Monday, March 9, 2015

Healthy Snacking: Prepping for the Whole Week

Can I have these gummies? Can I have a piece of candy? I'm huuuuuungryyyyyyy!!!!

I realized a few weeks ago that my children our family had a snacking problem.  The problem wasn't so much that we were hungry, but what we were choosing to snack on.  Crackers, leftover candy from whatever recent holiday, gummies, and cheese were our go to choices.  I preach to my children the importance of eating healthy, but I was part of the problem because I wasn't making these foods readily available for little hands to grab.  There was always a bowl of apples on the counter, but every time you're hungry you don't want an apple, right?  So I knew I needed to make a change.

I bundled up both of the kiddos and we headed to the store!  They were going to choose the fruits and veggies they liked and thought they would eat throughout the week.

Here's what we ended up with:

Healthy Snacks for the week!!

  • strawberries
  • grapes
  • sliced cucumbers
  • sliced carrots
  • chopped iceburg lettuce with shredded carrots and diced cucumbers

Just buying the healthy food wasn't enough.  I knew that if they were going to eat this food willingly, I had to get it all ready for whenever the feeding frenzy would begin.  So, I got to work.  I washed, peeled, and cut every vegetable and fruit we bought; packaged them up and we were set!  But we needed the final touch...ranch dressing!  If they will willingly eat carrots and cucumbers for a snack, I am more than happy for them to pair it with ranch--whatever it takes!

Yesterday morning Little Missy came upstairs with this in her hands:

Success!!  She did this all on her own, so much better than a processed pack of gummies!

Want to load your kids up with fruits and veggies?  Try this.

1.  Take them to your favorite produce place.
2.  Have your kiddos pick out what looks good to them.  They will be more willing to eat their own selections.
3.  Once you're home, wash, cut, and prepare all fruits and veggies.
4.  Place your prepared food in kid-friendly containers and put it low enough in the refrigerator so they can get it on their own.
5.  Let them know they are free to eat these whenever they get hungry, or whatever your snacking rules may be.  I told my kids this was the food they were always allowed to have and they didn't need my permission to get it.  (Would I really tell them, "No, you can't have a carrot right now?" ?!?)
6.  Step back and give yourself a pat on the back!  Way to go Mama!

What snacking options do your kiddos enjoy?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Menu Plan: Week of 3.8.15

Menu Plan Week 3.8.15


Cereal, yogurt, or scrambled egg sandwiches


school lunch and/or packed lunch for Little Man, Miss Priss eats at daycare, homemade Taco Soup all week for me


Chicken tacos, rice, refried beans

Omelettes, bacon, fruit

Hot dogs, baked beans, peas, applesauce

Pepperoni Stromboli, salad

Chicken nuggets, french fries, apples

Peanut butter sandwiches, chips, fruit, veggies

Saturday, March 7, 2015

What I've Read: The Witness Wore Red

Thanks to a snow day (read about about those glorious days here) I was able to finish The Witness Wore Red.


Side note: I was able to score this book for only about $3.00.  Thanks to Books-a-Million for their end of year clearance sale and buy 2 get 1 free sale!!  The hubby and I were able to get 9 books for under $40.  Yes, not as cheap as the library, but we live in a small town and our library isn't massive, so this turned out to be a great option for us.  And I also think there is something beautiful about a bookshelf packed with books.  Anyways, on with the review...

W.O.W.!!! It has been a long time since I have read such a captivating book.  This is Rebecca Musser's true story of how she left the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)--you probably know them best as the "cult" ran by Warren Jeffs.  This book is a captivating in that she examines and is brutally honest about the inner-workings of her former church.  I also appreciated the honest look she took at herself and how she played a role in allowing the atrocities to continue, while she was still there.  

At many times I found myself reading with my mouth agape, astonished by the lengths at which Warren Jeffs went to promote his crimes.  Using religion as a means to manipulate people has got to be the most disgusting thing I have ever read about.  

I hope by the end of the book you will grow to appreciate the abounding inner strength that Rebecca never knew she had.  Even though God was used against her and as a means to justify the horrible things she lived through, you will be amazed by her new relationship with and understanding of God.

What have you read lately?

Frugality: Fails and Accomplishments

Another week has passed in our family's journey toward increasing our frugality and paying off our debt.  As we have so often been reminded on this long journey, there are ups and downs and what works for others may not work for us and vice versa.

We might as well start with the positives.  Accomplishments:
  • no daycare for the week: didn't have much control over this with the snow, but savings: $38
  • Camdyn made homemade birthday cards for two birthday parties on Saturday: so much cuter and special, savings: about $3

  • I ate leftovers for lunch all week: savings: about $15
  • We ate PBJ sandwiches instead of going through the drive-through Wednesday after church: savings: about $15


Friday the hubby and I spent the day in town after his doctor's appointment.  I was so excited to spend some coupons I had received in the mail. Two coupons were for $10 off of $10 spent at JCPenny and then I had $15 in rewards at Rack Room.  The plan was to only spend $20 at JCP and then essentially spend nothing out of pocket.  Then I had expected to spend a little more than $15 at Rack Room because I had my doubts that I would find a decent pair of shoes for less than $15.  I don't mind to spend a little extra on sandals because I wear them FOREVER and need them to last.  I was planning on spending no more than $20 out of pocket for all of this.  But, that didn't work out.  
The JCP coupons had to be used in 2 separate transactions and what I had picked out was more than $10, so I over spent there.  Then, I couldn't stand to not use the other one and ended up picking up 2 little casual shirts so that I could use the coupon--overspent there as well.  At Rack Room the shoes were $35, so I spent $20 out of pocket.  To make a longer story, even longer, I spent $47 for 3 shirts and a pair of sandals. Not too bad, but I wish it would have been less.

All in all, not too bad of a week.  We keep reminding ourselves to stay focused and all of our hard work will pay off in the end.  Also, we are learning to give ourselves grace and allowing ourselves to spend a little money here or there so we don't indulge all at once when we feel frustrated.  While I might not have gotten as good of deals as I had hoped for when I went shopping, I sure can't wait to wear those new clothes!!!

*Linking up with Works For Me Wednesdays*

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why I Only Grocery Shop at ONE Store


Can I I just say how much I dislike loathe Walmart?  I walk in that store and I immediately feel like a crazy person.  Droves of people are there, I am almost guaranteed to see someone I know-especially if I'm there without having fixed my hair or done my makeup, and there is just a general since of chaos.  But alas, if you live anywhere like we do, then Walmart has become a necessary evil.  If I need anything other than groceries, I almost always have to go there or drive 45 minutes to the nearest point of civilization.  About 99.9% of the time I choose Walmart because I don't want to spend the gas money to drive somewhere else.  While I don't have the luxury of choosing from many stores to shop around at for most items, I can at least choose a different place for grocery shopping!!
I have found that deciding on one place to grocery shop consistently really does make sense for us when trying to save money.  I don't have the time or desire to drive around to different stores trying to snag every little deal.  Time is money people!!  So here are my Top 5 reasons to stick with only one grocery store.  Drum roll please...

1.  You can shop faster.  

      I know where probably 98% of the items I need are located at Food Lion.  I can arrange my grocery list according to the path I take in the store and really streamline the whole process.  If I have ever been in say, Walmart (again, my own personal Hell) to pick up medicine or something else and decide to do my grocery shopping-it takes me at least twice as long!  I walk up and down the aisles, back and forth, crisscrossing my way between people in a desperate search for sugar.  I can't hardly stand it--wasting time is a major thorn in my side!  SO, when I shop where I know where things are located, I feel at peace.  I can concentrate on what I'm doing and get out of there rather quickly.

Goals Update: January and February

Wow!  The first two months of 2015 have flown by.  Between winter weather, internet outages, crazy busy schedules, and just plain 'ol life I haven't been able to get on here for a while!  But with the promise of Spring right around the corner, we are supposed to have our last snow today--temperature in the 60s next week!, I am once again hoping to start fresh.  So here is an update on how my goals are going for the year.

Goals for My...

Mind and Soul
  • read one pleasure book per month
    • January: The Witness Wore Read, The Rosie Project
    • February: did some reading, but not a fiction book
  • read one self improvement, money, marriage, etc. book per month
    • January: Too Busy Not to Pray 
    • February: The Five Love Languages, Parenting the Heart of Your Child, The Best Yes
  • continue to rise early to read a Bible study book and pray
    • check

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Finding Time--Oh, Glorious Snow Days

Giles County School's Inclement Weather & Schedule Information

Regular Schedule

1 Hour Late Schedule
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2 Hour Late Schedule  1-12-15


1 Hour Early Release

2 Hour Early Release

Other – Student Holiday / Teacher Workday - Parent-Teacher Conferences 9am-Noon

Oh, snow days,
How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways...

If you are a teacher, married to a teacher, or have ever experienced the pure bliss of a snow day or a delayed school schedule, then you know exactly what I'm talking about!!!  I know I'm supposed to say that watching students learn brings me joy, and it does, but if I'm completely honest, snow days and 2 hour delays are AH-MAY-ZING!!! And if I'm really, really honest, sometimes it's about all that helps me get through the dark, cold days of January and February.  (Shh, don't tell anyone.)  I know I'm not the only one here that feels like a kid again waiting to see our county's name scroll across the TV or get that heavenly sent robotic phone call that says, "Giles County Public Schools will be closed, January 8, 2015."