Posted in family, food, kids, money, Parenting, parenting advice, Uncategorized

Kid’s Parties

Every year we are faced with the same dilemma and as our kids get older it becomes more difficult to answer.

We have all heard the stories of a child who invites kids to his party and no one shows up. The child is devastated, the parents hearts break for their child, and society shames the classmates and their parents.

However we have also all been faced with an invitation to a party we cannot attend. My children have received many invitations and we are almost always the ones who do not attend. This is not because my child does not value your child and want to attend. It is simply because my family comes first and our own cohesion and time together trumps time away at a party. I have 4 kids, my husband works many hours in a week. So firstly if all my kids cannot attend I have no other option than to decline the invite, and as I do not expect you to invite my entire brood we cannot attend. Secondly even if the entire family is invited, we have very little time with my husband home for an entire day and so we want to spend time hiking together or enjoying each others company. I want to emphasize that families choosing not to attend your child’s party has nothing to do with not liking your child. But it is not just one party, when you have 4 kids and they all have multiple extracurriculars, and friends we have multiple invites every weekend… not only does that mean we will have ZERO time together, the logistics of driving everyone around, I will not leave my kids alone at a party of children whose parents I wholeheartedly trust, and on top of that it is all of the other people in attendance that I do not know and cannot in good conscience leave my kids alone with. It is not personal against the families and I understand the pressures society puts on family to host elaborate parties with everyone invited.

It is not that we could not come, its that we cannot come. I love and value the relationship that our children hold, but even when gifts are not expected, the pressure to give is still there, and a financial burden that my family cannot take on for multiple children every weekend that are not our own.

Now onto the point of my post, ever since we started having birthdays for our kids, we have made them almost exclusively family only. There have been a couple times were other people were invited but we made sure to invite the entire family because we know how it is, stress of leaving one kid behind, taking time away from your own family, and stress from not knowing who will be there and if you can leave your kid. We also emphasized that NO gifts were to be brought, and only family can give gifts to our kids if they want. I understand and am truly grateful that you would want to give my children gifts, but my children are already entirely blessed with material things, and I would 100% rather you spend that money on your own kids. If we invite you it is solely for the companionship. I used to ask family not to get the kids things, but have since had my eyes opened to the ingratitude that I was modeling for my children. If we have family that wants to bless my kids I will forever more be thankful for that. BUT as a fellow mother, I know what a burden purchasing gifts can put on families, you may not be that family that is struggling, but you may be and I in no way want anyone to feel pressured to struggle financially to keep up with societies pressures.

So once again I will say that we as a family have FAMILY centered birthdays. I do some decorating and themes but nothing over the top. I want my children to know that it is a special day for them and that their family loves them. We have many days when we meet friends to play but this is a special day for family.

So if you are out there struggling with wondering if people with show up, or wondering why. Know that it is not in all likely hood because your child is not loved or valued, it is simply because your kid is not the ONLY kid sending out invites and the rest of us are overwhelmed with the amount of parties. We very rarely attend them. I tell the other moms this in advance, that we love and value your child but simply cannot attend every party, and to be fair we usually wont.

I want to call on society to stop with this unusual practice of birthday parties. We have such busy lives and expecting us to put our own lives on hold to attend another families party is fine if it was only ONE but it never is. WE will never get to spend time as a family or accomplishing things on the weekends if we have to spend them all out of the house. I know your child is the most IMPORTANT to you, and that is how it should be. So why not show them in a special way by doing something special just with them instead of stressing over hosting a party.

My son this year picked out Minecraft so I handmade most of the decorations by sponge painting amazon boxes and I used those for the actual wrapping of the gifts. I made the fondant covered cake. Baking cakes is a past time of mine and I enjoy making these for the kids. The cake is always the big thing of their parties. Fondant is a beast, and I usually won’t mess with it but it turned out pretty good I think. For the small Minecraft element boxes I printed them off in color from and cut them out then laminated them cut them out and taped them with packing tape. My son plays with these all the time with the Minecraft minifigures he has. Our small family event turned out perfect just how it should be.

Posted in bible study, books, Christian, Daily Devotional, encouragement, Faithfulness, family, God, Love, obedience, relaxation, Uncategorized

November Bible Study

i may earn a small commission from purchases made following this link, this is at NO cost to you. 

Book: Copy Bible Genesis 1-9 by Springer

Each day you will answer ALL of the questions in the front of the book for the verse(s)

  • November 1: Genesis 1:1-2
  • November 2: Genesis 1:3-5
  • November 3: Genesis 1: 6-7
  • November 4: Genesis 1: 8-9
  • November 5: Genesis 1: 10-11
  • November 6: Genesis 1: 12-13
  • November 7: Genesis 1: 14-15
  • November 8: Genesis 1: 16-17
  • November 9: Genesis 1: 18-19
  • November 10: Genesis 1: 20-21
  • November 11: Genesis 1: 22-23
  • November 12: Genesis 1: 24-25
  • November 13: Genesis 1: 26
  • November 14: Genesis 1: 27
  • November 15: Genesis 1: 28
  • November 16: Genesis 1: 29
  • November 17: Genesis 1: 30
  • November 18: Genesis 1: 31
  • November 19: Genesis 1: REFLECT

Chapter 2 Verses will be posted soon.

if you end up being like me and you just cannot get enough from doing one page, I encourage you to check out the other books in the Copy Bible Series

Copy Bible Ruth by Springer

Copy Bible Esther 1-5 by Springer

Copy Bible Esther 6-10 by Springer

Posted in bible study, books, Christian, Daily Devotional, encouragement, Faithfulness, family, God, Love, mommy, obedience, Parenting, relaxation, Uncategorized

Finding a home

Let me start out by saying there is a Spiritual Revival brewing. I think you can feel the static rising. A revival the likes our generation has never seen before. As a society we have been straying further and further from the word of God. First its small things that slowly become more and more acceptable and then in the last year the sense that as a Christian i no longer am able to have a voice in the conversation of morality. If you’re looking for a home, you will find it in God the Father.

i may earn a small commission from purchases made by following these links. This is at NO cost to you.

I want to be clear whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, etc I love you. I don’t care if you’re black white or purple, I love you. I dont care if you believe in two genders or fifty, i love you. it doesnt matter to me if you identify as gay, or if you believe that being gay is a choice, I love you. democrat or republican, i love you. I may not agree with you, and that is fine. Do you know why? because it is truly not up to me how you identify or what you believe. It really doesn’t affect me if you believe something other than what i do. Do i want you to think like me? Maybe. Do i want you to be Christian, yes. But thats because i truly want to share in the love of God with you. I want you to enjoy and revel in the peace God has to offer.

Love will win, is something i hear a lot in the media these days. i feel like the meaning behind this has almost been corrupted. Because Jesus is love. And if all you do is in his name YES Love will win. It doesnt matter what other people are doing, LOVE them. Why in the world would you want to show anything but Love, to the person who cut me inline at Best Buy, i love you. To the person who cut me off? i love you. Loving people and showing them kindness is my job. If i have a negative reaction or hatred to spew at them what does that do? it leaves us both hurt and upset. it does nothing for furthering the kingdom of God. If i show kindness their OWN guilt may or may not affect them, BUT you know what will affect me? the thankful loving peace of mind knowing that i didnt do anything to cause pain to SOMEONE else.

Ok before i lose you, i completely understand reading that and thinking “ugh another Bible Thumper” because do you know how many times over the course of my 32 years i have thought that EXACT same thing? literally toooo many times to even fathom. I would instantly roll my eyes and change the channel or radio station if it was something Christian on. I would roll my eyes and think how can anyone really believe like this? I mean im Christian and believe in God and Jesus but is all this other stuff necessary?

I would hear preachers say “if you only knew. if you only understood what God can do for you” and i would think they were fake.

But you know what? They were 100% right! something has awakened in me in the last few months that i didnt even know was there. God reached out and held me. I have tried and tried over the years to pray and turn to God but it all felt forced and like it wasnt for me. Recently i heard a minister say ” Just because you tried going to church doesnt mean you tried God” And that really spoke to me. It hit me that all the times i attempted to go to church but was turned off by the judgment, wasnt God it was just a bunch of other truly flawed individuals trying to find the peace as well.

I can very clearly tell you that i have found God. In all of his wonderful blessings and healing. The peace and love and everything those preachers talked about for all those years. And i know you must think the same thing i did all those years. But if you only knew! if you could only feel and grasp this sensation inside me you would want it too!

In the news recently we have been seeing more and more artists come out in support of Christianity and God. How these individuals who by all practical units of measurement “had it all” but found it rang hollow. That they were not truly living until they found God. And that all of the material world lost its allure, its luster, it failed to hold sway next to the Almighty. And what we have seen from the media, from the so called #wokenation , is hatred, lies, dismissal. For a group of people who claim to be accepting of everyone for who they are, they certainly do not seem to be able to accept that the key to happiness and contentment is God. That the only valid differences or ways to think are JUST LIKE THEM. I bear no ill will towards these people, because if they really knew what God could offer them they would want it too.

Im sure you know that the more time you spend trying to do the right thing, the harder the world comes at you. If you try to work on your marriage, have you noticed how it seems like it gets worse? maybe youve tried praying for patience, but seemingly all you get is more opportunities to fail? Thats how its MEANT to be, you start focusing on pulling out and correcting something but you notice its going to be work. think of it this way, you keep shoving junk in your junk drawer in the kitchen (midwest thing?) or maybe the back of your closet… then one time you think nothing else is going to fit in here. I need to clean it out. (like in marriage, issues keep getting pushed aside, ignored, suppressed, until you explode and think you cannot do it any longer, you can either walk away or try to fix it, we all know walking away would be easier than spending time addressing it all) back to the junk, so you start pulling everything out, the birthday candles half used, the empty carton of chalk, the 52 cards half bent, the dried up pens, the dull pencils, the wine opener, the scissors, etc… none of which probably belong in that drawer. You begin to become overwhelmed with the new mess laying on the counter, where does this stuff go, why is it even here ( much like marriage, why am i mad about this, why didnt we talk about this before, why have i let it get to this point?) so the initial time is spent overwhelmed seemingly that you cannot handle it all, that there is too much to fix.

This is what it is like when you give over something to God, things that maybe never bothered us before begin to whisper into your ear. Maybe its the way you’ve been dressing, or the language you’ve been using. Suddenly you feel you have so much to fix all at the same time. its certainly easier to walk away and go back to ignoring it right? but deep down we know nothing is getting better. Facing the issues and handing them over to God is probably one of the hardest things to do. We humans LOVE our sense of CONTROL, its fake we know, but it makes us feel better to think WE can do something. But you know what? WE cannot do anything, GOD does it.

I can say that i am probably as amazed as anyone at my turn of heart. I know my mom sure is and i honestly have never been more at peace with myself. I know that i cannot do it alone.

NOW onto what ive been up to. I have been doing a daily devotional style book called COPY BIBLE GENESIS 1-9 by Springer, and COPY BIBLE RUTH by Springer. This has completely changed my commitment and time with God. I don’t feel forced or stuck, in fact i find that i cannot put it down. The old saying about not needing anything but God really has a new meaning, bc i can spend hours up at night doing this and want to wake up and do more. Eating, snacking, watching TV hold none of the comforts they once did. I used to use those as a place filler, to combat boredom. but it was like throwing junk in that drawer. It didn’t do anything for me and if anything just put off the issues for the next day.

I am starting a bible study with the Genesis Book, if you’re interested you can follow along each month. I will be posting Daily Verses from the books. There are questions and space to reflect in the book as well. I have found that more than the actual verse i read for the day, the true benefit has come from answering the questions on each verse, and the cross references.

If your here thinking But why? my only answer is but why not? best case? it helps, worst case? it does nothing and youre no worse off>>>

all of this to say that i FINALLY have found a home! i am at home with GOD and no matter what comes against me it will not prosper bc God is on my side and no one can succeed when my faith is in HIM!

Head over to my instagram account @thetinypinkclover_ to follow along

Posted in books, debt, encouragement, family, finance, food, kids, money, obedience, Parenting, parenting advice, relaxation, savings, travel, Uncategorized, vacation

How to Change your life by changing your attitude.

So Ive been a little MIA from writing the last week or so. We just started back with full force of homeschooling. We have also just gotten back from a couple trips. So with that let me update you on where we stand with the debt.

I refigured the grocery bills, i was over, but after talking it over with hubby, a good portion of the overage was the groceries we bought for our camping trip so we took it off the grocery total and put it on the vacation total. Still it was money spent. I mentioned before hubby is having a hard time sticking to the plan, and that i feel i cannot do much about that. He works incredibly hard and telling him not to purchase a case of beer or some donuts seems a tad too controlling. I believe by leading by example he will follow along willingly when he starts seeing the results as well. That said I do most of the grocery shopping so I have been sticking to the plan, and if he WANTS something not in the budget he has to go get it. This seems like a fair compromise.

We also had the majority of the school expenses come out this month. Which seems like A LOT but in the scope of comparing to what we would have spent of private school, were way ahead. below are the bulk of the costs

Classical Conversations Tuition for 2 kids $1050

Classical Conversations Audio Memory Work CD Cycle 2 $30—– if you’re new to homeschooling or even considering it THIS is the NUMBER 1 purchase I suggest. I would even recommend the Audio CDs for non homeschool, or kids not in the Classical Conversations circle. While I LOVE the classical model of education I do understand it is not for everyone and every child, the CDs however are an easy intro to the topics.

Old World Tales $17 with shipping, this is another book new this year to CC and already loving it. Its a great way to jump into reading time in the morning each day. The kids like the stories and it is a nice way to spend time together. This would be another HIGHLY recommended item for families homeschooling or not!

This year we also decided to dive into the AMBLESIDE online world of education. I stumbled on this by accident and really really loved it. If you follow the blog you know im a giant book nerd so this was right up my alley. We are not following the schedule but instead reading some of all the books everyday. I am less concerned with completing all the years on schedule as i am with fostering a LOVE of reading. The other thing i love about this ‘curriculum’ is the focus on narration . If you dont know much about that i HIGHLY recommend reading the book know and tell. In essence, it is teaching the kids to not only listen when were reading, but to learn. Meaning i do not want them to simply parrot back to me the books we read. This may seem counter intuitive with the classical method and classical conversations as a whole, BUT from my stand point i think it fits in perfect. That is bc the classical method is teaching them FACTS, but the Narration is teaching them to not only listen to the facts BUT to understand it.

The Ambleside year 1 books did make up a heafty investment BUT i will say that books are in my opinion NEVER a wasted investment. I am currently trying to decide if I will purchase the YEAR 0 books for my younger kids as i think they would enjoy the stories, but they are not cheap.

Again this year we are continuing with the teaching textbooks for my sons math, he started the subscription mid last year and it is a year long, so we will not need to renew and get the next years work until around february 2020.

Handicrafts is another investment we are making, this is something charlotte mason touts and while i dont feel its as crucial to an education as she does, i do think it plays a part in breaking up the day and having more fun.

the Ambleside Art is another FUN thing. my kids and i appreciate art and painting and so were printing the art suggested and the kids will be talking about it and painting their own based either on reproducing, or using the same method, colors, etc… i have decided to take a picture of their work and at the end of the year print using google photo books to keep as their portfolios. If you live in a state that requires portfolio i find this is a simple way to just take pictures of the work and they line up nicely on the shelf instead of files and files of crinkly missized papers. plus the kids enjoy flipping thru these.

Other costs this month that we were NOT expecting, the brakes AND air-conditioning went out on our truck. i realize this is a mainenance thing and periodically need redone BUT wasnt expecting it. SO i am 100% happy that we started the savings plan at the beginning of the month BC we had the money available CASH to pay for it instead of going further into debt to cover the costs. That said the SAVINGS plan has been reduced to not much BUT thats ok were still on track for basically everything else.

Another EXCITING piece of information is i published a short work of poems! this has been something ive wanted to do for ALOOOOONNNNNGGGG time. I was o nervous to do it but am really so proud of myself. I do not care if a single copy sells. Just the fact that i did it and its out there is such a personal accomplishment. In fact i have taken the step to publish more works. I have purblished a short math workbook for pre-k students. I didnt do this for the money but found that what we have used for our kids in the past for math hasnt worked great and so made a book based on what OUR kids needed. I was tired of printing them all off the computer and having loose papers all over the house, so them being bound is a nice option and also makes my pre-k student feel like big stuff. I intend to publish more as she needs them. I published it bc i figured if my kids need this other kids may need it as well and instead of waiting for someone else to do it i did.

This month also saw the second check off of my bucket list. I finally saw Joyce Meyer in person! she has been such an inspiration in my life and I love listening to her ministry. One of the things she said this weekend is that People try church thinking theyre trying God. then when they dont feel welcome or they see hypocrisy in the church they think they dont like GOd. The church is made up of sinners and as such will never be perfect like God. it is made up of people who WANT to do better. So if you feel like you dont like church maybe you need to try another one, OR try listening to online church sermons. Find a minister you like. One thing people seem to not like about sermons is that they feel called out. THAT IS THE POINT. to be convicted on something in your life that you can change. it doesnt even have to be something big. this past week she talked about forgiveness and how it is for YOU not the other person. THIS is something ive heard a million times before but sitting in that arena it came to my heart what that MEANS. instead of turning my complaints and irritations to prayer and praying for the person who offended me i have been stewing in the offense.

Example: someone cuts me off in traffic, now ill be the first to admit im NO saint and suffer from road rage. I KNOW the person cannot hear me yet i yell, cuss sometimes, ANGER flares, my heartrate increases, you can feel the rage in your heart and head. I sit there with my anger physically consuming ME, while the person who cut me off drives on with their day. THIS is what unforgiveness does to us. When someone in our family, our kids, coworkers, etc hurt us they may not even KNOW, yet here we are MAD and angry for hours, days, years even. What i took away from the forgiveness sermon was that i need to turn the offense into a prayer. back to the road rage example: instead of yelling at the other driver i can say “THANK you father for giving me eyes to see and that no one was injured in an accident” By changing our WORDs and ATTITUDE away from complaining about whats wrong INTO what were are thankful for we can be happier as a whole.

Joyce mentioned how were all a bunch of winers, and wow she is write, my foot hurts-yea but thank you father i have feet to walk on. My kids dont listen- thank you father for my kids.

You may not even be a Christian and thats FINE, the point of this is that our WORDS have an impact on our attitudes and emotions, which impact our actions and being. TRY it for a day, try NOT to complain and to change the complaint into a thanksgiving. She asked us to do this as we left and BOY what a lifechanging day that was. Something as simple as that gave us SUCH joy and exuberance we were giddy with laughter realizing all the mundane things were THANKFUL for in life.

So as i sign off with the update on debt and our last couple weeks i encourage you to try the same.

Posted in babies, books, encouragement, family, food, humor, kids, mommy, obedience, Parenting, parenting advice, Uncategorized

Getting your kids to listen

Anyone who has kids knows that kids are just small bonkers versions of adults. They have their own individual wants, needs, likes, etc. when most parents are searching online for help getting their kids to listen, its likely at a breaking point. maybe its been a long day of repeating, whining, nagging, tantrums, and more.

believe me i feel you, ive been there more times than i can count, endlessly searching the internet for some magic solution that will get all of my kids to listen. listen i know its irrational, and honestly you do too. There is not one way to get your kids to listen. we read these parenting advice books written often times by adults who have had little interaction with children and who present what to do in and IDEAL world. one where kids are always eager to listen, to be instructed. a world where kids instantly drop their own desires to follow your well guided instructions. but lets be real, any parent knows that it is more than that. that the endless sleepless nights result in low patience for both kids and parents. that the SAME gosh darn instructions repeated day in and day out grind on your nerves. that the food we make bc its cheap and easy isnt what they want to eat and no amount of bribing seems to help. youre doing the best you can but youre starting to question your ability to parent and raise these young people.

youve gotten to a point where you look at them and instead of seeing the bright beautiful shining face of your child, you see a tiny terror. and its time for a time out. now this isnt going to go into the pro/con of spanking, timeouts, speaking logically to them. this right here is for YOU. YOU need a time out, you need to take a step back first and foremost and forget the obligations you have. your sole obligation is to LOVE this little person. the dishes can wait, the laundry will still be there, dinner might be a little icky tonight. its all fine. give you and your kiddo a break. its not going to solve the bigger issues BUT well get to that. look up right now, look at your kiddo, the tiny tornado ripping thru your house and patience, and see the newborn you held in your arms, see the fresh face of them sleeping peacefully in your arms when you brought them home, remember the joy of their first word, think on that for a moment.

done? ok next put down the phone, tablet, computer and walk over to give them a hug, tell them you love them, look them in the eye and tell them how much you love being their mommy (daddy)

done? ok so now that were all back in reality and feeling the love, lets go over a few things.

first of all kids are KIDS, theyre irrational, theyre impulsive, their ability to understand consequences is still developing, they are learning all of the things you already know how to do. so many times we try to treat and parent kids as if theyre simply mini adults. theyre not. plain and simple. they are mini humans but they lack the abilities to perceive much beyond the now. think about the expectations you have for your kids, are they realistic?

kids are basically endless tubes of energy and it can be directed but not controlled. have you provided the proper environment and outlets for their energy? or have you just put them in a room with a bunch of toys? Do you look around and see a room full of toys? is it a giant mess you hate to clean up? have you seen your kids actually play with the toys or just move them around. if youre like we were, we had so many toys of all kids all over, they were never really cleaned up. and the kids were always getting into trouble for doing other things but we never really saw any PLAYING with the toys. kids are extremely creative, inquisitive, and short sighted. we took the painful (for me) step of taking away their toys, the hundreds of dollars spent boxed up and put away in a closet. we told our families NO toys for gifts (greatgrandma didnt listen but shes old so eh). sounds super cruel right? well i for one was tired of tripping on and stepping on these toys. I felt as though they had no respect for the items they had, for the people who had lovingly gotten them for them, or appreciate the blessings they have when so many other kids have so little. I began to feel as if my kids were spoiled and ungrateful. BUT you know what happened? we got some inexpensive totes from walmart, filled them with different things, ( lincoln logs, mini animals and maps for the lincoln logs, paydoh, magnents, dominoes, building block, and other educational toys, musical instruments) we labeled them and stacked them in the cabinet. i didnt take everything away i just took away their ability to easily dump everything. we limited the toys they did have into a few options. And the first few days were hard they wanted everything out, but we told them since they didnt take care of their toys we couldnt trust them with them. we put the ball in their court, both to learn respect, and building trust. with fewer options the mess was less AND they really appreciated the toys they did have and would spend hours with one box. i fully intended to go thru the other tubs and organize those but honestly they haven’t even asked about them so probably going to get rid of them. anyways these smaller amounts of toys were much easier for young kids to help clean up, there was not any overwhelming amount of different options, simply lincoln logs thats it so they all get put in the box. this has given them the ability to take responsibility for their things. this small thing gave me the confidence to take further steps on getting the kids to listen

is obedience the goal?

i realized that the goal isnt strict obedience, bc i want them to know how to see something needs done and do it. if i simply tell them to put away their toys they may do it but will they have learned to put them away when theyre done? obviously i want my kids to do what theyre told the first time who doesnt? but i also want them to have the initiate to do it without EVER being asked. i got a book on accident at the beginning of the year, i ordered something off amazon and they sent the wrong thing, i tried to return it but they said to keep it. well its called 1.2.3 Magic, i think there is a parenting version but this was a story to read WITH the kids. basically i realized with this book that i never actually explained to my kids what i was counting for. like you need to do x 1. 2. im about to say 3… 3 then some kind of punishment. did you ever explain to them why you were doing it? seems obvious now but hindsight am i right? anyways when you first begin to read it you maybe thinking, but im not a yeller, im not either BUT the principle is the same, and if you are a yeller, its fine bc this will help. this book taught me RESPECT for my kids as well. it made me realize that they do have their own wants and are to be growing independent. that a safe set of options will promote growth, and honestly peace.

im going to say that this HELPED a lot BUT hey theyre still kids so what else to we do? well my husband and i are firm believers in natural consequences. within reason we encourage the kids to be adventurous, and push the limits (maybe why we but heads with listening) but sometimes you can tell a kid so many times not to do something bc x will happen, but until they do it and it happens they do not see the cause and effect. while it is hard to see the kids struggle, this also opens the door for discussing consequences and our unending love. that even when they make a mistake they can and should come to us to find a solution. these small things like dont leave your buddies outside bc they will get rained on, they leave them out and get rained on, then they are sad… we give them a hug, and ask why theyre upset, well buddy got wet, we ask why did buddy get wet? bc i left him outside, we then ask, what did you learn, and what can you do different next time. they will usually give a good idea but we also offer other good alternatives, another hug and move on. this is setting the groundwork (i hope) for bigger issues. rebellion is something i anticipate, and i want our kids to know that no matter what they can come to us and we will love them and find a solution. what we do with our kids at a young age is building the foundation of our relationships with them.

outsiding my wildlings

we also believe kids BELONG outside. if youre a millennial like us, you probably grew up outside only coming home with the street lights come on. how much confidence did you build to figure things out on your own? probably a lot. now ill probably get some dirty looks here, and usually do at the parks as well. BUT i do not ‘play’ with my kids at the park, i keep an eye on them, and we talk from time to time, however they spend a majority of the time running around climbing talking to other people, falling, getting dirty, and more. too many times have i been given a dirty look bc my kid (heaven forbid) wants to play with their kid. they literally tell my kids that their kids cant play bc they might get hurt. this kind of interaction make me sad for a number of reasons, first of all their child has lot the ability to interact with children of their own age, but also deprived them of learning their own limits. We encourage our children to take risks( within reason ) to see what they can do. too often we do not give kids enough credit. If you are one of those helicopter mommas, i get it, its not really your fault you feel this way, maybe your child is the surviving rainbow child and your overcautious. maybe its because youre an only child and your parents full attention has always been soley on you, and you know no different. or maybe its bc you feel lost and unsure about what to do with YOURSELF at the park, i mean the imagination and joy of the park kinda lost its hold on me about 11 years old. you could be an introvert and dont know how to talk to the other moms. momma thats fine, where here for you! part of parenting is learning from others, in our current society, we are so isolated from one another that even interacting with other people is hard. This is a tough gig and i try so hard to understand WHY others parent the way they do bc maybe theyre onto something i can use. or maybe it shows me WHY i firmly believe the way i do. at the very least it teaches me compassion for what others are going thru.

letting go is hard, and i think with respect to helicopter moms, with the isolation of our society, its hard to know what is ok. as you might know were homeschooling our kids, we are wildschoolers, with a fluid curriculum. im only going to address the wildschooling part here bc it ties in with natural consequences, and a child natural inquisitiveness. kids are naturally curious, and very adept at getting messy, so we use that to our benefit. as much as possible we are outside, we make a full effort to go OUT and explore, learning about the world around us. this not only opens the door for a love of nature, but learning, and exploring. as far as safety goes, i joined some local hiking groups on fb, online hike it baby, and local nature preserve. this allows us to go out locally but also have the comfort of not being alone in the woods. maybe im overcautious, but one small women alone in the woods with 4 kids under 6 seems sketchy. the added bonus of going with groups is it give both the kids an i the opportunity to interact and learn from one another. the kids get to meet and explore and learn from other kids their ages, from kids of ALL different backgrounds, while allowing us moms the same. If youre a helicopter momma this would be a good way to give your kid some freedom while being present, and meet some new moms. like i said im sure you have valid reasons for parenting that way BUT consider trying to give your kid a little freedom

this leads us into trusting the kids. one of the biggest impacts of being more free range parents is that they get the rough and tumble, the messy the dirty, the loud, out of their systems and are better preparred to actually listen and obey. when they see that we do trust them to make good decisions and not micro manage their actions, the instruction we do give is much more likely to be followed.

yelling, crying, and tantrums

do you have a kid who yells, cries, throws and giant tantrum on the regular? yea so do i. i feel for you and want you to know you are absolutely not alone. this is something they have learned, it is a way to gain attention. im sure youve heard it before but im going to say it again, good or bad attention is attention. have you ever stepped back and noticed WHEN theyre going at it? is it at dinner time? witching hour, is a real thing, it when youre trying to get dinner around, your attention is less on the kids, theyre TIRED from the day, theyre HUNGRY. it all spells disaster and its normal, just take a deep breath chug a large glass of cold water and look them in the eyes, ask if theyre hungry? yes tell them youre making it, ask if theyre tired? yes, maybe, say why dont we sit down with a blanket and watch a movie why momma cooks, then if that doesnt work realize this is normal and your patience is likely at the end anyways so just IGNORE it. really its the only option. it teaches them it wont get them what they want any faster.

BUT if youre like me the other time theyre acting bat shit crazy, is when im on my phone. they cannot yet verbalize their need for your attention in a way that you understand. you maybe doing something completely valid on your device, grocery shopping, birthday party planning, calling the doctor, doesnt matter bc thats not what they see. they have NO idea what youre doing other than not giving them the attention they need. i read a story one time about a mom who put down her phone for the day and instead kept a tally of all the times her kids looked at her, it was truly depressing the amount of times they looked to her but what she would have missed on her phone, multiply that by everyday/night youre with them. we have become addicted to these things and havent even noticed in and are now trying to figure out how to get our kids to behave bc of OUR addiction. Its horrible, im guilty as well so trust me youre NOT alone. we have become so deprived of interaction with the outside world that we go on these devices to feel connected not noticing that its really taking us away from the people we care about the most! GUILTY and as with any addiction we need to address is realize it is a problem then set a course of action to address it. for me it is trying to ONLY use my phone when kids nap, go to bed. I can order groceries after bed, i can fb ONE time aday, etc… it will be hard and hey lets call this an accountability thing. it takes 21 days to form a habit so starting today put down the device and only check it 2 times once at noon, once at bedtime. print out a habit tracker and hang it on the fridge. trust me its hard i will do it with you, bc i am failing along with you in this regard. once you put down the phone and see all of the times your kids look to you, give them a smile, youre going to feel a little unsure about what you need to do. like lost, organize the pantry.

is this a post about getting kids to listen or about helping ourselves? well lets be honest its not ALL the kids fault they dont listen right? if we cant fix ourselves how do we intend to teach the kids something?

follow this list of things to do when youre feeling like looking at your phone and you will see how much the kids want to be involved WITH you, its a great opportunity to teach them some of the things they will need growing up, and to build good habits at a young age instead of struggling like us mommas now

  • clean the pantry
  • go thru the cup cabinet, toss all the ones that you truly dont need, be ruthless
  • deep clean the fridge, take it all apart and clean, toss old food
  • mop
  • dust (be honest when was the last time you fully dusted the house)
  • write a nice letter to your significant other, your mom, MIL, etc, and MAIL to them, teach the kids the art of writing and mailing, bc bills suck but a nice letter or card really can make someone elses day
  • clean the bathtub
  • wash the windows
  • go wipe down the cabinets, really they can get so gross
  • play playdoh with the kids
  • make a fort in the living room
  • watch a movie (sit in) on blankets with pillows and buddies, and actually watch it
  • read the kids a book, helpful hint find a book you can read several days, like little house on the prairie series, or check out ambleside online for your childs year, even if you do not homeschool these books are a great way to spend time with your kids
  • write, begin a story, have you kids illustrate, maybe a book of your days.
  • make cookies
  • make a cake just because
  • make cookies with cakemix
  • make a smoothy
  • find a recipe BOOK and have kids find one they want
  • learn a new handicraft, these are GREAT for putting down that phone, crochet, embroidery, knitting, while if your kids are not old enough i do encourage you to have a craft for them to do as well maybe playdoh, or clay
  • one of my favorite with the kids is art class, if youre not into messes, try to embrace it, im not talking glitter people, but rock painting, oil pastels are close to mess free( grab a magazine and have everyone color a page)
  • color in the coloring books with your kids.
  • fold the laundry
  • wash the bed sheets
  • fill a trash bag with things from the house you dont need.
  • the list is really endless but you get my point, we can accomplish so much more meaningful things in a day with our kids if we just break our own addiction

you will find that the more time off the device you spend being with your kids doing something, the calmer and better reactions YOU will have to them.


basically my point here is that as much as we want our kids to obey us we need to take a step back and see that they are not solely responsible for it. we need to help them by helping ourselves. EVEN if you are NOT religious i highly encourage joining a local church. i know you may be strictly atheist, but hear me out. im not saying join a sunday service, find a wednesday night group meeting, these can be parenting classe, marriage classes, even bible study. find a place that has dinner before. make some friends, allow your kids to make some friends. these places are great for teaching kids obedience. and like i said even if youre not religious there is something to be learned from the bible stories and words written. you may thing its controlling but if you step back and see it just as a tool to morals, you will find somethings you can implement in your lives. my husband has been the biggest impact here for me, he was raised native american, and if you dont know anything about their belief system, know this its fluid, they take what works and what they like, and leave the rest. i was raised christian and never felt at home but once i met him and we talked about this i realized that there is so much i can learn from the bible. that i dont have to take it in a condemning tone. i have actually grown in my Christianity and faith bc of this way of looking at it. so dont poo poo me or this part in any case if youre so bad off it cant really hurt right and if it works well then mores the better.

we all are trying to do the absolute best for our kids and want them to be fully functioning compassionate strong adults, consider what it will take for them to reach that and instead of trying to ‘beat'(not physically only metaphorically) it out of them help them harness those attributes. I want my daughter to stand up for herself so why would i punish her for standing up to me? (within reason come on) im no expert but i do have kids and have tried so many things under the sun. if you have something you swear by that i didnt mention please comment and ill try to address in a following post. thanks for reading.

Posted in family, food, kids, money, savings

Meh Pizza

Ok let me clarify this is a SUPER easy quick meal but the effect has been better than meh. They actually taste good, they’re cheap, and the kids actually ask me to make them. This is something the kids can prep on their own and make how they want.

You need flour tortillas

Mozerella cheese shredded

Plain marinara or pasta sauce( only a small amount save the rest to add to my secret ingredient pasta sauce)

Mini pepperonis

BBQ sauce

Boiled shredded chicken

Bell peppers

Guys this meal has endless possibilities try things you may not have considered like deli ham and canned pineapple, or tomatoes and basil, spinach and feta cheese with olive oil

All you do is spread a small amount of the base marinara, bbq sauce, olive oil on the tortilla, load up with a small amount of toppings

Toss in the oven at 400 degrees F, for 8 min or until edges nice and brown

Take out slice and serve, I budget two per person five or take.

Like I said this is great for kids to be creative and learn basic cooking.

Posted in camping, canoe, coffee, family, food, kids, Parenting, places, relaxation, river, savings, travel, Uncategorized, vacation

River Tripping with Kids

We’re millennials, my husband and I, and as such are financially eh well out of necessity, frugal. If you’ve been following my blog you have seen the debt journey we’re on and know we don’t have a lot of disposable income for traveling. But we have a passion for travel. So what do we do?

We’ll ever since I was a kid I’ve been an avid outdoors(wo)man. My dad was an avid camper and taught me many things. My parents didnt have a lot of money when we were young so they often took us on camping trips. i gained a passion for the outdoors thru these adventure!

My husbands and my first date was actually camping. We knew each other prior it wasn’t like we brought a tent and made reservations with some random person we met online(not safe) but we had known each other for a few years, and one night decided to grab a tent some blankets and firewood stop at Walmart for some food and head to a local campground. It wasn’t anything improper he was a regular proper gentleman, ruggedly handsome as he tried ever so hard to get he fire going (my bad I got green wood (fresh cut not dried or good for burning for those who don’t know)) we smoked hot dogs over the smoking logs, and spent the whole day talking and getting to know one another. To say our relationship is anything but fate would be a lie.

I like to think of camping/ canoeing as marriage counseling. And really what better way to work on your communication skills then being trapped on a small canoe in the middle of the wilderness without any communication or distraction from the outside world? You have to rely on each other solely for transportation, shelter, food, security. You are forced to work together to solve your basic needs. Shared hardship builds your intimacy with one another. Yes you will fight, it’s inevitable. BUT you will learn new ways to work thru it, that facing the issues head on instead of dodging or beating around the bush will bring you to the other side FASTER. EVERY trip we take it’s the same thing, and every time we return home it seems like a balance has been restored in our relationship. A peace and deliberateness takes hold. A greater appreciation for the contributions your partner makes.

Ok Fast forward a few years and many trips later, this past weekend we decided we wanted to take our kids on a trip and foster their enthusiasm and interest in Mother Nature. It’s a trip we’ve done a few times already and with two of our kids prior but this time would be three kids 6,4,2. As you can imagine a lot of planning goes into this. But one of the reasons we camp, hike, canoe, is the cost aspect. For not very much you can get out in a new environment, breathe some fresh air, disconnect from modern life, and do some physically demanding manual tasks. It’s a wonderful way to bring gratitude into your heart as you begin to realize all of the modern amenities you take for granted. Indoor plumbing, central heat/air, insulation, food readily available, fresh water, modern sanitation, phones, internet, and more.

Now I said cost is my favorite part but it can still be costly. The more you go the more you invest in upgrading gear. So by no means should you run out and get ALL the gear I recommend all at once! gradual additions builds a great gear set. I am just going to share the things they many trials and error that we have found to meet our current needs. Gear sets are fluid. But it is very inexpensive to grab a cheap tent at walmart, toss in some sheets and blakets, and grab some meh meals! the following are what we CURRENTLY use not what we began with! but if youre experienced at all and looking for some new options to add, peep these!

Tent, arguably one of the most important items for a family trip down the river. You will need shelter. There are many options across the cost spectrum BUT as opposed to backpacking or total primitive camping, on the river weight is much less of a concern. You can( I would strongly encourage) use a larger heavier tent. my husband and i prefer the big agnus brand for the lightweight/size aspect, BUT we needed a larger tent for this trip so we brought our much bigger heavier Fiend and Stream 8 person 8×14 dome tent

Canoe/scanoe, also very important as you need a mode of transport, depending on ages of kids you might be fine with a flat bottom canoe, but we prefer a scanoe which is wider, flatter, and squared in the back. They are sturdier and less likely to capsize with wiggly kids, they are also quite heavy. they are harder to find and cost around $500. for more remote locations where there is much more portaging involved we use the much lighter, yet more delicate, kevlar canoes. Or you can RENT, if you’ve never been or don’t want to invest hundreds on a canoe I would recommend this option. Until you know what you want for sure, rent.

Packs, well you have to have something to carry your thinks in right? We prefer Duluth packs, they’re expensive and high quality, very durable ( in fact I have a photo of a moose print on mine where it stomped thru camp) no rips, tears nothing! But there are so many options available. Make sure you select what will be of most use in the most circumstances. For the kids we got small jansport bookbags for each of them, doubles as book bag, travel bag.

Duluth packs are not waterproof so you will need to take that into consideration when packing. We use extra large medical grade plastic bags twisted up inside army water proof bags twisted and tied. All of our clothes and sleeping bags go inside.

Stuff sacks/ compression sacks, a necessity as they compress down all of your fabric into much more manageable sizes, while you can go heavier and more extra on the river excessive gear is not your friend. We have upgraded to our preferred compression sacks, bc they are waterproof and very durable. this will be one of the expenses on your trip that probably needs to be made, we use two waterproof for sleeping bags, and two regular for clothes(goes inside food grade plastic bags and army surplus bags) but cost wise it might make sense to go with 4 waterproof ones.

Sleeping bags, at this point my husband and I have very expensive lightweight and warm bags. This is a place that over the years we have improved and due to Christmas gifts been able to have something really nice. The reason we love them is bc they compress so much and take up so little room, yet insulate to below freezing. you can certainly purchase inexpensive versions from walmart, target, or fb marketplace.

Optional sleeping pads, you can sleep on the ground just fine and commonly we do, but I have camped enough times to find try value in a good pad, especially when pregnant. I’m not the spring chicken I once was so the long nights on the cold hard bumpy earth are not really what I long for. However in the attitude of saving money, this really is a vain unnecessary piece of gear. The two we currently have and use are big agnus, and thermarest. They’re the size of naglene bottles when compressed. i would recommend against large air mattresses, but its youre trip so you decide.

Food, for sure you’re going to need this. There is somewhat of an art to this bc you want the most for the least amount of weight. By all means feel welcome to carry a giant cooler (we did a few years ago, pelican, to keep my breast milk Cold) or like we more commonly do a small cooler for accessory items like cheese, meat (freeze as an additional means of cooling, ketsup, etc) don’t go overboard. Non perishable foods high in protein and calories are what you want to aim for. see below for meal ideas.

Toilet paper. Don’t forget it! I like scots brand with the cardboard roll taken out. Seriously even if youre staying at less primative and established sites with outhouses or indoor plumbing, they are not always stocked and you really dont want to be out hunting leaves trying to decide if its poison or not. its super light just toss it in.

Dry box, this is something we include on every trip now but started on our remote primitive trips, we do what’s called day bags, small bags of items we take on our day trips, makes sense right? So What do we keep in them? Even on our full moving days we keep things we need dry yet easily accessible in here. For a river trip with kids you might want to consider car keys, glasses, phone, medicine, toothbrushes, flashlights, lighter, fire starter, feminine hygiene items, mirrors,The best dry boxes we have found are actually gfs bulk large gummy bear and cashew containers. Inexpensive plus you also get to enjoy the tasty treats.

Cookwear, we have upgraded over the years on this also. We have a tiny stove and collapsible dishes. However not all new is better. With a larger group we use a cook pot from the 50s, and a coffee pot from the 70s. Now coffee pot? You’re probably thinking this is a bit much, but if you know me you know I can’t go without coffee, this old percolator gives such ambiance to the camping experience with little hassle. Sea to summit is one of the brands we go back to bc of weight and size. But there are many cheaper versions that do just as well. Sporks are really a must have. As are dish soap and a scrub pad. A medium size mesh bag, or even an onion bag will due, to hang dishes in to dry. Also you will need a larger knife and spatula. Water filter or water tablets. Not always will you have potable water easily accessible, and drinking straight from the source should never be an option. You can invest in any number of options, a water filter, water tabs, or the cheapest option just boiling the piss out of a pot of water, in this case don’t skim off the top but take it down a little ways out and bring up.

Life vests and basic safety gear are something I cannot stress enough. We carry a small sos with us in case of emergencies, it’s a yearly substitution but there are other options, if you will have cell service it’s less of a concern, we have rented satellite phones before and all things considered the cost was worth the piece of mind. First aid kits with liquid skin, bandaids, gause, antiseptic cream, tweezers, moleskin. Know you’re abilities and don’t try to impress anyone safety first.

Random accessories: pillows are a luxury but sea to summit has an inflatable option that takes up next to no room. What we more typically do is take one of our fleece jackets and wrap around our life vest. Chap stick, sunscreen and bug spray. Deet free is the way to be, rain gear(even if you dont think its going to rain i suggest tossing this in) we get the basic ponchos for the kids and then we use, marmot, columbia, and frogtoggs for ours, thats bc were not growing so investing in costly raingear plays out fine over time, but the kids if yours are like ours, will be wet anyways and going thru the woods likely will tear them anyways.

Paddles: we found inexpensive children’s paddles at for 15.99 theyre two feet approx. if you have the time prior to the trip these need sanded and polyurethane like 4 layers, if not make sure you do this when you return home bc this type with mixed wood will split. adults you can usually rent along with canoes at a local outfitter, if youre not a frequent river tripper this would be the clear winner cost wise.

Clothes: depending on the time of year I recommend one heavier fleece jacket, one lightweight long sleeve shirt, two water wicking t shirts, two pair shorts, one pair pants, long underwear, three pairs socks, bathing suit, gloves and hat. per person. Use your best judgement considering time of year and location. but also that weather can change.

Shoes I recommend boggs boots of hiking any distance, but crocs if you’re going to be mostly in the canoe or just around camp. They’re very light weight and dry incredibly fast. they also float, i recommend a bright color in case they slip off. Just slip on a pair of socks sit by the fire and stay warm. kids i would recommend crocs as well, but we also like the grippyness of the speedo water shoes.

Firewood: leave no trace please do not go out scavenging around campsites or along the river for wood to burn, you’re taking vital habitat for creatures and also disturbing the natural equilibrium of nature. Best to leave it be so people who come after you can experience the same natural wonder you did when you arrived in camp. Instead stop at a local outfitter before going on the river and buy some locally logged wood. You do not want to bring wood from home as it can carry invasive species and risk damaging the environment and delicate ecosystems of the river lands.

As this is about tripping with kids some special attention should be given into what to bring for them. We try to bring things that will compliment nature not detract from it. We bring marbles, paper and colored pencils, footballs or baseballs, stuffed animals for the tent. But really we encourage the kids to find their own amusement finding bugs, rocks, minnows, etc. one thing we tried and loved this trip was solar fairy lights. These are indoor outdoor but all day I would leave the solar part out to collect sun and then hang the lights in the tent during the night bc the kids don’t like sleeping in total darkness.

Ok gear down now what? Choosing a location

when traveling a river with kids you really need to take into consideration the time of year you are going. the speed and depth of the river should also play highly on your mind, for example is there any white water? then you probably dont want to take kids, you want to aim for calm shallow rivers, and a temperate time of the year, like winter in the north probably not ideal.

make sure to plan ahead and have a game plan in place. you need to have an idea how far you plan to go each day and where you plan on staying each night. try not to over do it. you want to give yourselves enough time to enjoy the scenery not rush and over exert yourselves. take the time to swim, or stop for lunch. the easiest rivers will be ones that have established campgrounds along the way. usually for a nominal price you can stay the night, and self pay. please dont skip this for two reasons, your fee provides for the camp to stay in commission, to have the toilets maintained, and water flowing. when you skip paying you also risk the dnr stopping and fining you in the middle of the trip, and no one wants to sour their vacations with fines. like i said the price is nominal just pay it.

check for warnings and notices before heading in, is there a fire out( no fires allowed), are there wildlife issues you need to avoid? like bears have been a real issue at campsite x y z, ect.  also in some states you will need a permit PRIOR to going in and if you do not have it you might not be able to go in. the dnr only issues a certain number each day in order to minimize the affect on the ecosystem. some of these book up months in advance, but if your dates are flexible usually you can still get in. dont procrastinate on this tho.

Camping meal ideas

camping tacos: box spanish rice a roni, canned chicken, pkg taco mix cook the rice add the seasoning, then chicken, add to tortilla shells, top with cheese, rotel and corn.

chicken noodle manhattan: camping version of a turkey manhattan:Ā  pilot crackers topped with chicken noodles, instant idaho pototoes, canned corn salt and pepper to taste. and thats it! super easy

kielbasa: several options here but a favorite of ours is two cans sliced potatoes, two cans green beans, one kielbasa sausage, slice up the keilbasa and fry until browned, then add the green beans and potatoes, salt and pepper to taste.

eggs and spam: just like it sounds slice up the spam fry it up the add in your scrambled eggs, top with shredded cheese

bacon, eggs, and pancakes: fry up the bacon use the grease for pancakes, and eggs, use an egg carrier, and bisquick instant pancakes, we use both frozen bacon strips and precooked, either just depends on your preference, and if you use the bacon as ice in the cooler. we use syrup in small plastic bottles from archer farms at target.

oatmeal: honestly super easy cheap and lightweight

granola and protein bars, rxbar, cliffbar, luna bars, are our go to

chicken bone broth: high in protein tastes like chicken broth.

shakeology or juice plus or vega individual serving protein shakes

shepherds pie: instant mashed potaotes, frozen peas, carrots, corn mix, beef jerky, salt and pepper, soak the jerky in boiling water then use that water to mix the potatoes, warm up the veggies mix and youre good to go

chicken packets and pilot crackers.

smores (these make a mess but kids go nuts for them)

fruit leathers


summer sausage

and many more options

when you river camp weight isnt as much of a concern so while it should be considered when making plans, it shouldnt prevent you from making some really tasty meals, we tend to use the cold and canned foods first so that it lightens the pack.


one of the most difficult things to do when camping and river tripping with kids is getting them to go to sleep, there are so many noises. the fairy lights mentioned above helped, but also reassure them. it ,might be hard to convince them that sleeping on a bear is as good as a pillow, or that the hard ground is fine. just be prepared and patient. the first night will be the worst, it is a new experience for them but by day two their pros.

riding in the canoe can be tricky as you have to carefully consider how you organize gear, typically you want as much below the rim of the canoe as possible. we set our duluth packs upright so the kids could lean back against them. we make sure to have the kids in their swim wear for the day, bc we get out and swim and canoes are just gonna be wet. once we get to camp we hand a line or toss over a fence anything that got wet, hats, shoes, lifevests, bathingsuits, etc. these portable clothes lines are amazing bc of the clips. make sure to have water for every person easily accesable for the day, and make sure to encourage the kids to drink, it is very easy to become dehydrated out on the river. if you think they may not like the water, we pack gatorade powder to add for flavor and extra electrolytes.

HATS SUNSCREEN BUG SPRAY, apply apply apply. the sun reflects off of the water so make sure the kids (and yourselves) are covered. long sleeve bathingsuits for the kids are preferrable. wide brimmed hats, and high spf sunscreen.

and there you have it, basic river tripping with kids. you will surely create memories to last a lifetime! the kids will come home talking about all the fun they had, the bugs they found, the messes they made.

Posted in debt, family, finance, mommy, money, savings, Uncategorized

debt journey update:2

ok so i completely blew it this month, i somehow missed an entire student loan payment when i created the budget, i have a medical bill i HAVE to pay , so i put it on forbearance for one month. This will cost us more over the life of the loan on interest BUT with the plan were using the snowball method hopefully we wont even see that. Even tho i put the forbearance in place to make sure were ready to pay next month, i am still making a payment next week on to that loan, it is not the ENTIRE amount but it will keep us from being continually behind.

we have made the major savings withdrawl to pay for school today. and completed our grocery shopping for the month. I determined to cut or grocery bill in more than half, as if youve been following, you will know that we went over last week. Previously we were spending well over 1k/month at hte grocery, this month i budgeted just $450. We had all the necessary items that needed purchased all at the same time BUT even with that (Bulk costco run for DIAPERS, WIPES, TOILET PAPER, and DOG FOOD), we are still at just over $450. i did some serious meal planning and meh meals, but i do not see a need to go back to the store this month. The only thing i am concerned about is that my children have devoured the bread at an alarming rate, tbd if i will need more of that before the end of the month for breakfasts, or maybe it will be pancakes every day at the of the month.

Again in my last post i let you all know how hubs seems to not get what a BUDGET is, and is still spending willy nilly. We are not serious drinkers but do like to entertain and this i have come to realize has been costing US quite a bit as apparently our friends are bums. They have no shame drinking all of our alcohol and bringing none of their own. So this month i told hubs im giving up the alcohol purchases, i will still have an occasional drink (maybe) idk im trying to live healthier anyways so maybe the cost savings will just be enough. BC of this i have let everyone know were not providing alcohol. well hubs still went out an got the bottle services… not thrilled as this came out of savings and now were having a serious talk about it. Like i said were not really drinkers so for such a large portion of money every month to come out for this is, well pissing me off (pardon my french). Any tips for getting hubs to stop swiping the card? I know he works very hard and i dont want him to feel like he cannot spend, but im also kinda feeling like he doesnt really care if we pay on these debts forever. Im like in less than 5 years we will have X amount more a month not including raises and bonuses. ARgggg marriage is so much about compromise and discussion.

Lastly, in my last update i shared our savings strategy, since then i have talked to financial counselors and we are seriously considering putting the college savings for the kids into CDs to grow the interest at 2.55% annually. which is QUITE a bit more than our .09% its currently in. since its the long term savings and we have no plans for it for like 15 years this seems like the route we will be taking. In addition to this we are investing in municipal bonds with a smaller portion of our savings. Diversify.

This is a new avenue and one we (I) am becoming very excited about. its starting small and building from that.

Lastly>>> MOVING seems to be even more likely given my husbands job. I am torn between taking on a larger debt in a mortgage, but being in a ‘nice’ neighborhood or taking on less possibly paying cash (out of equity of current home) but living much smaller… with 4 kids and a large dog this seems like it will be a huge adjustment. I know renovation has been working good for us in the past but it is SOOOO much work, is it worth it? idk kind of a toss up right now. hubs doesnt want to consider a smaller house but given the freedom from debt i am having a hard time thinking that another big home will be in our best interest.

with 4 small kids i feel a smaller home where they share rooms or where we split rooms in 2 (mini rooms) would be a good idea, i am an advocate for the outdoors and how it improves mood and happiness. if we have a smaller home in a temperate climate we can live more outdoors? ok well enough rambling now youre all caught up to speed. check back for more progress on our journey.

Posted in debt, family, finance, food, mommy, money, savings, Uncategorized

Meh Burritos

Here is another meh meal. This one is extremely budget friendly. I made double batches and wrap the extra in foil then freeze so when we have a night when we need a quick meal I just take the foil off and toss them in the microwave for 2-3min

In a medium size sauce pan add beans, drained tomatoes and 4oz shredded cheddar cheese, warm up until cheese melted, then add to burrito shells and roll up, top with sour cream and salsa with a side of tortilla chips and corn!

Make sure to check Ibotta for rebates bc chips and generic food commonly on there! I’m the queen of generic and store brand food! In most cases it’s cheaper and tastes the SAME!

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Posted in family, finance, food, money, Parenting, savings, Uncategorized

Meh Meals

So our grocery budgeting has resulted in many, what I affectionately refer to as, meh meals. They are easy inexpensive meals that the kids like and I’m fine with.

Instead of having Uber tasty, yet expensive meals all week we have started having one or two NICE meals while leaving the rest to be budget friendly. I have cut our monthly grocery budget in more than half, including diapers, formula, toilet paper, and dog food. We were regularly spending over 1k/ month. Now we are down to a projected $450/month.

I will be completely transparent, the meats are from our freezer, we’re working our way back to zero there. But in the above picture you will see a bag of meat, this was part of a budgeting moment I got three lbs of ground beef from the meat counter at our local grocery, it was about half the cost as buying three individual lbs. then I got home and divided them into smaller 1/2lb portions sealing them all in i individual baggies and freezing them. you will also notice it seems kind of brown, that is bc I marinated the meat for 4 hours before freezing FLAT. It stores super easy and thaws very fast!

Lawry’s are my favorite marinade but sometimes I will use salad dressing.

Anyways I toss 2lbs white rice in the cooker with 4 cups water and two bay leaves.

Brown the meat and then add in the stir fry starters( this one had noodles which is my least favorite, the better ones are just peppers and onions) but heat it all up and put over rice with some soy or teriyaki sauce and you’re good to go. If you don’t have one of these pampered chef meat mashers GET ONE NOW!

My kids like adding shredded cheese to it.

Like I said meh, it’s cheap, easy, and fast, AND the kids like it which is more than half of the battle these days.

Happy cooking!