Saturday, October 31, 2009


Isn't she scary with her spider hat?

Happy Halloween from The Zepf Life!

Great Deal on sheets

My older two needed some warm flannel sheets for winter. I was looking around at any store I happened to be in and either they didn't have them, or they were more than I wanted to pay.

About a week ago, my oldest daughter and I were at JCPenny for a return and walked by a display of winter themed flannel sheets with snow flakes and snow men on them. My daughter was not to happy with the print, but I very nicely told her that if I couldn't find a better price anywhere else, then snow men it was! She would get over it.

So the next day, I went online to JCPenny and they had solid color ones also on sale. The sheets were originally $49.99 a piece for a twin set. That includes the flat sheet, fitted sheet and one pillow case. They were on sale for $14.99. I then went to RetailMeNot  and found a code for 20% off. I went through eBates first, searched for JCPenny, then put my order in for 2 sets, $14.99 each, minus 20%, so $11.99 each. I did have to pay about $5 for shipping, but I also got 3% back from So all in all, I thought I got a great deal.

The sheets were delivered on Thursday and after I washed them up and put them on the beds, the girls loved them. They said they were super warm and soft!

Excuse the sideways photo. It wasn't sideways at all but everytime I try to import it into Blogger, it rotates and I can't figure out how to rotate it back in edit mode!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kroger Deals

I had my two youngest with me, so I could have spent more time matching up coupons and sales, but quite honestly, I didn't have time. This is what I got.

2 Smart Balance butter $1.99 each on sale--no coupon (only butter my daughter can use)
2 Tombstone pizzas 2.49 each--$1.00 coupon on 2
Sunchips $3.79--$1 coupon (one of the only store bought snacks my daughter can have)
Wacky Mack spirals $1.89--$1 coupon
Big K Orange pop $1.99
2 Kroger pretzels $1.50 each
Capri Sun $1.78--$1 coupon
7.33 lb pork shoulder $6.52 (this is an awesome price, almost half price on sale this week!)
2 Sunbeam bread $1.51 each
2 Kroger brand chocolate chips $1.39 (one of two brands she can eat, the other costs 3 times as much!)
2 Playtex gloves $1.50--2 $1 coupons
2 Starkist Tuna $1 each--$1 coupon on each=Free
Kroger corn chips $1.39--$1 coupon each(mailer)=39 cents each
4 Whole Soy & Co. soy yogert $1.29 each
Activia 4 pk yogert $1.99--$1 coupon=99 cents!
3 Poweraide 89 cents--3 free coupons
Snapple drink- $1.00--$1 coupon=Free
Silk Soymilk--$2.99 (could not find my coupon I had for that!)
Ms. Grass noddle soup $1.21 (husband LOVES this when he is sick)
2 packs Kroger graham cookies for school party--$1.49 each
2 Ricola drops 99 cents each--B1G1F coupon
Ramen noodles $1.06
Kroger baking coacao $2.19
2 Progresso soup $1.85--$1 coupon=85 cents each!
2 Campbells Chunky soup $1.22 each--$1 coupon on 2
Lipton Cup a Soup $1.59 (my husband and I drink this when our throat hurts)
Kroger canned pumpkin $1.69
2 Poptarts--$1 coupon on 2 (Kroger mailer)
1 Chef Boy R Dee Chili Mac $1 (the only kind my daughter can have)
bananas $1.08

This was definately not my best. A few things we really needed, the rest I bought because they were good prices, or free. With my daughters food allergies, I can't just buy the cheapest of every food item, I have to get what she can have. Some things I just plain cannot comprimise on, like the soymilk and soy yogert. We are pretty stocked still on meat and the basics, this was really a snack refill! I saved a total of of $66.58 with my coupons and the sale prices. My total after all the coupons was $59.16 so I saved 75%. Not to mention I now have 527 fuel points to use, so I can save 50 cents a gallon!

This post links to Frugal Fridays and Super Shopper Saturdays.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Heart Swagbucks!

Search & Win

For those of you that don't know about Swagbucks, boy are you missing out! You basically earn money to search! We all search the internet, so why not make money doing it?

First, click on the logo above, then create an account with them. This way they know where to send the money and can keep track of your swag bucks. Then whenever you make a search, just type it in your browser, or you can download their toolbar. You do need to make sure you are logged in, but you are able to check if you want them to remember you on that computer.

Then just search! Type in what you want to search on and every so often, you will earn a swagbuck, or five! Good luck!

I use it for all my searching and am able to win a few times a day usually. Then once you accumulate some swagbucks, you can go to their store and use it to buy things, such as Amazon giftcards.

This is definitely something you want to check out! It is for everyone and is totally worth the few minutes to set up your account.

Thursday Thirteen Favorite Movies

In honor of Thursday Thirteen, here are 13 of my favorite movies. Not in any particular order.

1. Sweet Home Alabama

2. The Notebook

3. Cheaper by the Dozen (both 1 and 2)

4. Pride and Prejudice

5. The Sound of Music

6. The Wizard of Oz

7. All three Mummy movies

8. All three Pirates of the Caribbean

9. Sense and Sensibility

10. Emma

11. Any Indiana Jones movie

12. All three Lord of the Rings

13. Two Weeks Notice

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Things in my house

I love thrift stores and garage sales. You never know what kind of treasure you are going to find. From old chunky frames, to nice shelves to funky decorations that you can repurpose! Here are some things in my house that I have either found at garage sales or repurposed from my own house!

The photo above are actually greeting cards that I got at a craft show. I simply mounted them on torn paper and framed them. Add some vinyl lettering and you have an adorable collection!

I got this shelf for $3 from a garage sale and painted it black. The letters are from Hobby Lobby, painted cream. And the sheep was 50 cents from a garage sale. The other items were collected over the years or gifts.

I love this frame, I had it for years but never really had the right size photo to put in it. So I bought some chalk board paint, painted the backer for the frame and added some ribbon. I change the saying every so often. Too cute.

This photo was from my mom. It came in a horrible brown frame. I got this frame from a garage sale for $1 that had a very ugly and lopsided print in it. So I combined the two and have a look that I love!

Finally, this shelf wasn't from a garage sale, but it was very cheap to make. My husband cut down some wood and drilled holes in scalloped shelf hangers. I painted it and put my curtain rod through the holes and you have a place to store othere items! Incidentally, all those baskets were purchased BEFORE we had kids and I knew the value of a dollar! You can't tell but there are some birds up there, 2 geese, a robin and a pea hen, the pea hen was from a garage sale for 50 cents.

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesdays

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Today I am going to get a little serious. I have always been a "glass is half full" kind of girl. I try to always look on the bright side of things and it takes a lot to get me down. Even before I had my 4th child, when I had a miscarriage and a tubal pregnancy within a few months of each other, I was thankful that I had 3 healthy children. There are many that cannot have any, so I felt blessed to have three.

I have always been thankful for my wonderful husband. Everytime I asked him if we could have "just one more" baby, he agreed each time, knowing I really wanted another. He makes me laugh and learn how to let go of things. He is a real manly guy. He is very tall, handsome and would not be caught dead wearing pink. He is a hard worker and very determined. He is one of the most generous people I know, and every day I fall more and more in love with him.

I am thankful for all 4 of my kids. Who knew your kids could all be so different. They are different in so many ways, they make me proud and make me laugh and cry. They are all healthy, loving, smart kids and I love each and every one of them. Each day is a wonderful adventure.

I am thankful that my parents are still around. My kids adore their grandma and poppy and they love their grandkids. Dad is always around to pitch in a helping hand, especially when something breaks and my mom is always there to make chicken soup or just be there wherever, whenever you need her.

I have often said, especially lately, how grateful I am for what I have. If this is all I am meant to have in life, I am okay with that. I know many people who are always waiting to attain that next big thing. That bigger house, nicer car, higher paying job, the list goes on and on. I feel sorry for those people, I think they miss out on being happy. They miss out on the joys of everyday life.

I love my house, sure for some it seems small, but I have always loved it and still do today. I love my mini van, it is a very dependable car, I am so glad we spent a little more up front for something that will last a very long time. Most importantly, it will be paid off in a couple of months. And that makes me like it even more. Are they the biggest or the best? No, but they are mine.

Not everyone has the same. Some may have more than you and some may have less than you. But that is okay. Think of how boring it would be without diversity. In this day and age, people are being forced to rethink some things. They are spending more time at home, cooking more meals at home and spending time together as a family. That is a good thing.

I have always said that no matter how much or how little you have, there are always people that wish they could be in your shoes. Maybe they can't have kids, maybe they have so much debt it keeps them up at night. Maybe they don't have a loving relationship with their husband. Maybe their child is sick. Maybe they have just lost their source of income. Or maybe they simply love your outlook on life and wish that they too could be content with what they have.

Sometimes the things we think of as a "bad" thing, causes us to be the most creative.

I am very content. Life is good. I wouldn't trade my family and my relationships for all the money in the world.

This links to Gratituesday and Finer Things Friday 

Homemade Cleaners

If you would have told me about a year ago that I would be making my own cleaners, I would have told you that you were crazy. A year ago, I was pregnant with our fourth child, working part time, 2 in elementary school and one at home. Add to that the various projects around the house, the normal everyday upkeep, the kids’ activities, doctors and dentist visits, two dogs and two cats to care for and the list goes on and on, you get the picture. I felt I simply did not have the time.

Then I read more and more books on being frugal, again, the list is too long to mention them, maybe in another post. Not to mention that various people in our family have asthma and allergies and all those chemicals do not help it. So I thought, what the hay, let’s try it.

I started small, with simply vinegar and water, I have read all kinds of recipes but I use a 2:1 ratio of water and vinegar in my spray bottle. I used this for quite a while as an all purpose cleaner in my kitchen and bathrooms, but didn’t do the mirrors or windows with it. And I still use it today as an all purpose cleaner.

Then I moved on to cleaning the toilets with baking soda and vinegar. I put baking soda in one of my empty, very large, spice containers. I sprinkle it in the bowl along with some vinegar sprayed from my bottle and let it sit for a few minutes. It will start to bubble and then I simply clean with a toilet brush. And then you have a sparkly toilet! I also use baking soda to sprinkle on my carpets and let it sit for a while. Then I vacuum it up, this helps to remove the odor from the carpets!

Then I was talking to my great friend Jeannie and we happened to mention that both of our husbands were joking with us about our “concoctions” that we come up with for cleaning. She gave me a recipe for Alkaline Cleaner and one for window cleaner. The alkaline cleaner is 2 tsp borax, 3 squirts of liquid soap, 1/2 tsp washing soda and 2 cups water, that is it. Combine and shake well. The Window cleaner is 1/3 cup vinegar, 3 squirts liquid soap and 2 cups water. Same thing, combine and shake well.

I love those. I use the window cleaner for my mirrors and windows with wadded up newspaper (also new to me) and they get so clean! As for the alkaline cleanser, it even gets out Kool-Aid stains on my kitchen counter.

Then about 2 weeks ago I found a recipe for homemade dishwashing detergent here. With 6 people in our house and me baking about every other day, our dishwasher gets ran at least once a day, sometimes even twice. And we have hard water, so I cannot use the cheap cleansers, or our dishes do not come out clean. I have used this recipe for about 2 weeks now and love it. I omit the essential oil and just mix Arm and Hammer Super Soda wash and Borax together as is in a container and shake it up to mix them. Both of which I can find at our local large grocery chain. Then I put 2 tablespoons in my washing machine and run it. It comes out so clean it is amazing. I have not tried the vinegar as I have lots of free rinse aid from couponing, so I cannot comment on that.

My friend Jeannie and I are going to get together in a couple of weeks and try making this recipe for homemade laundry soap. I am very interested as I have a front loading washing machine and am anxious to see how it works since I have to buy the low suds kind for the high efficiency washers. I’ll let you know how that goes!

So, all in all, I would say that I love making my own cleaners. Is it a cost savings? Absolutely. However, the main reason I do it, is to avoid all those extra chemicals they put in cleaners. Who wants to breathe that stuff anyway? And as for time? It only takes seconds to mix up the cleaners that I already make and use. The exception might be the laundry detergent. However I have heard that it cost pennies per load with the homemade kind, so the money return might be worth the time investment.

So, do you have any recipes for cleaners that you love? Share them in a comment below!

Make sure you check out Life As Mom for more Frugal Fridays, and We Are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesdays.

Monday, October 26, 2009

October 25 Menu Plan

This is our first week of no soccer practice where I had to have dinner in a hurry, so I am looking forward to some nicer meals. This is a no pay week for me, so I only work two days, so on the days I am home, I will bake something and make a nicer meal from scratch.

Sunday, October 25
We have a birthday party for my nephew, so dinner will be quicker than usual today.
  • brunch with turkey bacon or sausage (whatever I have), pancakes and toast (no eggs due to the egg allergy)
  • steak, broccoli and ramen noodle stir fry
Work days I always cook quicker meals then usual. Here is my list of breakfasts, lunch and dinners for the week. And as a side note, all my recipes and meals are egg, dairy, treenut and peanut free, unless noted.
Breakfast--pumpkin muffins, spice muffins, waffles, cinnamon rolls, cold cereal, lazy granola (I make a batch of the muffins and grznola almost every week and then the girls just choose in the morning what they want for breakfast. Except for brunch and cinnamon roll days, then we all eat the same.

Lunches--some days the older two will buy at school, leftovers, sandwiches, homemade soup

  • spaghetti with Grandma Vinnies sauce (this is my best friend's mom's recipe, it is the best I have ever had and makes enough for 3 meals for us and is my family favorite, I will see if I can share the recipe) and homemade breadsticks
  • baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gray and a vegetable. After we eat this, I will take the carcass and pick off the chicken that is left on it to save for the next night. I will put the carcass, garlic, drippings still in pan and leftover gravy and put it in a big stock pot. I will add about a gallon of water to it and cook it until boiling, then turn it down and let it simmer for an hour or so. This makes homemade chicken stock. This I freeze for future use.
  • leftover chicken mixed with barbeque sauce, vegie and rice
  • hamburger spanish rice and corn
  • homemade pizza and bread sticks
Depending on if anyone gets sick again, I might make homemade chicken soup with the frozen chicken stock.

Visit Orgjunkie for more menu ideas.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Edible Playdough

Two Saturday's ago, it was too cold for me to go to my oldest daughters soccer game, because my 7 month old son had an ear infection and I didn't want him out in the damp weather. Since my husband is the assistant coach, he had to go. So I was home with my 3 youngest and decided since we couldn't play outside, that we would do something inside. So I made edible playdough.

I have seen this recipe made with non-fat dry milk and peanut butter, both of which my youngest daughter cannot have. So this is the recipe that I came up with.

Mix equal parts Sun Butter, honey and powdered sugar. The sun butter I get at a local store, but you can find it here, it is butter made from sunflower seeds and is similar to peanut butter in texture and is sweeter than soy butter, so I use it in all my recipes that would call for peanut butter. It turned out a little softer than I thought it should, maybe since the sun butter is a little more liquid than peanut butter, so next time I might add a little more powdered sugar. I used one cup of each and simply mixed together.

They used cookie cutters and utensils to "cook" with it, while nibbling on it of course.

Here is my second oldest working on her "dough" for baking.

This was labeled a keeper by my two youngest daughters. I was even able to store it in a container and pull it out later in the day for them to play with again.

Eventually sprinkles ended up in it and I decided to call it quits on the edible play dough. They don't need to eat that much sugar! But I will definately make it again.

This links to Tasty Tuesday and Ultimate Recipe Swap.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cereal Anyone?

Excuse the quality, it was taken with my phone so I could text it to daddy.

Well, my little guy had his first Cheerios the other day. I broken them in half and he loved them. He would gum them up, as he still has no teeth! Now normally, this is a happy occasion and one just gives them to their child with theirr only worry being will they choke? However, to a family that has food allergies, with each new food, you wonder, will he have a reaction to this? I am happy to say that so far my son has had no reaction to Cheerios, which contains corn and wheat, so that was some good news!

Isn't he cute? He looks just like his daddy, who is also very handsome!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blogs that I follow

Well, since I am new to blogging and have only just started a few days ago, I thought I would share the blogs that I love and check every day. These are the blogs that inspired me to start blogging. I like them for different reasons. Either I get great recipes, frugal tips, inspiration or simply love hearing about their kids, or all of the above!

So here goes, the list of some of my favorite blogs, this isn't all of them, just my most favorite.

Money Saving Mom--love the deals, tips, recipes, photos of kids.

Life As Mom--great recipes, tips and photos of kids.

Heavenly Homemakers--awesome source for how to eat healthy.

A Simple Walk--great frugal advice.

The Finer Things in Life--wonderful frugal tips and stories about family life.

My 3 Little Women--love the kids, they are so darn cute!

Getting Ahead--again, great frugal advice.

We are THAT Family--just plain funny!

The Grocery Cart Challenge--I love seeing what she gets for her $60 grocery budget for the week.

320 Sycamore--love seeing what junk she has turned into a treasure.

Owlhaven--insite to a large family.

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam--wonderful tips for dressing fabulous, love her Frugal Fashionista series.

NieNie Dialogues--very inspiring.

Under $1000 per Month--having enough on a meager salary, also very inspiring.

So, there you have it, my favorite blogs that I check every day! I feel lost if I miss a day!

What are some of your favorite blogs? List them below and I just might have to add on to my list!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


My 4 year old is quite adorable, we always joke that she is so smart and cute but that she uses it for evil instead of good. This is her playing dressup one day in her sisters old costume. There are some days where she spends her whole day in trouble from the moment her foot hits the floor in the morning, until when she finally goes to bed at night.

If she is quiet, you better find out where she is.

She just may have squirted the entire bottle of hand soap into the bathroom sink. No worries about wasted soap, she plugged the sink first, so that her Barbie’s could have a bubble bath.

And toilet paper, isn’t really for wiping bottoms, it is to be used to decorate the bathroom for a party.

When it is used for your bottom, we must use a minimum of half the roll. She likes to keep her dad’s plunging skills in check.

Did you know that now that it is getting cold, you can still wear your shorts? You just wear them over top of your pants.

Who needs to worry about getting food on your clothes, when you are wearing 3 shirts and 3 pairs of pants? Just peal off a layer.

She is definitely jumping on the going green band wagon. Who needs paper for your pen when your leg will do just fine?

Her hair must be “beautiful,” it must be brushed down flat on both sides. Never mind the bed head in the back, who sees that from the front?

If there is a puddle, she will not step in it accidentally on purpose but do a cannon ball into it, who wants dry pants, socks and shoes anyway?

Boy does she love to sing. She can make a song about anything, even some things that really are not appropriate to sing about that happen in the aforementioned party room.

And be super careful what you say, because one day, she might say the exact same thing back to you and then what? Try digging yourself out of that whole.

And let’s not even go into her ability to pull one over on her mom, only to have it dawn on me later that is exactly what she did.

And depending on the day, and her mood and if she just got caught doing any of the above, she can walk by the cat and briefly give them a kick. When you catch her doing this, she gives you the “look away woman, there is nothing to see here” look.

She has always seemed so little, to us anyway. And she has multiple food allergies on top of being so tiny, which adds to the frail like quality of her, maybe because she can’t eat a lot of the high fat dairy products and processed foods. She can also be the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful kid ever and those times are wonderful. However there are many days that I am thankful for her spunkiness. It is this that will help her to deal with her food allergies as she gets older and keep her safe.

And that is spunkiness, 4 year old style.

And she is definately a Finer Thing. For more Finer Things, check out Amy at The Finer Things in Life.

Thursday Thirteen

In honor of Thursday Thirteen, here are 13 Random things about me

1. I have never seen the movie Casa Blanca

2. My husband and I dated in junior high

3. My favorite food is pizza

4. I am a coupon geek

5. I am a chocoholic

6. I am afraid of heights

7. I always eat the green M&M’s last, brown ones first

8. My foot grew ½ shoe size with each pregnancy except my last

9. I love period movies such as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma

10. I am a morning person

11. I am a very fast reader

12. I have MANY books on being frugal, too many to name them actually

13. I am obsessed with shows and books on large families

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cheaper Formula and other deals

First of all, a big thanks to MoneySavingMom for posting about Her article here listed the deals that she had gotten from them. I had never heard of them, so I checked them out and couldn't believe their price on formula!

I am unable to breast feed (which is a whole other post) and have to formula feed. Also, our third and now our fourth child has had to be on the Similac Alimentum which is the hypoallergenic formula. If you are not familiar with this formula it is very expensive. I was able to purchase not only the deals that Money Saving Mom mentioned (Suave and Kotex) but I also ordered 10 bottles of the ready to feed formula.

Here is the breakdown:

5 Suave Shampoo $ .60 each after $ .50 coupon
2 Kotex panty liners $ .66 each after $ .50 coupon
1 Suave for Men 3 in 1 Shampoo $1.43 after $ .50 coupon
10 bottles of Alimentum ready to feed formula $8.71 each

Normally I can get the Kotex for free with a coupon, however, having three girls that will eventually need them, I try to stock up whenever I can for a good price, it isn't like they will expire. And I thought 60 cents a bottle for shampoo was pretty good. I am picky about using good conditioner but will use any shampoo. So my total was $93.17 after tax. Their shipping at is always free. I can't wait to see what other bargains they have the next time I order formula, which will be soon. Those 10 bottles only last about a week.

Have any of you had any luck with I would love to hear about it!

This post links to Life As Mom and Grocery Cart Challenge

What works for me!

Little known fact, I have horribly sensitive skin. Can't wear any makeup with the exception of certain brands of under eye concealer and lipstick. But even then, certain brands can burn my skin and lips, so I am very careful of what I use, I have used the same brand and color of lipstick for about 10 years.

When it comes to cleansers I cannot use anything that is anti-aging or that has any acid or alpha-hydroxy in it. I have used the same cleanser and lotion for about 20 years and only recently added some new cleanser to my meager collection. For a cleanser I use Dove sensitive skin bar soap and when I need some extra cleansing in the summer, I use a little witch hazel diluted with water on a cotton ball. I have most recently tried the Burts Bees Lemon Poppy Seed Facial Cleanser (4 oz.), which I use in the winter months, as my skin needs more moisturizing and is more sensitive when the weather is cold!

As for moisturizers, I only use one, Oil of Olay, sensitive skin active hydrating creme. I use it all year round. I have used this for many years also and I love it.

On a good note, I guess due to my lack of wearing makeup, I have pretty good skin. I often get compliments on my skin, which makes me feel really wonderful. There are many days I wish I could wear makeup, the days where my skin is sallow or I have the occasional pimple. But most days I am glad that I don't need it. And luckily my husband thinks I look better without it!

These are all products that I would be lost without! What can't you live without? Is there anything that you just hate if they stopped making it? Tell us about it!

Head on over to We Are That Family to see more Works For Me Wednesdays.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Welcome to my new blog! I have wanted to create a blog for many months and finally I just took the plunge and created one!

As you can see from my bio section, I have 4 kids! This is my crew above, from a zoo trip this summer. We have 3 girls and had a son this past March. I love being a mom! It is my most challenging and yet most rewarding job. I have an amazing husband who stands by my daily crazy ideas.

Please join me as I blog about my crazy and fabulous life. Our house is never boring and I promise that some days I will make you laugh!

Also, just a word of warning, I am by no means an English major. The only grammar I have taken is what was required of me in high school and college, so I will have lots of run-on sentences and misplaced verbs? See I can't even remember the proper wording for what I am doing wrong!

Never the less, I will try and post something new every day as I strive to make my blog better and better. Please feel free to leave comments that might help me improve this blog!