 1-3 PM Toys R Us is going to be a having an in store event where you will go home with a FREE collectible Radio Flyer mini wagon. There will be a couple drawing for NERF guns and a bike blinker.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Struggle is Real

Here in the interwebs we all try to make ourselves look like that family from "Leave it To Beaver." Think about your social media timeline... all those pictures of your friends' families. They look so clean, well behaved and shiny! "Oh I wish I could walk on her shoes for just one day." Here is a look at what you'd see around our house.

5:00 Alarm clock goes off so Brad can go to work. He hits snooze. I hit him with a pillow begging him to shut it up! In my sleepy state, I forget to remind him to take the lunch I packed for him the night before. Oh yeah, and the bag of uniforms to take to work to be washed since the have to be washed a special way and of course today is laundry day.

7:00 I hear little voices in the living room asking for breakfast. I tell them to sleep another hour. Yeah this mommy doesn't like to start her work day early.

They ignore me.

7:30 I roll out of bed getting them breakfast and begging for a shower. Guess what not even going to happen. But they let me change my clothes! Score: this is going to be a great day!

9:00 The big guys roll out of bed looking like a frat boy who partied too much. I feed them and beg them to shower and erase that stinch!

10:00 Its time for school. We sit down at the kitchen table and someone forgets their pencils for the 100th time this week... ok that someone totally me! Then the whining begins "he has my pencil" "they are all the same" "I want that one" This continues for 10 minutes until I threaten to send them back to public school. They settle down and do their work. DS4 and DS5 get done quickly. DS3 gets highly irritated that his brothers are so loud. The fighting begins. Mommy contemplated if it really is 5 o'clock somewhere! But settles for water because dieting sucks the life right out of you.

Noon: I tell the kids to start chores while I start lunch. I get blank stares. I beg and plead knowing that it not going to get done. I raise my voice, then I feel bad. Side note: they don't clean room and I know it has to be done so I do it.

13:00 Finish school and put dinner in the crockpot. Play board games with the kids and about lose at chess to an 8 year old... I lose to the 11 year old.

14:00 Kids go play and I start cleaning. Oh my goodness didn't I do this yesterday? Was there an explosion? I crank the radio up and sing into the broom. This counts as a workout right?

15:00 Brad texts he's on his way. I take the kids out for a walk. I'm trying to train to be able to run again, despite doctors saying it'll never happen again. It will... I'm more strong willed than they are used to dealing with.

16:00 Brad gets home from work and I'm a sweaty mess. The kids smell and the house is somehow filthy... again. He jumps in the shower. The lucky guy. I clean off the table and reapply deodorant praying it'll at least cover the smell.

17:00 Feed kids in which two refuse to eat dinner, one won't stop getting refills and the other two throw the food at each other. Dinner ends only two kids take their plates to the sink leaving me to clear the table. I tell them I am making a chore chart but forget by bed time.

17:30 Start giving kids baths and making them change clothes and do their chores.

18:00 Kids finish chores and are still rotating in and out of the shower. Three out of five come and ask for a snack. Seriously!??? I did just feed them right? We snack and have family night until the little two guys go to be at 19:00.

19:00---The witching hour! We tell the two littles to potty and get a sip of water and brush their teeth. They do this we tuck them in, say prayers, give hugs and kisses, give teddy bears, and read a story. We know the battle is just beginning. We go to the living room to finish cleaning up because the big guys are good to stay out of the way or should I say hide from any extra work they could be asked to do. The littles get out of bed no less than twenty times, until one of us snaps and turns off the hallway light and shut their door and pretty much tell them they will be forever grounded if they don't simply go to sleep.

20:00 We bunker down and play cards or a game or do a movie with the big guys. I realize oh god we didn't do this assignment today and I run with said kid to complete it.

21:00 We tell the big guys to go to bed and so are we.

23:00 We really do go to sleep... not really sure what time the bigs go to sleep because they are still awake.

Friday, May 12, 2017

EveryDollar App

I am beyond in love with the EveryDollar budgeting app. It is really helping us with our baby steps to get out of debt. Now I have to admit that we are not following Dave Ramsey to a T.  But his baby steps are wonderful. This app is an accompanying app to FPU. I love that it does the math for me because I am absolutely terrible with math and when it comes to the budget there is not any room for errors.

This app is being a lifesaver for us. We are saving money by not only missing late fees but we are keeping our budget at 100% accuracy and putting any spare money in the vacation fund. We are planning a few "lavish" vacations for the next few years. We are also putting money back for a down payment on a new home. We are so excited to be doing this and we will keep you updated on the process.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Free Coupon Book Day

We have made it our mission this year to spend as little on entertainment as possible... with a few little splurges. As always, we took the kids to Free Comic Book Day. This is one of my favorite events each year. My kids love superhero and I love for them to read. They got to see Batman, Cain, Spiderman and Captain America. They loved it! Each kid got three free comic from our wonderful comic book store owner. She is pretty fabulous and very encouraging to the kids. They also got to do something super cool. They got to be apart of a podcast. I'll attach the link once it's posted. I really love free events not only because we get out of the house, which trust me is a major perk, but they get to experience so many new and fun things.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Teaching Kids To Have A Giving Spirit

We are a Christian family. This does not mean we are perfect. In fact, it means
that we are far from it but believe that Christ's forgiveness is enough to make up for our flaws. One value that we want to install in our children is to have a servant's heart. Sunday we had the amazing opportunity to volunteer with our church through a program called "Rise Against Hunger." Our church packaged 20,088 meals in 65 minutes to help end world hunger. World hunger is not a production matter, it is a heart matter. There is more than enough food in this world so that no person should have to go hungry.

We and the three younger guys got to help package these meals and what a blessing it was for us as a family. We talked to the boys this past week about world hunger and how blessed that we are to have full belly and sometimes be able to pig out. We talked about how this is one of the reasons that it hurts our hearts when they are picky and refuse to eat what is one their plates. I just wish the two older boys could have been there as well. What a great time we had in fellowship with our church family.

Everyone had jobs. The youngest worker we had today was just 3 years old. Kids were runners. They would take the full bags to the weighing and sealing stations and then the sealed bags to the boxing station. They loved it and I loved watching them interact with the elderly members of our church. Both the elders and the kids' faces were lighting up talking to each other and working together. I was in a filling station. Brad was on refills. He was carrying big bags of ingredients to all the stations. He was so tired but we will be doing it again next year. Our goal for next year... 40,000!!!

We can't wait to help with fundraising and participating next year. I feel so blessed to have children who have a heart for others. This has inspired me to find more ways for my family to be more active in the community and help others.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Teacher Appreciation At Cicis

Today is teacher appreciation day at Cicis Pizza. Bring your school ID and get a free adult buffet. Thank you to all the educators out there for making this world a better place.

Thanks, MoneySavingMom!

DIY Planter Boxes

Brad has spent the weekend building planter boxes for our deck. Where we are renting we certainly do not have the room to put out a garden... so we are doing an urban garden. We are really strapped for cash so we are going about this the cheapest way that we know how. This past week we have been blessed with being able to gather supplies for free.

Brad was able to get lumber out of the throw away pile at work and a 3 gallon bucket. He is going to fashion the lumber into a vertical garden. I was able to get some planter pots from bushes that my parents had purchased for their flower bed.

My mom just purchased some plants for her garden and there were multiple plants in the pots. She is going to give me clipping and extra plants to start our garden.

I am so excited to save money on our grocery bill and not to mention teach the children new skills and have a little more control over what we put in our bodies. I feel so blessed that we have some skills that will allow us to do extra things that we otherwise wouldn't be able to afford.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Feeding Large Family on a Budget

I am often asked how we keep all our boys fed, because they eat like horses! I have been a penny pincher since I was 10 years old so I have learned a few tricks. I decided to share my nonconventional tips as well because they really do help!

1. We don't eat out... hardly ever. As we approach our 1 year anniversary, we have eaten out with kids in toll maybe 3 times. We always eat at home. It's much more healthy for us and saves so much money.

2. We don't do boxed meals. Everything we make is from scratch. This is not only due to cost, but also due to dietary restrictions that we have. We were dairy free though DS3 has outgrown his allergy now and we are less restricted. We are completely nut free and limit gluten intake as I have Celiac disease and DS4 is autistic and DS5 is severe ADHD. We also avoid red food coloring like the plague except on special occasions.

3. We shop multiple stores. We shop according to our meal plan for the week and we stock up when what we need is at the lowest cost. For me this means keeping a notebook with a list of local stores and staples and the average price I have seen those items at. Then when we are preparing our shopping list we cross check sales ads and adjust as needed.

4. We coupon. Yes, I am that annoying lady who has a huge pile of coupons that she treats like her children. We will buy a ton of items when they are an amazing price. I haven't bought deodorant in 6 years and no we don't stink. I found a deal on deodorant where I was paid $.10 a stick to buy it and I hit up all the local store buying as many as I could. A few tips to couponing: be courteous and don't clear the shelf, let people go ahead of you, if you are planning on making a major haul ask to speak to the store manager when you arrive and tell them the crazy amount you plan on purchasing... they typically open up a register just for me so that way you are not holding up other shoppers or frustrating the cashier.

5. Buy in bulk when possible. Shelf stable items that can be bought cheaper in a big box store or online are lifesavers.

6. Grow/Raise your own. Our current rental doesn't allow for a big garden but we have some planters with herbs and tomatoes. When we move next year, we will be finding a place with room for a garden and chickens and possibly meat rabbits.

7. Go meatless. Many of our meals are meatless. Meat is pricy and too much is not good for you. Fresh veggies and grains are filling and good for you and much much cheaper.

8. Waste not want not. We save all of our scraps. I have freezer containers and I put left over veggies, broths, bones, fruits and grains into their own containers. We use the left overs for soup. We will make a huge pot of vegetable soup and the fruit for smoothies and the bones to make bone broth.

9. Crop share. Barter when you can. We have herbs that some of our friends don't and we trade. Our church offers a crop trade too which is excellent. We trade our herbs for squash and peppers mostly. Every penny counts.

10. Meal plan. I am the enforcer when it comes to meal plans. I have four meal plans that I rotate based on season. More salads in the warmer months and more soups in the cooler months. We stick to these.

11. Attend free food events. This not only helps our grocery budget but provides for a change in meals and free entertainment. Plus, who doesn't love free stuff.