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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ipad2 Giveaway

I have something very exciting to share with you!!

I am soo excited to announce that I have teamed up with Bay Area Mommy , Swagbucks and 60 other awesome bloggers to give you a chance to win the following prizes:

1st prize: 16g Wifi iPad2 with smartcover (1 winner; US/CAN)

2nd prize: $50 cash (3 winners; WorldWide)

Mandatory entries include liking all Facebook pages and signing up for Swagbucks. Optional entries, including Twitter follows, will appear once you're done with the 2 mandatory entries. Bloggers also get additional entries for signing up for the Swagbucks Blogger Program. Remember, the more entries you "send", the more chances of winning! is the online rewards community that works, rewarding people for all of the things they're already doing online - search, games, watching videos, shopping, surveys and more! The Swag Bucks earned by users have helped purchase everything from diapers to video games - it's easy, it's rewarding, and it's 100% free!

Giveaway is open for entries from February 1, 12AM EST until February 21, 11:59PM EST.

Win $100 for Amazon! (Giveaway)


I have teamed up with several other bloggers to bring you a $100 Amazon Code contest where you the reader can win! This is as easy as you can get: Fill out the Rafflecopter form, Follow the Facebook pages, and you can take up to two weeks to do it.

New Blog Design!!

 What do you think of the new look?

Kristin from Simply Klassic Designs is amazing. Her prices are very reasonable and very very worth it.

You'll be hearing from me soon with some great giveaways!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Some cash for Chinese New Year?

 It's Chinese New Year! Did you make special plans? about winning $100 cash?

 I have teamed up with  Coffee Chic and some awesome bloggers and together we are giving away your choice of Paypal cash or an Amazon gift card.


To enter:

You can check out and like Facebook pages here:

and join Google+ pages here:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Freezer Cooking My Way

If you've wandered around this site much you know that I have my hands in many many things and many balls balancing through the air. I am no expert in any of these arenas but I also don't want to sacrifice any of them--slowly figuring out what works for us.

I don't enjoy cooking. I am super cheap. I'm not very good at it. There just isn't the budget to eat like we'd like to. There are many dietary limitations around here. So many emotions involved in food.

I like the idea of OAMC but it has never worked out for us: I don't have an "extra" day to shop or cook. We don't have the money to put up front (even though I know it would save money)

People seem to freeze a lot of casseroles. We don't eat many casseroles in our dietary restricted home. We didn't seem to eat the foods that many of the cookbooks were bulk cooking:(

I read in Family Fun magazine about a family who modified the system to work for them: having a once a month day where the whole family helps. I have had grandiose dreams of warping this for our family: us making meatloaf one month (I'm thinking 10-12 of them) using the food processor to chop that many onions etc and then lining them all up in our freezer nicely labeled.

Then another month we make a chicken dish and freeze those. Then....We have never actually gotten around to it.

Kim Wright. LOVE LOVE LOVE her. I remember reading about her family having many many crockpots and one day they'd cook a bunch of chickens all day and make a few batches of sauces. Then into the freezer would go chicken meat and sauces. Then another day she'd cook beef. Etc.

When meat goes on sale: I buy enough for the week and some"extra" for meatloafs. Then one night's dinner I make 4-5 meatloafs. I take all but one out 20 minutes early. Let it cool while we eat dinner and then during dinner clean up I freeze them.

When I soak dry beans and cook them I double or triple:  Dinner one night, burritos for lunch that week and freeze some for later.

I have also doubled black beans when soaking and made twice as much rice. Then I add some cheese and assemble into burritos and flash freeze. ALOT cheaper and healthier than buying frozen burritos.

Even though I don't follow the conventional freeze ahead cooking or OAMC plans, our freezer has been a huge asset to our family. Getting here was a process and a labor of love.

A lady I was working for offered it to me and then ended up charging me for it (maybe a blessing in disguise because I wouldnt have bought it otherwise.) A freind with a truck and strong sons drove a half hour away and picked it up for me. He refused payment or reimbursement for gas. I may have cried.

It sat in the garagde for awhile and I collected empty containers. I didnt want to turn it on and pay to freeze an empty box of air but didnt have the money to fill it yet. It's all a process:) RIGHT after I had our 5th baby a friend, her husband and older boys came over and moved the freezer into place and plugged it in. Doesnt sound like a big deal but it was something I had been trying to get to for months. I was just "recovering" and I wandered out to the garage to see what was going on and my friend sent me back to bed. (wise woman)
This friend has 10 children and more than one garage freezer. They knew the help it would be to us more than I did.

I mentioned that I freeze extra meals. I also stock up on sales. Not just the normal grocery store rotation but those once in a while things like when our local Fresh and Easy clearanced their grass fed, organic beef down to $1.00 a pound. I bought them all.

I have  another friend in a prayer group with a delivery man from a gourmet bread store. Periodically she'll bring me huge trash size bags of bread. Bread was a major expense for us and making it everyday isnt practical for us at this point. It is amazing what a huge blessing it is for us.

I also buy frozen vegettables. Like whenever I am out of town and see a great deal on meat or frozen products, I buy bags of frozen vegetables to use as ice packs in my thermal bag:)

I know that alot of people "lose" food in a big freezer. I go through ours periodically out of neccessity.
It is important to be organized and intentional though. I have seen people use dry erase boards (or write on the outside of the freezer) to keep track of what's inside.

Here is how one very organized person stores her frozen meat:

I do something similiar to this  but we use 2 lbs of meat per meal:) I buy diapers on Amazon and use those big boxes. I use a full sheet of paper to make a label that says "ground beef" "ground turkey" "chicken breasts" then stack the frozed bags like books on a shelf in the box. Then I use the box like a drawer in the freezer. Does that make ANY sense?

Ive thought it might be cool to have cute platic baskets but Im not sure if those would freeze well. I also dont always have the same things in there. When I do get labels down I think I will laminate them and change them out.

For now, I have started transitioning to  plastic boxes and havent nailed down my labeling system yet...just in the essence of keeping it real and because I have no pretty pictures for you..Wanna see inside my freezer, right now, unprepared?

Here she is in all her unprepared glory. She could use outside primping huh?
 here you see top row bread and rolls
next row chicken, beef, frozen fruits (like browning bannanas for muffins later or fruit that I didnt get around to making jam with but will at some point:)

 here a little closer:

right now there aren't many empty containers filled with water and frozen because I just defrosted.
Here is the under utilized door:

 There was an amazing sale on butter recently and that fourth shelf down was full but is dwindling quickly.

I have a standing freezer. Here,  Inspiration For Moms shares how she organizes a chest freezer. I'm really liking her Dollar Store baskets. I use those same labels elsewhere and they look so nice in the freezer hmmmm....

I'd love to hear how you organize your freezer or how it saves you time or money! Also if you have any freeze ahead meals that work for your family. Please share!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Weekend Reflections

 I have been reading some of the "bigger blogs" catching us up on their day by day. Wondering if that is something I should try. I can show you the piles of laundry and messy rooms but on this here blog there will be no "after" shots. I could tally all that I accomplish but do you REALLY want to know how many loads of laundry I do? Do I? Honestly? Who wants to hear about the mundane. It's nothing to write home about :) Yet, who decides what is mundane or that the everyday isn't worth celebrating?

I have been thinking about money. Sob story in a nutshell:  My husband injured his back the same time that we found stage 3 malignant melanoma on my back and I had surgery. 3 little little kids. No outside help. My husband was out of work and in school for three years. I wasn't capable of much. Somehow it all worked out but we have yet to fully recover. He now has a decent job, 1/2 hour away. We are living paycheck to paycheck to say the least and there is something about the timing of being paid every 2 weeks where the dates fall wonky and certain times of the year bills get backed up. We are there.

Thursday night I drove our boys to Boy Scouts and went to do our grocery shopping. Trying to figure out how much money we have and what meals we can pull off. Boys laughing joking and distracting. They are sooo loud. When did that happen? Seriously they are man size and LOUD.

I compost with worms. I put an add on Craigslist to sell some. If that works I'll have some food money.

There was a huge accident making some of the Boy Scout leaders late for our meeting Thursday night. I tried to link in the video but...There was a big tanker driving down an area that we call "three bridges" the tanker swerved and went over another car and crashed into the river below in a HUGE fire. The other car was smashed and dangling over one of the bridges. In the car was a young mom her 10 year old and newborn daughters. The car was a new BMW. I dont know how it wasnt flattened. Also going down the road were Military SeaBees bringing a forklift for them to train. They were hours away from home and happened upon this accident seconds after it happened and the car was dangling. They brought them to safety.. Wow. Wow on sooo many accounts. Wow.

I actually cried at this story. That poor mom driving down the road--it could happen to any of us. The SeaBees just HAPPENING by with a forklift? wow.

For 22 months I worked a few nights a week doing tow truck dispatch within the county. I kind of miss it: being there to help. Making a difference. But I was up all night and not able to fully live the life I have been given: this exhausting overflowing life that takes every second of me.

We truly believe that God will provide through my husband. We trust God for that but also don't want to take advantage of that. I have not "worked" since we have been married. I taught at a Christian School a few days a week while  was pregnant. I was the Director of a Crisis Pregnancy Center then too. I have done food demoing in grocery stores. I got really good ones. (Tassimo coffee maker for $12.00 hour. Adell sausage for $14.00 and at Costco) I have also sold Tupperware on and off. Tupperware has been very good to me. I went to the Farmers Market and stood and made at least $100 a week. (When I say "made" I sincerely mean after product and gas and everything)

I keep coming back to blogging. What am I doing here? What is my niche? I know my blog shouldn't be like anyone else (and it isn't ;) I know it cant interfere with my "real life" or it isn't working for me. I also like the idea of making money from what you are already doing and enjoy. I won a new blog header from KlassicBlogDesigns as well as this HUGE giveaway from SugarandDots that included advertising on some bigger blogs. All in the works happening around me.

Speaking of laundry. My husband has two makeshift sets of scrubs. He works 3 ten hour days in a row. He runs out of laundry. He also uses this:

to ease his back pain. Last night, I washed ALL his work clothes, put them in the dryer and went to bed. At 4 am he woke me up franctic. He had lost his bottle of cream. It showed up in the pocket of his scrubs and went through the washer and dryer. EVERYTHING he wears to work is stained. We can't buy new scrubs right now and he has to work :(

We had a tragic death happen in our church family. I want to talk to you more about that later too.

Well, that is all out there. I welcome any thoughts. I also need help figuring out what my blog is from people who "get it".

I still havnet posted this. I cleaned out a corner of our garage! If only you knew how amazing that was. We moved in here two years ago in the rain and threw everything in the garage. It never got moved around. My husband wants a week to empty everything out and start from scratch. There is no week to do that. He also wants EVERYTHING out but his tools.

In there now are a metal cabinet of kitchen storage, a deep freeze, a built in house Vacuum system, clothes for our kids to grow into, Christmas trees, an overflow of toilet paper, diapers etc, homeschooling books. 9 sleeping bags, tents, camping stove, bicycles, helmets, skates and pads, two bicycle carriers and a bicycle carriage, yard tools, tools, cabinets. some extra furniture and borken chairs, folding tables and chairs, two beds we havent put together yet....those are the things that I KNOW are in there can you even imagine what I have forgotten:) Our leaf blower, and weed wacker keep being thrown on the ground and I wanted them hung...long story short: I had a crying screaming teen and a husband blaming me and i went out side alone and tackled a mess that I actually could conquer: I moved everything off that wall to the front of the garage, for now. I then swtiched out bookshelves so my husabnd had more room for his nuts and bolts and found an apparatus to hang on the wall. I did all this in under 25 minutes. Later that night I went out to see if I could make any further progress and managed to knock over the bookcase of nuts and bolts that my husband had sorted into GLASS jars. HUGE HUGE mess. The next day I kind of cleaned it up and asked my husband to hang the shelf. He and the older boys were on their way to turn in recycling (for food money) He told me it was too big of a deal. I was OK with that. Little did I know he took it on. He didnt want to hang anything until we had the perfect shelf. He used a level and ladder and found studs and all sorts of thigns that woudlnt have occured to me. It took so long that the recycling center closed.

You know that terrible time of the day when every one is tired and cranky and hungry and needs you? I fell asleep during that. For a few hours. Then my daughter went to bed at 7. I think we are getting sick:)

****I am going to start back up with Tupperware. I will have a party on January 25th and earn my kit and book some parties. (Hey! if you want to pass around some catalogs and earn some hostess gifts just let me know!) I'd like to let you know periodically about specials (because I enjoy doing that) but I don't want to become pushy and selly HERE. Maybe I can devise a way to have a hidden link or an email sign up. I don't actually know HOW to do either of those though:)

This day by day has become a week's highlights/lowlights post:)

I often feel like I shouldnt post about things because I am not the best at them. Yeah I like my mantle but some people are amazing decorators. Yeah I juggle two teens and two preschoolers and one sweet preteen, but what do I know about large families? So many families are larger. Soooo is there anything you'd like to hear me talk about? Any areas where you want to pick my brain? Let me know:) I'm here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

GDA and general fun stuff I've found:)

Today is a tired, tons to do day:( I had a few minutes on line and found some neat things to share!

Walmart has the complete Start Wars saga today for 50% off. That is the widescreen Blu Ray complete saga for $70. You could have it shippped to the store for free, or your home for 97 cents.

Here a site with her act together has all the new printable coupons ready for us:

Both Albertsons and CVS have great sales on toilet paper this weekend:)

I make lists. Tons and tons of them. Ugly ones in all diretions on numerous scraps of paper. Id like them better if they were pretty, and all in one place

The letter 4 has a neat grocery list printable.

Free for us:) they go as far as to make a notepad and hang them cutely. I'll be happy just using them:)

You can read more about getting 20 free Valentine photo cards here

The Target Deal of the day is a Sceptre 24" Class 1080p 60hz LED HDTV Collection just $159 (Reg. $229) -you can read  more HERE

You can get  Eight O’Clock Coffee only $4.73 a Bag Shipped!

and speaking of coffee...
Starting tomorrow, January 12th, through Saturday, January 14th, Starbucks is hosting a FREE coffee tasting event!

This is in no way exhaustive...but I am and now need to go get some coffee:)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Provision, Providence and Sons

I have a proud Mom story to share. Not because I am so smart and taught my son so much but because he is showing himself patient and frugal. Indulge me OK?

For Easter last year my 12 year old son received $4.00.

A few months later, while shopping with me in GoodWill, he spotted an XBOX 360 game. Perfect condition for $2.00. He purchased it with the $4.00 he still had from Easter. We don't have an XBOX 360. He loaned it to friends and waited patiently.

He went to GameStop the day after Christmas and sold the game. He was offered $6.00 or $8.00 store credit. He chose store credit and then found out they were having a special that day: 50% more for store credit. So, he actually received $12.00 in store credit.

We looked around the store and found a section of used games with no directions or boxes. There was ANOTHER special that day: buy two games get two free. He was able to find 4 games for the PS2 that we do have.

He managed to stretch that $2.00 into 4 PS2 games and $1.20 in GameStop store credit. GO Zac!

Zac is a good steward of things and takes good care of them. I know that he would like to have the best and may even deserve it. It does my heart well to see him wait patiently and earnestly and make the most of what he has.

**Huge sidenote: this kid has managed to shyly and slyly sneak out of pictures. While his brother AND sister sneak my camera and take a zillion close ups of themselves and his younger siblings shout "ME! Cheese!" There are almost no pictures of Zac. Sorry for the bad pictures in this post. Even they took some searching and scrounging.  Hmmmph.

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