Thursday, April 29, 2010

An Old Dog

This is one of our dogs, Scooby. He is a Great Dane/Lab mix and we got him from a Dane rescue when he was just 9 months old.

Boy, did he give us a run for our money.

He tore out all but one tree in the backyard, then would prance around with the branches in his mouth.

Then he ate our deck.

Then he tore out our bushes, all of them.

But oh, was he wonderful with the kids. He has participated in many dress up parties.

But that when he was a puppy. He will be 10 years old in May. That is old for a Great Dane. But he is young in body, just not in mind. He has doggy dementia (sp?) and is on medicine to help that. Along with other medicine to help him get through thunderstorms.

But for those of you who love dogs like we do, they become a part of your family. So you do what you need to and just suck up the cost.

So for now we will just love on him and give him extra pets. And enjoy the time that we have left with him. Even if his breath is super stinky. Just don't let him lick your face.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Declutter, Declutter, Declutter!

This time of year, I always get the urge to declutter, purge and to pitch! I honestly don't know where this stuff comes from. Because it seems like ever year I have a ton of stuff to donate.

This year however, I am doing it with gusto. This year we have another mission in mind. You see, we would like to move in the next year or so. So the more I purge junk, the less I have to organize and pack. But that isn't just it.

Our house isn't that big and we would love to double our house size when we move. But for the time being, there are six of us plus two dogs and two cats living here. So when things aren't put away where they belong, our house gets cluttered very quickly.

So I am going with the thought of 1. Do I use it. 2. Do I love it. 3. Does it bring me joy? If I answer now to any of these, then out it goes!

The frugal nature in me wants to keep things, just in case. But I have decided that if I haven't used it in the last year, I doubt I will in the future. Oh and I finally am getting rid of the clothes that are 4 sizes smaller than I am now. Who am I kidding? After 4 kids, my hips will never be that size again.

So, I am off, to find more things that I can donate, consign or pitch!

This is linked to Works for me Wednesday.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This Season of My Life

I have talked about saving money and making things from scratch like my laundry detergent here, but what I didn't talk about was time. Even the best laid plans can go wrong if there isn't time to implement them.

You see I work a rotating shift of 2 days one week and 3 the next. My husband's new job requires that he works longer hours, some nights he isn't home at all. We have 4 kids and 3 of them are old  enough to be in activities.

That being said, there are some nights that I am lucky to get a meal on the table, but then feel guilty about not having any homemade bread or biscuits to go with it. When the most important part really, is that we are eating together at the table, right?

I do a TON of laundry a week, between towels, 6 people and sports thrown in, we have lots of dirty clothes. Yes the homemade detergent saved a ton of money, but it didn't save time. And I had trouble with getting spots out of the sports clothes that had dirt and grass stains on them. Which meant rewashing or resoaking them again. So I have gone back to store bought.

I do still make homemade goodies and especially for my daughter with food allergies. However I am not going to make everything from scratch. You see I always have the best intentions. I usually try to make muffins and lazy granola every week, and I normally do. However those last 2-3 days and some mornings I do not have time go cook a hot meal. But I also don't have the time on the weekends to do batch cooking every weekend. So to keep from having my family go hungry, I have had to go back to buying some premade snacks and breakfast foods.

I am okay with this. This is my season of life. It dawned on my yesterday that I need to realize that in this season of my life: working, having 4 kids between 1 and 9, my husband working lots of hours; that it is more important for me to focus on what is important, my family. They don't care that my hot pretzels are store bought and not homemade, only that we get to watch our movie on our Friday night family night.

And I don't like telling my child that I can't play a game because I am busy making homemade bread, or homemade whatever, you get the picture.

So I rest easier now and do not stress over this, I have accepted that this is just where I am right now. And grateful that we have the means to allow me to do this.

Being frugal also means figuring out what works best for you and your family.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Little Man Turns One!

As I mentioned here, we had some things take place at our home recently. One of them was that my little man turned one!

Where. Does. The. Time. Go?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chewy Granola Bars

I love granola bars, so do my kids. But unfortunately most contain eggs, dairy or peanuts, which means that I won't can't buy them. So I have tried many over the last few years and one ever turned out very well.

Until now.

I stumbled upon the base recipe here, if you are not family with this website, Laura has awesome recipes. I almost always have to alter mine due to food allergies, but she has some fabulous recipes that I use as my base.

Here is the recipe that I came up with based on what we like here.

1/2 cup sunbutter
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup rice cereal
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup coconut flakes
chocolate chips sprinkled on top

Melt the sunbutter, honey and coconut oil on the stove top in a pan. Once it is all melted together, add the vanilla, mix together with the oats and rice cereal. Let it cool a little bit, then add the coconut.

Flatten into a pan lined with wax paper and put in fridge for about an hour or so until it hardens. This makes roughly 8 bars. Or seven if you are like me and have to do a taste test right when you cut them up!

These are delicious and so good for you. I sprinkle the cocolate chips on, that way you don't use as much.

This recipe is linked to Ultimate Recipe Swap.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting Things Done

I have had many of my friends make comments or question how I get everything done. Well, first of all, I will let you in on a secret, I don't.

First of all, my house is only super clean when we have guests. I mop my kitchen once a week, almost always have a pile of laundry to clean and sometimes my bathrooms go longer than they should between cleanings.

But there is one thing that I have managed to figure out over the years, multi-task and when I say multi-task, I mean I rarely sit down. I remember when I was growing up, my mom would fall asleep sitting up in a chair. I could never figure out how she could do that. Until I had kids and now I know. My super secret weapon is that I avoid sitting down until it is time for bed, unless I am eating a meal.

I am rarely doing just one thing at a time, except when dealing with the kids. I try to have my mind on my task when I am with my kids. Doesn't always work out that way, but I do try.

Here was my day today, this is a typical work day and a night when we have no sports or activities:

4:45 a.m.--woken by 13 month old (he is teething)

6:00 a.m.--lay back down after baby goes back to sleep because I was tired from being at an amusement park all day the previous day, normally I would just stay up

6:30 a.m.--alarm goes off for work (between now and when I leave for work, I shower and dress for work, get the baby up and started on breakfast, make sure school bags are packed, my breakfast and/or lunch is packed, if the girls are packing, I pack their lunches, get them their snack, depending on my time and how tired I am I might make coffee, then kisses all around and out the door)

7:30 a.m.--leave for work

5:00 p.m.--home from work, hugged everyone and asked about their day

5:15 p.m.--up to change into my comfy clothes(we have no where to go tonight, yay!)

5:20 p.m.--put hamburger in microwave to thaw since I forgot to get it out yesterday and start helping and checking homework

5:30-7:00 p.m.--put together new recipe of 7 layer casserol and get it into oven since it has to bake for 1 and a half hours. I also immediately start to brown the other 2 pounds of ground beef with onion. While this is browning I play with baby and keep checking on it. When that is done and cooled, I bag it for another meal later on this week and to freeze again. I also get started on the homemade Chex mix so that it is ready to go in the oven as soon as the casserole is finished.

During this time, my husband comes home and we chat for a few minutes. I talk to my kids about school and look over their papers and graded tests. My thirteen month old is very tired today so I feed him early and lay him in bed to for the night. My husband tells me he got called back into work and leaves. I finish dinner, call the kids to set the table and get drinks
7:00--we eat dinner (late for us, oh well it works out that way sometimes)

7:30--finish dinner and get started on chewy granola bars for morning, I will share the recipe soon

8:00--the kids are hungry again and grab a snack of chex mix, I finish cleaning up the kitchen put the granola bars in the fridge to harden

8:30--kids are in bed for the night, everyone is tired from yesterday at the amusement park, including me. I get started working on my blog.

I am off tomorrow, if it was a night before I worked, I would pack the diaper bag, do any ironing for my husband and myself, get my work bag and clothes ready for the morning.

Sometime around 9:30 I will go up to bed to read and depening on how tired I am I will go to bed anywhere between then and 11:30.

Right now I only watch one show on tv, Bones on Thursday nights at 8:00, which I have to DVR and watch later on that night.

So there you have it, that is my typical work day. I will eventually post about my non work days. I currently work a rotating schedule of 2 days one week and 3 the next. I love my 2 day weeks, I am not going to lie to you.

I am very thankful that I became someone that knows how to multitask and use my time wisely. Otherwise I could never get anything done!

This post is linked to Gratituesday.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm Back Baby!

Okay, for the few people that read my blog, I apologize for being non-existent for the last few months! But life has been very busy and hectic.

And something had to give. It just happened to be my blog.

But I am officially back. I have come to realize that even though my blog takes work, I missed it. I kept finding myself taking pictures for my blog. Only to realize, “oh, I don’t have my blog anymore.”

So I have gone through my priorities things that I enjoy and are important to me. And realized that I love talking to people about saving money, food allergies, being frugal and cooking/baking.

And my blog is where I can reach the most people.

We have had a lot of big changes in our house the last couple of months. My little man turned one, my youngest daughter turned 5 and my husband started a new job.
I have sat down and decided on some weekly posts that I will have. There will be some more meaningful posts. More tips, ideas, recipes!

Let me know if you are happy that I have returned!