Thursday, April 3, 2008

Build, Plant, Multiply!!

I signed up to get this devotional from Kym Wright and this was one that I couldn't help but share with everyone! Sometimes it is so hard for me to stay focused on why *I* am homeschooling my kids and why I am staying at home. This devotional encouraged me that I need to stay strong and focused on my goal!

Build, Plant, Multiply

Build houses and live in them;
and plant gardens and eat their produce
.... multiply ... do not decrease.
Jeremiah 29:5-6

Build ... Plant ... Multiply

When this verse was written, the Israelites were in a foreign land. They were captives in exile. King Nebuchadnezzar had forcefully taken them from Jerusalem to Babylon. Free labor for the royals. Prize from the fight.

By the prophet Jeremiah, God sent a word of encouragement to His people.

"Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,
to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon ...
verse 4

Jeremiah's first point was that God, Himself, had sent them to Babylon, to captivity. As a result of long-term sin in Israel, this is their punishment. And God took responsibility for their situation – being exiles in a foreign land – and says He made it happen.

Secondly, He wants to tell them to enjoy it. Now that you’re here ...

Build ... Plant ... Multiply

Build houses – provide places of refuge, shelter and safety for yourselves and your families. This won’t be temporary. Don’t just make the most of it, but dig in your heels and get your mindset in gear. We’re in it for the long haul.

Plant gardens – provide for yourselves and your families the things you need. Food to eat and nourish your bodies. Herbs to season your food, garnish the dishes and to provide healing remedies for sickness.

Multiply – don’t decrease. Increase your numbers. Enlarge your sphere of influence. Grow larger, and stronger. Keep your eye on the big picture. Don’t let the hard times kill you. Choose good things in your hard situation. Don’t just make the most of it, but make more while in it. Prosper.

As homeschooling moms, many times we feel we’re held captive to things – a certain curriculum, the law of our state, an superfluous standard trying to "keep up with the homeschooling Joneses," or having many little ones, a special needs child we feel inadequate to teach ... and the list goes on.

If we can just glean from the plight of the Israelites, we could believe that God’s word says to us that He’s put us here. This is no accident, it is divine direction. God takes responsibility for our situation, yet He wants us to own up to our part.

And just what might our part be? To "build ... plant ... multiply."

Build – dig in, lay a foundation, plan to stay a while. Let these homeschooling years provide shelter, refuge and safety for you and your family. Let it be a time of building up.

Plant – provide life-giving teaching for the children, good support systems and things which will help them grow. Then provide the fun stuff – the garnishes in life. The things that make us purr and hum. Add in the extras to feed the soul.

Multiply – bring in others. Be a good ambassador for homeschooling, so others will want to know all about it. Get involved with a support group, or start your own – big or small – to encourage others, and help them stay the course.

When it seems we’re held captive by the four walls, the math book, or the schedule – that’s the time to quit fighting and begin the process to

Build ... Plant ... Multiply

From one mother to another,

Kym Wright

Target, CVS, & Walgreens Shopping Trip

I found some good deals at Target this week!! The above picture shows all except the 4-12pks of Pepsi products that I bought today. I purchased:
  • 2 boxes Kellogg's Cereal @$2.33/each =$4.66
  • 4 boxes General Mills Cereal @ $2.33/each= $9.32 minus 2-$1/2 Target coupons and $1/2 coupon = $6.32 or $1.58/box
  • Johnson's Buddies Soap @ 94 cents minus $1 off coupon = 6 cents PROFIT!
  • Johnson's Baby Lotion and body wash $6.00 minus $2 off 2 coupon = $4.00 or $2.00/bottle
  • 2 boxes Ziploc bags(30/40 count) $6.09 minus $1 off 2 coupon. This was a bad "grab" on my part due to the sale signs being goofy!! From what the signs were telling me it looked like all Ziploc "big boxes" were on sale for 2/$5 but I found out differently at the checkout! I grabbed one box that was reg. price while also grabbing a box that was on sale for $2.50! UGH!
  • 2 bottles Softsoap Spa body wash $6.66 minus 2- $1/1 coupons =$4.66 or $2.33/bottle. My CVS was out of this soap/deal so instead of waiting and making another trip(& wasting gas) I just decided to get my soap at Target. :)
  • 4 -12packs of Pepsi Products $10.00 minus using 2 $1 off 2 Target coupons =4/$8.00 or $2.00/12pack!!! Plus of course for MI there is $1.20 bottle deposit/12 pack that we have to pay when we buy so most of my savings with the coupons was "eaten" up with the deposit!

My Total OOP with tax and bottle deposit was $38.65!!!

NOW come on my trip to CVS......

I would have to say that my trip to CVS was the best out of the THREE trips that I have done since starting to shop at CVS!!! Here is what I purchased at CVS....

  • 2 bottles of Palmolive dishsoap $1.98 minus 25 cents coupon = $1.73 or 87 cents/bottle
  • Fantastik Spray $2.99 minus 55 cents coupon = $2.44
  • Shout $2.99 minus 75 cents coupon = $2.24
  • 2 pkgs. Twizzlers $2.29(BOGO)
  • 2 pkgs. Colgate Total Toothpaste $2.99(BOGO) minus 2 - $1.50/1 coupons = 1 cent PROFIT!
  • 2 bottles Clean & Clear Acne Cleanser $11.18 minus 2-$2 off 1 coupon =$7.18 or $3.59/bottle.
TOTAL with tax before coupons =$25.39
Total after coupons= $16.84
Total after ECBs used =$14.84
Total after using $4 off $20 purchase =$10.84 (e-coupon came from signing up my card for e-mail alerts)
So my TOTAL OOP =$10.84
Today I saved $22.23!! I got no more ECBs but I did get $3 off $12 purchase of shampoo, conditioner, or hair styling products. After a couple of the comments below, I thought I would clarify that I would *need* to get $10.86 more of products between the Palmolive and the Clean & Clear to get $10 of ECBs. I would gladly go and get it but my budget doesn't allow me to do that so I will just try again another time to get more ECBs. I got what I could with the $$ and coupons that I had to use. I am still learning the ropes so to speak. Thanks ladies for your help!

NOW come with me on my WALGREENS shopping trip....

Here is what I purchased on my trip....

  • 3 bottles Downy fabric softener $12.00
  • 3 bottles Softsoap $2.97 with 7-day Walgreens coupon minus 35 cents/1 coupon =$2.62 or 87 cents/bottle
  • 3 tubes Chapstick $2.97 with 7-day Walgreens coupon
  • 2 tubes Colgate Total Advanced Clean Toothpaste $5.00 with raincheck minus $1.00 off coupon = $4.00 or $2.00/tube

Total with tax and after coupons $22.97
Total OOP after using $5 Register Rewards = $17.97
Total Savings after coupons and sales for the trip $18.32

Plus I earned $4 Register Rewards with buying the 3 bottles of Downy so I guess that would make it only $13.97 OOP at Walgreens. :)

Now after shopping this week at these places and Meijer, I think I am going to take a sabbatical on shopping for at least TWO weeks!! My freezer, pantry, and linen closet are bursting at the seams!!! Next order of business is taking inventory of all three so I know what to get the next time I venture out on a shopping trip!

To find more savings head over to Money Saving Mom and BeCentsAble!!

Weekly Meijer Shopping Trip

I try to do my shopping each week based on what we need and what the sales are for the week. So I find myself getting really good deals one week and then the next week or two not doing as well.

This week for me, Meijer did not have as many deals as what they did last week. However, I still came out of the store with a savings of $83.53!! Most of the savings coming with just sale prices rather than sale prices and coupons. I only use $9.30 in coupons this week. So after sales, coupons and tax my out of pocket(oop) was $110.01.

This week Meijer has a "Buy One Get One Free" sale or in some cases "Buy One Get TWO Free".

I only picked up one of the BOG2F sale items. That was Dynamo 2x free and clear 100 oz bottle. I got 3 bottles for $12.99.

In their BOGO sale items, I got 8lbs. quick frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts for $14.98($1.87/lb). I would have gotten more if I had more room in my freezer!! I also got 2lbs quick frozen cod fillets for $5.99($3/lb). This wasn't the greatest deal but hubby likes cod and he needs to be eating fish for health reasons. :)

Other items that I purchased at Meijer worth noting...

Green Giant Veggies on sale for 5/$5.00 I purchased 6 pkgs/$6.00 minus 2-$1.00/2 coupons, 2-50 cents/1 coupons =6/$3.00 or 50cents each!

I used my Raincheck for Life Cinnamon Cereal that was 5/$10...I got one box for $1.00 after coupon. I forgot to print off more coupons for the cereal before going to the store BUT I guess that was a good thing because when I got back home I realized I have 32 boxes of cold cereal!!!!

Post Cereal(Family Size boxes) 3/$6...I only grabbed 2 boxes because I didn't have any coupons!

Era 2x Laundry detergent on sale for 2/$6...I got one plus I had $1/1 coupon making the bottle $2.00!

Ground Round at the meat counter is 1.89/lb!! My Meijer also had "price dropped" the ground chuck to $1.69/lb. I decided to get 4.5 lbs of ground round. I like using the ground round for burger patties because of the leanness of the meat.

Pork Loins for 1.69/lb...I grabbed one!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday--Greatest Hits

Out of the 10 WFMW posts that I have done, I would say that my one on clothespins was my "greatest hit" originally posted on February 27th! Clothespins are cheap and useful for many things around the house.
Read once again about how clothespins work for me! So what is sooo special about these little things called clothespins??? They serve multiple uses in my house! Not only do I use them for their intended use--hanging clothes or diaper covers to dry, I also use them for....
  • holding rubberbands! I clip a clothespin to the side of my bill slot on my desk and then hook rubberbands over the pin.
  • holding receipts! I superglued a magnet onto one side of the clothespin and then stuck the clothespin on the side of my fridge. This way I have a place when I or hubby come in from shopping, we can clip the receipt there and the receipt doesn't get lost and forgotten before it is registered on the computer checkbook(better known as Quicken!).
  • holding chip or cracker bags closed so that they don't go stale!

You can usually find a bag of these at your local dollar store!

What do you use them for? I am sure that there are more ways that I could use these little inventions! But these are a few of the ways that they work for me! For more tips on things that work for others, head over to Rocks in My Dryer!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Have little children? Ever absent-minded in the kitchen? Ever been using a sharp knife and set it on the counter close to the edge and bumped it off and it lands just centimeters from jabbing you in the foot? What about setting the knife close to edge of the counter and having a little one reach up and try to grab it while you are stirring something hot on the stove,which happens to be across the kitchen?

I can answer YES to all of these questions!! I have a 16 month old right now that loves to be around my legs when I am working in the kitchen. He loves to be able to watch me work.

I have been absent minded in the know get so busy in concentrating on that beautiful creation of meal and forget that you have kids in and out of the kitchen or the 16 month old looking to see what scrapes of food he can reach off the counters only to find that he can reach the knife that you were just using to cut up veggies.

I have had too many close calls with knives and my feet that I have lost count!!

So one day I got smart!! I had just finished emptying a big yogurt container(32 oz) with one of my baking creations(or if you have an empty big 24 oz cottage cheese container would work too!). It was sitting there empty by my sink at the back of the counter. I thought what a brilliant place for putting all the dirty knives into when I wasn't using them! The container is deep enough even to hold my longer knives, like the chef's knive or butcher knife. I keep the container at the back of the sink(central location in the kitchen)!!

So now that is where I put all the dirty knives while they are waiting to be washed. I don't have knives scattered all over the counter or close to the edge for my little ones to grab! It even makes it easy to wash them because I will squirt a little dishsoap right in the container and fill it with hot water while I am washing the other dishes. I have even got hubby and my older kids "trained" to use the container!! I will admit that I still have my absent-minded times that I have left a knive out on the counter only to have hubby or one of my older kids come and remind me to put the knive in the container.

For more kitchen tips, resources, or ideas, head over to Tammy's Recipes!!

Monday, March 31, 2008

New Website and a Contest!

A few weeks ago, I found this blog called Homeschooling with Encouragement and every Wednesday she hosts a meme called "Weblink Wednesday". Now Val has taken those links that have been shared by over 400+ families and compiled them into ONE website!!! All of the links have been tested by homeschooling Moms, so there is no worries about them.

She is also having a contest...write about her new website on your blog by April 11, 2008, let her know that you posted about it and be entered in the drawing for $25 gift certificate from!!

Click on the picture above or the one that I have in my sidebar to visit the new website designed with homeschooling in mind!

Also join her and several others every Wednesday for sharing your weblinks!

Menu Plan Monday 3/30-4/5

**Thanks ladies for your comments last week!!! Last Week's menus were made with a not so great of an attitude. My “don’t wanna but did” attitude is gone and I am back to being cheerful about making a menu plan to keep my family on the right track! I have been spending the week looking thru my cookbooks including one called "Cheap, Fast, Good" from the library, my April/May edition Taste of Home Magazine, and even through other’s menu posts looking for new and exciting dishes to try with my family! I decided to try ONE new recipe this week to us!! I have all the ingredients for the Marlboro Man’s Sandwich so that will appear on Friday night! I still have meat in my freezer and plenty of food in my fridge and pantry to use!

Lunches listed are for the kids and me. Hubby usually will take dinner leftovers each day.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus, go check other delicious meal plans that linked at her site! **

Sunday (3-30)
Breakfast: eggs, hash browns, sausage links/bacon, and donuts
Lunch: Totino’s Pizza
Dinner: Long John Silvers (after evening church)
Snack: snack basket

Monday (3-31)
Breakfast: cereal and leftover donuts
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Crockpot roast, carrots, and potatoes served with homemade rolls or bread
Snack: snack basket or yogurt

Tuesday (4-1)
Breakfast: pancakes and sausage links
Lunch: sandwiches and chips
Dinner: Roasted Chicken(in crockpot & using chicken breasts rather than whole chicken), mashed taters & gravy, corn, and biscuits
Snack: snack basket

Wednesday (4-2)
Breakfast: bagels, yogurt, eggs
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Salisbury-Steak(no mushrooms & using stovetop), rice, green beans and rolls
Snack: snack basket

Thursday (4-3)
Breakfast: waffles
Lunch: pizza rolls
Dinner: stuffed breaded chicken(dh & I), chicken nuggets(kids), mac & cheese, and carrot sticks
Snack: snack basket

Friday (4-4)
Breakfast: cereal and toast
Lunch: sandwiches and chips
Dinner: Marlboro Man's Sandwiches, homemade fries and corn
Snack: homemade chocolate shakes

Saturday (4-5)
Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”
Lunch: ?????(it’s the weekend anything goes!)
Dinner: homemade pizza and breadsticks
Snack: popcorn or snack basket

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Singing Sunday

One Way
by Hillsong United

I lay my life down at your feet
You're the only one I need
I turn to you and you are always there

In troubled times it's you I seek
I put you first that's all I'll need
I humble all I am, All to you

One way
You're the only one that I could live for
One Way
You're the only one that I could live for

You are always, always there
Every how and everywhere
Your grace abounds so deeply within me

You will never ever change
Yesterday, today the same
Forever 'til forever meets no end

One way
You're the only one that I could live for
One Way
You're the only one that I could live for

You are the way, the truth, and the life
We live by faith and not by sight, for you
We're living all for you