Monday, April 29, 2013

Make The Most Out Of Free Samples

I have been getting free samples in my mailbox for almost 2 years.  I've gotten things like shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, magazine subscriptions, feminine supplies, pet food, vitamins, snacks, soaps, perfumes, diapers, laundry detergent, and lotions~just to name a few!  So, just what do I do with all these samples??  Glad you asked!

I use them!  Most of the samples I've received we have used.  They help to make your budget stretch a little further.  Some of the samples I've received have even been full size products which is a great surprise!  Samples of toothpaste, shampoo, or soap I will save for vacations or camping trips and use them then.  It saves us room when packing to only pack a small item vs. the regular size product we have at home.  Samples of snacks I will use when we have a day of appointments or errand running.  The kids love to snack on something that I usually don't have on hand.  Magazine subscriptions are enjoyed here at home, then donated to our local thrift store for other's to enjoy.  Feminine product samples are a great way to stretch our budget.  When I was pregnant and nursing our 5th child (I nurse long term and do not usually get a period for 9-11 months after delivery.   That makes over a year and a half without a period!) I stored up all the samples I received for feminine products.  When my period did return, it was several long months before I needed to buy any feminine products!

I give them away.  Sample products are a fun way to make a creative gift.  You could make a themed gift basket using the samples received in the mail.  If there is a homeless shelter or food pantry near you, I am sure they would accept these to give to needy families.  Our local food pantry does.  Other organizations might take them also!

I share them!  If I find a sample on a product that I know some of my friends or family might use or enjoy, I'll let them know.  We all enjoy stretching our budget, right?

There are several websites that I use to find out about freebies.  The ones that I use the most are Freebies 4 Mom and Mom Advice/The Motherload.  Heather at Freebies 4 Mom posts freebies as she finds them so check on her blog daily.  Amy at Mom Advice has a post every Friday called Freebie Friday's.  She posts all the freebies found during the week.  (She also has a lot of useful information during the rest of the week, too!)  I have also signed up at Procter and Gamble, and every once in a while I get lucky enough to get one of their freebie boxes which includes many different products.  There are other websites out there as well, if you look it up on google, you're sure to find many others.  These are just the two I stick with.

Another way to get free samples is to contact the company of an item you like.  I need to do this more often, but I have a friend who routinely contacts complanies of products she uses or likes.  She will sometimes get samples, but sometimes she will get high value coupons, or even a coupon for a free item!  Full size free items!

Just a quick note about free samples.  I love to get freebies in my mailbox, but I only request freebies that I will use, or can give to other's.  It doesn't do me any good to get samples of dog food if I don't have a dog, or don't know of anyone else who would use it. 

Start signing up for free samples, and soon you'll be excited to go out to your mailbox each day!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Transitioning From Pants To Skirts

I recently had a reader ask me how I transitioned from wearing pants to skirts/dresses.  She currently wears pants and jeans and has felt the Lord calling her to dress more feminine and wear skirts.  She has a desire to follow this calling, but also fears what her friends would say.

I can totally relate to this reader.  When I first felt God prompting me to wears skirts, I tried so hard to ignore this calling. One of the biggest reasons I did was because I was afraid of what other's would think of me.  Many people did not understand our desire to homeschool our children, and I knew that this would make some say I had gone off the deep end!  I was afraid of what they would think or say, and I didn't know how to respond to the questions.

I transitioned to wearing skirts rather quickly.  After I agreed to obey the Lord in this area, I looked at what I had in my closet.  I had one skirt that could be wore as an "everyday" skirt.  The rest of my skirts were what I call Sunday skirts and just too nice to wear on an ordinary Tuesday {or whatever day!}.  So... on an ordinary, average day I wore that one "everyday" skirt.  When I came out of the bedroom, I think each one of my kids asked me where I was going because I was "dressed up" !! ☺   But I did get a compliment from my neighbor telling me I looked nice!  A day or two after that, while shopping at a thrift store, I found several more skirts and I never rarely wear pants anymore.

The funny thing is...I never had anyone ask me about wearing skirts.  I am sure family members and friends noticed, but not one person asked me why or made any comment about it.  NOT.  ONE.   All that worrying was for nothing.  Now that I am more confident in wearing skirts, I actually wish people would say something to me about it.  I would love an opportunity to show how such a simple way of obeying the Lord can lead to such peace in your life. 

It wasn't until I gave this area over to the Lord completely that I started to have peace about it.  I found out that following after God's leading in this area,  it didn't really even matter to me what other's might think about my skirts.  If that is holding you back from wearing skirts, pray hard about it.   He will lead you if you are willing to follow.  You will feel a peace about it, and you will feel great wearing skirts also!

I hope this helps.  I appreciate the question and the opportunity to share more about my journey into wearing skirts.  To read the story of how this journey started, go to THIS post.

Have a great day!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Christmas Gift Idea's

Yes, I do know what month the calendar is on.  No, I have not lost my marbles~well...not all of them anyway!!  It's never to early to start thinking about Christmas gift idea's.  You know how much I love Christmas time!

This year, I would like to give more handmade gifts.  I love to receive them since I feel homemade gifts come not only from your own hands, but your heart as well.  For someone to take the time to make me something, it shows they care.  Some of the things I would like to try are....
I have some nephews (and a son!) in mind for this hat!  I just thought it was so cute!

I have already made this scarf for myself and have several women on my list to make one for.  It was super simple to make and makes a really lovely scarf.  Give it a try!

I have made myself potholders from the Homestead Blessings DVD, and these look even a little nicer.  I am excited to make some for myself and many others this Christmas.  Who couldn't use a new potholder, and it is a great way to use up some of my quilting leftovers!
I thought these looked nice and might tackle one for a Christmas present.  I could even place some items in the bag for a themed gift.
Folded Paper Wreath Ornament

I'm even hoping to get the kids involved by making some ornaments for some of our loved ones.  I thought this looked fun!
My goal is to create Christmas gifts for as many people as I can this year.  If I get started now, I should be able to get that accomplished without a problem.  Won't you join me?!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Family Movie Night~~Home Made Pizza

I've shared with you before about our family movie night each week.  I wanted to continue that conversation by giving you the recipe's for our pizza's.  Family movie night has become an important tradition in our family.  I feel we need to get more families spending time together and connecting.  It is a simple thing, but we've found out that it is something our kids {and hubby and I} look forward to.  Yours will also!'s how I make our pizza's.

Easy Pizza Sauce
 2 (6oz) cans tomato paste
2 garlic cloves
3Tb dried parsley flakes
4tsp dried onion flakes
1tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried basil
2 cups water

Combine all ingredients in 2 quart pan.  Cook over medium~high heat until mixture boils.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Cool a little and spread on pizza crust.

**How I actually do it!!!**
I use the above recipe {except using a fresh onion instead of onion flakes} and quadruple {or more!!} the recipe.  REASON~~because making this sauce makes a mess all over your stove and counters!!  TRUST ME!!  It will bubble during the boil and will even shoot sauce to the cabinets!  By making a big batch in my dutch oven, I only have to go through the agony of clean up every few months.  I freeze the rest in containers holding only what we need for each pizza night.  This way, I always have pizza sauce on hand for not only pizza night, but also pizza casserole, mini pizza's, or any other recipe I find using pizza sauce.  

Pizza Crust
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tb yeast
2 1/2 Tb oil
1 1/2 cup warm water 

When I began making this, I had a bread maker.  I would put all the ingredients into the bread machine and set it to dough cycle.  When it was finished, I just took it out, separated it into however many crusts we wanted, and began making them.   Now I have a stand mixer, and I put all the ingredients {except flour} into bowl, set mixer at knead setting and slowly add flour until dough is soft and elastic {usually about 3-5 minutes}.  I take dough out of bowl, seperate into number of crusts, and roll them out with my hands to make the crusts.  I do place crusts into the oven for a few minutes before adding the sauce, just to start the baking process.  We like our crusts crispier, and we've found this helps to reach that end.  Remember we do have a large family who loves thicker crusts, and this recipe makes enough to satisfy us.  If you have a smaller family or like thinner crusts, you might want to cut the recipe back a little~or par bake the crusts and stick them in the freezer for later use.   

Both of these recipe's are very simple to make, just add your favorite toppings, and you're on the right track for family movie night.  Your kids may even want to jump in and help you!  Now head over to the library and find a family friendly movie to enjoy together.  You'll have a great time together, I promise!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Frugal Living~Make Your Own Taco Seasoning

 One of the ways we save money is by making it ourselves if we can.  Our family loves taco's and we have it for supper often.  I found this recipe for taco seasoning online over a year ago, and have been making it ever since.   I double or triple this recipe since we use it so much.

Taco Seasoning

2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp salt (I use less)
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1Tbsp onion flakes
1Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp black pepper

Mix together and keep in an air~tight container.  Add 1-2 Tbsp of mix per pound of ground beef.  Use more or less depending on your taste! 

Enjoy your taco's!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Fun, Frugal Friday's


Every Friday we have family movie night.   I make home~made pizza's, we watch a movie downstairs in our family room, and we all get to eat in front of the TV!   We have found out that this tradition is actually important to our kiddo's and they look forward to this.  What a great (and simple) thing to have our kids enjoy~~family time!

We almost always get our movies from the library.  I check out websites like CBD or BMG to find family friendly movies and place a hold on them at our local library.  We always watch the movie trailers when DVD's have them and we make note of the one's we want to watch.  We also rely on friends that will tell us of great family movies they have seen.  Sometimes one of the kiddo's pick out the movie, and sometimes hubby or I do.  We try to make it something that all the kids will like, but sometimes it's hard to make that happen.  Usually if the little ones are not interested, we let them play quietly with their toys (which are also kept down in our family room).

We don't have to spend a lot of money or go somewhere to enjoy our family time together.  The movies are free or only a few dollars if we need to get them from the video store.  Home~made pizza's are much cheaper than ordering out (and much healthier, too!).    

I love this time with my family each week, and creating family traditions in the process.  Enjoy your family movie night tonite!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Welcome Home!

our new home
Sorry for the delay in blogging.  It has been quite the month!  The biggest reason for my lack of blogging has simply been that we did not have internet for over 3 weeks.  We thought we were getting our internet hooked up the Monday after we moved in, but after someone stopped by the house to get us set up, we found out that we are actually unable to have that type of internet service here.  We are just outside the city limits (a mile out of town!), and that makes us a rural location.  In our part of the state, rural area's have difficulty getting internet service.  After several phone calls (and several hours along with it!) we finally found a provider and had service started.  So to get you caught up, here is what we've been up to for the past month....
We moved to our new home.  This is the home that hubby grew up in.  We have already started doing some work on both the inside and outside of the house as it hasn't really been updated since it was built 44 years ago.  We have cut down some of  the overgrown landscaping, so the above picture is already outdated!  Our moving day started out with this....
SNOW!!  We were praying for good weather, but had to deal with the snowfall we received overnight.  We are thankful that we didn't have to deal with the snow all day long!

The mess just before we started moving~~this is just one room, though!
Our oldest child turned 16!  How fast time flies when you're not looking!

Investigating outdoors at our new property.

Birthday party with our family for my mother and father in law.  They were born on the same day 5 years apart!  This is a quilt with hand prints of our entire family members that I made for them.

And last, but certainly not least, we took a trip last week to the Creation Museum.  It was a great trip, and I'll share it with you on another post.  I will say if you ever get the chance to go here, take it~you won't regret it!  We loved the museum!
Thanks for sticking with me.  I promise I'll get back into the swing of blogging again! 
Have a blessed day!